With social media as popular as it is, Facebook Messenger bots have become a strategic marketing tool. Instead of targeting the masses with generic email messages, businesses use these bots to appeal to customers on a platform they already frequent.

It all starts with an eye-catching ad on Facebook. Ideally, a current or potential customer sees a Facebook advertisement designed to get users to sign up for special offers or to join a specific Facebook Messenger list.

Facebook Messenger app menu on a smartphone

In essence, it’s the same as building an email list. The biggest difference is that open rates skyrocket from about 20 percent via email to nearly 100 percent with Facebook Messenger.

The Case for Facebook Messenger

Those astronomical click rates are just one reason companies have turned to Facebook Messenger bots. In contrast to typical remarketing ads, these bots can send customizable messages after users respond. Thanks to this personalization, about 63 percent of users who interact with a chatbot go on to speak with a sales rep. Considering it’s still a cheap alternative to creating an exhaustive email list, that’s a substantial improvement.

Messenger also is more expansive than email: Businesses can use Messenger bots to create loyalty cards; carry out referral marketing; and send banner ads, coupons, and other image-based ads. It’s easier for users to spread messages on social than it is to forward a series of emails, and Messenger isn’t subject to the spamming regulations that govern email.

These considerations are important for big brands that want to maintain a personal touch with their brand loyalists. Restaurants, for instance, can notify patrons about specials and promotions. Businesses in any industry can use Messenger to weed out poor-quality leads and to generate more leads with a smaller investment.

Facebook Messenger app

How to Make the Most of Messenger

Regardless of your industry, there are countless ways to maximize Messenger’s potential. Follow these four tips to begin perfecting your Messenger marketing strategy:

1. Segment your lists

Messenger bots are all about avoiding the one-message-fits-all approach that’s common in email marketing. That means you’ll want to segment your Messenger lists in order to reach the right audience the right way. Conversion is the ultimate goal, but it shouldn’t be your starting point — you don’t want to sound too aggressive by asking people to contact you or by offering upfront pricing. Instead, an intelligent bot will make conversations more organic after segmentation.

You might choose to segment your lists by B2B buyer or B2C buyer. Or you might separate the parent of a patient from the actual patient. No matter what you choose, you’ll start with having the bots ask targeted questions such as “Are you a homeowner or a business owner?” Users’ responses will help you categorize them, and the bots will automatically put them in the proper buckets. Once you have this information, you can be far more targeted in your marketing.

2. Program bots with your brand voice

The best way to make conversations sound as natural and unobtrusive as possible is to inject your brand voice into your bots. At their best, chatbots mimic conversations with customer service representatives while being even more punctual and detailed with their responses.

Just look at Guestfriend, a chatbot designed to answer customer questions about restaurants. Restaurant owners can customize Guestfriend to not only provide accurate information but also to do so in a friendly and unique way. Customizing your chatbot should be one of the first items on your list.

3. Ensure your bots are engaging

Of course, the endgame is getting users to “opt in.” The obvious solution is to create ads that feature special offers, coupons, or exclusive groups. The main reason these solutions work, though, is because they include a call to action or manage to achieve a limited-type feel. People feel prompted to respond if they perceive value in acting now.

For your Messenger bots, your ads could include a free consultation, a free first session, or free brand info. It doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking. If consumers believe it’s important to act now, you’re on the right track.

4. Keep your messages relevant

Above all else, your messages must be relevant to users. It’s not just the content that speaks to an audience — it’s how you present it. Every word, image, and detail should resonate with users.

At the end of the day, there’s no science to developing a flawless Facebook Messenger campaign and bot. There’s really only one mantra to follow: Something will be valuable to someone when it helps them achieve a goal or obtain something they want. If your bot can do that, you’re a step ahead of the competition.