Facebook Messenger marketing is more straightforward than you might think. I’ve built countless bots and ran marketing campaigns at scale that drove great results. Along the way, I learned a big ugly truth that most companies don’t realize until it’s too late:
Most users don’t know how to interact with bots on Messenger yet. But they will.
During the course of a conversation, there’s a good chance that they’re going to stray away from how you want them to interact with your bot. When that happens, you have a choice:
Lose them as potential customer forever.
Delight them and drive value to your business.
"Well duh, easy choice. But easier said than done -- right?"
This is when having a conversational marketing strategy is important. Let's walk through my three-part formula for writing error messages that drive conversions.
Along the way, I'll share free tools that I use every day to create incredible Messenger experiences. Here’s what you need to remember:
“Acknowledge + Rephrase + Prompt”
Before you do anything -- step away from the keyboard! You need to figure out what might go wrong before you decide how to make it better. Grab a whiteboard or pen and paper -- it’s mapping time. Write out every point where the user needs to take an action inside your bot. Ask yourself these three questions as you do it:
What am I asking the user to do?
Which ways might they get it wrong?
How can I be more clear?
That exercise will open your mind to getting them back on track. Alright, onto the formula itself.
The first part of writing good error messages is to acknowledge the problem. Being more specific when something goes wrong gives users a better clue into what you want them to do. But if we just told someone what’s wrong without giving them a path to making it better, it wouldn’t be all that helpful. Take this example of an invalid email below:
Um, rude and unhelpful.
To make error messages work for Messenger bots, you need all three parts. It’s not just about telling them what’s wrong -- but show them how to make it right.
Tool tip: Dashbot is a free chatbot analytics platform to show where users get lost.
There's no foolproof way to know if an error was a miscommunication or a misclick. Unlike a web form, you can't show users if something is incorrect before they hit submit. But you can give them an example of a successful interaction after the fact so they have a better idea of what you need.
I see what I did wrong, but now what?
By adding this one sentence, we’ve already made it more likely that users will finish taking the action we want them to. There’s now a clear path back into the core experience. Remember that most people have never used a bot before. It’s not always intuitive what the next step should be. That’s where the third piece of the formula comes in.
If you want to go the extra mile, set up your bot with several variations of the same hint. This way, people who don't get it right after the second try aren't getting frustrated with a repetitive message.
Tool tip: Botsociety has heatmaps and screencasts so you can iron out confusing flows ahead of time.
We're almost there, but listen close. This is the most overlooked piece of copywriting for Messenger marketing. At this point, your user knows what went wrong and how to make it better -- so ask them to do it! Prompt them in a direct and polite way. More often than not, they’ll make it right and keep engaging with your bot.
There we go. It all comes together.
Tool tip: ManyChat is a Messenger marketing platform that makes it easy to build tailored conversations with users.
The formula works best when all three pieces work together. Look at how we’ve handled a conversation that almost went off the rails:
Acknowledged the exact problem.
Rephrased it to make it clear how to move forward.
Prompted the user to try again.
It’s the little things that add up when writing copy for bots. The way that we chat with businesses should match how we talk to our friends or order a coffee. By making every step -- even error messages -- delightful, your bot can have a big impact on the bottom line. Bots and Messenger work even better when you pair them with email marketing, too. Follow my three-part formula and you'll create delightful bots in 2018 and beyond.
Want to chat with me on Messenger about bots? Click here.
Originally published Feb 28, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated July 12 2019