So you have succumbed to the allure of conversational marketing. Good for you! There is hardly a more natural way to provide a personalized experience on the web 24/7. Though, before you dive into crafting your first conversational bot, let me share a checklist on how to build a chatbot conversation that converts!
Naturally, in order to market, you need to know your audience. You might be wanting to address your entire customer base or, perhaps, you are designing a chatbot conversation for a customer group exhibiting certain kind of behavior. Depending on your needs you might need to create more than one chatbot to engage all types of people equally.
Defining the chatbot’s audience will allow you to avoid the most common chatbot mistakes. It will help you to set the overall tone and structure of the conversation you want to unfold. Especially so, if your reasons for using a chatbot is lead generation.
This is no groundbreaking news, yet it’s a step that will save you a lot of time in the long run. Before you start dragging, dropping and connecting, determine the goal of the conversation.
What do you want to achieve?
What problem are you trying to solve?
While there is an endless array of conversational chatbots you can create, they generally fall under one of the two models below:
- 👩🏫 Information bot: designed to provide the audience with a more user-friendly way of getting information.
- 👨🏻🔧 Utility bot: designed fulfill an action or solve a problem such as completing signup or filing a complaint.
So, do you want people to register for an event; apply for a job; sign up for service; learn more about you or complete a bot survey?
Your goal will fundamentally affect the flow of the conversation and chatbot design. If you fail to clarify your intention at the beginning, you can tangle yourself in a web of constant fixes and replacements 😱.
If one of your objectives is to collect information, make a list of the data essential to completing your goal.
It can be:
- factual information (name, age, address, email, position, company…)
- descriptive information in the form of answers to more complex questions (multiple choice or open-ended).
It might not seem so at a first glance, but creating a humanized chatbot persona is a crucial step in creating a believable conversational experience. Building bots that engage wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
While you should never try to conceal the fact your customers/users are speaking to a bot, creating a persona with human characteristics will help you create an enjoyable interactive experience with a personal touch. Think of the chatbot person as an extension of your brand.
So, before you start to make your own chatbot attribute it some of these elements:
- form (human, animal, fantastic creature, superhero, machine… )
- key characteristics (good and bad)
- maybe a perk to spice things up?
Another helpful task would be to put together a tone-of-voice guide, the kind you might already have for your brand. But chatbot will talk differently than a company, so adjust it. What are the words and expressions this character would use? What are the words and phrases this persona would never ever say? For instance, Indiana Jones speaks and reacts very differently from Merlin, the concerned father from Finding Nemo.
It might seem silly but this simple exercise will help you to choose the language and phrases that seem more personal and ultimately more fun. This is the time to unleash your creativity and create a conversational interface (the future of all chatbots).
To whom would your target audience like to chat?
Ok. You have your audience, your goal, the list of data you need to “extract” and a chatbot persona… let’s chat then!
Conversational marketing is all about presenting the information as part of a flowing conversation. Hence, you can’t just pop out of nowhere demanding people to share their personal information.
Imagine going to a sports equipment store. Now imagine somebody asking to see your ID before they even say Hello or invite you in. Rude and unacceptable, no? So, in essence, don’t do and ask anything that you wouldn’t do or ask interacting with the customer face to face.
Start the conversation with Hello👋 and a short introduction! It’s also a great opportunity to ask for a person’s name!
Explain to your visitors what you can and cannot do. E.g. they can ask you product information but can’t submit complaints.
In other words, make sure customer expectations are in line with the capability of your bot.
Have you ever received one of those rambling, dissertation-like messages from one of your friends on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger 📝🙄? How excited were you about reading it?
How to build a chatbot that converts? Don’t make the same mistake. Keep your information blurbs short and sweet. If you have more to say, divide it into 2-3 shorter messages.
If people wanted to read long strips of information, they would read your blog or product descriptions.
They are talking to your bot because they want the information to be quick and straightforward. So, when you do split the information into multiple messages, don’t send more than three in a row!
Avoid monologuing at all costs!
Engage and reward customers using GIFs, Emoji and/or video.
Once upon a time GIFs and emoji didn’t belong into conversational business dictionary but that has changed. Significantly!
When it comes to online chat, GIFs and Emoji serve as a handy substitute to facial expressions, hand gestures and other character reactions. A subtle use of these graphic elements will make the chat seem more natural as well as more entertaining.
A video, on the other hand, is a great way to share a big chunk of information without bombarding your customers with essay-worthy messages.
Always ask straightforward questions with only have one possible answer (especially if you are using a text box). It will make keeping control over the chatbot conversation much easier.
You might think “Duh! Everyone knows that!”
However, you would be surprised how easy it is to slip off track when making a chatbot. For instance, just trying to be extra polite can cause you little trouble:
Bot: Would you mind typing your email?
User: Yes, of course! | Sure… It’s …. | No, I don’t mind… | email@example.com
As you can see, a simple question can result in a lot of clutter as only one of these would be recognized as a correct answer.
So, make sure your questions ask for a clear answer.
Bot: What’s your email?
Bot: Please type your email into the field below👇
On some occasions (e.g. asking for an opinion), giving people the freedom to type their answer freely is essential.
However, most of the time, this can be avoided by introducing an interactive choice. This way, the information you are collecting can stay straightforward & structured.
Also, using an interactive choice to keep the conversational flow going is faster and more user-friendly (especially when chatting on a mobile). Good chatbots platforms will offer a variety of response options to keep you from having to really on textboxes (we most certainly do that 💁♀️ – just saying 😉).
It’s absolutely natural for people to make typos. So, give them a chance to check and correct the information they submit. It’s a small extra step that can pay off BIG time.
Landbot chatbot builder is loaded with incredible features designed to make your life easier. That will be true of any decent bot platform on the market.
So, simply put, use them!
For instance, if you want the potential clients to call you, don’t just use Landbot to give them your phone number. They would have looked up the number directly had that been their intention.
Don’t take me wrong, there is nothing wrong with your goal being connecting customers with on-call support representatives. But be smart about it!
To throw in a simple example, you can use the conversational bot as “filter” to narrow down the customer’s query. Once you find out what the customer wants, you can send this information into a spreadsheet, calendar, Slack or any other web/mobile app to either schedule a meeting, arrange a phone call or follow the lead by email. The possibilities are endless!
Connect your Landbot with apps, web apps, spreadsheets, email or any other tool you are using and ensure you follow up your leads! Whether you have a free, starter or professional plan, there are great features to choose from!
Don’t be scared to create more complex chats.
Yes, they will take a bit longer to create but the results are worth it. Lanbot interface is friendly enough to make the process enjoyable.
In the end, the longer your customer engages, the more information they are able to obtain, the higher their satisfaction.
15. Read the Dialogue Aloud
Before you release it out into the world, read your dialogue aloud. Don’t worry about feeling silly. This is the best way to ensure that all questions, reactions, and responses feel natural in a dialogue rather than as excerpts from articles and company whitepapers.
If you don’t feel comfortable saying it, it probably isn’t right.
Before you go live, don’t forget to add the secret ingredient of every worthy “How to build a Chatbot” tutorial: Test your chat before, on desktop as well as mobile!
- Are you using correct spelling?
- Does the flow feel natural?
- Are there any dead ends?
- Does the written text feel overwhelming at any point?
Your bot is alive and kicking!
But the work doesn’t stop here. Landbot offers great analytics that not only allows you to see how many people engage with your conversational chatbot but also lets you follow the customer journey. These days, analyzing data is the key to success whether you are after collecting leads or providing great customer service.
You can see which conversation options are doing the best; which are being ignored and which cause trouble.
To create a chatbot that converts you need to analyze your data and improve your bot as you go.
Chatbot development is no longer about struggling through the marshes of artificial intelligence (still severely underdeveloped) and untangling the dysfunctional tangle of natural language processing and machine learning.
The magic of frictionless user experience is attainable. People like you can design conversations and create a chatbot for a website in minutes.
Welcome to the future!
Ready to create your first conversational user interface?
If yes, check out our guide on how to create a functional and fully-integrated chatbot in less than 25 minutes!
If not quite, dive deeper into chatbot conversation creation with the Ultimate Guide to Conversational Design.