Custom chatbots sound futuristic, expensive, complicated, and probably out of reach for today’s average marketer, business owner, or marketing agency.
Want the truth?
Custom chatbots are present-day, ridiculously cheap, and refreshingly easy to create.
The fact is, if you’re in business today and not using custom chatbots, you have a bit of catching up to do.
That’s what this article aims to do — give you exactly you need to know about creating, deploying, customizing, and profiting from custom chatbots.
1. What is a Custom Chatbot?
A custom chatbot is a computer program that can interact with a human via chat technology.
The Facebook Messenger dialogue below is driven by a chatbot.
It looks and feels natural, but it was set up by a non-developer (me), launched, and deployed in 15 minutes.
With that custom chatbot, I can collect leads in my sleep.
Most chatbots that are developed today are customized in some way — whether that customization is something as simple as adding branding to the chat widget or developing a chatbot customized from scratch for the exact needs of a business.
MobileMonkey’s chatbot maker allows marketers and business owners to create custom chatbots on the Facebook Messenger platform.
These chatbots can be designed to cover a broad array of business needs — from scheduling appointments to launching a drip campaign.
For some reason, people tend to think that custom chatbots are the exclusive realm of enterprise businesses or larger corporations that need some advanced AI technology. The reality is, any business can create custom chatbots.
Chatbot makers have evolved to the point where creating a chatbot is no more complicated than dragging, dropping, and typing a few words in an easy-to-use chatbot maker like MobileMonkey.
Marketing agencies, for example, are some of the most prolific chatbot creators, developing and selling chatbot services to their clients. With a few well-designed chatbot templates, they can essentially copy, paste, and customize a chatbot that is perfect for any of their client businesses — from a coffee shop to a CrossFit gym.
Custom chatbots aren’t rare, aren’t complicated, and certainly aren’t out of reach for today’s marketers, solopreneurs, and freelancers.
With MobileMonkey, a Facebook Messenger chatbot platform, you can have a custom chatbot up and running in minutes.
2. What Can a Custom Chatbot Do?
With a custom chatbot, there is virtually no end to the level of functionality and creativity you can produce.
The concept behind chatbots is the simulation of a conversation or chat. In that context and with that technology, there is so much that can happen.
Here’s a quick flyover of some of the things that custom chatbots can do.
- Custom chatbots can intelligently answer and respond to customer service questions
- Custom chatbots can live on your website as a chat widget, inviting customers to chat at any time of day or night.
- Custom chatbots can schedule appointments, including phone calls, in-person events, webinars, concerts, trips, or flights
- Custom chatbots can display image galleries, such as a menu of your pastry selection or current homes for sale
- Custom chatbots can display emojis because we all love emojis
- Custom chatbots can switch up their approach and questions/answers, based on a user’s response to questions
- Custom chatbots can display gifs to add a little excitement to the chat conversation
- Custom chatbots can segment users according to answers to questions, storing each user group into a highly-specific segment — for example a segment might be “hot leads from the website” or “low potential – adspend under $10,000”
- Custom chatbots can send users surveys, including customer satisfaction surveys
- Custom chatbots can request and save user’s email address, phone number, and even their current location
- Custom chatbots can integrate with thousands of other apps and platforms using Zapier
- Custom chatbots can display store hours upon request
- Custom chatbots can provide directions to the store upon request
- Custom chatbots can provide downloads, like a whitepaper, or a vector file, or a free ebook,
- Custom chatbots can show videos
- Custom chatbots can send coupons
- Custom chatbots can transition to a live chat with a real human as soon as a user requests it
- Custom chatbots can be launched by scanning a QR code, clicking on a link, or confirming on a landing page
- Custom chatbots can message thousands of users simultaneously
- Custom chatbots can send Messenger drip campaigns
- Custom chatbots can automatically send users new blog posts as soon as the blog posts go live
- Custom chatbots can provide users with shipping information, receipts, order confirmation, or other types of updates
3. How Do You Develop a Custom Chatbot?
This question gets right to the point. If custom chatbots are this amazing, how do you make them?
There are five basic steps to developing a custom chatbot
- Sign up for MobileMonkey or an alternative chatbot builder.
- Connect the chatbot builder to your Facebook Business page
- Open up the Bot Builder
- Customize the chat dialogue to your specific needs
- Test and then launch the chatbot
For specific points of customization and screenshots for every step of the process, be sure to check out the article, How to Create a Powerful Chatbot in 15 Minutes.
There are three takeaways that you should keep in mind regarding how to develop a custom chatbot:
- Creating a custom chatbot is a quick process. You can go from none to done in 15 minutes or less.
- Developing a custom chatbot is easy. There’s no coding or technical backend stuff to mess around with.
- Developing a custom chatbot opens a lot of new possibilities for marketing. Powerful chatbot features can turn a simple custom chatbot into a paradigm-shifting marketing automation platform.
4. How Are Custom Chatbots Used In Business?
Thousands of businesses have discovered the untapped potential of custom chatbots, and are now using them in virtually every facet of their organization.
What types of businesses use chatbots?
Every type of business uses custom chatbots.
Because chatbots are so versatile, businesses in every vertical have found some use for them.
What do these businesses use custom chatbots for?
Custom chatbots have such a wide array of applications that it can be kind of confusing as to where to start.
That being said, many businesses start using chatbots for customer service and marketing tasks. MobileMonkey, for example, has a suite of chatbot marketing tools such as creating drip campaigns, creating RSS connections, adding customer chat widgets to the website, producing chatbot landing pages, creating Facebook Messenger ads, and much more.
Here are some examples of how custom chatbots are used in business.
- Employees use a custom chatbot internally to submit their time off requests
- Attendees use a custom chatbot to sign up for the dish they are bringing to the neighborhood block party
- Client prospects use a chatbot to schedule a call with a client manager at the Facebook ad agency
- A coffee shop uses a chatbot to give customers loyalty coupons for every beverage they purchase
These days, a lot of marketing agencies are creating chatbots on behalf of their clients. The process of launching a chatbot agency is relatively straightforward.
5. How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Custom Chatbot?
From $0 to $129
Developing a custom chatbot costs only as much as the chatbot builder. Price ranges from free to $129/month.
Most users of MobileMonkey choose a $49/month plan which provides advanced Messenger bot automation and integration, custom branding, campaign scheduling, Messenger ad creation, and more.
Custom chatbots are not expensive.
Although some companies insist on spending tens of thousands of dollars for a coding-intense, proprietary, from-scratch chatbot, the fact is, more functionality and power are available for free or for a low monthly subscription.
6. Do Custom Chatbots Use AI?
Yes, many custom chatbots use artificial intelligence (AI).
The reason for integrating machine learning with chatbots is simple — the more a chatbot can learn, the better it can interact with human users.
Artificial intelligence and chatbots can get complicated. There is a learning curve to mastering the intricacies of natural language processing, named entity recognition, textual entailment, and distributional semantics.
Don’t have time to learn all that? Don’t worry.
MobileMonkey’s chatbot builder distills it all into a really simple AI platform using Q&A prompts.
You can train the chatbot to respond to prompts in various semantic categories.
In other words, if a user says something like price, cost, how much, etc., then you can tell your chatbot to respond with some dialogue about pricing info.
It’s smart AI without the really long learning curve.
7. What Is an Example of a Custom Chatbot?
You can try out a huge variety of custom chatbot templates from MobileMonkey.
For example, here’s a chatbot designed for fitness coaches to get more leads. (Click on that link to open up a sample Messenger sequence.)
These templates are all available for free in the chatbot builder under the templates category.
These chatbots are 100% customizable, meaning that you can fire them up in MobileMonkey and change the details in order to make them useful for your particular business.
8. Do Custom Chatbots Require Coding?
It’s tempting to think that chatbots are really complicated and require development skills. In reality, chatbots are super easy to make.
With MobileMonkey, you can create a whole chatbot marketing arsenal with hundreds of custom chatbots, and never have to touch a line of code.
To create custom chatbots, all you have to do is drag, drop, type, and tap.
Don’t let the simplicity fool you into thinking these are puny chatbots.
The opposite is true. Custom chatbots like these are ultra-powerful, allowing you to bring in buckets of leads, segment users, build a Messenger contact list, remarket, and automate thousands of marketing tasks.
9. What are the Best Chatbot Makers for Custom Chatbots?
MobileMonkey is the premier chatbot maker and the fastest-growing Facebook Messenger partner.
MobileMonkey allows you to create custom chatbots quickly, easily, and with zero coding.
If you want to have your own custom chatbot fifteen minutes from now, sign up for MobileMonkey and give it a spin.
Conclusion – Why Do Custom Chatbots Matter?
Custom chatbots matter because they provide one of the most robust marketing tools available to the modern marketer.
This information matters, because, armed with this knowledge you can go on to transform your business with the power of custom chatbots, answer your boss’s questions, revolutionize your marketing agency, or even launch a new career for yourself!
Now that you know all about custom chatbots, here’s what you need to do: