Once you’ve designed, tested and launched your new chatbot, the only thing left to do is publicise it. Increasing chatbot usage is actually one of the biggest challenges organisations face when implementing this new technology. While we have the ability to create increasingly intelligent chatbots, ensuring users are aware of their existence and convincing them to use them requires a great deal of marketing prowess. Here, we provide you with 15 immediately actionable tips that will increase interactions with your chatbot and improve public awareness of the service it provides.
1. Create a designated landing page for your bot
Though many users will find your bot by visiting your social media pages or website and clicking through, it’s still a good idea to establish a dedicated landing page for your bot. This will allow users to find it through search engines and also gives you the opportunity to implement tried and tested SEO methods to ensure it’s easily discoverable. Promoting a chatbot usually involves making your bot as accessible and visible as possible, so search engines are a top priority when it comes to publicising your new service.
2. Employ Facebook Messenger links and codes
As an organisation hoping to publicise your new chatbot, it’s important that you ensure there are multiple routes by which users can reach it. With a Facebook Messenger bot, this is fairly easy to do. Facebook Messenger links can be posted on both your Facebook page and website, as well as other social media platforms, and when clicked will open Messenger and provide quick and easy access to the chatbot. Similarly, Facebook Messenger codes can be placed in a variety of locations to provide immediate access. These codes are similar to QR codes in that they’re scanned by the user using a mobile device.
3. Use Facebook Messenger plugins
There are two main Facebook Messenger plugins that are relevant to organisations looking to improve chatbot visibility. These are integrated into an organisation’s own website. They are;
- Message Us plugin – takes the user to the Facebook Messenger webpage or mobile app. The bot is not notified until the user sends a message and none of the user’s details are forwarded to the bot.
- Send to Messenger plugin – takes the user to Facebook Messenger webpage or mobile app and gives them the opportunity to request information about the organisation. To receive this information they have to confirm their account, after which the user’s information is forwarded to the bot and the data can be used for analytical purposes.
Both of these plugins can be found on the Facebook website.
4. Advertise on all social media channels
When it comes to advertising a chatbot, it’s important to tread a fine line between advertising your product and bombarding the user with information. While it is often a good idea to use some form of sent communications to raise awareness, incorporating chatbot information into other advertising can be just as effective. For instance, it’s typically a good idea to switch your social media cover photos to images that publicise your chatbot. This is a more subliminal, less intrusive form of advertising that still works wonders.
Begin to take a look at CAO
Chat Application Optimisation is the chatbot and chat app equivalent of SEO. Though it’s still very much in its infancy and not much is understood about the algorithms behind it, CAO is likely to play an important role in future chatbot advertising. CAO determines where your chatbot will appear in the Messenger rankings when users search for particular words and phrases. Despite knowing little about the precise mechanics behind CAO, chatbot owners should still be;
- Ensuring relevant keywords are included in titles, sub-headers and descriptions.
- Encouraging users towards greater interaction with their social media pages.
- Adding the location of their business or organisation to their social media page in order to target those in the local area.
6. Utilise traffic on your Facebook page
If you’re using a Facebook Messenger bot, it’s relatively easy to redirect traffic from your Facebook page to the bot itself. Bot owners can setup the bot so that it sends a private message to anyone that comments on a post on your Facebook page. The message can also be tailored to meet certain specifications.
For instance, you can determine the content of the initial private message and dictate under what circumstances it is sent. This means that it can be dispatched to every user who comments on any post on your page, those users who comment on specified posts, or those users who use certain trigger words or phrases. This Comment-to-Messenger Facebook function can be integrated with bot technology through software such as WhatsHelp and ManyChat.
7. Use bot stores to list your bot
There are a number of popular online bot stores currently in operation. As a number of important channels using bots, such as Facebook, don’t have their own dedicated bot store, it may be necessary to use these bot stores as a way of publicly listing your chatbot. Some of the most well-known bot stores include;
- Bot Pages
- Bot Family
While these independent sites may not attract huge numbers of visitors outside of the relatively small bot community, they can be a great way to spark interest within the industry and to get the bot’s name out there.
8. Develop your chatbot’s story
One way of generating interest in a chatbot is through the telling of the bot’s story from the initial idea that kickstarted development, through to its current use. While many organisations do attempt to create an identity for their chatbot by giving it a name and something of a personality, this can also be achieved by recording the development process.
A dedicated blog – or individual blog posts – can utilise images, videos, technical information, and a development diary to generate further interest in the bot and promote its services. This content should be creative, engaging, and insightful, and will be distributed through social media channels and in industry publications for maximum effect. New content should be added on a regular basis to maintain interest and update followers on the chatbot’s latest developments.
9. Contact loyal users in your database
Most organisations tend to have a large database of contact information for previous users and repeat customers. This data can be extremely useful in targeting an audience you already know are interested in your product or services. It can be achieved in a number of ways;
- e-Mail – organisations can use their existing e-mail marketing campaigns to advertise their new chatbot services.
- SMS – those organisations with access to large numbers of phone numbers can promote the chatbot via SMS. A direct link to the chatbot service can be included in the message to allow recipients to try the service immediately.
- Postal promotion – for organisations who send out large amounts of information by post – like local governments – this can be an incredibly effective means of introducing your new chatbot service.
10.Target specific users by using the right channels
It’s a well-researched fact that particular demographics favour certain communication channels over others. For instance, compared to the general population, a higher proportion of university students have a Facebook profile and regularly use the social network. This makes it the ideal channel for local government’s student services chatbots.
Targeting certain types of user through channels you know they’re likely to use is a far more efficient way of encouraging chatbot use and ensuring your promotional materials are seen by the right audience. Understanding who your target audience are, what their habitual behaviours are, and how they prefer to access information or services, is key to greater chatbot uptake.
11.Account for inclusion and accessibility
On the flip side, it’s just as important to know who can’t access your services or chatbot technologies. Inclusion is a major issue for most organisations and those who offer services to a wide range of individuals need to carefully consider how they ensure they’re not excluding a particular type of user or specific section of society.
This is of particular importance to local government, who are trying to grapple with the implementation of new technologies without leaving those members of society who can’t access these technologies behind. Fortunately, chatbots are a technology that, once implemented, works to free up human labour for other tasks – one of which may be providing alternative ways to access services.
12. Paid social media ads
One of the key ways Facebook has increased its relevance to business-orientated organisations is through the introduction of Facebook Ads. This allows businesses and other organisations to target specific users with a tailored advert that appears on their news feed. It’s also possible to target ads at those users who have already visited your website. Known as Facebook retargeting, this handy tool can be integrated in the following way;
- Visit the Ads Manager service at Facebook.
- Receive the Facebook pixel – a unique piece of code that is integrated into your own’s website code so that you know when a visitor has visited your site after seeing a Facebook advert and that allows you to target Facebook ads at those visiting your site.
- Integrate the Facebook pixel into every page of your website’s code. If your not confident in doing this, a professional designer or the Facebook team can help.
13.Utilise the power of influencers
Increased social media use has resulted in the growth of powerful groups and individuals with large numbers of followers. These ‘influencers’ are able to reach a wide audience who are likely to carefully consider the advice or information provided to them and act upon it. Partnerships between businesses and influencers can be an extremely effective ways of bringing attention to particular products and services and could be used to advertise chatbots.
In the context of local government, the term ‘influencer’ can morph into something slightly different. Rather than referring to online personalities or celebrities (though it still could do), it may incorporate local community groups, other public service organisations, or local institutions. In many cases, the interests of local government and such organisations will overlap, creating an opportunity for a partnership that improves chatbot visibility and access to important government services.
14.Offer incentives for bot interaction
A popular means of encouraging participation with a new chatbot is offering incentives to those users that do so. This could take the form of a competition with prizes or discounts on certain products.
These same incentives can be offered to those individuals who share the chatbot on social media with friends and family. In some respects, this is just as important as encouraging your existing user base to interact with the chatbot. Publicising the existence of your chatbot to those individuals who may not already regularly use your services can attract new users who are intrigued by the technology and its capabilities.
15.Involve users in the final design stages
The idea that an individual’s perception of an item, product, or service is more favourable if they’ve had a hand in its creation is not new. Generally, people respond more emphatically to those things in which they’re involved. Chatbot owners can use this to their advantage by involving users in certain chatbot design decisions.
While it’s probably not a great idea to allow the general public to build the entire chatbot, allowing users to select a name for the chatbot, to design its interface, or to create an avatar to be used in conjunction with the chatbot may generate greater interest. This policy was pursued by Komfo, who created their first chatbot and requested naming suggestions from their social media following. The process not only resulted in an excellent name – Amigo – but also increased user’s awareness of the chatbot technology.
Broadly speaking, publicising a chatbot involves ensuring it’s accessible, encouraging users to interact with it, and targeting a specific audience that’s going to be both willing and able to do so. Though this may seem like a challenge, there are numerous tools at your disposal and platforms like Facebook are actively supporting those who want to utilise the new technology. With a carefully considered marketing strategy and an understanding of the technology available, organisations and businesses can drastically increase the number of users interacting with their chatbot. Applying the lessons gleaned from our 15 top tips is the perfect way to begin.
Have a question or want further information on marketing chatbots? Our expert team have been providing omnichannel customer contact solutions for over 25 years. Call us on 01344 706111 or drop us a line.