What to expect in this episode;

Cliff ran Digital for Daymond John at Shark Branding for 4 years.

Sir has been an engineer for over 20 years building tools for marketers and is the brains behind Bitbot.ai.

  • FB Messenger is like 2007 for FB Fan Pages
  • Inbox Nirvana – how to get 100% open/read rates
  • Respecting the Inbox – complications of AI and IFTTT automation
  • Don’t overthink what you want to do & your “chatbot” expectations
  • Creating a whole new Piece of Pie (FB payments integrations)
  • Listen to all of FB’s earnings calls – last 4 calls have been about messenger

You can find bitbot.ai on Facebook and Twitter!

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Sir: There’s no noise inside the inbox.

Announcer: The biggest names in e-commerce share tricks of the trade, from tools and software to strategies and growth hacks. Learn from the best, and take your business to the next level.

JD: What are the actual tactical things that you’re doing to attract people?

Announcer: Now your host, JD Crouse.

JD: Hello, and welcome back to E-Commerce in the Trenches. This is JD Crouse and today I’m stoked to have some bot experts on the podcast. I want to welcome Sir Drafton and Cliff Worley, co-founders of Bitbot.ai. Welcome, guys.

Cliff: Thanks.

Sir: Hey, man. What’s happening?

JD: Sir, why don’t you give us just a quick background as to what got to you where you are today, and starting Bitbot and a little bit about your background?

Sir: As quick as possible, how the many … not birth, but started transitioning into basic Messenger is about a year and a half ago, at home. Didn’t go to the FA Conference for Facebook, decided to watch it online. Was hearing about the big deal of Facebook Messenger, which I really didn’t think was a big deal. Then once I watched the whole FA Conference and what Zuckerberg’s vision was and what he wanted to do with Messenger, it blew my mind. I personally could see where this was going and what this was going to mature into. Ultimately, one of the big things he says is they want this on the same level as WeChat for China, to be able to do a lot of transactions.
A lot of these tasks that have been done in apps, now you can do inside of Messenger, so it brings a whole new medium and channel to the ballgame. You don’t have to have as many resources to reach this channel, and you don’t have to have people register. Long story short, I watched the conference, it blew my mind just as far as what they’re trying to do. We can get more in depth in that, and just knowing what resources Facebook was going to put behind this. We know when they put something behind it, they’re going to go full-throttle.
It’s like something where, like we say, this is like 2007 for Facebook fan pages, right? That’s where we are, when people were first saying you didn’t need a Facebook fan page to have a business. Now, you don’t exist as a business unless you have a fan page, right? That’s just expected, and that’s where I see a lot of this going, where it’s going to be expected to have an automated experience on Facebook Messenger if you have a business. That’s just going to be expected. That’s a quick rundown of how I got involved.

JD: Your background is in development, is that correct?

Sir: Yeah. I totally skipped over that, yeah. I’m an engineer, and have been in development for over 20 years, but really specifically have been building tools in the social media space for various platforms, you know, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. I’ve always been dabbling and creating tools for marketers, integrating social media. Before this, Bitbot.ai had a product which was Twitter-focused, and one of the things that we kept running into was that businesses would say, “We love the product, but we don’t have resources available for Twitter in our budget.” That was the thing. Everybody’s budget is focused on Facebook, Facebook ads.

JD: That’s right.

Sir: Everybody’s spending their money on that. Now, when Twitter’s trying to of course get their whole ad game up, but nobody’s spending money there, for us it wasn’t a futile exercise but it was just challenging, in knowing that we wanted to be where the money’s being spent. Once this came available, once Facebook came out and said, “We’re going to let people have this automated experience, and we’re going to let you communicate with 100 percent of your people,” that is so big in that when you think about the numbers of all the other channels you communicate with … right, the numbers, like we talk about email marketing. It’s 20 percent and you’re good, 30 percent and you’re golden. Those are the numbers that we’re happy for. Facebook fan pages now, it used to be 100 percent reach rate. It’s like 5 percent now, so 5 to 10 percent of your fans you get to reach when you make a post.
Now we’re talking about the whole premise and concept of marketing and promotions is to get your message out. Ultimately you would want all the people to get your message, and right now Facebook is giving you this opportunity. When people talk about how big is this going to be and where is this going to go, I think the biggest thing is that you can make this as big as you want it to be. When we see open rates of 85 percent … and that’s low … of these campaigns that we’re involved in, that’s a ridiculous number if you’re a marketer, to say that two things are happening.
One, we’re already spending our money inside of Facebook. We’re spending our money to try to get the email or however, to then communicate with these people. We get their email, but we’re still only reaching 20 percent, if you’re good. I’m giving you good at 20 percent, but that’s [inaudible 05:49] 20 percent.
Now, if we’re saying you can spend this same money and you can reach potentially 100 percent of these people, and these people can … you have access to 100 percent of these people. Now when you’re spending your Facebook ad dollar, it’s not just going away. You’re not getting a 20 percent on your dollar buy from Facebook. I know I went really far with that.

JD: I can’t shut you down, man.

Sir: Yeah, I’m sorry.

JD: Cliff, we haven’t forgot about you. Are you still there?

Cliff: I’m here. I’m here.

JD: Great. Give me your background, and you’ve got a fun background to talk about, so don’t be humble. Go ahead and tell people what you’ve been doing the last several years.

Cliff: Yeah, yeah. For the last four years I was working as the chief digital officer for Daymond John from ABC’s “Shark Tank.” I actually met him while I was in business school at Babson. Randomly, he taught a class. I took the class, stalked him for a job, and we worked for the last four years together on multiple things. I actually used to run and manage his Infusionsoft system for multiple years. Sir and I have always worked together on building digital platforms and products for marketers, and trying to find ways that we can plug them in to the portfolio of companies that we had there.
Yeah, like Sir said, it was interesting. We had been pitching a lot of advertisers about our Twitter product, and I remember the day Sir called me. He said, “You’re not going to believe this. Facebook is now allowing us to now do Facebook chatbots,” and he was like, “We’re gonna shift over here.” It was like let’s go, and so we’ve been running ever since. The cool thing about it is probably early of this year is when it really just took off, like people started to get it. You started to see more businesses launching chatbots.
I think when they originally came out with it, I think CNN was a big partner, 1-800-Flowers, so they had a lot of big brands as a launch, and I believe it was the beginning of this year. It was perfect timing for us, because we were one of the only chatbot platforms out there at that time, so a very exciting time for us. JD, I definitely remember hearing about you and the Build-A-Business competition. I know Daniel was one of the judges for the Shopify content, so congratulations on all your work that you’ve done as well.

JD: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, it was pretty cool. Amy, my wife, and I, when we were fortunate enough to win the Build-A-Business competition, Shopify flew us out to New York. We got to spend I think two and a half hours with Daymond and Faith Paige Wall and Ted Kingsbery, had a business development. I wish I would have been able to meet you way back then. That would have been cool.

Cliff: I know, I know.

JD: It’s a small world. I really did appreciate Daymond and his team. He actually saved me a lot of heartache, just some things that he shared, and so it was cool. That was neat, that you got to work with those guys. Well, so let’s just jump right into it. I mean, the most burning question that I have right now about Facebook Messenger bots, everybody’s talking about it. It’s the new sexy tool or technology, and all of us marketers are stumbling around trying to figure out, “Okay, how the heck do we use this thing? How does it not bite us in the butt?”
Because like you were saying, Sir, you could potentially reach 100 percent of the people that you’re connected to. How do you manage that and come across as caring and authentic and responsive, and what’s the best use case for it? Is it an acquisition tool? Is it a mid- funnel tool? Is it a conversion tool? Is it a post-purchase tool? Is it a customer support tool? Who wants to tackle this? Which one of you guys have an opinion?

Sir: I’ll start off and then Cliff can jump in. I think one of the best and worst things about the chatbot, it can do everything, right? I like to basically say that it is the web, SMS and email mixed together. All of those, every single one of those channels and platforms, you can accomplish everything inside with a chatbot messenger. The first thing is people overthink what they want to do and their expectations of their chatbot, and I put “chatbot” in air quotes, because I think a lot of times right now, when you first hear the term “chatbot,” you’re thinking this full-on conversation. We’re not at that phase yet where we’re having this assistant, because ultimately that’s what all these big companies are trying to do. You know, Google, Alexa, these assistants that know what you’re saying so they can respond back.

JD: It’s AI, right? It’s AI to the Nth degree, that’s trying to fill the gap of an actual human being?

Sir: Yes. Yes, right. I think when you try to take that approach is where a lot of challenges can come across. It’s like when you gave an example of somebody set up a conversation flow where the person, the user, thought that they were really talking to somebody. Then at that point, you’re left hanging, then the user experience isn’t very good. I think the first thing is always managing expectations for your user and yourself of what you’re trying to accomplish.
What’s your goal? Once again, is it your goal to sell product, to get somebody to go to your web page? Is it to schedule somebody for a webinar? What are your goals? I think once you start putting these tasks, making this more task-oriented, and letting the user know that this is an automated experience, this is more of an app/website that you’re using inside of messenger.

JD: How do you do that, Sir? Are you just overtly clear, even in the very first message, to just say, “Look, this is a bot”? What have you seen work well to avoid the appearance of a real human behind that?

Sir: I always, first of all, like having an easy interface. What I mean by “interface” is how people are going to get around inside of your bot. Having buttons and having your menus set up pretty clearly, having helper messages that basically can push the user into the experience that you’re looking for.
Once again, we get into what are you trying to accomplish and what is your goal. We don’t want to just have a random experience for this user. If you have a product and you have a product line, ultimately what you want to do is you want to show the user your products. You want to have information about the products, you want to have the ability for somebody to buy the products. Then what you want to maybe have is your follow-up campaigns, because we all know it’s not the first experience when somebody’s going to that call to action that you want. Now we have these follow-up campaigns that can then educate your user to then get them to that call to action.
I think a lot of times people get mixed up thinking that this is the magical unicorn that’s going to solve everything. No, that’s not the case, but once again, what we can do is all of these other techniques that we’re using, that are already part of our daily marketing toolboxes … which is the landing page, get the email, we’ve got our CRM kickoff campaigns, we’re sending out these emails, follow-up emails, and you’re basically funneling people to this action. Now what I would say is that adding in another channel is going to increase your margin, right?
Once again, not going too far down this road, keeping it very simple. When you say, “How do you let people know that this is an automated experience,” the first message that pops up should have buttons. Now the user is already knowing that this isn’t just a conversation, assistant bot. There might be times when the text and conversation does happen. We have an FAQ module where you put in your questions, put in your answers, and then you train the FAQ. That is an instance when there will be a read-and-response type of activity going on.
Once again, a lot of things, but I think the biggest thing that I always like to tell people, keep it simple. Don’t overthink it, and what are the goals you’re trying to accomplish? The same techniques and things you’re doing should really be applied inside of your Messenger experience for your users and your audience. Yeah, I always say it’s like really your audience should want content from you if you produce good content. That’s one of the biggest parts of this, is you can do anything, but if what you have isn’t very appealing to your audience, then it is going to feel like spam any day of the week. If you have content that is going to provide for your audience, they’re going to want to get more information from you, and on a constant basis, the same way we set up these email campaigns. They’ll be going on every other week.
If you open this email, we’ll send another type email to you. The same thing in the Messenger world. If we know that you’ve looked at this product on our Messenger, now let’s start sending some information to you about this product. Let’s start educating you, do the same techniques that you’ve already been doing. Once again, keep it simple, figure out what you’re trying to do. Cliff, I don’t want to go on with that. I know you’ve probably got some stuff to add to that.

JD: Yeah. Let me frame it just a little bit for you, Cliff, and you can add whatever to Sir’s. You come from a funnel background, or if you’ve been running Infusionsoft campaigns for years, for those of you who maybe don’t know, Infusionsoft would allow you … I think they’ve become well known for automated sequences. Literally, you could build out five years, if you wanted to, of a sequence for somebody who opts in or for a buyer, first-time buyer, second-time buyer, all these different triggers. How do you think about Facebook Messenger bots related to automation and automated follow-up? Is that the big play?

Cliff: It’s a couple of different things. I think they can be used in conjunction. One of the things that we have built into our platform is the ability to capture the Messenger data and move it into your CRM seamlessly, because we think that these platforms should be talking to each other. Just how you sometimes can connect your SMS platform to your email CRM platform, we think of the same way as Messenger.
First of all, that’s just one position that we’re taking, like let’s utilize both of these together. If you capture an email in Messenger, let’s move that into Infusionsoft, tag that contact record, and then possibly kick off a campaign based off of the answers or the information that people put into Messenger. If they hit this button … let’s say they’re interested in your latest product, but they’re not interested in the product that came out last week. Well, let’s move that information into our CRM and kick off automated campaigns that way, right?
In terms of just automation in general, we look at the platform, Messenger, the same way as we would look at a CRM, is you can send timed messages, you can send broadcasts out, you can send follow-up messages. If this, then that, right? If they click this, then send them this message. If they didn’t click this, then send them another message tomorrow. We look at it as it’s another marketing automation tool, and because it’s AI, it’s a perfect reason.
You know, I know over time, as people experience chatbots, they’re going to … we’re just in that early phase where, you know, is this something that’s going to be automated or is somebody actually looking at it? There are tools out there that you can still contact a human being, and you can build your chatbot to notify you once they reach a certain level. If they’ve gone down through this path and they’ve clicked this button, then have the chatbot alert me so then I can jump into this conversation.
We do that a lot with Bitbot. Our Bitbot chatbot gives you the ability to check out all of our features, and sometimes people come in and they say they have more questions. We have just a note that says, “We’ll jump in there as soon as possible, within the first 24 hours, to get back to you,” just so we let the user know that we hear you and we’ll be responding to you. Then a couple times a day, we go on there, we jump in and have these conversations, and we close a lot of deals just from that.
Chatbots, the goal of it isn’t to convert and get a sale. Right now it’s just to start a conversation. Starting a conversation with your potential customers, and then having conversations with your customers. I think that’s the biggest thing right now. We’re in this kind of two-way, we want instant communication. If we want something, we want it right now, right? Messenger allows you to give your potential customers that capability when they’re interacting with your product, so that’s one of the things that I’ve seen.
Like Sir said, this is one of these things where it’s like just start simple. Take one piece of your funnel that you have right now and say, “Okay, I’ve been driving all this traffic to a landing page. Let me just build a chatbot.” Let’s say your landing page, it captures an email, and then that email sends them a PDF or a free guide that you have. You say, “Okay, I want to try this, just to see what happens by driving this to a chatbot, and I want it to do the same thing. I want it to capture an email and I want it to deliver a PDF.”
What you do is you build your chatbot. You might have a welcome message that says, “Thank you for clicking into the chatbot. I’m going to send you this PDF, but in order do that, I need your email first.” Then you connect that to your PDF, so once the email is given to you, then the PDF is delivered, natively through Messenger. They don’t necessarily receive an email, but you can also send them an email as well, because it’s like you never know what people are … what’s their preferred method of consuming content. It might be email, might be SMS, and you might do all three.
Then what you’ll see is you didn’t have to build out a whole landing page and all this crazy copy and things like that, like so design. Literally with a chatbot, it’s a couple words, it’s a button, and then boom and it’s done. The setup time is way, way, way, way, way, way … it’s crazy, the amount of time and effort and copy and design you want to have for a landing page, literally you can build that same chatbot funnel in five minutes, and you’re just dropping things into it. Go ahead, Sir.

Sir: Yeah, I wanted to add real quick that the best example I like to give people is that … you know, we already talked about a large amount of people’s advertising budget goes to Facebook Messenger, so the normal flow goes Facebook Messenger, you set up your ad. [Inaudible 22:47], you set up your landing page. They click the ad and they go to the landing page. They have to type in their name. The same example of a PDF, right, that’s the magnet.
You have ads set up, they click the ad. The user goes to your landing page. The user has to type in their name, they have to type in their email, and then at that point that’s how this all goes. There are times when they click the ad and they don’t type in their name and their email. You don’t have the opportunity to then … and then people would say, “Well, I can retarget those people,” but you’re sending those people another ad. You’re not communicating with them.
Now, if we do the same cycle and we throw a Messenger chatbot in the middle of that, what goes is we go from the ad directly into the chatbot. Now, the same flow, like Cliff was saying. It’ll say, “I need your email to get this download PDF.” They type their email in, it gives them the PDF. The same example I just talked about with the landing page, where the person doesn’t give you their name and email where you can’t talk to them, I can still communicate with that person in Messenger. I can still send an automated campaign later on that says, “Hey, I see you didn’t download this, maybe you want to download this now.” Now you’ve created a whole new margin that you didn’t have before.
If you’re already spending your money in Facebook, if somebody’s in Facebook, they pretty much want to stay in Facebook, right? Let’s keep this whole experience native. Now on top of that, you have this person’s name. Without them putting any information in, you know their name. Once again, you know what they like, and you can communicate with this person. My thing is easy, where I’m like if you’re spending your ad dollars, and every single time somebody clicks on that ad, you actually can’t communicate with that person, you’re losing money. At the bare minimum, you should be increasing the amount of ads specifically that go to a chatbot for that person.

JD: I’ve got two things rattling around in my head. Seth Godin, he’s like the father of permission-based marketing, or he’s been beating that drum for quite some time, so that’s one. I want to talk to you guys about that. The second thing is I love the goal. I love, Cliff, how … I mean, Sir, you teed it up and Cliff really brought it home, and it’s like, “Look, chatbots are used to begin a conversation. I’m not asking you to marry me, and I’m not asking you to pull your credit card out and spend money with me. I just want to be helpful, I want to get to know you, point you in the right direction, educate you about my products and services. Then if you’re ready to convert, then there’s a path to do that.”
Let’s tackle that first. Here’s the issue that I see in e-commerce. We are so impatient. I mean, we are fighting for the attention of our customers. We spend a lot of money driving people to our site. We spend a lot of energy trying to create content, to stay relevant, to stay top of mind, to engage like Cialdini, the law of reciprocation. We want to be value-first and all that kind of stuff, but when the rubber meets the road, we have got to sell product.
For a lower-dollar ticket, let’s say sub-50 bucks, the whole kind of HubSpot, Infusionsoft mantra of drive people to a squeeze page … I mean, what you just said a minute ago, Sir, is so right. It’s like, you know, drive people to a squeeze page, have great copy there or a video sales letter to get people to opt in to, download more content, more great value-first content, and then you’ve got them in a long follow-up sequence, long-term nurture, trying to get them into whatever you’re trying to sell, typically a higher-dollar deal. For a lot of e-commerce stores, that info first, it just isn’t applicable.
You know, there’s an argument that says, “Well, yeah, for everything you could be an info-first business,” but the reality is most e-commerce stores are not. In thinking about that, how do you begin the conversation? Is it just helping people shop your store? “Hey, I’m here for you. What colors do you like? Are you looking for something in particular?” Just asking questions and allowing the AI rules to then hopefully … hopefully you can build that out like a sophisticated help system that will point them in the direction that they need to go, and essentially segment them based upon their answers. Help me with that one.

Sir: Honestly I think you completely explained how you should be engaging your audience through a chatbot. Once again I harken back to a couple things, is we already have … the tools that are used, we’re exhausting them, is what we’ve come to. We’re at a point now where you’re basically saying that some of these techniques work for some types of companies and some don’t, and I think that can be applied in the chatbot world.
For me, I’m like anything can be done inside of here, right, and what you just said is what people should be working towards, is the user experience with your audience and your brand. Whatever your brand is, if you’re selling something, ultimately if somebody’s coming to your chatbot and is interested in this product, now we’re talking about what are the campaigns to get this person to do this call to action? What are the things that we need to tell this person that are going to get them interested to click this button to buy?
Ultimately what you do is you market this. You know, put the photos up. People click on that, they go to your website, they look around, they buy or they don’t buy. The experience is not just complicated things that we’re dealing with. Really what we want to do is we want to shrink those clicks down inside of the chatbot. We want to already know what this person wants, because they’ve been here. We want to send information to them about this product, and then eventually this margin should be created, in theory. I don’t know if that gives you the exact answer, what you’re looking for.

Cliff: Yeah, I can give an example kind of from the e-commerce standpoint. I think right now there’s probably a lot of opportunity in abandoned carts. You’ve got your retargeting set up. You’re probably running some Facebook ads back to the product, or you might be offering a discount. I think if I was going to do this with a chatbot, I would do a retargeting campaign to the abandoned cart, potential customers, and in the chatbot, that’s a place where you can actually have a conversation with a user and figure out, in a very simple way, why didn’t they buy.
You can have different options. “I don’t have the money at this time, I’m interested later, I’m not actually interested in the product,” and you can start getting information from each of these people who visit this site. Now you’re seeing who they are, you’re actually seeing why they didn’t buy, and then now you can actually jump in there and have a conversation with them to see if you can help them, move them to the purchase process, or you know this just might not be a good fit for them. I think the information that you can get can help you tailor your product. They might say, “Oh, I was really looking for it in red, but I couldn’t find it on the site and that’s why I left.” Then you’re like, “Okay.”

JD: Right, and you can be of service and say, “Here it is in red, sorry it wasn’t easy for you to find,” or, “We’re expecting to get more red in in a week or whatever, would you like for me to ping you?”

Cliff: Yeah. If you had that in the automated experience, if you just said, “Why didn’t you buy,” and they say, “You didn’t have the color that I wanted,” and then you’d say, “Okay, what color were you looking for, red, green or blue,” and they say, “Blue,” you can go ahead and now tag them into your CRM and put them on the waiting list for blue. That way, once blue is available, you can push a message to them and say, “Hey, thanks for letting me know that you were interested in blue. We just got a new stock in, here it is right here.” It’s just that level of customer service now.

Sir: Just real quick, I think honestly that right now, like you said, it’s being a marketer and being patient, and really what you are trying to get to and what … we have phases, right? I think we have the first phase of the bot, of your chatbot, and then …

JD: We’re in like the early-adopters phase right now, right?

Sir: Yes. Yes, right. We’re like super-early, so a lot of these things are going to come. Once again, we’re at the super-infancy stage. There’s like 20 million Facebook fan pages, but it’s like just 200,000 bots, and that’s going to be the equivalent very soon. Like I say, if you can only reach 5 percent of your audience on the fan page and you can reach 100 percent on Messenger, it’s an easy equation. It’s more so just the education of your audience and of brands now.

Cliff: I think the other thing that’s coming down the pipeline … you know, they’re taking their time, but it’s in beta right now … is commerce in Messenger. Right now Facebook Messenger has a partnership with PayPal. You’re starting to see just a couple of different use cases. They’re supposed to have Stripe integration as well, coming at the beginning of the year. I think ultimately what’s going to happen is we’re going to see … this might be two, three years, right … we’re going to see our financial accounts, bank accounts or credit cards or PayPal accounts, connected to our Facebook accounts, so that when we do go in Messenger, it’s just two clicks and we’ve got the products that we want.
I think that’s what’s coming down the line, and Sir is absolutely right. We’re in the early adopter phase, and Facebook is … you know, they like to move slow on these things and be sure that they get it right. I think the people who go in right now and start to learn and figure out how their audience reacts to chatbots, and give them engaging things, they’ll win long-term. As soon as that payment button is added, then it’s going to be a whole new ballgame.

Sir: Yeah. Just real quick, this is the time where there’s no noise inside the inbox. This is the best time to get involved, compared to the noise we hear inside of email and SMS. This is the open canvas.

JD: Love it. Let’s talk about Seth Godin and permission-based, and then I want to finish up with what payments inside of Messenger is going to do to the stock value of Shopify, and I want to get you guys’ predictions. Just share with me if either one of you or both of you have a feeling, of how do we stay permission-based so that we’re not just … you know, marketers kill everything.

Sir: Totally.

JD: I mean, we just ruin it all.

Sir: Totally.

JD: If you’re not marketing, you’re not selling anything. Like Zig Ziglar said, shy salespeople have skinny kids. You’ve got to sell stuff, and provide value. I mean, you’re not selling junk, so how do we stay permission-based throughout this whole thing, with all of our goals, with bots?

Sir: I keep on harkening back to this … the same rules that we use in email are easily applied. An easy opt-out should always be available for however you communicate with your audience. When they type the word “stop,” it should be … but that’s not always the case. This is just how I think … the best way, like you say, is permission-based experience, and to not offend and be on the blacklist of Facebook. Number one, making sure, making it very visible for people to opt out, I would say is number one.
I think the second thing is … and this goes for everything … is having relevant content. Like I said before, if you truly have good content and you’re targeting your audience, this won’t be a problem, because they’re already looking for your brand and your material as it is. The next thing would be that you don’t want to … of course this is a small amount of characters, so you need to get to the point, but you don’t want to overdo it. I’ve got myself … because I go around looking at bots, and I’ve seen people that I’ve had to mute them, literally. I’m like, “This is crazy that I’m getting a message every other day asking me a question.” I’m like, “That’s overkill.”
A lot of it is common sense. You can’t treat this the same way you do an email, where you’re sending somebody a message every day because you already know they’re not going to open it. This is valuable space. You have to respect people’s inbox, so that you can keep your audience of subscribers. Keep it simple, allow people to opt out very easy, and don’t overdo it.

Cliff: I would agree. Just real quick, making sure that all messages have the option to opt out. It’s very easy to set up, and then just manage and watch it. You know, watch your unsubscribe rate on messages. I’ve heard through just different experiences that a once-a-week blast is what’s a good cadence right now, but that might go higher as people have more experience with Messenger and the chatbots.

JD: All right, predictions. What happens to these shopping cart platforms? What happens to Shopify, Magento, big commerce? Do you guys want to stick your neck out and make any predictions? They’re still going to have to have the CRM to hold the products in the inventory and all of that, so I don’t understand how it all works. Help me.

Sir: I think it’s creating a whole new piece of pie. I don’t think everybody goes anywhere. Everybody integrates with this. Shopify will have … they kind of have it right now, but they’ll just have all the integrations for Messenger. They’ll have it real seamless, where you do all your products to be accessible inside of Messenger, purchase. The only difference is that the layer will change just as far as where the user is experiencing this.
Once again, a web is the choice of platform right now for purchases and buying. Once that becomes fully available inside of Messenger, people will go inside of Messenger do it. Instead of going on the web and typing in “target,” I would just go to Messenger and type in “target,” and so forth, for small businesses. I think nobody goes anywhere, I think they just move where they’re doing their business, is the way I see it.

JD: Cliff, what are your thoughts?

Cliff: Yeah, I agree. I don’t think Facebook is trying to get into the e-commerce game.

JD: Come on, man. They want to own the world. Are you sure?

Cliff: Yeah. Well, we’ll see what happens in five years. I’ll listen back to this and kick myself. I think what you’ll see is you’ll see … maybe initially you’ll see them make it very easy to just, with a couple clicks of the button, you can have your whole Shopify store in a chatbot. Over time, they might learn from that and see what’s working, and then come up with their own e-commerce platform. I think for right now it’s going to be how do we bring what everybody is already doing on the web, on like websites, and bring your website into Facebook Messenger where everybody can make money?

JD: Right. Well, I know that having our store, our catalog, inside of our fan page, I don’t even think we have that right now. We may have it, but I had it turned off forever because it’s just like the worst user experience. It’s ugly. It’s just really crappy, so it tells me that Facebook hasn’t put a lot of resources around design and presentation and all of that, but buyable pins on Instagram and buyable posts, but that’s kind of a rich man’s game. I mean, I don’t know if it’s changed, but you need to commit to like $100,000 a month in spend in order to have that integration on Instagram.
We know that it’s coming. What it ultimately looks like, especially for a small e-commerce entrepreneur like us, what that rolls out ultimately to look like is still up in the air, but it’s fun, right? I mean, you guys are … good pivot. Y’all pivoted, and you’re on the train and it’s moving fast, huh?

Sir: Yeah, definitely. I tell people, man, to check out … you should always listen to Facebook’s earning calls, quarterly earning calls, because over the last three quarters, that’s all they’ve been talking about and the resources they’ve been putting behind it. All the numbers, talking about 60 percent of their businesses on Facebook don’t have web pages, so they’re trying to build all this stuff, these tools for businesses. The energy, the amount of energy they’re putting into this, you can see.
From what I can tell, to duplicate what WeChat is doing in China is doable. For you to be doing all these small transactions inside of Messenger just totally makes sense. They don’t want to take over the world. They want to put a tax on the world, is what they want to do. They want to tax everything. It’s just a small tax.

JD: Yeah. It’s a tax of attention. It’s a tax of impressions. It might not necessarily be a dollar, unless you’re a merchant trying to sell stuff through them, and you will pay. I mean, believe me, you will pay.

Sir: Yes.

JD: For the user, you’re just going to flow through their ecosystem. Well, listen, guys, thanks so much for helping to educate me and our listeners, all of us who are trying to grow our e-commerce businesses. Do you guys have any resources, or if people want to connect with you and Bitbot.ai, where do they go?

Cliff: I would say definitely check out the website, Bitbot.ai, and also check out our chatbot. If you want to see the features that we have built in there for marketers, I mean, we have quizzes, polls, surveys, contents, event guides, FAQ modules. We want to make it super-easy and useful, and build tools to help you engage the audience in ways you haven’t before. Definitely check us out in Messenger. Just type in “bitbot.ai,” and we’ll pop up and you can play around.

JD: Fantastic. All right, any parting thoughts or words?

Sir: Like I said, get on now. We’ve got about like 18 months before the noise and saturation will set in, so you want to plant your flag now.

Cliff: Start small. Just take a piece of what you’re already doing. If you’ve got a landing page, you’ve got product, just break it out, try it in a chatbot, compare the numbers and go from there.

Sir: Yeah. This is a marathon, I tell people. It’s not a sprint. People get caught up, you know. This is a full-on marathon. If you’re in this game for the long term, this is something you want to be involved in, like get your Bitcoins when they were a dollar.

JD: Let the engineers run the sprint, right?

Sir: Yes, exactly.

Cliff: Exactly, yeah.

JD: You’re the guy that’s … you’ve got these feature requests and you’re trying to map them out and like, oh, my gosh.

Sir: It’s an arms race for us right now. It’s an all-out arms race.

JD: Absolutely. Well, hey, guys, thanks for your time today. Check out Bitbot.ai. Sir Drafton and Cliff Worley, thank you guys so much. I look forward to shaking your hand and meeting you guys in person soon, hopefully at [crosstalk 44:55].

Sir: Definitely, definitely.

JD: Yeah, appreciate it. Have a great day.

Cliff: Thanks, JD.

Sir: All right, man. Appreciate it.

JD: All right.

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