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Time for Marketing

May 2021

#38 Lars Maat - How Messengerbots will make you more money

May 31, 2021

This time with Lars, the CEO of the advertising agency Maatwerk Online about how you should be using Chat or Messenger Bots to get more traffic and more sales on your website, or even more leads if this is what you aim for. You can find Lars on Twitter.

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Here is the transcript of the podcast:

My name is Peter, and this is podcast episode number 38. If you can, go and comment, go and rate this podcast on the podcast app wherever you listen to us, and tell your friends that this is the place where they can get the best info on what is going on in marketing conferences, even if people are not able to go to the conference, every presentation in five minutes. Today, we are going to the Netherlands, where I'm very glad to welcome Lars.

Lars: Hi, thank you. Thanks for having me.

Peter: Lars Maat, thank you for being here. You are the rising star in PPC. At least a PPC Hero said that. You are the owner of the Maatwerk agency. What do you do in the agency, and what are your things? What's your favorite thing on the internet?

Lars: To be honest, the rising star was back in 2020. It already feels like a light year ago.


Lars: Yes, that's true. PPC Hero made me a rising star in the PPC business. I think mainly because that year I spoke at PPC Hero Conf in London. I was announced best speaker of the conference. I think that gave it a boost, but, yes, my name is Lars. I'm currently owning online marketing AC. My background is really purely PPC. Google ads, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, Microsoft ads, stuff like that. At the moment, at the AC we are with 30 people. We are doing online marketing from A to Z. Basically, the only thing we don't do is build apps.

We build websites, webshops, we do SEO and PPC, of course. I'm focusing on developing the business at the moment, try to implement new things. Innovations in our industry are a weekly thing as you might know. [chuckles] We try to keep up and then make sure that everything is set in place for our clients.

Peter: You are one of those people who likes a lot of stress every day because advertising campaigns fail all the time and the algorithms change, and the number is going the wrong way. Do you enjoy that?

Lars: Let's just say there's never a dull moment in an online marketing agency.

Peter: [chuckles] See, this is why I like to do SEO. It's everything a bit more-- We have a couple of months to do stuff. In advertising, it's hours.

Lars: To be honest, sometimes I'm really jealous of my SEO colleagues because, let's say, we are having a call with a client and a client is a little bit stressed about something, for example. We know if something goes wrong in a PPC account, you have to fix it right away. If something goes wrong on the SEO stuff, you just pick it up in one week or two weeks. It doesn't matter because you got the time. Yes, sometimes I'm a little bit jealous about the fact that I started to learn the wrong business.

Peter: [chuckles] I know, but on the other hand, your business is the sexy thing in marketing, I think, for the last 10 years. SEO is somewhere not really the public favorite.

Lars: Yes. I can understand. To be honest, we went to New York, we went to San Jose, California, on an invitation from Google, and my SEO colleagues are all jealous of me, so--

Peter: [chuckles] My wife is actually an advertiser. We've met in an agency where I was the SEO. She was the advertiser. It's very obvious in our personalities and things, how we see the world and everything, how we are very different. Lars, I've invited you to the podcast because you spoke at BrightonSEO. It was a bit different Brighton as we know it from the past, how did you enjoy the online version of Brighton this year?

Lars: To be honest, this was my first BrightonSEO conference. I've spoken to a lot of speakers and colleagues who went to previous versions. I was invited for this one. I was really excited because, from what I've heard,Brighton is really a nice environment to be at, let's just say to go to the tops. Yes, it was an online version, of course. My presentation was about Messenger bots, so not really an SEO thing. I was really curious about how that presentation would be received by the audience, but yes, it was pretty nice, actually. It was a good first experience with BrightonSEO.

Peter: Brighton, a couple of years ago, started to move away from- it still has, from my opinion, the best technical in-depth SEO presentations, but the other advertising and other tracks are also being very developed, better and better, and BrightonSEO is now a Brighton conference, not an SEO conference, but yes, departs from the pier, the best.

Lars: Yes, so I've heard. [chuckles]

Peter: All right. Let's not beat around the bush. Let's go and check out your five minutes with your presentation on how Messenger bots will make you more money.

Lars: Yes. I'm going to try to do this in five minutes.


The presentation in Brighton was in 20 minutes and I had to rush that as well, but let me just start with telling you how Messenger bots work, what they are, and stuff like that. Messenger bots are basically a way to automate your Facebook Messenger chats. Normally, when you are advertising on Facebook, people will see an ad. They can click on it and then a lead form will pop up, or you will be redirected to the website, to a landing page, where you can leave your telephone number and stuff like that, in order to get some information from the advertiser. With Facebook Messenger, it's possible to send people to the business page and to start chatting with those people.

Of course, that's fully automated. You can use it to generate leads or you can make appointments right away in a Messenger chat, and the beauty of this is that it works really well. It's fast. People have the feeling that they are texting with somebody, or a company, but because of the fact that it's texting, it sounds like texting, people feel the need to react immediately. It's a really quick way to get in touch with your audience. The reason why I started to use Messenger is because of the fact that I think it's a really good platform, but also Facebook is really pushing Messenger. They are integrating Messenger with WhatsApp and Instagram as we speak.

I really think that Messenger bots will be bigger and bigger. At the moment, they are releasing it as well on WhatsApp and Instagram. Yes, it's a pretty good thing at the moment. At BrightonSEO, I talked about small step-by-step guides for building Messenger bots. I think it's a good idea to name that here as well. The first step is, obviously, you decide what you want to accomplish with your Messenger bot. You don't need to make a bot just because I'm telling you. [chuckles] You really need a good idea or you need a problem that you think you can solve with Messenger bots. The second step is to draw your, let's say, dream conversation on a paper.

We called it a flow. Let's say you have to write down, "Okay. What do I want the bot to say to the audience, and what are the answers that I need from the audience in order to get all the information that you need?" As soon you have drawn that on a paper, you can start building that flow in a Messenger bot tool. There are numerous tools you could use. I'm a fan of ManyChat. ManyChat is one of the biggest tools out there for Messenger bots. MobileMonkey, Chatfuel are also some big names. Then I think the most important step. Once you have decided what you want to use in your flow, and you've built a flow, you really need to test it.

I see a lot of Messenger bots not working very well. I think mainly because people forget to test it. Testing the bot is really important. Once you've tested, you can start to promote your Messenger bot and start getting those results. Two ways in order to promote the bot. There are more ways obviously, but the two I think are the most popular. Advertise with it. Let the audience see an ad, and once they click on it, the chat will open. Another one, and this is also one of my favorites, it's keyword-based. You can put a post on your Facebook page, it could be an ad. It could be an organic post. As soon as somebody reacts to that, so with the Facebook comment, a chat will open and you can continue to conversate with those people in the chat. That's also a really good way to promote your Messenger bots. I think that is what Messenger bots are in a nutshell. Of course, I talked a lot about some rules which apply to Messenger bot, like the 24-hour messaging rule. I really advise to look into that. I gave some tips how to be successful with Messenger bots. I could name them pretty quick right now.

You need to be conversational. You need to make sure to interact with the audience. You need to automate as much as possible. I really love the tool- how to pronounce it right, still not sure whether it's Zapier or Zapier or Zapier, but I think the majority of the marketing audience will note it too. It's a really nice tool to automate. Feed your CRM system. Get those telephone numbers. Get those email addresses from your target audience. Get those sales, basically. Was that in five minutes or--?

Peter: Tell us a bit less, but that's great. I have questions. Can you give us an example of what is the best thing that you can set up if you have e-commerce shop? People should be able to check out where their packages, so tracking, or should that be selling, or--?

Lars: It could be both. There are some possibilities in which you, let's say, do the track and trace for your package. There's also a thing called "one-time notification." For example, you visit a website and you see a product that you like, but it's out of stock at the moment. You could tell the Facebook Messenger page, "Hey, send me a notification once this product gets online again." As soon as that's the case the, the page could send a message to you saying, "Hey, Peter, as requested, the product you were looking for is back online. Do you want to purchase it right away with a call to action, to go through website and a product page right away?

There are some possibilities. You could also work with abandoned carts. I know that, for example, we work with ManyChat, and I know that ManyChat has an integration with Shopify, for example. There are some numerous possibilities. The only thing that's really bugging me at the moment and a lot of Messenger bot builders are the rules on Facebook.

Peter: Yes, that you are only able to send a message if, in the last 24 hours, the person gave you the okay to send messages.

Lars: Yes, that's correct. Also, I think it was in December, 2020, yes, December, 2020, they announced some new rules. According to Facebook, it was about privacy rules, but it really didn't make much sense. We had to rebuild all our bots, and then, I think it was in the end of January or February 2021, they pushed back the rules, so we could rebuild, rebuilding our bots again. That's the power of the big company.

Peter: When talking about selling on the Facebook Messenger, how important is it that you have your webshop connected with the Messenger bot? You already mentioned that ManyChat connects to Shopify, but if I have my own CMS, I know that's generally not the best idea, but should I look into Messenger bots if I know that I cannot able to connect my webshop with them or not?

Lars: I think it's tricky. If you have your own CMS system, it's really difficult to degenerate sales in an automated way with Messenger bots. I think Messenger bots could work as well for you, but probably in a different way. Let's say, use it to get some traffic to your shop, use it to generate email addresses, which you could use for email automation, stuff like that. Otherwise, I think it's really difficult to connect a Messenger bot with your own CMS system.

Peter: Okay. On the other hand, when we talk about bots, there are others next to the Facebook Messenger. For example, HubSpot is very big with pushing their own. Do you have any experience with them, and comparing them with Facebook Messenger, which one's better? Why?

Lars: Yes, there are a lot of chat possibilities, of course. The big e-commerce sites are building their own chatbots as well. I think it's not new, but it's not that embraced by the audience at the moment. I think there will be a lot of developments ongoing for the next months and even years on chatbots. I haven't had some experience with the HubSpot bots, for example. The reason that we are purely focusing on Messenger bots at the moment is because of the integration with Facebook. When we are using the Messenger bots on Facebook, we could get all the name, the profile location, and stuff like that, the telephone number, email address, through the Facebook API, which basically means that, as soon as you send a message to my page, my page could reply with, "Hi, Peter. Is it true that this is your email address?" You basically just have to tap the email address that the Messenger bot is showing because it pulled it out of your Facebook profile in the Facebook API.

That's really good benefit for using Facebook Messenger, but it makes sense. Let's say that the popularity of Facebook will decline even more, I could say. That would have some impact on Messenger bots, of course.

Peter: We'll see that in the future what happens with that. I think that's it. We're on our 15-minute mark. Lars, where can people find you if they would like to talk about Facebook Messengers or any other marketing on the internet?

Lars: I think Twitter is the best way to go forward. My Twitter [unintelligible 00:16:25] my name, Lars Maat. I think it will be also available in the comments and stuff like that on [unintelligible 00:16:33] will be shown.

Peter: True. Lars, thank you very much for being on the podcast and talking about Facebook Messenger.

Lars: Yes, thanks for having me.

Peter: Have a great day and go enjoy-

Lars: The bad weather? [laughs]

Peter: -the bad weather. Thank you. Bye-bye.

Lars: Thank you for your time. Bye-bye.