The Basics: Designing A Customer Acquisition Chatbot People Actually Want To Use

Hillary Frazier
Hillary Frazier
June 13, 2018

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In my first post from The Bot Basics series we learned how a chatbot can grow your business. Create a bot, advertise it, reengage users, grow your business. Sounds easy, right? But what happens in between? What gets a user to actually click on your ad and convert to a customer? How can you create an addictive user experience? Let's dive in.

If you've determined from Part I that you want a chatbot and plan to use it to acquire customers socially, first ask yourself the following question:

Do you have a value to provide your users outside of just promoting your brand/your product?

Your answer should be yes. If it is not yes, a customer acquisition bot may not be for you. Or, you may need to spend a bit more time brainstorming what values you can provide to your potential customer, and keep coming back to that question until your answer is yes. Here are a few examples of valuable customer insights that can act as a "hook" for acquiring customers:

  • Get a quote for your service instantly
  • Get matched with products based on their personalized needs
  • Learn skills that can improve the user's experience in something they already do 
  • Get access to exclusive content or downloads that are not available via your website or newsletter

You'll notice these values go beyond a customer simply gathering information about your company that can be found on your website or app, there has to be more for the bot to be a strategic tool for acquisition. Once you've determined your value, this will become the storyline of your bot.

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I get detailed on how to design your chatbot script in this post, but before you dive in to the specifics, it's important to build your bot's strategy and focus on the fundamentals of a successful bot. In the Black Ops Strategic Process, we call this "Pre-Production," meaning before we start production on any of our bots, we run them through a strategic system specifically designed for customer acquisition bots. This includes an education phase, discovery phase, and 6-part strategic component identification phase. 

Focusing on The Basics, let's start with my top 3 components of a chatbot strategy:

  1. Audience 
  2. Goal Identification
  3. Platform Strengths

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The Audience. You know what value you can offer a user, now you can focus on how you can attract the audience you want. Complete an exercise to define the following:

  • Your ideal audience profile (demographic/geographic)
  • Work/education (understanding of your topics)
  • Interests (what brands do they like, and topics outside of your own)
  • Content consumed (photo, video, emoji? What language do they use)
  • Influencers (who's opinions do they trust)

This exercise will help you understand how to appeal to your audience and speak to topics and people they value, and in a language they understand. You'll also determine how to relate to your audience and present authentic experiences through conversation.


Goal Identification. Beginning with the end in mind, envision the best case scenario for your audience, and what actions you want them to take. This will lead you towards your bot goal.
What makes a good goal? The best goals for customer acquisition chatbots are specific and measurable. While there can be secondary, less specific goals, focusing on one distinct goal will keep the bot focused, and the dialog concise. Examples of a goals are:

  • Clicking a link to download or signing up for an offer
  • Completing a quote 
  • Engagement or brand awareness (measured by benchmarks).

Platform Strengths. Chatbots are unlike any other medium. They have specific strengths from platform to platform, like the ability to scale automated conversations. It's important to consider how you can most effectively use chatbot features, and what value the features can bring to your audience. Examples of specific platform strengths:

  • Personalization (using someone's name or saving their preferences)
  • Timely notifications (push notifications and reminders)
  • APIs and advanced integrations

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Armed with your value for the user, your audience profile, your specific goal, and platform strengths you will utilize in your bot, you've got a strategic formula for a customer acquisition chatbot that people actually want to use. Once you have your bot strategy (and it's documented), you'll be ready to start designing the conversation, starting with one of my favorite flows - the Catch All. This is what separates a bot that's frustrating from a bot that's fun. More on the importance of a Catch All in__ my next post__ in Bot Basics.

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