When it comes to attracting new clients to your financial advisory practice, the days of direct mail invitations to steak dinner seminars are mostly in the past. These days, there are all kinds of ways prospects can and will discover you.
One increasingly common channel to connect with new prospects is automated marketing via Facebook Messenger chatbots.
A chatbot is a pre-programmed, interactive way to connect with individuals using Facebook’s popular messaging system. And, for the most part, no human is required.
From learning the basics of how to create one using a bot-building service, to knowing what features yours should have, and what it should look like, you’ll soon be on the way to having basic inquiries on products and services to sales, sometimes within minutes.
Gone are the days of people only being able to call customer service Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm.
Not only do they want answers to their questions right away, but they no longer have to leave their home in order to make a purchase. An interactive chatbot is the perfect tool for any online business.
Technology is here to stay, and customers love how it saves them so much time. Chatbots will save you both time and money, since it takes away the cost of traditional human-filled labor positions.
So, if you’d like more information on how to successfully build one, keep reading!
When creating a chatbot for your Facebook messenger marketing campaign, you may feel overwhelmed at what you should and should not include in it. After all, you don’t want to inundate your prospects with so much information that they lose interest in your services.
Which is why you should refer to your practice’s most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Consider sending out a broadcast email or hosting a Facebook Live session, and see what questions pop up during your event. You can discuss your services during the event or even just use it as a basic, get to know us interaction with your audience.
Pay attention to the questions that keep popping up the most. When you go to build your Facebook messenger chatbot, include these FAQ’s so that prospects can easily interact with them within the platform.
While current and potential new clients are learning more about your practice, it’ll all be done through a chatbot that’s been crafted with your own personal touch. Clients don’t want to hear a basic ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Even though they know they’re talking with a chatbot, they still want that human touch.
For more tips on how to personalize your chatbot for your own business, check out this article from Entrepreneur that gives some great tips and tricks to keeping your customers engaged.
After you decide on what Client FAQs to add to your Facebook Messenger Chatbot, you should consider creating a warm and inviting automated greeting.
A potential client is browsing your Facebook page, taking a look at posts and comments, and they decide to reach out to you on Messenger. While you may think a basic ‘Hello’ is good enough, the truth is that customers don’t want good enough.
They want to be wowed!
And with so many businesses out there nowadays, it’s imperative that you make yours stand out. So, think outside the box and refrain from something generic. Consider a greeting that is a bit more welcoming such as, “Greetings, and welcome to Portland Wealth Advisors. What brings you here today?”
Remember that when you’re in a sales environment, that it’s important to ask open-ended questions. Saying something like, “Are you having a good day?” or “Can we interest you in [insert service]?” will either result in a bail out or a negative response. Encourage the customer to have an engaging conversation with your chatbot.
While the customer is interacting with your chatbot, the best practices is to offer multiple choice answers that gradually narrow down to very specific questions tailored to their needs.
A simple “I’m interested in information on life insurance, but price is a major factor for me,” can lead to the chatbot recognizing their interest in “life insurance” (it can be programmed to pickup on keywords), and then start guiding the prospect to the right place to get more information or contact your office or schedule an appointment, for example.
Just remember to keep them engaged in a casual conversation. Don’t be too pushy, and don’t sound robotic. Be warm and inviting, and make it seem as though they’re really talking with a human (not that you’re trying to fool them that they’re communicating with an actual person, of course). And it’s okay to allow them to exit the chatbot at any time. People never want to feel obligated to do something they don’t want to!
There are lots of successful chatbots out there for you to look at, and I encourage you to do so. You can get an idea of how you want yours to look as well.
Pay attention to the ones that are the most successful, and think about how a similar one would work well for your own business.
For an idea of what a successful chatbot marketing looks like, have a look at my article, 7 Ways to Maximize Your Facebook Marketing With Chatbots
Casual Conversation from the CTA Button
If you’ve ever visited a Facebook fan page, then you might have seen a “Learn More” or a “Call Now” button on it. Facebook gives pages the ability to include some sort of call-to-action (CTA) on the top of their pages, in order to guide visitors to connect with them. For example, in the case of an Advisor or Insurance professional, the CTA might direct someone to a website to request a quote.
But did you know you could also use that button to get a Messenger “conversation” started? By selecting “Message Us” as you button text when setting up your CTA button, you can prompt more fan page visitors to engage with your chatbot.
While you might be tempted to use the button to send people away from Facebook, users have demonstrated they are more likely to continue to engage with businesses that communicate within the Facebook ecosystem than to willingly be taken to an external website. And, remember that casual conversations almost always lead to more sales. That’s because the more your chatbot talks, the more it relaxes the prospect and makes them feel at ease. And when they’re feeling at ease, they’re less likely to say ‘no’ to suggestions your chatbot makes.
Of course, at some point during a conversation between your chatbot and a customer, they’ll probably be interested enough to want to move closer to an inquiry or transaction with you or your practice. Your chatbot can be programmed to insert links to web pages, or you can have a simple “call us” button within the chatbot.
Better yet, you can have both.
This gives them the option to continue chatting, or to leave the chatbot and take additional action on their own.
Just remember that consumers are likely to connect via Facebook Messenger at all hours of the day or night. So having your chatbot in place to converse with them helps provide 24/7 friendly customer service.
Finding Your Audience
If you’re still reading, then chances are good that you believe your prospects have some presence on Facebook. But before you consider building a chatbot just for their messenger platform, you should verify that it’ll be worth your time and money.
Consider sending out an email to clients who are on your mailing list, and ask them to tell you where they spend a lot of their social media time. Try not to be too invasive about their personal lives, but ask enough to know how often they’re on the platform.
With well over a billion users worldwide, it’s safe to say that most people use Facebook and their messaging application. And studies show that clients are more likely to open that application instead of an email from a business. It simply feels more personal, almost as though they’re chatting with a friend or family member.
Even though they’re talking about a transaction with or service from a business chatbot!
Even if you decide not to build a chatbot for their messenger platform, you should still have a verified Facebook page for your business.
If enough of your customers use the messenger application, then it would behoove you to build a chatbot. Be sure to add the chatbot to your Facebook page for customers to see it, too. And remember that page visitors can see your response rate right on your Facebook page, at the top below your business name.
Be concise with your texts within the chatbot. Customers don’t respond well to a lot of verbiage. They want a friendly response, but not a bunch of words they have to weed through.
Remember that they’re having a conversation, not sitting down to read and reply to some mass email from a business.
It’s a good idea to leave about three seconds between sending messages (which you can set inside your chatbot builder). Sending messages back to back will make a client feel rushed, which won’t leave them with a good impression of your company.
At any point during your chatbot conversation, remember to give users the option to unsubscribe and exit the chatbot.
Promoting Your Chatbot
What’s the point of creating a Facebook Messenger Chatbot if clients don’t know that it’s available? You should make it a point to promote the new program across several social media platforms.
If you want to build and maintain a successful practice, you have to engage current and potential clients. (Most client churn comes as a result of poor communication.) And clients are often looking for immediate results. Letting them know via Facebook ads or email that you have an interactive chatbot is a great way to catch their attention.
When it comes to creating your chatbot, there are many options out there for you. Our favorite, due to its intuitive design and versatility, is called Mobile Monkey.
Design A Chatbot Persona
It might sound silly, but think about designing a virtual character for your chatbot. Just like Geico has a gecko, your chatbot should have something funny and interesting to keep customers engaged.
And, if possible, keep it related to your business.
For example, a business selling baked goods might have a chatbot that’s a cartoon baker. Or a massive online retailer with thousands of products to choose from, could have a witty shopping cart that can talk.
Everyone likes to have fun, and even adults would get a kick out of a cartoon chatbot interacting with them about the products and services you offer, especially since so many of us find the subject of finances and insurance staid and serious. Wouldn’t a funny cartoon make it even better? One that can answer our questions, too?
And while we’re on the topic of being funny, don’t hesitate to throw in some emojis and funny gifs. Just keep in mind that different people have different types of humor, so keep it as family-friendly as possible.
Once clients find out that you have a chatbot, you’ll want to take a moment and educate them about all of the features.
For example, it’s a good idea to give your chatbot a name that’s unique to your business. I’ve seen Advisors who have given their bots names like “Investy” and “RetireBot.”
Tell your customers what the purpose of your chatbot is. Is it to answer questions, make suggestions, or just for general comments? Clients want to know why you’ve created this chatbot and why they should take the time to use it.
You’ll also want to let them know the availability of your chatbot. Even though it’s automated, you still want a human available in case something goes wrong or clients need additional help.
Consumers have made it clear that they want transparency when dealing with businesses. They want to know what they’re dealing with and who is getting their money. Make it clear that a) they are interacting with a chatbot (“Hi, I’m Investy, an automated assistant”) and b) your chatbot is there to make their experience easier, and that if anything should go wrong, a human will be with them shortly!
And finally, tell clients what the capabilities and limitations are of this chatbot. Can it do everything from start to finish (probably not), can it virtually place a buy or sell order (definitely not)?
Security and Compliance
Chatbots can retain a lot of information about your clients. Just think of the last time you looked at a product on a website and then saw an ad for it on social media. Just like cookies stores information, so do chatbots.
So it’s important that the data you gather is in keeping with your compliance requirements. Often it’s best to avoid collecting data through your chatbot to stay within regulations. Be sure to speak with your compliance department before investing in chat automation.
When creating your chatbot, just remember to keep a few things in mind.
First and foremost, the goal of chatbots is to save time for prospects and clients. Getting questions answered faster and more easily than ever before and at any time of the day or night.
Studies show that it’s best to keep interactions leading to an online “sale” under five clicks. Address any concerns they have, ask some open-ended questions, and then direct them to whatever it is they’re looking for. Anything more will often result in losing their engagement.
Be transparent with prospects and clients at all times, and be sure to include an option to end the conversation at any time. There’s no point in keeping someone engaged who isn’t interested!
Have fun when creating your chatbot and good luck in the growth and future of your business!