For the past several years, I’ve implemented Facebook Messenger bots on both my blog and my ecommerce store and my results have been nothing short of incredible.
And to this day, my Facebook Messenger marketing numbers continue to blow my email marketing numbers out of the water.
- My open rates are 5X better than email
- My click through rates are 8X better than email
- My revenue per subscriber is about 3.5X better than email
Pretty amazing right? These insane results remind me of how email marketing used to be 10 years ago before EVERYONE started sending emails and saturating people’s inboxes.
Now at some point, Facebook Messenger chatbots will eventually become less effective. But for now, it’s a great time to jump in.
Currently, over 1.3 billion people are using Facebook Messenger!
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What Is A Facebook Chatbot?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Facebook Messenger marketing, it’s very similar to email marketing except that all communication is done through Facebook’s messaging app.
But the key difference is that people interact with messenger in a fundamentally different way than email.
For example whenever I receive an email, I rarely check it right away.
In fact, it can often take hours, days or even weeks before I reply. Sometimes I don’t even see the email and it goes unnoticed.
But for Facebook messages, I almost always check them right away. To me, Facebook messenger is a much more personal medium of communication. It’s the way that my friends and family reach out to me and I’m always eager to chat.
Now you’re probably wondering whether this intimacy will be lost when thousands of marketers start using Facebook chatbots to spam their audience. And the answer is yes. Eventually, people will become less receptive to messenger messages.
But for now, it’s working extremely well.
For example, here are the results of a campaign I sent recently.
This message resulted in a 14.56X return on ad spend with a click through rate of 20.23%. In comparison, my average email click through rate is between 1-3%!
In addition to sending broadcast messages, tools like ManyChat allow you to create Facebook chatbots and autoresponder sequences to create an interactive shopping experience!
Note: As of March 4, 2020, you must pay for Facebook Sponsored message ads in order to send promotional broadcasts. This is why I’m quoting ROAS numbers above.
How To Gather Facebook Messenger Subscribers For An Ecommerce Store
There are many different ways to build a Facebook Messenger list for an ecommerce store. One of my biggest dilemmas early on was deciding whether I should focus my efforts on gathering emails or messenger subscribers.
Right now, sending Facebook messages is very inexpensive ($.02 per subscriber) and VERY effective but who knows what will happen in the future?
Facebook might drastically increase the cost to send message campaigns. Facebook might start reducing the reach of marketing messages. Unlike email, Facebook is the boss and they can do whatever they want.
My solution to this dilemma is to gather both emails and messenger subscribers whenever I can. In fact, here’s what I try to do every time a visitor lands on my site.
- I try to grab an email address
- I try to make them a messenger subscriber
- I try to get them to accept push notifications
- I pixel them for retargeting on Facebook and Google
This gives me 4 different ways to bring a customer back to my site!
In this post, I will show you exactly how I use Facebook Messenger marketing for my ecommerce store.
Add Facebook Messenger Subscribers Via Live Chat
First off, if you go to Bumblebee Linens, you’ll notice a live chat window in the lower right corner of the screen.
Whenever someone clicks on this live chat button, they are presented with the following options…
As soon as the user clicks on any of the buttons, they instantly become a Facebook Messenger subscriber and I can send them broadcasts in the future.
Right now, I’ve populated this menu with the most frequently asked questions in our store.
If they click on “Get Delivery Time”, they are taken to a page that tells them approximate delivery times depending on what they order.
If they click on “Check On An Order”, they are taken to a page where they can get a detailed status of their order. Here’s what the page looks like.
By entering an email address and an order number, customers can check up on their purchase. Both of these questions make up about 60% of the inquiries that we get on a daily basis.
Finally, if they decide to “ask a question”, they are asked to type in their inquiry or give us a call. We make it clear that they may NOT get an answer immediately depending on the time of day.
Right now, this live chat widget generates a steady stream of Facebook Messenger subscribers without paying a cent!
Add Facebook Messenger Subscribers On Add To Cart
This next subscriber growth method involves giving away a freebie or an incentive for a customer to check a special Facebook Messenger optin box.
Basically, you can get a customer to opt into your Facebook Messenger list whenever they add something to their shopping cart.
Here’s how it works.
In the picture above, the customer is instantly opted into Facebook Messenger if they check the box and click on the “Add To Cart” button. And to incentivize a customer to check the box, I offer a free gift upon checkout.
However, I’m purposely vague about what the free gift is in order to entice a customer to check the box out of curiosity.
Here’s the message they receive immediately after add to cart.
As soon as they click on the “yes” button above, they instantly become a Facebook Messenger Subscriber.
Use Facebook Messenger Ads To Build Your List
In addition to the methods above, I’m also running Facebook ads to build my messenger subscriber list.
This first ad shown below is a top of funnel ad that I’m running to a lookalike audience of lace handkerchief purchasers.
Here’s what the ad looks like…
Whenever someone clicks on this ad, they are automatically sent a Facebook messenger message that reads as follows.
As soon as they click on any button, they instantly become a Facebook Messenger subscriber. After they click on the link, they are taken to a custom landing page where I ask them for an email to take advantage of the offer.
The upshot of this marketing funnel is that I gain 3 valuable ways to reach my visitor.
By enticing a customer with an attractive offer, I can get a Facebook Messenger subscriber, an email subscriber and pixel them for retargeting. The added revenue from these purchases are also used to pay for the cost of the ad.
Use Retargeting Ads To Build Your Messenger List
In addition to the top of funnel ad described above, I also run Facebook messenger retargeting ads to build my messenger list. Here’s an example of an ad that I’m running to customers who have not purchased in 60 days.
Back in the day, I used to provide the coupon code directly in the Facebook ad itself and a click would take them directly to our website. But now, I run the ad through Facebook Messenger first so I can gather a new subscriber in the process.
This way, I can reach out to this person again in the future WITHOUT having to pay Facebook.
Add Subscribers Via Facebook Comments On Page Posts
If you have a Facebook fan page for your business, you can also gather subscribers whenever someone comments on your page post. Right now, people are building their messenger subscriber lists by holding Facebook lives on their page.
Because Facebook live video has the greatest reach of any post type, marketers are offering freebies and giveaways when users leave comments on their videos. Once a visitor leaves a comment, they are instantly greeted with a Facebook message.
As soon as that visitor replies, they become a subscriber.
If you are not comfortable getting on camera, you can also offer a free giveaway in a regular Facebook post where a user has to type in a certain keyword to get the freebie.
However, please be aware that Facebook has been cracking down on comment abuse. If you explicitly tell people to comment in a certain way in your post copy, Facebook will likely reduce the reach of that post.
It is for this reason that most marketers are only using comment based messenger growth tools in their live videos.
Run An Evergreen Facebook Messenger Giveaway
By far, the fastest way to build your Messenger and email list is to run an evergreen Facebook Messenger giveaway.
Unlike a traditional giveaway, Facebook Messenger giveaways are completely automated and run on their own. As a result…
- You only have to set up your giveaway once and you can run the same giveaway as many times as you want
- Winners are selected automatically
- Award redemptions are handled in an automated fashion with your shopping cart
Basically, Facebook Messenger giveaways are hands-off and generate you both Facebook and email subscribers on autopilot.
How To Set Up Your Giveaway
In order to run a Messenger giveaway, you first need a software tool like ManyChat to help you set up your chatbot.
Basically your chatbot is responsible for…
- Collecting email subscribers
- Selecting winners and losers
- Sending winners a link to redeem their prize
Here’s how the bot works.
You first set up a Facebook Messages Ad to drive traffic to your Facebook Messenger bot. In this example, I’m giving away a personalized ladies handkerchief
Once someone clicks on the ad, they are taken to my bot.
Once they click “Yes”, they immediately become a Facebook Messenger subscriber. Afterwards, I immediately hit them up for their email address to complete the giveaway signup process.
What’s nice about Facebook Messenger is that the email address is pre-populated on the screen so no typing is required. This boosts the conversion rate for mobile users tremendously!
In any case, after a user taps their email, they are presented with an enticing offer that is related to the giveaway prize. Done correctly, the post giveaway special offer should pay for the cost of running your Facebook ad.
After 23 hours, your chatbot automatically decides whether the customer wins or loses and the odds of winning can be set however you’d like within ManyChat.
Winners are sent to a special page to redeem their prize whereas losers are presented with a consolation coupon.
Depending on your offer and your audience, you can get new Messenger and email subscribers for between 25-75 cents a piece. Meanwhile, your special offers and your giveaway email sequence should generate sales during the giveaway which should pay for the cost of advertising.
If you’d like to download my exact Facebook Messenger giveaway flow, then click on the link below.
Use Facebook Chatbot Keyword Automations For Customer Support
In addition to generating revenue with Facebook Messenger, I’m also using keyword automations to reduce the support load for my store.
What is a keyword automation?
A keyword automation is a tool that recognizes certain keywords in a customer’s chat entry and responds with an appropriate message.
For example, if you type “How long will it take to receive my order” into my store’s chat window, you will be greeted with the following message.
Because customized products in my store take longer to fulfill, I have my messenger bot first ask the customer if they are purchasing a personalized product.
If they answer “yes” then I inform them that it takes up to 5 business days before their order will ship.
If they answer “no”, then I tell them that their order will ship the following day.
By using a tool like ManyChat to recognize certain keywords, you can have a messenger bot answer the majority of your commonly asked customer support questions.
In our store, we’re often bombarded by questions like
- Do you ship internationally?
- Do you sell wholesale?
- Do you offer discounts?
- Do you have a catalog?
- When will an item come back in stock?
All of these questions have prewritten responses in our database. In the event a customer asks a question that we do not have an automated answer for, we reply with the following.
If they click on the “Talk To Human” button, I get a notification in Gorgias which is the customer support tool that I use to manage all of my social media and email channels.
Note: We never pretend that our bot is a real person. It’s impossible to create a bot that behaves like a human so we give the customer the option to talk to someone real as soon as we can’t answer their question.
Grow Your Facebook Messenger List With A Spin To Win Game
For my store, I like to grab both an email and a Facebook Messenger subscriber at the same time. And the way I accomplish this is by using a special spin to win wheel of fortune popup.
On my wheel of fortune, there’s a 50% chance of winning a coupon code and customers love to play games! In fact, there are no losing spots on the wheel and the conversion rate for this form is above 40%!
Here’s how it works.
First off, a customer needs to enter in an email in order to spin the wheel. But in order to redeem their prize, they need to click on a link that takes them to my Facebook chatbot.
As soon as the customer clicks on “yes” to redeem their coupon, they instantly become a Facebook Messenger subscriber.
After they see their coupon, they click on a button which takes them back to checkout with the coupon code automatically applied.
There is also a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency!
This spin to win wheel fortune popup can be easily implemented with a free tool like Privy.
Editor’s Note: You can learn more about my free “spin to win” implementation by reading this post on How A Spin To Win Popup Increased Email Signups 131% For My Shop
Make sure you use the “Ref URL” growth tool in ManyChat or your favorite Facebook chatbot provider to create a separate bot for every prize on your wheel.
Dynamic Facebook Messenger Flows That Make Money On Autopilot
Once you have someone subscribed to your Facebook Messenger list, there are many automated flows that you can run that generate money on autopilot.
Below are a list of sequences that I’m running for my store.
Send An Abandoned Cart Message
Right now, I’m sending dynamically generated abandoned cart messages with Facebook Messenger and it’s super cool! If anyone shops at our store but doesn’t checkout, they will receive this Facebook message a few hours later reminding them to complete checkout!
What’s cool is that the customer is shown the exact same products that were in their shopping cart at the time of abandonment!
Send A Browse Abandonment Message
If a customer browses a product but does not add the item to their cart, I also send them a browse abandonment message to remind them to continue shopping.
This flow is different than the previously mentioned abandoned cart message because the customer has not started checkout or added the item to their shopping cart.
Send An Automated Receipt
Once a customer is subscribed to your Facebook Messenger list, you can also send them an order receipt with every purchase.
Ideally, you want customers to get used to receiving Facebook Messenger messages from you. In addition, it allows you to cross sell complementary products which convert to additional sales.
Create A Customer Loyalty Program
For my ecommerce store, only 12% of my customers are repeat but they make up over 36% of my revenues. As a result, customer loyalty is a significant part of my business!
A great way to attract more repeat business is to implement a customer loyalty program. Now there are many paid loyalty programs out there but you can implement a loyalty program for free within ManyChat.
First off, here’s a high level diagram of my customer loyalty program chatbot which I’ll explain below.
Here’s how it works.
When a customer first signs up, they are given a 50 point sign up bonus and whenever a customer makes a purchase, they are given a link to update their point total.
Every dollar spent is equal to 1 point and rewards start at 200 points.
When a customer makes a purchase, they click on a link which takes them to Facebook Messenger.
Once the customer enters in their email, ManyChat pulls the customer info from my database and presents the customer with their point total.
At this point, a customer can redeem their points for valuable prizes.
Once a customer redeems a prize, they are given a special coupon code which can be used to get the product at no cost.
The beauty of this loyalty program solution is that it’s 100% self serve and completely automated. In fact, ManyChat does all of the heavy lifting.
All Of These Flows Make Money On Autopilot
The best part is that all of these automated Facebook Messenger flows make money on autopilot. Over the holiday season, the abandonment flows alone generated over 11K in additional revenue.
Once everything is set up, it is completely automated.
Facebook Messenger Marketing Limitations
As you can imagine, allowing marketers to send promotional messages to their messenger list leaves it wide open to abuse. As a result, Facebook has strict guidelines on how and when you can send your messages.
For example, you are only allowed to send promotional messages to a subscriber within 24 hours of their last response. As a result, you can’t just blast your entire subscriber list with random coupons and sales otherwise Facebook may ban you.
There are 3 types of Facebook messages you can send.
- Subscription Broadcast – If you are approved by Facebook as a news site (almost impossible for ecommerce stores), you can send free subscription broadcast messages which may not contain ads or promotional materials
- Promotional Broadcast – These are messages that contain sales or promotions. Promotional broadcast messages can only be sent to subscribers who were active in the past 24 hours.
- Non-Promotional Broadcast – These are messages that fall under the following categories: Confirmed event update, post purchase update, account update or live chat human update
Because you can’t randomly blast sales messages to your subscribers, you have to be a little creative in how you approach your correspondence. Remember, you are only allowed to send coupon codes and sales AFTER a subscriber has interacted with you.
So instead of outright blasting them offers, you should encourage them to interact with your bot first to get them to reply.
Below is an example of how we do this in our store. In every purchase receipt, we encourage customers to ask us questions via Facebook Messenger.
Whenever a customer reaches out to us, we answer their question and cross sell them complementary products.
But for the most part, you must pay for Facebook Sponsored Message ads in order to send promotional messages to your subscriber list.
And overall, you MUST follow Facebook’s guidelines or risk getting banned.
If you follow all of the rules, Facebook Messenger marketing is an excellent way to bring customers back to your shop for more sales!
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Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.