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Give your Business a Voice: 7 Copywriting Tips for Chatbots

Updated: Jan 18, 2020

by Ieva Baranova and Anton Pereiaslavtsev

Image credit: Alex Seegers, Botcopy.

Every day, 1.3 billion people are chatting and exchanging photos on Facebook Messenger. And launching a Messenger chatbot could be a great way to tap into this massive new channel.

But to succeed, your chatbot experience must be a joy to use and extend your brand organically.

A well-scripted bot is one of the key elements to creating an experience that will delight and sell. Chatting is the very essence of well, a chatbot -- and you need to craft a natural and engaging conversation with the user to build an emotional bond.

The copy you use in the chat largely depends on the business you’re in, but there are general principles you can follow to make it shine. We have compiled 7 universal copywriting tips that will help you achieve the highest possible ROI for your chatbot.

1. Come up with a catchy name for your bot

Your chatbot must have a single focus and aim - and it should be reflected in its name (and all the other copy, for that matter). When choosing a name for your baby-bot, remember - a unique and distinct title or phrase will help customers remember it and find it in Messenger’s search or in the Discover tab.

But don’t choose a name that’s too descriptive (like “Everyday Weather Forecast”) - it should still sound like a name. For example, Poncho is a funny weather forecast bot impersonated by a cheerful cat in a raincoat.

In addition, your bot’s name should:

2. Guide the user with conversation prompts

Many users are still unfamiliar with bots. Unlike websites with many calls-to-action, your Messenger bot’s initial interface is very simple.

Help them by quickly getting to the point of why they should use your bot and encourage them to engage with a clear call-to-action.

Facebook automatically adds a“Get Started” button, and you have a short intro and a welcome image to work with - make sure that both are inviting and reflect your brand and the chatbot experience.

As the chat continues, proactively provide options for the user to guide the conversation in the desired direction. Keep the chat dynamic and fun by asking regular action from the user through Quick Reply buttons and other prompts.

“You’d be surprised what you can learn about your business just by giving your users freedom to chat”, says Mr. Dye.

For example, a bot for a local cinema can ask you if you have any plans for the weekend and offer you to see a movie on the big screen. If you confirm you’re interested, the bot can ask what kind of movies do you like. Depending if you like drama, action or romantic comedy, the bot can offer you something from the cinema’s repertoire.

3. Create a personality your users will LOVE

You might be wondering - how can an automated bot feel personal? In fact, a personal and friendly approach is exactly what people expect from a Messenger conversation - so your bot should aim for nothing less - and make sure your bot copy always stays on brand.

For example, Erwin chatbot successfully mimics a natural conversation. Just like when you meet a live, polite person, Erwin greets you, introduces himself and asks how you’re doing:

Tips how to make your chatbot sound more personal:

  • Greet the user by name

  • Ask how he/she is doing or start with a friendly joke

  • After every sentence you write, ask yourself if you’d speak like that to a friend

  • Use emojis and stickers, like you would when chatting with a friend

Pro tip: Do make sure, however, that users know they are talking with a chatbot. Even if it seems obvious to you, it might be the user’s first interaction with a bot.

4. Make chatting easy for the user

To keep the person interested in the conversation, your sentences need to be short, engaging, and to the point. Don’t ask too much effort from the user - as most people are using Messenger on the go, they would prefer to engage with your chatbot by clicking through the buttons.

Some tips to simplify the conversation flow:

  • Write 1-2 sentences per text bubble

  • Send several text bubbles at a time (instead of one large bubble), but try to limit yourself to 3 bubbles as notifications can get annoying.

  • Use buttons with several options to click

  • Make every exchange as clear as possible

  • Avoid using jargon or terminology that might be unclear to your audience

Pro tip: Avoid open-ended questions as they make it easier for the user to stop replying or say something that the bot doesn’t understand.

5. Make your chatbot fun and interactive

Many users like to play with the chatbot to see what responses it will come up with. Unless your chatbot represents an overly serious industry like law or medicine, don’t be scared to play with it and add a layer of personality with quirky texts:

  • Funny prompts to start the conversation. For example, Dad Joke Bot starts the chat by saying “Press my button to get a joke from my dadabase. Get it?! Dadabase?”

  • Playful (but still relevant) questions. Zebra instant offers to “magically turn your photos into custom products right here on Messenger”. And asks “Wanna give it a try?” thus creating a sense of game and excitement.

  • Original error messages instead of the boring Sorry, could you rephrase that?

  • Several variations of the same hint or prompt. For example, Erwin bot sends you riddles and gives a different answer every time you guess correctly, or wrongly.

If your chatbot can achieve its aim (solve a user’s problem, help to order goods or services via Messenger, etc.) and give positive emotions to the users, they are likely to return to the bot again.

Pro tip: Ask input from the user - photos, gifs, and emojis will liven up the conversation.

For example, Zebra Instant has incorporated photos and interactivity into its chatbot by creating a printbot. People can send their photos to the printbot and see them turned into products that can be purchased and shared without leaving Messenger.

Zebra offers you to edit each product, share it, or show more items with the same photo. 

This shopping experience is fun and enjoyable for the users - the experience is lighthearted, instantly satisfying (users can instantly see their photos on products) and a lot more memorable. When brands can entertain people into buying their products, they are much more likely to be remembered.

6. Don’t show all your cards at once

Revealing all the features of your chatbot at the very beginning can be overwhelming for users, and they can soon get tired of chatting and abandon your bot. To avoid this, keep the conversation interesting and flowing by gradually introducing different options.

Allow the user to adjust the timing of the conversation - offer to set reminders, send a notification every day/week, etc.

For example, Poncho weather chatbot offers to adjust the frequency of receiving weather forecasts and other notifications. After chatting to the bot for a week, I received an offer to add my horoscope to the daily notifications. This new feature made me think that it’s worth keeping in touch with the bot for a longer time to see what else it has to offer.

7. Optimize and update your chatbot

Carefully follow the success of your bot after you launch it. Find the parts that tend to confuse people or put them off and try a different approach in your texts.

Also, update your chatbot script on a regular basis not to bore your regular visitors. A good strategy is adjusting your copy to seasons or popular holidays. Going the extra mile will give users a feeling that your bot is always up to date.

Your chatbot is the face of your business

As Messenger chatbots - and especially printbots - are still rather new, building one for your business or community now means a head start over your competition.

Adding a chatbot to your Messenger might not be enough, though.

It's crucial that you invest your resources to make your chatbot sound human and most importantly help users to accomplish their goal quickly. Every word, every sentence your chatbot says - from the way it greets the user, to the way it communicates error messages - should be well thought-out to be memorable and make a positive impression of your brand so that people would love to continue the conversation...



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