How to Grow Your Email List Using Chatbots

July 28, 2019

Upon reading the title above you might be wondering if chatbots can really help you grow your email list. The answer is yes, otherwise this article wouldn’t exist. Most business today are in a state of competition with one another. It is this very competition why you should consider chatbots as a tool at your disposal. Chatbots can provide a great service when it comes to customer support and service.

Customer support and service is the main reason Live chat was posted as the next big tool. In reality people needed to consider work schedules and cost of the personnel handling the live chat. UserVoice said “Live chat allowed companies to provide instant customer service by chatting with customers, providing an unprecedented potential for insight and retention.”.

If you have experienced what it is like to run a live chat in a small business, then you know just how difficult this is. Live chat requires a qualified person to be in charge of the chatting at all times. Aside from that, it is time demanding and this affects work flow and quality.

Since chatting involves likely more than one person, you have to consider how customers use the chat. Since they usually did it at their own pace, employees likely found themselves completely dragged to the live chat service. This, of course, is good for the customer but very bad for the work that employee should be doing. In the other hand, if the employee disregards the live chat, the customer will likely be frustrated and will find another service.

Some good news.

Live chats never really lived up to what they promised, well that is until now days. Now we have chatbots, and they provide a solution to almost every flaw in the live chat system. Chatbots don’t need a person monitoring them to work, they are deployed from your computer and are very cost efficient. In fact, they’re such a good tool that their market grows about 35,2% per year, this will likely be the case until 2021.

But onto the main subject. Chatbots can be used for more than just live chat support and customer service. Chatbots can actually be used to help you grow your email list. For instance, a potential customer might enter and leave your webpage, leaving you with no way to find him. Most people are reluctant to give their real email address and data. Chatbots can be used to provide value to your webpage and in this article, we will show you how to use them to grow your email list.

Why chatbots fail (and don’t bloom email lists)?

Lots of chatbots fail to provide good leads to be added to an email list. This does obey to a number of reasons. Below are the main reasons a chatbot might fail in this,

Many bots don’t do their job well.

Well, commercial technology has only gone so far. Right now the main problem with chatbots is that most of them don’t really understand human language. As an example of this take Pancho, the Facebook Messenger weather chatbot.


Ok, as you can see in the image above, the beginning of the conversation is actually good. However, once the person asks if it’s recommendable to use sunglasses the chatbot replies with two non-answers. This is clearly a fail, a chatbot that specializes in weather should be able to give advice about sunglasses.

Many chatbots are boring.

Chatbots need to sound, or well read, like a real person. Any lifeless interactions are likely to deter the customer. In the contrary a good chatbot with person like speech is much more likely to create a sensation of engagement for your customer. This speech is a representation of your bran, having a good one is fundamental to be viewed as a good service.

Some Chatbots are annoying.

Some Chatbots are annoying
Or search free stock images

The image above shows the chatbot used by CNN. This chatbot is really annoying and provides no help what so ever to the customer. Most chatbots will make you type the exact word per the function you want to access. This is clearly a disadvantage when dealing with the general public. A good chatbot is ready to understand what you mean and help you with your needs. In fact, this problem is so common with chatbots that even Facebook is currently precluding new chatbots on messenger.

What are the features of a great list growing chatbot?

Since we’ve already focus on the two great fails of chatbots, let’s continue on a high note. A good chatbot can prove to be a great and reliable tool for your business and public relations.

Should you give a name to your chatbot?

You can treat your chatbot much like you would to a butler. Giving your chatbot a name can help the public to engage with your brand or service, specially if it’s a catchy name. A good idea is to give it names that have a relation with what it actually does. For instance, if you’re running a translation website your chatbot could be called “Translatebot”. Sometimes you want to use your brand’s name as part of your chatbot’s name, this depends again in its functions and the marketing approach.

Just remember, don’t give it a name that’s too long for most users to handle. The idea again is to be catchy and familiar. The bests names for chatbots are short, descriptive and easy to remember. The middle ground between those 3 factors is where the perfect name for your chatbot lies.

Should you give customers multiple choices?

give customers multiple choices

As you might be thinking from the above, a chatbot can only answer if it understands the question and has the proper information to answers, this last is key here. Since preparing an answer for every single possibility is way too much work, try giving your chatbot multiple choices. This is best reflected in the image above.

This is a good way to make the chatbot useful, engaging and solve the natural conversation problem of chatbots. Since multiple choices are better to guide the conversation than simple words, this will be more helpful to your customers. Not to mention that the amount of work on programing the chatbots is greatly reduced.

This does mean however that the writing and thinking of the customer’s needs falls on you. Also, as you might imagine, there’s no point in having just one option. There has to be at least two different choices for the customer.

Is hiring a chatbot copywriter worth it?

If you’re successfully using your chatbot for your service or business, this means that the chatbot is adding value. This is a key factor that makes much easier to ask your customers for an email address. Of course, good and proper writing is fundamental in this.

The writing must feel unique, fluid, engaging and human-like. The best way to do this is to have an actual human writing the dialogue. However, the chatbot will be doing all the talking for all cases, so give it helpful information and clear messages. If everything goes well, you’ll have no problem asking your customers for a viable email address.

There are a lot of platforms and service ready to help you with your writing. For instances, Hemingway app is really good for the overall edit of the dialogue, while Grammarly can really help you fix any grammar error that you might have. This is really a lot of work so if you want to outsource the job that can also be beneficial for your schedule and your chatbots performance.

Why is benchmarking my rivals important?

Chatbots differ greatly in function, approach and service depending on the industry where they’re applied. As a brief example consider the popular bot Instant Translator. This bot has over 600.000 active user per month due to the service it provides, however Venture Harbour says. “The bot didn’t have a flow. It only does translating and it doesn’t fail at that job because all the code is written to handle a lot of failures which ensures it always replies to the user.”.

No matter the sector of industry you’re in, benchmarking the competition will give you an idea of just how they are. In this case a person looking to break in the translation business will benchmark the mentioned bot and will make improvements to its own bot to be better than the competition.

Should I ask for their email in the beginning?


The image above showcases a chatbot from Drift. In the conversation the bot asks for the email address from the very start, this is usually not something your customer like.

In plain terms this is like asking for a vacation from work when you’ve only been working for a week. Optinmonster does review. “Email is a very personal thing. People aren’t going to give you their email address without good incentive.”. This is especially true for chatbots.

Maybe you could have fooled a few people in the old days with the line just in case of a disconnection. But not now, no, now people know what you really want and they’re really guarding their information, with good reason. What you should try, is to use the foot in the door technique, this works by having the user fulfill a small request first, this tests the engagement of the customer and increases your chances of getting their address.

When applying this tactic, a request that works comes in many shapes and sizes. Basically, all you want to do is see if they’re really engaged with your chatbot or not. This works because people tend to engage more with something the more time they spend with it. The last bit is true for almost every social situation as well.

Should chatbots entertain? Aren’t they here to help me grow my email list?

The short version, yes, they should entertain. People want to feel a connection, an engagement with the brand or service. This is why people use chatbots, because they simulate this with lots of customers at the same time. The main difference between a simple prewritten line and the chatbot is the feel it projects to your customers. So, keep their lines vivid and human-like, this will greatly help you grow your email list using chatbots.

How do you ask for an email address then?

Remember that chatbots are essentially robots, or well, algorithms. They’re just a tool to help you get more emails, doesn’t mean that the process is any different from what you already know. Think of email addresses like money, they have value, and just like that you have to give something to get something. This is what a chatbot can offer, they add value in different ways. From checklists, newsletters, infographic and other information to phone conversations and webinar, they can help you with almost all.

For instance, as an example lets consider a bot that calculates how much an article is worth. Technically the bot could use well-defined metrics to measure the amount of words, relation to the subject and number of images to give a price. But that’s just what an algorithm does. Your chatbot can have a lot more to offer, like other information and metrics used to calculate the price, and it could also present this in a way that is most appealing to your customers. However, this doesn’t mean that every user has access to these features, only the ones that give their email addresses will.

This might seem a bit unfair at first, but remember this is a business and your chatbots are only here to help you and your customers alike.

Okay, chatbots are great. What is the best chatbot platform to use?

Right now, chatbots are the boom in services to handle customers. In fact this is so much so, that Chatbots daily has a list of the best 25 chatbots on the market right now . And that list is just the beginning of all the chatbots platforms available today. This is all from companies like Chatfuel, Drift, ManyChat, Collect Chat, Chatty People and more.

If you’re at a loss as to where to start then go for the smart option. Try out your chatbots before deciding for the best. Most chatbot services available have free trial available for the public, try them out and see which one you like the most. Other services will even let you start for free and will keep certain features available only for paid users. In the case of Chatfuel, their pro plan costs 30$ per month and comes with lots of great features.

What chatbots do you recommend?

Chatfuel and ManyChat are some of the best choices available for the general public. Their free and paid plans are excellent and very useful. If you’re running a small company or a new startup then these are the best options for you.

Both of these options will work only on Facebook messenger. If they don’t serve your need completely then try Collect Chat. This option works with your webpage and not the Facebook messenger. Collect Chat is well-known to be user-friendly and easy to handle. Right now these are the option that we’re confident in recommending, but the only way you’ll be sure is to actually try them yourself.

Does it really matter which chatbot I start with?

The best decision if you’re new to this is to actually start with a free chatbot. There are many good free options that will let you get the hang of it quickly. After you get how things work and what you can and can’t do with a chatbot, then it might be a good idea to look for more professional options. Remember that a chatbots is still an algorithm so make sure to pick one that you or your programmer are comfortable with.

Final thoughts on chatbots.

thoughts on chatbots

Here we have told you the ups and downs of using a chatbots to handle many different functions. One of which is the growing of your email list. As you’ve seen they can be used for a lot more than this. Do keep in mind that chatbots are only just a tool to be used, they do not replace phone calls and carefully written emails. Used properly they can provide an edge over your competition and give you better results than a simple live chat feature.

They’re really easy to maintain and build, you can even do it yourself, or outsource the job somewhere else. Chatbots will help you grow your email list and keeping up with the image above, now days chatbots are the smiling face of your business.

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