Ajinkya Goyal

Messenger Bots – What’s All The rage?

The new marketing tool

A simple search on Medium for the string Messenger bots brings up hundreds of results. This one by Sami Viitamäki is particularly eye catching:

Six ways Messenger Bots deliver value

From the title itself, Sami asserts the value of Messenger Bots. In fact, he gives readers six different ways they can be helpful (I won’t go into details here as that would be a TL;DR for his article, causing him to lose readers).

There are loads more like this scattered across the vast realms of both Medium and the wider web, and Bot Academy is being promoted like crazy on Facebook. Even Pocket picks had several different articles on Messenger bots. Naturally, this called out to me. What was this new trend, this new fad, all about? Why was it suddenly gaining so much popularity when it was never even mentioned before? I needed answers.

But what is a bot?

A bot is a new, personalized and immersive experience for users to interact with your Facebook page, landing page (on your own blog too), or Facebook and Instagram ads. Placing a bot on any of the aforementioned places would allow your (potential) followers to ‘chat with you’ to find out more about what you can offer, rather than reading some long, lengthy, and likely boring, write up. You can even set up your bot to automatically send a message to users when they comment on one of your posts, turning mere visitors to long-lasting followers.

A bot would allow you to generate leads even while you sleep! Once it’s set up, it works on autopilot. This has to be one of the best passive income methods on the market.

But simply reading about it was not enough for me. So I set out to make my own.

The first step was to find out how. A quick five minuet search gave me two ways to go about making my bot. I could either use Chatfuel, or ManyChat. Playing around with them, I decided to discard ManyChat. It lacked many key functionalities (although their representatives have said they’re working on further integrations) that I deemed essential. But this post is not an anti-ManyChat rant. Onto how I made my own bot.

Check it out here!

First I set up a dummy page (which may be turned into a proper, active page if it gets enough likes) for Airborne Orange and linked it to this bot. Chat bots cannot be integrated with a personal account, and so this was essential.

Then I built the bot. I won’t go into details as this isn’t a tutorial, but it was pretty straight forward. The on screen tutorial helped too. The bot asks an opening question to readers and engages with them for a while. Eventually, it asks for permission to send them Messenger broadcasts and then for their email too.

But that email isn’t very useful unless it’s integrated with the email client of your choice (MailChimp for me). None of the bot builders allow this directly. But I didn’t give up there. Chatfuel allows you to send an email to a desired email address containing the user’s input. I decided to leverage that.

Next came Zapier. I set it up to scan my inbox every five seconds for an email with the subject line ‘Your bot collected an email address’ (this subject line was predetermined in Chatfuel itself). Once it finds an email matching that criteria, it checks the message body. The body contains nothing but the collected email address. My Zapier automation then adds this email to the MailChimp list for Airborne Orange.

Voila! New subscriber obtained :)

If you want a look at the bot I made, go right ahead! Should you want the Zapier sequence, subscribe below and send me an email with the subject line ‘Messenger Bots Bonus’. If you’re already subscribed, you’ll get it in this week’s newsletter :)

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