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Fashion Travel

How to Build a Chatbot from Pitch to Promotion

In April 2016, something happened at Facebook that would quickly result in a revolutionary paradigm shift on the horizon of online communication — from mobile to desktop, marketing to services, personal to corporate — everything, really.
Messenger opened its doors to developers with an invitation to create chatbots — something of which roughly 78% of online adults were unaware.
Within six months, developers had created about 30,000 active Messenger bots. Today, less than a year later, that number is up 233%, with 100,000 active bots on the platform.
But it’s not just a popular, funky thing to do. Businesses using chatbots are seeing results, like Sephora, which reportedly earns “an average spend of over $50 from clients who have booked an in-store service via its Messenger assistant,” according to VentureBeat.
In case you’re wondering what the heck a chatbot actually is, though, here’s the condensed definition: A bot is nothing more than a computer program that automates certain tasks, typically by chatting with a user through a conversational interface.
There’s a vast range of chatbots. They can be rule-based, or powered by artificial intelligence (AI), both of which will drastically change the process of developing one. And if you’re looking to formulate your own chatbot strategy — from building the bot from scratch to promoting it and getting customers to use it — we’ve developed a basic framework for just that.
Read on, and let’s start building.
How to Build a Chatbot from Pitch to Promotion

1) Decide your bot’s purpose.
Ultimately, the purpose of a bot is to provide a service people actually want to use — time and time again. No bot is meant to do everything, so when you set out to create your own, think of an existing problem that it can fix in a more efficient way.
While there are many types of chatbots, if you’re building one for the first time, you’ll likely want to choose from the following two options:

  • Informational bots
    As the name suggests, these bots provide users with a new format of information consumption. For example, breaking news bots send developing stories as the information becomes available. TechCrunch has a bot of that nature
  • Utility bots
    These bots are automated to complete tasks and answer questions. In other words, they solve a user’s problem or inquiry via a chat transaction. Customer service bots might immediately come to mind here, but a growing number of utility bots are being built for purposes like booking appointments or shopping online. One of our personal favorites is TacoBot: Taco Bell’s still-in-development bot that allows people to order food via Slack.

2) Decide what messaging app your bot will live on.
Earlier, we provided examples of bots that live on Messenger and Slack, respectively. And while those are two very popular options, there are many more available — for example, Kik and Viber.
Your chatbot’s “home” will largely depend on who’s using what. You’ll want to aim for the apps with an audience that matches the one you’re trying to reach. Slack, for example, tends to be more business-focused, so productivity bots are particularly helpful there.
Sephora is a great example. While the brand has bots on both Messenger and Kik, each one functions differently. The Messenger version is used for customer service, feedback, and booking makeovers.

3) Create your bot’s personality.
Remember when we mentioned the importance of matching your bot’s home with the audience you’re trying to reach? Well, we have a similar guiding principle for your bot’s personality: It should match your brand.
One of our favorite examples here is Pegg, a financial assistant designed for startups and small businesses — but speaking as someone who recently returned from vacation, it’s helpful for anyone trying to track their spending. And while finance isn’t something that’s usually associated with a fun, playful voice, Pegg’s bot, HelloPegg, flips that connotation on its head with a cute logo and friendly voice.

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Business Travel

The 5 Best Messaging Apps for Marketing in 2017

Remember only being able to send 1,000 texts each month?
My mom definitely remembers our phone bills when I doubled that amount every week in middle school.
Thankfully, companies created messaging apps to provide free and unlimited messaging, which was a refreshing solution for rigid text message limits and their lofty costs.
Click here to download a free, 5-part kit to help you grow your mobile audience.
But messaging apps refused to be just another form of text messaging. They kept innovating and evolved into apps for almost every digital interaction possible.
Now, within a single app, you can chat with your friends, communicate with brands, make calls, play games, consume content, buy products, and even call a cab.
These added functionalities make messaging apps sticky. They draw users to the app more often and keep them there for a longer time. Today, messaging apps have over 5 billion monthly active users worldwide.
Most messaging apps also let businesses market to their massive, engaged user bases. Marketers can now use chatbots to provide customer service, send content to users, sell products, and advertise.
Naturally, different countries and age groups prefer some apps to others. Read on to learn how you can tailor your messaging app marketing for five different global messaging apps.

5 Best Messaging Apps for Marketing in 2017

1) WhatsApp
Monthly active users:1.3 billion
Most Popular Regions: Latin America, Europe, The Middle East, Southeast Asia, India, Russia, and Africa
Age Group: 25-44

Marketing Features:
WhatsApp doesn’t sell ads, prohibits third-party bots, and limits its broadcast message feature and group chats to 256 people. How are marketers supposed to leverage the most popular messaging app in the world then?
Since WhatsApp isn’t conducive to large-scale content distribution, marketers must take advantage of its one-to-one messaging capabilities. And by interacting with WhatsApp users like a normal user would, marketers can execute hyper-targeted and personalized campaigns.
In 2014, Hellman’s Brazil created WhatsCook, a live recipe service that connected people to real chefs. This wasn’t a service that just recommended recipes, though. It created recipes with the ingredients users already had.
After signing up for the service on their website, users would send a picture of their refrigerator’s contents to WhatsCook. Then a chef would whip up a unique recipe using the person’s available ingredients and teach them how to cook it using pictures, videos, and other WhatsApp features.
Over 13,000 people people signed up for WhatsCook and each user spent an average of 65 minutes interacting with Hellman’s chefs. The service also received a 99.5% approval rating.
WhatsCook is a prime example of creative WhatsApp marketing. By attracting users with a helpful service, they engaged thousands of more people than they could by blasting content through a broadcast or group chat.
To start a service like WhatsCook, you just need users’ phone numbers or they can add your number to their contact list.
Fortunately, WhatsApp offers a click-to-chat link that you can embed in your website, email signature, or social profiles, allowing you to effectively promote your service.

2) Facebook Messenger
Monthly active users: 1.2 billion
Most Popular Regions: North America, Europe, Australia, The Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa
Age group: 16-44

Marketing Features:
Facebook messenger offers brands a stockpile of marketing features.
For instance, you can serve destination ads in people’s newsfeed to drive them to your messenger and spark a conversation, send sponsored messages to people who’ve messaged you in the past, integrate messenger bots like Chatfuel and ManyChat to interact with customers, and more.
At HubSpot, we use chatbots to automate Facebook conversations with people. Whenever someone messages our Facebook account, our chatbot will message back with a menu of options.
People can then search and subscribe to our content, check out our software, look at job openings, ask for customer support, and manage their Facebook messenger blog subscription.