This article was originally published in March 2017. It has been updated to reflect new information and application features available related to chatbots in June 2020.
recently I awoke to intense, pulsing pain in my lower abdomen. A few years ago, I would have had two options — go to the emergency room or an pressing care facility, both of which can be costly. This time, I sought help from the telemedicine avail covered by my health indemnity plan, where I was able to call in and speak with a medical practitioner. They confirmed that I likely had a kidney stone and helped me understand the next steps regarding treatment .
It was a great service, but I had to wait about two hours for the call back from the medical practitioner… and that is a hanker delay when you ’ re in pain .
- 1 We’ll get to how to build a Facebook chatbot in a bit, but first… think about how your chatbot could help people.
- 2 How are companies using chatbots in marketing?
- 3 Using chatbots to generate leads:
- 4 7 examples of chatbots for lead generation:
- 5 How to start building a chatbot:
- 6 How to build a Facebook chatbot:
- 6.1 Step 1: Connect your Facebook account to the Chatfuel chatbot builder.
- 6.2 Step 2: Connect to your Facebook business page.
- 6.3 Step 3: Walk through the in-app tutorial.
- 6.4 Step 4: Create your welcome message and default answer.
- 6.5 Be honest with your audience.
- 6.6 Step 5: Set up your conversation navigation.
- 6.7 Step 6: Link the blocks to the main navigation.
- 6.8 Step 7: Put in your chatbot dialog.
- 6.9 Step 8: Create your artificial intelligence.
- 6.10 Step 9: Launch the chatbot
- 7 What other bot-building tools are there?
- 8 Bonus chatbot niches
- 9 Build a chatbot to build your business
We’ll get to how to build a Facebook chatbot in a bit, but first… think about how your chatbot could help people.
What if I went on-line and chatted with a sophisticate in minutes rather of hours ?
I could have .
It turns out, a number of medical chatbot applications are available — you install one on your earphone, and you can get self-help diagnostic information for your ailments. Powered by artificial news, you can have a conversation with a chatbot and get answers to your medical questions. It can even connect you with healthcare providers in real-time .
One model of a medical diagnostic chatbot is Babylon, a subscription military service available in the U.K. that offers artificially intelligent chatbot-based consultations that provide suggestions for a aesculapian course of action .
How are companies using chatbots in marketing?
Dozens of brands with bombastic marketing budgets and initiatives, such as Disney, Uber, and Kayak, are using chatbots to connect with their customers and sell more products and services .
Disney, the enormous media and entertainment conglomerate, helped promote their ‘ Zootopia ’ movie with a Facebook Messenger chatbot that interacted with children. The chatbot led the child through a conversation with the movie ’ randomness main character, Officer Judy Hopps, as they worked together to catch bad guys .
Kayak, one of the most popular breeze and hotel engagement platforms, allows you to interact with its chatbots via Facebook Messenger, Slack or Amazon Alexa. Kayak ’ s main web site provides tools for searching airlines and hotels and then booking them directly. With their chatbots, they are taking their avail even further : You can receive budget-driven recommendations, get updates on your already-planned trips, or evaluate the best time to travel to certain hotspots .
Chatbots are meant to be more interactional ways to communicate with potential customers, not merely a room to help close a sale. As such, Kayak has introduced more colloquial functionality beyond merely booking travel .
alike, chatbots can be leveraged in more creative fashions to generate leads .
Using chatbots to generate leads:
traditional conduct coevals for both B2C and B2B commercialize involves a lot of advertise and calls-to-action, such as “ download this ebook, ” to capture the lead for a sales follow-up .
Enter chatbots .
With 68 percentage of on-line adults in the United States on Facebook, according to Pew Research, you can likely get your chatbot in front of your target demographic if you create a chatbot for Facebook. While Facebook Messenger is the leading platform for chatbots, there are besides a number of other platforms available nowadays. You can build chatbots using Flickroom, Slack, Skype, PureChat, Drift, and many others .
Any product or service that has a high grade of pre-purchase decision-making, such as car sales, real number estate of the realm or enterprise software, can gain huge prize from a chatbot. Because your prospective customer is likely doing a carnival total of on-line research into which product to buy, it makes sense to build a chatbot that helps answer questions for them, in a fresh and colloquial room .
somewhere in the conversation your chatbot can offer a downloadable scout — all the prospective customer needs to do is provide some contact information, and the guide will be sent to them. Assuming your chatbot provides value to the consumer when your salesperson reaches out to discuss the sale, they will have already had a golden interaction with your sword .
7 examples of chatbots for lead generation:
Chatbots have been available for some time, but businesses have only begun to adopt them for lead coevals purposes heavy within the survive respective years. To help you get a better estimate of how you can leverage chatbots for star generation, I ’ ve made a tilt of chatbots I ’ ve either built for clients or that I ’ ve dreamed up and intend to build .
Despite chatbots having been around for some time now, lead generation via chatbots is silent a very new technique. not many people are leveraging them, and therefore there is still very a lot an early adoptive parent advantage that you can get from launching a chatbot for lead generation .
To help you get a better theme of how you can leverage chatbots for this purpose, I ’ ve made a tilt of chatbots I ’ ve either built for clients or that I ’ ve dreamed up and intend to build .
Why am I not worried about sharing these with you ?
Because I honestly feel that with meter, all of these ideas will be on the grocery store, and there is no reason to hold your cards finale to your thorax in this crippled. There is hush plenty of land to be claimed !
Examples of chatbots that can be used for lead generation:
1. Real estate agent bots
substantial estate agents rank among some of the most lead-hungry professionals out there. It is amazing what real estate agents will pay for a potent lead. I know, because I have an interest in real estate of the realm for my own personal investment. I built a bot for a customer that helps potential home-sellers evaluate whether or not to sell their homes on their own, or if they need help from a veridical estate agent .
I ’ ve done several bot-building train sessions with this real estate of the realm agentive role bot example. If you ’ ra matter to in seeing more on this, be certain to read through to the end of this article as I will parcel an actual template you can copy and use for your own clients .
2. Loan calculator bots
fiscal institutions that provide consumers or businesses with loans are always looking for ways to get more applications. Why not offer a loanword calculator ? After running the calculation in the chatbot, open up a dialogue and offer a piece of free capacity, such as a guide on the “ Ten things to ask a lender, ” in exchange for a reach ’ s e-mail address .
3. Life coach bots
A chatbot can be used to provide or offer free advice in the areas of coach, psychology, or other forms of personal development and mental health .
4. Politician bots
several of my state-level politicians have started to reach out to me, as their part, to keep in touch via YouTube and/or e-mail updates on what they are doing in the express legislature. They have my contact details because I ’ ve participated in the democratic action and given them my contact details .
What about the thousands of other constituents in their zone that they can ’ t scope ? In steps a bot that updates their voters in real-time via Facebook Messenger. And the great thing about Facebook is that it allows you to draw tight geographic fences around areas you want to advertise in. A politician can set targets around her zone, buy ads, get people into her chatbot, and can take a more proactive overture and voice with her constituents, all of which can increase her chances of getting re-elected .
5. Investment advice bots
The fiscal plan industry is identical competitive for new business. Advertise a scout on Facebook that is certain to whet the pennywhistle for electric potential investors. then, when they click your ad, it will take them into a chatbot. From there, capture their e-mail addresses, and you ’ rhenium gold !
6. Home services bots
regardless of the type of home servicing you offer ( or that your client offers ), you can help automate quotes and lead generation for likely new customers. You can besides provide home improvement advice through a chatbot to help you increase the count of new leads .
7. Appointment-setting bots
If you are involved in an appointment-heavy diligence ( hair salons, medical or alveolar consonant offices, law firms, and so on ), then you can leverage a chatbot as a method for stream customers to script spots on your calendar. Simply opening up a dialogue with your customers via Facebook Messenger will allow you to proactively reach out to them to follow up, solicit reviews and feedback, and to run “ refer a ally ” promotions .
How to start building a chatbot:
Years ago, chatbot-building was quite the job. It used to require code cognition, which often involved working with a skilled developer. By using Facebook Messenger, for exemplar, you used to have to work directly with Facebook ’ s developer console to build a chatbot. however, over the years as chatbot functionality has become more wide used and available, building them has become importantly easier .
There are dozens of chatbot-building solutions out there, with three of the most popular for Facebook Messenger chatbots being Chatfuel, ManyChat, and Dialogflow ( once called API.ai ). Each of these solutions provides point-and-click, no-coding-necessary options for creating an interactional chatbot on the Facebook Messenger chopine .
The big difference between ManyChat, Chatfuel, and Dialogflow:
- Chatfuel is super easy to get rolling with and does have a fairly robust feature set. I recommend it for beginners and small businesses who need an MVP (minimum viable product) they can try out quickly. For the DIY guide below, we will be using Chatfuel.
- ManyChat is also easy to use, and has come a long way in terms of robust features, usability, and integrations. After reviewing a number of customer testimonials, and experiencing ManyChat first hand, ManyChat and Facebook work closely together to ensure that product features, functionalities, and improvements are made regularly to provide users with the best possible experience.
- Dialogflow has also come a long way in terms of robust features and usability. Dialogflow used to come with a bit of a learning curve, however, today it is simple, easy to use, and doesn’t require coding. Dialogflow also offers a friendly user interface and supportive supplemental documentation to help beginner users learn and be successful with the platform. I recommend it for organizations that have more resources and are looking for a more powerful chatbot that can interface with their e-commerce solution or other enterprise-level tools.
How much do these tools price ? All three tools are available for free, up to a certain terminus ad quem. For model, Chatfuel claims, that if you expect to see at least 500 users or more, then the paid Pro plan is recommended. Although ManyChat besides offers a free translation, it is reasonably limit. ManyChat ’ second free adaptation is recommended for businesses or marketers that are newly to construction and using chatbots. Dialogflow offers a “ Standard Edition ” for exempt. similar to Chatfuel, their paid plans are determined based on the number of requests. For model, pricing ranges between $ 0.002 and $ 0.004 per request for text .
All in all, depending on your business ’ needs, you may be able to get reasonably far with a barren plan. however, even the paid plans with these of these applications are reasonably priced .
How to build a Facebook chatbot:
now that you have a good reason of what a chatbot is, how it can be used in lead genesis, and the two leading platforms for building code-free chatbots, let ’ s jump into actually building one .
Creating a chatbot is such a simple process that it can be done by anyone with at least some technical prowess and about 10 minutes to spare.
Note: My “ build it in about 10 minutes ” claim is not promising a chatbot that will wow your potential customers. But, it will be enough time to build and launch a very basic chatbot. To build a feature-full chatbot with some immersive artificial intelligence that can carry on strong conversations, that will require some considerable time and effort on your part. This time international relations and security network ’ t spent actually building the tool, but you will be spending considerable clock time writing contentedness, forecasting what the most frequently asked questions are going to be, etc .
Step 1: Connect your Facebook account to the Chatfuel chatbot builder.
This step is superintendent easy. Make sure you ’ re logged into Facebook on the browser you ’ re going to connect to Chatfuel in. then merely click the “ grow started for rid ” button on the Chatfuel home page. It will bring up a Facebook connection foliate that allows you to give permissions to Chatfuel to see your Facebook information .
You need to authorize it, and you ’ ll then be taken back into the Chatfuel chatbot builder, where you ’ ll select which Facebook page you want to connect to .
Step 2: Connect to your Facebook business page.
Because chatbots are tied to organizations and not to individuals, you need to have an constitution Facebook page that you use to tie your Chatbot to. If you don ’ metric ton already have a Facebook page for the commercial enterprise you ’ re going to do marketing for, you should create one. here ’ s a quick usher from Flickroom to help you get started building a Facebook business page .
alternatively, you can besides click the “ Create a Facebook page ” clitoris in the Chatfuel interface to set up your page at this step. however, setting up a Facebook page is very significant, and you need to make certain you do it the right way, so I recommend going into Facebook to do it and using the above-linked scout. then come rear to Chatfuel.
Read more: What is Facebook ID and how it is used ?
once you have a Facebook page, just select it and you ’ re on your manner .
Step 3: Walk through the in-app tutorial.
immediately that you ’ ve connected your page, you ’ ll be taken into the actual chatbot builder. Chatfuel has a fairly detailed tutorial you can follow, though it ’ s not american samoa effective as this steer .
It does give you a good overview of the chatbot components and how to get started with their exploiter interface. I do recommend you taking two or three minutes to click through their tutorial, as the background cognition will help you on your way .
Step 4: Create your welcome message and default answer.
After the brief tutorial, the following measure is to create your welcome message. The first interaction your chatbot visitors will have is with this message, so make it good .
It should be a quick sentence that introduces the chatbot and then asks them, “ How can I help ? ”
Make indisputable to besides create a nonpayment message — something that ’ s shown in case the drug user types in a message which you don ’ t have AI detection set up for. It should say something along the lines of, “ I ’ m not sure what you ’ ra asking. possibly some of the options below can help you. ” Be sure to link your nonpayment message to your navigation items ( discussed in the future dance step ) .
From this target, you have two options :
- You can have a navigation-type driven conversation (like a phone menu system)
- You can have artificial intelligence set up to guide the conversation
The latter is wholly potential with Chatfuel but requires considerable contented development on your separate. We ’ ll show you how you can set up AI conversations, but in the DIY guide we provide here, we will focus on getting an MVP adaptation of a chatbot launched using navigation buttons and prompts .
Be honest with your audience.
I ’ ve always been a advocate, in bot build, of having your bot admit upfront that it actually is a bot. Most chatbot builders have followed the same road map. Up until recently, the rationality for having your bot accommodate that it was a bot was because our consumers expect ( and should be given ) transparent interactions with our companies. It precisely seemed like the right thing to do .
recently though, it has become a law in California that your bot admits its genuine identity upfront… and assuming you ’ re not going to somehow block your bot from working in California, you ’ ll want to comply .
In this step, you will build your conversation seafaring, i.e., the means for an person to work with your chatbot. In the model chatbot we ’ re build up, we are trying to help our consultation discover answers to questions they might have about booking a Brian Head, Utah, ski condominium .
There are dozens of questions a chatbot user might ask, but for the sake of launching this chatbot in 10 minutes, here are just a few questions we ’ ll platform the chatbot to answer :
- Where is the ski condo?
- Do I have to drive from the condo to the resort?
- What are check-in and check-out hours?
- How many people does the condo sleep
To set up the actual seafaring, you should build a new “ block ” for each of these questions. It ’ s truly easy ; just click “ add block, ” and then type in a title for the block. Don ’ thymine worry about putting content in yet. Just create the blocks and title them .
Go back to your main welcome message, and click the “ add release ” choice on the message pulley. type in the push button name — what you want the drug user to see — in the first field. then, in the next section, blue-ribbon “ forget, ” and then you can select the blockage you ’ d like it to take the user to .
There are two early options you can link to :
- URL. Put in any URL you would like, and it will take the chatbot user outside of Facebook Messenger to that page. This can be good if you have an external booking or reservation system you would like to direct the visitor to when they ask a question about how to make a reservation.
- Phone call. Enter a phone number, and the user clicking that button will launch the phone’s dialer and pre-populate a phone number.
For this exemplar, we ’ ll simply blue-ribbon block, and connection to one of the blocks we ’ ve already set up .
Note: A chatbot works well when it ’ mho colloquial. sol don ’ t have your chatbot show users with a long list of options. You want to have just a few top questions, and then have the rest of the logic built into the AI. Chatfuel forces this best practice by only allowing you to have three “ buttons ” on any given engine block. ManyChat and most early bot builders follow this lapp restriction — giving you only three buttons per block. For this exercise, we ’ re putting in just the exceed three most frequently asked questions, and then will build in the AI for other questions .
Step 7: Put in your chatbot dialog.
now you can create the content that ’ s displayed when person asks a specific question. Click on the block on the leave, and it will bring up the empty block. here, select a barricade type from the following options :
- Text card. This is Chatfuel’s most simple block type. You simply put text into this block. For simple answers, this is a great option.
- Typing. This simulates an actual human typing in the response. If you’ve used Facebook Messenger to chat with another human you’ve likely seen the little three dots at the bottom left of the window as someone is composing a message to you. You can recreate this effect in your bot, with this “typing” option. Even though it is important to disclose to your users that your bot is indeed a bot, you may still want to use this typing delay to make the conversation seem more realistic.
- Quick reply. If you build this option into a block, instead of taking them to a new card for an answer, it simply shows a reply. In this way, it behaves more like a chat thread you would be having with a real person.
- Image. This is another simple block type. With the image block, you upload an image and when triggered in conversation, it simply shows that image.
- Gallery. This is your best bet if you want to add a few pictures to an answer. In this example, if someone asks, “Can I see some pictures?” we’re assuming they want to see pictures of the ski condo. We would use this gallery and put in a few pictures, a heading that describes what the picture is, and then a subtitle or description. You can also add a URL for each image. You can get really creative with these and use them similar to Facebook’s Carousel Format ads.
- Go to Block. Selecting this option allows you to send your chatbot user on to another specific block, or small component of a conversational dialog.
- To Sequence. Similar to the “go to block” functionality, this allows you to redirect a user to a completely new conversational sequence. A sequence usually contains many blocks.
- +. This “+” sign takes you to a menu of numerous plugins that enable you to integrate your chatbot with other third-party apps or leverage more powerful options inside of Chatfuel. This is one area where Dialogflow is more powerful; Dialogflow has a lot more integration options than with Chatfuel. That said, Chatfuel does have some excellent integrations and will fulfill most chatbot builders’ needs. For example, in the case of a ski condo, you could integrate your chatbot with IFTTT so that when someone asks, “How much snow is there at Brian Head?” the chatbot will talk to IFTTT, which will, in turn, contact your Instagram feed and pull in the latest image you have tagged with #brianheadsnowconditions and the chatbot will then display that image. Sweet, huh!?
Go ahead and use a simple text wag to create an answer for each question/answer segment you want the chatbot to support .
Step 8: Create your artificial intelligence.
After you ’ ve built out all your capacity blocks, go ahead and click on the “ Set up AI ” radio link in the left-side navigation. here you get to brainstorm all the questions that might be asked of your chatbot and set up answers. The answers can either be fresh text you enter in this degree, or you can direct them to one of the blocks of content you ’ ve previously set up .
There are two components to this step :
- Phrases to watch for. This is where you put in the different words or phrases you want the chatbot to watch for. For example, in the above example, if a user types in a question or phrase with “directions” in it, the chatbot can return actual directions.
- Content to display. After the chatbot detects a word or phrase in the conversation, it will return the content you’ve specified. There is a little drop-down where you can select “text” or “block.” If you select text, it will allow you to enter a new text response. If you select block, you can choose the block you want to display and the chatbot will show that content instead.
Step 9: Launch the chatbot
Chatfuel excels at launching your chatbot. In fact, it is already ready to go — as you build your chatbot, Chatfuel is saving and making all your changes live, immediately .
This ’ randomness nice because there ’ randomness nothing you need to do to launch your chatbot, other than getting the link and putting it on your web site, Facebook foliate, or in your on-line ads .
All you have to do is click on the “ Promote ” page in the left-hand navigation menu, and then copy the URL at the exceed of the foliate .
share that URL liberally !
What other bot-building tools are there?
just a year ago, I could count the bot-building tools on two hands and two feet. As the selling potential for bots has proliferated, so besides has the number of bot-building tools .
Below are a few bot-builders I consider to be the leaders in the space, listed in order from easiest to most complex :
This bot-builder, as I’ve outlined in the rest of this article, is what I consider to be one of the easiest bot-builders around. That said, Chatfuel still has some robust functionality and would be a good fit for most use cases. It even has a built-in native payment processing feature. This allows users to make purchases directly from your bot.
This is another of my favorite chatbot builders. As I indicated in the section above about lead generation examples, the real estate chatbot that I’ve built was on the ManyChat platform, and was a beauty to build. ManyChat has a very visual builder, called a workflow builder, that makes creating chatbots a breeze. Here is an example of ManyChat’s workflow builder, being used for post-Shopify order communication:
Source : ManyChat
- Flow XO
Flow XO began life as an integration platform between chatbots and other tools. It was like the Zapier of chatbots. However, they quickly realized that if they built a chatbot building platform they could gather even greater market share, and so they did. If you need heavy integrations with other third-party tools (Salesforce, Flickroom, Google Sheets… practically anything) then I recommend Flow XO. It isn’t nearly as graceful to use as ManyChat or Chatfuel, though.
Originally called API.ai, Dialogflow is a powerful bot-builder maintained by Google. With Dialogflow you have the most functionality of any bot-builders out there, but leveraging the advanced functionality often requires the help of a developer. With Flow XO, ManyChat, and Chatfuel you can build your own bot with no programming expertise.
- Bot Framework
Microsoft has some of the most powerful natural language processing available and allows chatbot builders to leverage their system through the Bot Framework. So, if you’re looking to have a human-sounding bot, this chatbot-builder platform may be right for you. Something to keep in mind, though: You’ll need a true developer (or a dozen) to build a bot on the Bot Framework.
Bonus chatbot niches
I ’ ve started to see newly chatbot builders enter the industry that have niche offerings. rather of being able to build full-feature bots, they are providing a chopine to do a smaller niche action, and do it exceptionally well .
MobileMonkey specifically fills a niche need of getting live-chat experiences on to websites, which remember previous conversations to build upon those for future interactions. MobileMonkey makes on-site conversations possible for those construction Facebook Messenger bots. They besides boast the ability to remember conversations, between conversations, in order to improve the continuity of drug user feel. They besides boast the ability to remember conversations, between conversations, in order to improve the continuity of user feel .
Pypestream is a colloquial AI chatbot designed to scale. It is designed in such a way to help customer-centric businesses and enterprises move into the digital age easily ampere good as provide ongoing stellar customer experiences. One of the primary reasons why I added Pypestream to this article is it is designed to handle any drug user volume without any embarrassing chatbots mistakes or inefficiencies, or poor customer satisfaction scores. Pypestream is an interest newcomer that has already won some big clients like Chase, Sling television, and Royal Caribbean.
Read more: How to Embed a Google Form: Flickroom
Build a chatbot to build your business
In compendious, building a chatbot international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate deoxyadenosine monophosphate complex as it might seem. By leveraging the right chatbot tools, you can not lone streamline your customer service and subscribe operations, but you can besides provide your customers with a firm, efficient, and valuable know .
Chatbots are here to stay, so get down build yours today .