One of the biggest indicators of a chatbot’s success is the size of its userbase and how engaged they continue to be as time goes on. A large user base also generates tons of data that the bot makers can use to A/B test responses and make their bots even better. But the wait to grow a userbase can be excruciating: isn’t there a better way?

Thankfully, many bots have hit the ground running, generating thousands of subscribers in short periods of time. Whether they pulled it off in hours or months, these bot makers have passed along their secrets, which we’ll delve into below. With these tested methods of boosting your subscriber base fast, your chatbot will be like the Pied Piper, drawing new users out in droves.

 

 

Get your bot featured on Facebook’s Discover tab.

Facebook Messenger’s Discover tab is an important directory, and its featured section is prime real estate for bot makers who want to cast a wide net on an audience. While plenty of other bot directories exist, everyday users are unlikely to seek them out when looking for a chatbot to talk to. The Discover tab, meanwhile, invites them to try out new bots every time they open their favorite messaging app. Prominent placement there will send users to your bot in droves.

Want some proof on the “Discover effect?” The official chatbot for Chatbots Life gained over 85,000 new users across almost 432,000 sessions within just one week of being accepted as a featured bot on the platform. This dwarfs the initial user base of 11,000 that had taken months for the bot to develop. It’s clear that putting yourself out there in front of curious Facebook Messenger users can give you a big boost—and fast.

But there’s a caveat (as there always is). Make sure your bot is up to snuff before parading it in front of Facebook’s panel. Because that will decide whether it’s featured or not. The chatbot must be highly engaging if there’s any hope to get it featured. Keep an eye on chatbot analytics and iterate for a high engagement and retention rate before submitting it. Once you’re ready to submit your bot, follow the directions here.

 

set up chatbot userbase

 

Introduce yourself with a CTA.

Chatbots exist to be, well, chatty. So it shouldn’t sit like an awkward wallflower, waiting for people to talk to it. Instead, be proactive and have your chatbot initiate conversation through an engaging welcome message. Facebook now opens a chat window when users visit a page. Take special care in how you invite users to get the ball rolling. Offer an engaging, immediate value proposition with a smart CTA.

HomeTalk is a highly successful chatbot that raised its user base by initiating conversations upon user visits. The bot not only captured user attention but has held it too; it has an 83% week 1 retention and 46% retention on week 4.

Since you can easily implement a Messenger chat window onto your website, think of how easy it can be to sign up new subscribers as they visit your business homepage. By greeting prospective chatters, you can rack up many new subscribers fast.

Sign up new subscribers during user registration.

Let’s steal a tactic from email marketers. Consider every time you register a new account with a website. Upon putting in your email address, there’s almost always a little checkbox authorizing a newsletter signup too, right? It’s probably how you got on most, if not all, the email lists you subscribe to.

So why not get chatbot subscriptions the same way? Olyo added the option to subscribe to Messenger updates in their website user registration process. This nabbed them an impressive 150,000 subscribers in just four months. But there was another benefit, too: the company was able to combine data collected in user registration with data received from Facebook. This allowed them to better deliver upon users’ individual needs.

Speak in visuals.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what’s a video worth? As it turns out, a quick video demonstrating your chatbot experience can provide a huge ROI. When promoting your chatbot, do it with a short video or even a gif. So that the user can see what it’s like. This isn’t the optimal strategy for every bot; it’s most effective for chatbots that are games, offer browsing through product photos or make use of gifs for visual effect.

However,  it is a proven strategy that works. MojiHunt told Botanalytics, a chatbot analytics platform, how it was able to raise thousands of users—3,000 in just 6 hours, for example—by simply promoting a video demo of their Messenger chatbot game. That’s no small number and, as the bot makers say, it was all achieved “with zero marketing budget.”