So, you want to add a Facebook Messenger bot to your marketing plan. Awesome! This artificial intelligence technology is fairly new and will project a professional, sophisticated image to those who visit your Facebook page and have questions. However, before jumping into the deep end, some financial analysis is in order.
First, what is your main goal in adding a bot to your business? Many coaches will say they want to add faster customer service as well as lead prospects to purchase a product or coaching package; however yours is a unique business so you may have a different end goal.
Identifying that main goal will lead you to the next step, which is mapping out the conversations for your bot. The less complex your needs, the less the cost. For example, if you’re just starting out and want to have a basic customer service feature 24/7, a Facebook Messenger bot may be a great starting place since you’ll be busy marketing. Also a great plan if you don’t have a virtual assistant yet to handle those incoming calls.
Completely customized bots that carry out complex tasks and conversations most often require a programmer for the design, which can cost over $100K. Obviously this cost will vary depending on the complexity of the job which is why you need a detailed plan. Big brand corporations, such as Starbucks, Lyft, Fandango, and Spotify have the budget to hire these types of developers but that doesn’t make bots off limits to solopreneurs.
Pricing Out Your Bot Project
To make this technology accessible to smaller companies, there are a multitude of companies who offer a basic chatbot platform where you can build your own bot; consider it a DIY version of a highly complex technology.
Most of these DIY platforms offer free accounts, which are great for experimenting before committing fully. They also offer tiered monthly packages, all dependent on what types of features your bot needs. Again, refer to your plan. These prices vary considerably, anywhere from $15/month up to $130 per month and more. The number of subscribers to your bot will also determine your monthly fee. Determine how much you can afford to spend each month before proceeding.
Analyzing the Costs
Before you launch your bot, consider how many products or coaching sessions you will have to sell each month to make the bot pay for itself. With the simple DIY platforms, that may sound easy but we all know how fickle sales can be during any given month. Do you have a marketing plan in place to drive traffic to your Facebook page where your bot will activate? Similar to email, your prospects have to subscribe to your bot, so you need a plan for driving that traffic.
Also consider how much time you need to program your bot with messages. You will need to write them and input them into the platform. Or your virtual assistant can do it but then consider her hourly rate as part of the investment. Minimal maintenance is necessary to keep the bot up to date with your information; you should also make changes based on customer feedback. Monitoring the chats is important in case there’s a question the bot can’t answer. That’s when you or your virtual assistant can hop on and fill that void.
Generally speaking, choosing a DIY platform builder is the most cost-effective way to incorporate this technology into your business. There are always exceptions, which is why planning and budgeting is important for this venture.
Embrace Technology with Facebook Messenger Bots
With the advent of chatbot technology, large and small companies alike have the ability to chat with their customers 24/7. With carefully crafted messages, your bot can lead your prospect to the product they need, even outside your business hours. However, technology can be intimidating. It’s best to take some time to learn how chatbots can fit into your business and then implement a plan.