Facebook Messenger currently has more than 1.3 billion monthly active users.
Not only that, but 2 billion messages are sent back and forth between end users and businesses every month.
This is a huge opportunity to move consumers through the sales funnel and to boost your sales.
Now that Facebook Messenger has introduced the ability to purchase products directly through the app, the opportunity is even larger than before.
Unfortunately, many businesses seem to be struggling with successfully tapping into this huge market.
47% of customers surveys say that they didn’t have a positive live chat experience in the last month.
Not only that, but 56% of consumers can’t recall any exceptional live chat experience.
This means Facebook Messenger is a great opportunity to set your brand and your company apart in the eyes of the consumer, if you can do it well.
I’m going to show you how to wow your customers with Facebook Messenger.
I’ll help you figure out how to do this so well it won’t just improve your customer experience, it will also boost your sales.
First, let’s look at the main functionality of Facebook Messenger and why you should be adopting it as part of your business strategy.
Facebook Messenger is no longer just a messaging app
Facebook Messenger originally began in 2011 as a messaging app for Facebook users.
Messenger has since grown into so much more.
Now consumers can watch videos, play games, connect with companies, make payments, send money, and more, all without ever leaving the Messenger app.
64% of Facebook users are on Messenger.
Not only that, but 50% of American teens use Messenger every day.
There is a large and growing target market sitting here for businesses to immediately access.
Businesses are clearly recognizing the potential as there are already 60 million of them signed up on Messenger.
You might see that number and assume it means the market is saturated.
Unfortunately, it seems like most businesses are struggling to provide the services and options that consumers expect.
A survey conducted by Kayoko found that while consumers love real-time support, they hate the typical live chat experience.
There is a noticeable lack of faith in businesses ability to handle live chat well.
This is important to remedy. Live chat isn’t just for customer support, it also impacts sales.
Live chat isn’t the only way to use Facebook Messenger to sell.
The chatbots can be used different ways to boost sales and build customer loyalty.
Not only that, Chatbots could save insurance, financial services, sales, and customer service departments $174 billion.
Combined with the Buy Now feature, Facebook Messenger is one of the top free Shopify apps to boost e-commerce sales.
First, I’ll walk you through how to set up a chatbot and the Buy Now feature of Facebook Messenger.
Then I’ll show you some of the best ways you can use Messenger to sell more products.
How to build your chatbot
The first step to using Facebook Messenger is to set up your chatbot.
While you’re setting it up, keep the following in mind:
- Use Simple, Clear Language and Instructions – Avoid technical jargon, complicated instructions, and overly complex responses.
- Use Guided Responses – Use prompts with response options. Open-ended questions can be difficult to properly program. It creates too many potential consumer responses to try to plan for.
- Don’t Be Pushy – Users can also easily block your bot if it’s annoying them. Slowly introduce promotions or selling opportunities. Monitor customers’ reaction to make sure you’re not annoying your audience.
- Have a Plan – Who are you’re building this bot for? Know who your audience is and what problem you’re trying to solve for them. Build a chatbot to solve those problems.
- Offer a Way to Speak with a Real Person – Make sure you don’t leave your customer frustrated with an unresolved issue. Offer a preset option like “Contact Support” in case their questions remain unanswered.
- Optimize and Update Your Bot – Continue testing and improving. Watch what your customers struggle with and how they respond to new ideas.
There are many services out there that will help you set up Facebook Messenger Chatbots, such as Mobile Monkey.
For a simple do-it-yourself guide, Social Media Examiner has a great post.
Start by selecting a single goal for your bot such as handling order confirmations.
Refine it based on user feedback.
Then slowly add additional features that will start driving new sales.
If you don’t feel comfortable coding bots from scratch, you can hire a developer to build them for you.
Link Messenger to your e-commerce store
Once you have a Messenger bot, you need to sync it to your website.
After all, if Messenger isn’t linked to your site, it can’t reflect product updates, price changes and other information you need it to have.
There are three ways you can integrate the use of Messenger with your e-commerce website:
- Add the Messenger sales channel to your store site.
- Add Facebook Live Chat to your e-commerce store
- Add the Buy Now button to your Messenger bot.
The Messenger Sales Channel
The Messenger Sales Channel allows customers to view your product catalogs within the Messenger app.
When they find something they want to buy, it will take them to your e-commerce checkout page.
You can also use the Messenger sales channel to respond to customers’ questions and provide automated notifications about their orders.
It’s easy for customers to contact you. They can either click Message Us from your online store or click Message on your business’s Facebook page.
Shopify walks you through a few simple steps to add the Messenger channel if your e-commerce site is through them:
Facebook Live Chat
The Facebook Live Chat Shopify app allows you to provide chat on your Shopify website, whether they’re on mobile or not.
You can install it on your site by clicking the “Get” button and following the links.
Set up options include the following:
- Display on Certain Pages Only
- Time on Site
- Scroll Down Page
- Minimum Screen Size
- Mobile Friendly (for some tools)
- Exit Intent (for some tools)
The Buy Now button
Unlike the sales channel, which brings customers out of Messenger to your site checkout, the “Buy Now” button allows for purchases without ever leaving the app.
All a customer will have to do is tap the button and go through a simple checkout process within the app.
Customers contact, shipping, and payment info will be pulled automatically from their Messenger profile if they’ve set it up.
To complete the purchase, they can tap “pay.” They will then receive an order confirmation, including the option to see a receipt.
You will receive payments from these purchases through a PayPal or Stripe account.
Use targeted chatbots to boost conversions and sales
Now you’ve set up a basic chatbot, and you’ve synced Messenger to your e-commerce site.
The next step is to start building in the more advanced chatbot options to drive more traffic, conversions, and sales.
Provide customers with entertainment.
Consider designing your chatbot for entertainment, assuming it fits with your brand.
You can send fun facts, games, and entertaining content.
The Trivia Blast chatbot is a good example of this.
The chatbot will send regular messages with game suggestions and calls to action to play them.
Users can sort the trivia games by topic, and some games offer the option to “challenge a friend,” inviting more users to sign up.
Consider these points when building a chatbot for entertainment:
- Always ask users to opt into receiving new content.
- Make sure all of your content is mobile-friendly.
- Use lots of videos and images to keep your messages engaging.
Offer customers free stuff.
Everyone loves free stuff when there is no commitment required.
They get something without any effort.
According to Dan Ariely from Duke, the word free “gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is.”
You can use this “free effect” with your chatbots to generate leads.
Here’s a chatbot that offers tips for de-stressing.
Why offer something free?
It helps build a meaningful relationship and engagement with your customers.
Your willingness to give away something for free before a customer buys anything builds trust.
This will help increase your conversion rate.
Build engagement with empathy.
Empathy is a powerful tactic in your marketing arsenal.
Empathy is showing another person you understand how they feel and what they’re going through.
When people believe you understand them, they are more likely to buy from you.
Empathy from a chatbot is more difficult than with human interaction, but it’s still possible.
Build your bot to mimic empathetic questions and responses. Make the language emotional and understanding.
Check out this chatbot from Sebastian Kull.
By asking, “What is your biggest business struggle right now?” the chatbot is trying to project empathy and concern.
Consider these ways of using empathy in chatbots:
- Offer free advice for a problem.
- Use language that empathizes.
- Give away exclusive, valuable content.
Empathy is great for building trust with prospects and generating leads.
Encourage sharing and referrals.
Not much in marketing is more powerful than word of mouth.
People trust their friends far more than they trust a salesperson or paid advertisement.
That’s why people click paid search results far less on Google than organic results.
It’s also why reviews and other social proof increase conversion rates.
People trust other people. And they trust their friends even more.
Companies with consistent referral programs experience a 69% faster close, 59% higher lifetime customer value, and 71% higher conversion rates.
How can you use word of mouth in your chatbot?
The easiest way is to ask for a referral after they’ve bought a product and are happy with it.
You can include a “share” button that allows people to share the chatbot with their friends.
If you target people with this when they’re most satisfied, you’ll gain new customers by leveraging your existing ones.
It’s a very effective marketing technique, with a high conversion rate.
Encourage lead nurturing through chatbots
Most people don’t just visit your website once and then buy.
The average person will visit your website and see your product multiple times before ever purchasing.
That’s why lead nurturing is so important.
Before AI, lead nurturing was done through automated email messages, email segmentation, and manual prospecting.
59% of Americans are willing to receive coupons or special offers through a chatbot.
People are increasingly more comfortable with receiving offers from chatbots. This means there is no need to fear that using them will make your business suffer.
In fact, chatbots seem to be outperforming apps.
The average retention with the bots after just one month of use was 40-60%. The apps? 20-40%.
Chatbots respond quickly, and they don’t forget to send a message.
They are the perfect, cost-effective option for nurturing leads.
Provide guided sales advice.
If you had the choice between searching a website solo or having a salesperson guide you, which would you choose?
I’m willing to bet that you’d prefer to browse on your own.
That’s what I’d choose.
Consumers like to be left alone to shop.
The great thing about chatbots is that consumers feel like they still have the comfort of shopping alone.
There is no anxiety of interacting with a “pushy salesperson” since everyone knows chatbots aren’t real people.
You can use your chatbot to interact with customers in a non-invasive, low-pressure way.
Here’s a great example of this:
Chatbots can ask customers questions and then only show products they’re interested in.
Make sure you build your chatbot to ask questions about price, type of product, and style.
Then, set it to only show users the items they’re actually interested in.
Provide gift buying support.
84% of consumers experience gift buying stress.
Luckily chatbots can help ease this stress
Chatbots can make gift recommendations.
GiftGuru does this in a way that’s fun.
During the holiday season, people are going to buy gifts.
You can make this easier for your customers and boost your sales with chatbots.
They are less expensive for your business and less anxiety-inducing for your customers.
Use chatbots for data mining.
Data is as valuable as gold.
Validated tests with meaningful data show us right from wrong in our campaign attempts.
A/B testing is more possible than ever before with the rise of artificial intelligence and chatbots.
Bots can have an enormous amount of conversations in a short period of time. Every time they do this, they are gathering new, relevant data.
Consider the shopping bot, Celebstyle, as an example.
It allows you to steal your favorite celebrity style.
Then it offers suggestions of clothes based on that celebrity.
Every time a consumer chooses a celebrity or buys clothing, it provides new data.
This can then feed into your analytics tools and reports to help you improve the targeting and layout of your ad campaigns.
Improve your customer support service.
Customer support has traditionally been a challenge for businesses.
Chatbots can make a significant difference here.
In the healthcare and banking industries, a bot answering questions saved an average of 4 minutes when compared to an in-person inquiry.
On top of that, more than 50% of customers expect businesses and their support center to be open around the clock.
This is a lot easier, and cheaper, to do with chatbots.
The hardest part of salesmanship is responding promptly and being available all the time.
Chatbots can do this better than humans.
The average company takes 10 hours to respond to a consumer’s message.
A bot can respond immediately.
Check out this conversation with a shopping bot named Magic.
The customer instantly gets what they want, when they want it, no matter what time it is.
This is a great way to boost sales in a world that is becoming increasingly busier.
Narrow down your target marketing.
Can you imagine if bots were able to learn about and send them customized messages that catered to their specific location in the sales funnel?
It’s already happening today with email segmentation.
Low-commitment prospects are sent low-pressure emails. High-commitment customers are upsold on the newest product.
MailChimp sees a 14% higher open rate and a 100% higher click-through rate with segmented campaigns.
If it works for email, it will work for bots too.
Segmentation will eventually become fully automated.
H&M’s bot already does this on a small scale.
The bot asks users which outfit is their favorite. Then it automatically creates a user profile for each person based on their answer.
This means the bot (and the business) is becoming better and better at showing outfits that will resonate with their target customer.
The robots are learning, and this helps your company better target ads and boost sales.
Help customers comparison shop.
Everyone loves to find a good deal.
How do you know when something is a good deal?
You need to be able to compare prices of identical and similar products.
In the past this may have meant opening several browser tabs or calling different companies.
Now, chatbots can do it all for you. This allows your ideal customers to easily comparison shop.
5Gifts4Her is a shopping bot that allows users to easily compare potential gifts across similar product and price ranges.
Chatbots can even be programmed to compare local prices based on the location of a user.
Thanks to this new technology, comparison shopping has never been easier.
You can use this technology to boost consumer trust and ultimately sales, assuming you’re competitively priced.
Share locations & tracking with customers.
Do you offer in-store pickup for your products?
If so, instantly sharing your location with a customer can save time and effort for both of you.
Location-sharing makes it easier for customers to find you and plan how to reach your shop.
If you ship directly to home, it can work the other way around as well.
Customers can instantly provide you with their address via Messenger instead of having to type it in.
These simple chatbots can tell your customers important information about their order after a purchase has been made.
They can send an order confirmation and shipping notification.
Shopify has several Messenger chatbots that can provide order updates. They typically start at only a few bucks per month.
When the order ships, the customer receives another notification.
Customers can also click “Track shipment.” This will take them directly to the shipping carrier’s website where they can see up-to-date information on the location of their package.
Your customer can also choose to click “View order,” or “Continue shopping.”
Either of these options directs them back to your website to encourage more shopping.
Use Messenger chatbots for abandoned cart recovery.
More than 60% of consumers abandon their shopping carts before completing the purchase.
In Finance and Non-profit that rate is as high as 83%!
That means 2 out of 5, or less, survive all the way through your checkout process.
Chatbots can help you with this.
Since you’ve already connected Facebook Messenger with your website, you can use it to automate an abandoned cart follow-up sequence.
Pura Vida Bracelets already does this well.
They didn’t stop with a simple reminder.
They also offered a 20% off discount in a great attempt to close the deal.
Adding a discount to your offer incentivizes people to finish their purchase.
The two main reasons people abandon their shopping cart is that the final price is too high.
Adding a discount to your abandoned cart follow-up leverages this and may capture consumers who abandoned due to the price.
Here’s another great example:
Why are chatbots such a great place to recapture cart abandoners?
People often have their email notifications turned off, but they rarely turn off their Messenger notifications.
This means you’re more likely to reach them immediately.
The faster you reach people who hesitate to buy, the higher the chance that they’ll finish their purchase.
Messenger apps are a huge marketing opportunity.
More consumers and businesses are adopting the use of mobile and messaging social apps every year.
To use Messenger to boost sales, you need to make sure customers enjoy interacting with your brand.
The last thing I want to do is push away consumers with poorly programmed chat bots.
That’s why it’s so important to use Messenger and chatbots right.
Start with setting up your bot for basic interactions. Then sync it with your e-commerce site and add the “Buy Now” functionality.
Once this is done, start programming your Messenger chatbots for interactions that will increase your sales.
These include offering entertainment, free stuff, advice, and support through Messenger bots.
Additional options are lead nurturing and engagement interactions.
I recommend you use Messenger to test your bot programs as well as your other ads, to data mine, improve targeting and boost your sales.
Program these interaction sequences in with simple language, guided responses, and the ability to speak to a real human whenever needed.
This will have you outshining the competition and increasing your sales in no time.
How do you use Facebook Messenger to sell?
About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.