Lately we’ve become obsessed with Messenger Bots.
Actually, our obsession got us so far that we decided to design and create , so you can run a giveaway entirely on Facebook Messenger.
As a result, we went “hunting” in order to learn as much as possible for the Messenger Marketing industry from its experts. In other words, we started interviewing people.
We’ve already given you our .
This time, we spoke with the Botman himself; Arri Bagah.
Arri consulted giants like Google, HubSpot, and Facebook to build harder/better/faster/stronger chatbot solutions.
ROAS Agency works with The Beard Club, Poo~Pourri, Transparent Labs, and many other notable brands.
He recently founded Facebook group for e-commerce marketers that want to learn or share, things about chatbot, voice and AR.
Here’s Arri’s take on things. Enjoy
Who Arri Bagah is at the moment & what he does.
I started like two and a half years ago.
I had a Facebook Ad Agency with one of my friends and we're running Facebook ads for small businesses. We tried to get them more leads and more clients, and after doing that for about six months we realized that small businesses don't have much money.
It was really hard to be able to work on a tight budget.
That’s why we decided to give a try to real estate for a bit, but it was kind of like the same issue with like small businesses.
That’s the reason we moved to eCommerce. Once we got into it, it was kind of hard because everything was new to us e.g. running Facebook ads.
I spent quite some money on ads with little to no ROI. I created my own e-commerce brand at that time just to test things out. It was a print on demand shop on Shopify, and I was using Facebook pages to drive traffic to it.
I wanted to buy a Facebook page, so I reached out to one and said:
“Hey. I would like to buy your page so I can use it to drive traffic”.
Around that time, there was a killing of a gorilla inside a zoo; Harambe, and it was going really viral. I asked one of the relevant pages and they declined to sell it, but two weeks later we agreed.
The page had 40K likes- which was worth at least $10K at the time, and I got it for 300 bucks.
It was kind of like sketchy to because the guy was from he was in India. I didn't have PayPal or anything, and he required a transfer via Western Union before giving me access.
I just took the risk and made the transfer, and he really gave me the page. So, I started driving traffic to my e-commerce store, and after like a week or so the store was making around like 2-3 hundred dollars per day for a couple weeks.
It was pretty good. Two to three hundred dollars per day in profit, for like two to three weeks and then it happened.
At that time I didn't know about Facebook Business Manager.
I was trying to sell the Facebook page and somebody reached out to me to buy it. They asked for admin access, which I thought it was a stupid move to make.
They insisted a lot and said they're going to buy the page for $8,000.
“I could use $8K right now”, I thought.
At that time (or even like so today), if you made somebody else admin of your page, they couldn’t remove you within the first six days. It's like a robot phase.
6 days were more than enough time to be able to like realize if they were going to pay me or not, and I could remove them at any time if they didn’t.
I gave access to the guy, but at that time I didn't realize that there was something called the Facebook Business Manager which, in case you're an admin of the page, you can claim its ownership.
Which he did. He just kicked me off, resulting in me losing all the traffic.
I had to figure out a way to just start driving traffic again, and that's when I started learning more about Facebook ads, and then I had my first success story.
It was crazy how it happened.
I started to get into Facebook ads because my website was dying, and I had to figure out a way to drive traffic. So I spent all the money that I made on Facebook ads, ended up working with one of my friends who is an influencer in the e-commerce now- he was like an influencer on the Instagram platform.
I met him on the panel that I was speaking at about Facebook marketing.
Not so many people knew much about Facebook marketing at that point, so if you knew just a little bit, it was enough to like teach other people.
So I met him there and he had an eCommerce brand somewhere.
We agreed to try something for his brand, and we took it from $0 like a $100K per month.
It was our first success story, and it happened by optimizing the website and by doing some email marketing.
But even after this initial success, it was kind of like hard for me to find clients.
So I decided to get a job.
But before I got a job, I found out about Bots- during the summer of 2017.
I didn't like them enough to dive deep to it, but thought it was a cool thing- mostly because I checked Domino’s bot. I started getting more serious about them around September of 2017.
I built the first bot and went to a conference here in LA and started showing it to people. They interacted with my bot and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
They actually loved using it and started asking if I can build one for them as well. The moment I came back from the conference I immediately built a bot for my agency at the time.
We used it for lead generation and it worked really well.
We're getting super high engagement rates:
90-95% open rate and click-through rates of 20-50%.
That’s when I realized that this could be a really powerful marketing channel.
The agency was going still very slow, so I decided to look more actively for a job. That's when I met Josh who was speaking at one of the events In Milwaukee.
I was in Chicago at that time and Milwaukee was like an hour and a half away.
So I was like:
“Ok, like I'm just gonna go there, meet them, and see if he has things that we could possibly work together on.“
I got to hang out with him all day, and he was telling me about how he wanted to hire somebody to run more ads.
So around November, I decided to work for Josh and we did something like a test period. After that, I moved from Chicago to LA and start working at BAMF.
It wasn't a position to build bots- I didn't even know that I had the skills to be able to go to bots yet because I didn't tell them about it.
So, this is how it happened:
I was building Manychat flows, which were kind of complex, and I posted it in my Facebook story. Nobody was really using the Facebook stories at that point.
So when I built a really cool Manychat flow, I liked to take a picture and post it in there. I thought it was cool.
And then that's how Josh noticed. He watched my stories, and one of their clients actually needed a bot built and then Josh was like: “oh, I think I saw like a flow on Arri’s story, he may be able to build it for us”.
And then I build the first couple bots for their clients, and the clients just really liked it. Everything worked well, and then I ended up like just doing bots for the clients.
And at one point I was managing 13 bots alone. All for e-commerce.
I just did like e-commerce bots for quite some time. And that's just how I gained a lot of experience and got a lot deeper into how you can leverage the messenger platform for e-commerce businesses.
And while I was doing all that, I was like speaking at events about messenger marketing because it's fairly new, and not a lot of people knew about it. Many are still trying to figure it out what messenger marketing is, especially in the e-commerce space.
So I was talking to conferences about messenger marketing, and my plan was to eventually just transition to my own agency. I wanted to find the thing that I could focus on.
I didn't know it was going to be bots yet, but working at BAMF enabled me to narrow down what's most valuable to e-commerce business; which helped me realize what I wanted to do next.
I decided to transition, after working there for half a year, to my own agency and then we started out with working with e-commerce brands and us kind of got bigger clients a lot faster, just because of my personal brand that I built was like speaking and things like that.
So it wasn't too hard.
Why they call Arri “The Botman”.
I’ve been building bots for all these clients, and those were all organic.
At the time the agency was just me, and then I had to find partners to help me do a lot of the work. We did some great work for those clients, and I continued building my personal brand.
I got to speak at the biggest messenger marketing conference in the world, here in the US, called . It was over 1500 people and got to connect with the people at Manychat, and a bunch of other smart markers.
That helped me get more credibility and also like get bigger clients, and then we had a chance to like work with like , , .
We did the exact same thing with these bigger clients; help them leverage data-driven personalized messenger marketing to quadruple their conversion rates and recover ten times more abandoned carts.
I started out building Bots for the sake of building Bots, and I feel like that's what most people are doing right now; building Bots without a valid reason for building one.
When I first started out, I thought about offering nine different services around Bots. But right now, I only have two because I kind of cut down every single thing that doesn't really work.
I don't want to build a bot just for the sake of building it. I only want to do things that I know drive significant business outcomes.
That's the reason we want to focus on personalized marketing; we know that that's what's going to work in 2019. It's all about personalized marketing and also recovering abandoned carts.
A lot of e-commerce friends do get a lot of abandoned carts.
So and that's where we are today; niche-ing down to even more to Shopify brands because it's much easier for us to be able to systemize. Working with just one platform makes everything for the agency much easier because otherwise, we had to create a new deck for every new client.
If you have one platform- and we know the platform really well, then we only have one or two decks for all the clients. That way we can just act in a “Plug and Play” manner.
Getting big clients.
I used to make videos about chatbots on like a couple months ago.
Videos about how to leverage bots for e-commerce, and it felt like nobody was watching them because they would barely get any views. But the Head of Marketing of Guess reached out to me.
It was just like random out heaven.
I guess he saw himself one of the videos, and we started chatting on Instagram. We're talking about messenger marketing, and how you can leverage it for abandoned carts.
He was actually moving out to LA, and when he moved here we became really good friends. That’s when we started to think about how we can leverage messenger marketing for Guess, and pretty much put together like a deck of how they can leverage messenger marketing.
That really helped them see the value in it.
So I started doing these presentations for brands to teach them exactly why they should be looking at Facebook Messenger as a platform to communicate with their customers, what the benefits are, and exactly how they can leverage the platform.
I tried to make everything fit into their brand because they have a lot of retail stores.
I projected why it’s important to leverage Messenger marketing not only for online but also for empowering their retail stores. by pretty making everything fit into their brand and make it in a way that makes sense in a way that they can see the ROI.
It’s a new platform, and for a lot of big brands, it’s difficult to try something new.
My attitude was: “I know it's hard, but here’s the value and that’s what you’re missing out”.
Although, for bigger clients, it does take time to get approval to start doing things- I'm still waiting on to get approved on some, it’s important to go to the meetings and show them WHAT & WHY they should do the things you propose.
Tips for an omnichannel experience via Messenger.
A lot of people use Messenger scan codes.
I’m not really into it, because you need a Messenger app to scan it, which is pretty stupid.
I prefer regular scan codes.
You can just open your camera, scan the code, and open it in whatever app and it needs to open.
With the messenger code, you have to open the messenger camera; there's like too much friction, and I don’t see any scalable way of using it.
You can integrate all the store locations in the Messenger platform; All your retail store directory.
So if somebody is looking for a nearby location, you can just send it directly to them via Facebook Messenger and then could offer them the ability to book a showing booth or a fitting room for that specific location. They just have to put in their email, and then that information is sent to that specific store.
That's a nice way of providing an experience. Everything is all about an experience, right?
So, how can we like enhance the experience of for the customer that wants to go in stores?
The first thing is helping them find the nearest store, and then the second thing is to help them even more, with scheduling something for them; there's a trend around this in the retail space right now.
If you look at Apple and all these different companies, what they're doing is providing an experience, but they’re expecting you experience something where and when you schedule. So Apple makes your schedule so you can just walk into the Apple Store.
You have to schedule an appointment and this helps the agents know more information about who you are.
Things like who you are, what problems you face, why you face them; all these different things, which allows the company to provide a great experience and also schedule their own day.
One of the things that the CEO of said is that the brands that will Survive in 2019 need to provide relevant personalized and emotional experiences to their customers.
Which is something that really resonated with me.
Just look around and see how people shop now. It's all about personalization, and as a brand, you need to definitely personalize all your marketing and you can do that without data and some of the data points that you’ll get just by using the Messenger platform.
When somebody gets to subscribe to your Messenger account, you immediately get their First and Last name, their profile picture, their gender, their time zone other, and their location.
Those are all data points that you get right away, and you can use them to personalize what you’re broadcasting to these people. Over time, as you keep communicating with them, you can collect more data points about them and then personalize their experience even more.
These are things that you cannot do with email marketing because with an email address you don’t get all the info you need right away.
Messenger marketing & paid ad strategies.
There are 2 ways to leverage messenger with ads.
The first one by is leveraging clicked Messenger ads, and with clicked Messenger ads when you go to your objective you’re optimizing for messages.
With clicked Messenger ads, what I've seen is that you have to start with your budget a little bit higher because the more people that you get to message you, the lower the cost gets.
So usually when I start the budget at 50 or 100 dollars, and I get like less than a dollar- probably like around 80 to 70 cents cost per subscriber, which is really good too because we acquire new a subscriber and put them like through a customized flow.
What I recommend doing is giving those subscribers a small quiz- four to five questions, just to welcome them by asking certain questions.
That’s how you customize their preferences, so the product that you're going to send them will be the most relevant to them.
So if you're in clothing space you can ask:
- What are they?
- What are they looking for?
- Are they looking for shirts pants?
- If they like shirts then what color are they looking for?
And then maybe it's okay to ask “what size are you?”, and these are all things that you can also save about the customer.
So next time you decide to make a broadcast via Manychat, you’ll know what to send.
So, you can really get the info that will help you to serve your customers better. And people LOVE quizzes.
The second way is leveraging comment ads and these usually work best with giveaway campaign.
So let's say you're running a giveaway campaign through an ad- basically, connect your Facebook ad to a bot, and once somebody comments on your Facebook ad they receive an automatic message.
You just got to tell them that when they comment in the post, they’ll receive a message from you (it’s Facebook’s policy).
Give them an idea of what they should make a comment about. e.g. “What do you like about the shirt?” for a chance to win the shirt.
You just have to find creative ways to get people to comment. Also, the image creative has to be really nice and popping so that it gets people's attention.
And then you get a lot of users to comment, and for each comment, they get a message. On average, probably 60-70% of the people who comment will subscribe; that's what we've seen on average, especially when we scale.
So for example for one of our clients, one of our posts got 50K likes, 27K comments, and 9K shares.
This could be like a really good strategy, especially when you combine with giveaways.
On average probably going to spend 8-20 cents per comment, which is a really cheap price to acquire a new subscriber- especially when you when you acquire a subscriber that after the giveaway you can keep promoting things to them.
Also, you can collect their email address directly by asking them inside Messenger, and these email addresses can go directly to your CRM.
How to not cannibalize your Messenger subscribers.
A lot of people fall into the pit of getting many Facebook Messenger subscribers and blasting them with broadcasts and sales, which eventually destroys Open Rates and Click Through Rates.
A lot of people that I've talked to, said that they received spam messages from people/bots every single day for days. This is not the best way to use the platform.
What I recommend is knowing your customer. Being able to personalize the messages that you sent to them, is of high importance.
Just asking them a question that helps you personalize a message that you send, can be really powerful.
Let's say Fourth of July is coming up- or something like that, and then you ask them: “What would they rather do on Fourth of July?” and give people options like ‘barbecue’, ‘chilling at home’, or maybe it's ‘fireworks’.
Depending on which one they pick the next time you’re about to send a promotional offer, you can think that this isn't an offer for people who love to barbecue, for example.
Right now what you can do, with a platform like Manychat, is to export your Messenger subscribers into a Facebook custom audience for retargeting.
Some people use Zappier in order to auto-update the customers so you don't have to export every day- or every week, in order to keep updating.
In addition, you can filter out your Messenger list based on a tag.
So let's say you want to have a list of only women; you can filter that out!
Let's say you want to have women who like shirts, and you want to remove women who like red shirts; you can filter that out!
Then you can auto-update the custom audience inside Facebook, and use that audience for retargeting.
The best flows for eCommerce marketing via Messenger.
For me, there are three flows that sit on the top.
The first one considers pop-ups.
Brands usually use pop-ups on their websites, right?
They “trigger” them either when you first get to the site, or as an exit intent.
So instead of using that, you can leverage something like a Messenger pop-up to give a discount code to a subscriber. In order for them to get the discount, they have to subscribe to your Messenger by clicking the button you provide.
Immediately, they're going to receive a push notification on their phone.
So your open rates- right up front, are going to be really high for those messages.
That's the first flow.
In that flow, you can message them with the promised coupon and then you can also have products that link directly to your Shopify site.
The second flow is about abandoned cart recovery.
So this one is like probably the biggest because it makes a lot of money for a lot of the brands we’re working with.
Basically, there's a widget that you can install on the “add to cart” button and then what it does is that when people click it and don’t finish checking out, you can follow them up with a message.
The last flow- that works really well, is for receipts.
Receipts are a great way for retention, and then to engage with your customers.
For example, you can send them a receipt after they do make a purchase, and then after they get the receipt you can say “hey, have you had these new products or this new collection? Would you mind checking it out?” and they can click ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
If they click ‘yes’, and then you send them the collection, or you get to know them a little bit more.
These flows that you send based on what people select, allows you to tag them or save the answers.
So you get to like know more about your customers and what they like, and that's how you're able to personalize your marketing.
You’ll have more effective promotions by knowing your customer really well; what they like.
There are some other flows which are for “winning back campaigns”, or for customers that purchased and you want to follow up with them in 30 or 60 days to check in with them and learn if they liked the product.
“Did you like it?” If they say ‘yes’, then boom.
If they didn't like it, your can send them to customer service. It’s about engaging, just like in real life; like having a conversation. We don’t have to over complicate things.
Marketing online is different, but at the same time is the same as selling something in real life.
The important metrics of Messenger Marketing.
For Messenger campaigns, we check Open Rates and Click Through Rates. Those are the main ones that really matter inside Messenger.
Then for the websites of the specific campaign, we check the number of Users, the number of Sessions, and the Bounce Rate.
So, if people are coming to the website and bounce a lot, we should know that.
Probably the message that we sent via Messenger, doesn’t match with the Landing Page. So we need to fix that.
Usually, with Messenger, the Bounce Rates are like really low. On average we like less than 40%
The next thing we have to check after the Bounce Rate is the actual Conversion Rate.
A lot of the Messenger flows that I talked about have a really high Conversion Rate. Especially in the “cart recovery” one, you can see about 20%; which is crazy high.
Conversion Rate is our North Star because it is the only thing that matters.
People are talking about Open Rates and Click Through Rates, but like nobody's really talking about the conversion rate, which is like the really important part. Right?
So probably the Conversion Rate is the most important indicator of how the Messenger platform contributes against other channels.
Upcoming trends in eCommerce marketing with Chatbots.
Chatbots and eCommerce can work together on 2 levels:
- Customer service.
In terms of marketing, so far people have been doing a decent job.
Some people are doing the same job at marketing through Messenger; some win and other people are just spending money.
When somebody has a bad experience with a bot like 90% of those people aren't going to interact with them again.
What happened in the past few years is that like there are different types of people that are building Bots.
You have developers, but they aren't willing to with copywriters. Then you have copywriters trying to build bots on their own, and you also have marketers trying to do the same exact thing.
The problem is that all three should be working together.
I believe that this is the perfect combination for somebody to be able to build a solid bot.
You need the marketer to bring in people, you need a developer to build it, and then you need the copywriter to make sure that the copies are engaging enough to make people take action.
All these three components were not working together, but we're starting to see that they start to come together a little bit more.
I’m starting to see jobs pop up for copywriters and things like that. So people are starting to realize that you definitely need copywriters to offer conversational user experiences, to get people engaged.
The bots that I've seen that use copywriters are much much better than any other bots I've seen around.
I think that in the next years if everybody will be able to come and work together there will be much better experiences. Right now a lot of people are just using the platform just to spam.
Hire your marketer, a copywriter, and a developer to make sure that you build the best experience possible. This way you just going to drive more business outcomes.
So that's the marketing side.
Then there is the customer service, which is massive.
A lot of people right now are just neglecting the customer service part, so they have a bot. And then they don't have a real human checking through, making sure that everything is doing well and smooth, and that users are getting their questions answered.
So people are just like blasting messages and they're not checking to see like what people are saying; if users have questions they should respond.
If you're using the Messenger platform, for marketing purposes and you do not have somebody actively going through and making sure that people are getting their questions answered, then you basically spamming.
Imagine you send a message to a brand and you say “hey, can I get a refund for this order?” and then they just don't respond. Now imagine that the brand after that just send you a message: “We have this t-shirt, would you like to buy it?”
Nobody wants that.
You should be able to tag the people that are in need of help. Having real human checking things is really important.
Combining automation with like real human powers is the best combination because you can leverage the automation for more efficiency.
In customer service is really important being able to leverage AI to answer questions right away; automate some of the FAQ's, and then just let the customer service team just check in and take care of it more unique issues.
One of the things that we do with a lot of our clients, is to integrate their Messenger with Zendesk.
Not only can you first message your Facebook subscribers directly, but you can pretty much filter tickets. So you can say: “hey this person is asking for a refund” put them in the priority tickets.
If somebody asks for a refund then you want to take care of that, right away. So make sure that everything is filtered.
And then when you do a marketing blast, you don’t want to blast to people who are looking for customer service because it's a really bad experience.
This is something that I have not heard anyone talking about yet, but it's really important. I've seen that, and that's something that we do and that our clients.
So that's the customer service side; being able to automate your FAQ's and leverage live chat- which is real human power, to increase your customer service efficiency.
Few last words.
If people want to learn more like thinking about they can just like visit our website, and get our free case study and learn more about exactly what I talked about.
Throughout the case study I just walk people through the new way of marketing and exactly like how it started, why we should use it- I think a lot of people are so focused on the Open Rates and Click Through Rates and we don't know much besides that, why should someone use Messenger marketing, and what are the trends that indicate that you should use it.