The ultimate chatbot building guide for non-technical marketers

Posted by Justin Lee on 6/19/18 12:41 PM

How much easier would your life be as a marketer if you had a little robo-assistant that followed you around at all hours of the day?

The little guy wouldn’t require any food, attention nor money… he would just be waiting at your beck and call to help find the answers to your questions.

With the help of a little robo-assistant, you would be spending less time trying to remember passwords, checking analytics, hunting down contact information and fielding one-off questions from customers.

Suddenly, you would find that you had more time to focus on the things that drive the biggest results for your company.

While we haven’t yet created a robot that follows marketers around, there is something pretty close — chatbots.

Previously strictly an interest of software developers and coders, recent advancements in chatbots are making them hugely beneficial to the most non-technical of marketers — offering a “way out” from under the never-ending pile of emails, meetings and to-do’s. And, more time for the stuff they were actually hired to do.

What is a chatbot anyways?

Simply put, chatbots are artificially intelligent digital assistants that can communicate via text or speech and are designed to solve problems specific to their users.

In addition, chatbots generally live in a messaging platform of sorts — like Slack, Facebook messenger, kik, etc.

Chatbots really didn’t start catching fire until late in 2016 when Facebook gave developers an open-invitation to build them directly into their messenger.

Within just six short months, 30,000 chatbots were running loose in the wild wild west that is Facebook messenger. And, fast forward a couple years… there are now 100,000 active bots on the platform.

It wasn’t until just recently that big brands like Sephora, Pizza Hut, Duolingo and Bank of America started utilizing chatbots to make life easier on both their customers and marketing teams.

Pizza Hut actually allows customers to now order pizza right in Facebook messenger or on Twitter… something worth keeping in mind next time you’re hungry.

But, while it’s one thing for big massive brands like Pizza Hut to spend a portion of their endless time, money and resources building out chatbots — does it make sense for a marketer like yourself to do the same?

Here is how to design a marketing chatbot… even if you know nothing about coding.

4 easy steps for designing the ultimate marketing chatbot

While I’ve done my best to consolidate this post into easy actionable steps for marketers who might be less tech-savvy, if you are interested in taking a deeper dive into how to go about building a chatbot, definitely check out How to build a chatbot from pitch to promotion. I also wrote about how we are getting +105K people to use our chatbot.

In addition, if after reading this article you feel inspired to build a chatbot of your own, HubSpot will be launching a super-duper Chatbot Builder sometime this year.

Now, without further ado, here are 4 easy steps for designing the ultimate marketing chatbot…

1. Decide who the chatbot is for and what problem it is solving.

In marketing, you need to know who your customer is and what problem they are struggling with. This is called your target market and your target market’s pain point.

This is important because when you know who your target market is you can better tailor a marketing message directly to them. And, when you know what problem they are struggling with, you can design a product that can solve it.

The same goes for chatbots. When you’re designing your chatbot you need to know who you are designing it for and what problem or pain point you’re trying to solve.

I would argue that it is even more important to keep this top of mind when designing chatbots because they are so conversation heavy and must appeal to your customer’s personality as well as their needs.

2. Determine what kind of chatbot you are designing — information or utility.

While there are a ton of chatbots out there, the two primary models of chatbots are information and utility. Once you’ve determined what problem you want your chatbot to solve, it will be easier to choose the right kind of bot.

Informational bots give users new and easier ways to access information. In other words, instead of the users having to take the time to look up specific information, the chatbot will do it for them.

An example of an informational chatbot would be CNN’s chatbot that delivers breaking news through Facebook messenger. While users have the ability to look up news themselves, CNN’s information bot takes the time and energy out of searching for news.

And then, of course, there is Utility chatbots, which help people complete some type of action or solve a problem. An example of a utility bot would be Pizza Hut’s chatbot I mentioned earlier which helps customers complete the action of ordering pizza.

So, what problem you are trying to solve will determine what type of bot you choose to build — whether that be informational or utility or perhaps even a hybrid of both.

3. Choose a home for your little guy to live in and a platform to build him on.

As brilliant as chatbots are… they need a place to live or rather a messenger app to live on. This is again where your target market really comes into play. For example, if you’re building out a chatbot for young marketing teams, you might choose Slack.

But, if your users are of an older generation, it might not be a bad idea to build your chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Ask yourself — where will the people using this chatbot hang out? Then, build your chatbot wherever that is.

After you’ve chosen where your chatbot is going to live, you then need to decide on a chatbot builder — and this can be tricky. While there are a ton of chatbot builders floating around the web today, there are very few that are easy to use for non-technical marketers.

You can get on the waitlist for our Chatbot Builder which is specifically designed for marketers with no coding experience. But, if you’re chomping at the bit to start your chatbot build out today, check out — Motion AI, Chatfuel, Botsify, Beep Boop, Bot Kit or

4. Put a little heart and soul in your chatbot… then test, test and test some more.

Once you have chosen a messenger and a chatbot builder, you’re now ready to bring your chatbot to life and give it some personality.

While it is imperative that your chatbot solves your customer’s problem, it’s just as important it does it in an easy, fun and personable way. Keep in mind that chatbots are at a bit of a disadvantage starting out… they’re not human.

So, in order to design a high-quality marketing chatbot, you need to make sure you are making it as human as possible.

When you’re designing your chatbot’s personality and building out its flow (or building out a series of questions to interact with the user), it’s so important that you keep your target market top of mind.

If your chatbot is designed for restaurant managers, it’s going to have a much different personality than if it’s designed for a teenage girl.

Once your chatbot’s personality and flow have been built-out, you’re going to want to test it on your target market.

Gather a focused group of people who are willing to provide you candid feedback. Ask them to mess around with your chatbot and poke holes in it.

From there, it’s an ongoing process of testing and making improvements.

Scratch your own itch.

One piece of advice you often hear among marketers and entrepreneurs is to “scratch your own itch.” Or, in other words, create something or market something that appeals to you.

The concept behind this is that we as people aren’t all that dissimilar. If you like a product, service or idea… there is a solid chance that hundreds of other people do too.

I believe this methodology can apply to building chatbots as well — especially marketing chatbots. If you aren’t sure what chatbot to build, simply begin by building a chatbot that solves a problem you are currently dealing with.

Find your itch and then design a chatbot that can scratch it.