In this episode, Mary Kathryn Johnson, the chatbot mom, and CEO of messenger funnels, shares how we should be using conversational marketing to develop our nurturing leads strategies.
Some topics we discussed include:
- What businesses could gain by being more of a chameleon
- An aspect of the sales process that most companies struggle with
- What is a better approach to lead nurturing
- Why Mary believes more B2B companies should use FB messenger
- Where text messaging fits into your nurturing leads strategies
- The technological requirements to implement text and Facebook messaging
- What we need to put in messages to nurture leads effectively
- How to personalize content based on where customers join the conversation on your website
- How B2B companies can effectively scale personalized conversations
- How to determine the frequency with which we communicate with leads
- Why you shouldn’t hire a traditional copywriter for FB messenger marketing and text marketing
- Elements of UX and UI you need to aware of when designing bots for your nurturing leads strategies
- How Mary sees AI impacting FB messenger marketing and text marketing
Links and resources mentioned
- Check out Messenger Funnels
- Check out Bot Academy
Connect with Mary
00:01 Mary Kathryn Johnson: You are listening to the predictable B2B Success podcast. I am Mary Kathryn Johnson, and I am the chatbot mom, because I help businesses and bot builders maximize the results of their chatbot and conversational marketing. I help create predictable business success by focusing my clients, my agency clients, attention on the relevance of their conversation with their prospects, and I help create that predictable business success for my students by helping them understand the conversational marketing results they can get for their clients.
00:47 Vinay: Mary, thanks so much for taking time out to join us on the podcast.
00:51 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Very, very happy to be here. Thank you.
00:55 Vinay: No worries. Mary, I'm curious, what would you say is your personal area of strength?
01:01 Mary Kathryn Johnson: My personal area of strength is being number one, a chameleon and at the same time a catalyst.
01:10 Vinay: How come? Why a chameleon? [chuckle]
01:14 Mary Kathryn Johnson: I'm a chameleon because a couple of different things. Number one, I gained that skill. When I was being raised, I went to a different school every year up until ninth grade, and the way I adapted to that to try and make friends and fit in and do those kinds of things, is I became a chameleon. I honed the ability to see the audience that I was coming in to, see how they communicated see what they did, see the structure of the hierarchy and kinda like a puzzle piece fit into that. How did I have to adapt what I had available to fit in, now obviously, I couldn't adapt everything. Right? I do have limits. [chuckle] I'm not going to adapt to a group of Nazis. So let's be clear. But I have that ability to understand what I'm looking at, understand what I'm hearing and see what I need to say to adapt and how I need to come into that. So that's the chameleon part, then the catalyst part is the skill that I developed later, was that with that chameleon knowledge, now I can look at how can I be the catalyst for the people in that group to grow. Because that's really what lights me up, and I've just stumbled into that part as people have... As I have conversations with people and I see their eyes kinda get bigger and glaze over, and then they go, "Oh my gosh, you mean I could do this?" And I'd say, "Yes, you can do that." And now I all of a sudden have this, "Wow, what just happened?" [chuckle] And now I've developed that catalyst, so that's me.
02:54 Vinay: Certainly. And what would you say in those areas of strength is something that businesses don't know, but should?
03:01 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Okay, so now we come into again between chameleon and catalyst, how that relates to what I'm currently doing, which is the conversation. I didn't plan it this way, but they all start with seas. But I really love, I really love alliteration, the flow of words. So really it is the conversation, so a business can use that right now, that ability to... And that conversational ability now in marketing, so that they can be the chameleon for their customers and the catalyst to help their customers either decide to leave and say, "Nope, this isn't really the place I need to be," or decide, "Oh my gosh, you have exactly what I need." So that's what they do through the conversations, that they can use those three techniques right now in marketing to get very relevant with their revenue. Again, I love alliteration. So there you go, two Rs, one right after the other. [chuckle]
04:03 Vinay: Excellent. So Mary, just looking at this from a business point of view, would you say that you're finding that most businesses struggle with the whole idea of nurturing their leads as opposed to the acquiring leads and converting them.
04:17 Mary Kathryn Johnson: They absolutely do. So many times it's really unfortunate, I'll see online or a new client will come to me, or a new student will come to me and they'll say, "I just need more leads, I just need more leads, and that's all. I just need to find more people." And really what's happening is they're leaking out so many potential customers or prospects because they're not nurturing them, they're paying lots of money up front to a Facebook ad or a Google ad or a Pinterest ad or an Instagram ad, and once they get in there, all they're doing is sending them straight to the sales page, they're not finding out anything about them, they're not finding out where they are in their buying journey, they're not doing any of that, and that's nurturing.
04:55 Mary Kathryn Johnson: So if they just added that middle piece, they would keep more of the people that they spent so much money on as leads and they would help more of those people get white hot for what they have to offer and before actually offering it to them. That's what nurturing is, and that's what most businesses are not doing. Most business are just taking a lead, send out straight to a sale, "Oh gee, that didn't work, they must not like it," or then even worse to me, I mean better to them, but still to me it's worse, they're spending money to retarget and try and get that person back in to go back to that same sales page. But still not collecting any of that information in the middle, so they're spending even more money on a retargeting ad when they could have nurtured them to begin with and save that money.
05:40 Vinay: So what would you say is a better approach to this whole idea of lead nurturing.
05:47 Mary Kathryn Johnson: They need to have, I would suggest one or two things. Email lists are great, and we all know that we have email lists, unfortunately, so many... All of our prospects, I don't even know how many email addresses I have, I have lots of email addresses. But even our prospects have lots of email addresses, so that tells you the email is not that important to them. So even though it's about 20%, that's awesome, you can talk to them there, but you... Again, the way you nurture them is just to tell, you might ask them a few questions, if you're gonna use a product like the Ask Method by Ryan Levesque, or if you're gonna use his software product bucket.io, then you would have to go in there and set up these interest profiles, let's say, actually, he calls it something different. It's more questionnaires and surveys, so you can set all that up even with email.
06:36 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Okay, so minimum, do that, do something like that, even if you send them to a Google Sheet, ask them questions, or a Google Form or a SurveyMonkey or something, like... Ask them those questions once you get that lead, before you send them more information and just tell, tell, tell different people who need different things, you're telling them all the same thing. Okay, so that's the number one, segment your audience if you start with email. I would suggest you go beyond that and start either doing a Messenger list in Facebook Messenger because you can create these automations in Facebook Messenger or even better than that, the future is actually text marketing.
07:13 Mary Kathryn Johnson: So I would get leads and start a text list, and then you can still again, send them to the same Google Form or the same SurveyMonkey or whatever to gather that data and then you're gonna figure out where you're gonna communicate with them, whether it's in a Messenger platform, back and forth, or if it's an email or other platforms that I'm working with that are much more dynamic than that. So text list, Messenger list and email list.
07:39 Vinay: So email is something that probably most businesses are familiar with, and that's been around for a very long time. Messenger is something that perhaps those in the B2B space would say, "Well, that's more of a B2C thing not so much a B2B thing," is that your belief as well or not?
08:00 Mary Kathryn Johnson: No, it's not. So I have an agency, so I create these experiences for clients, so I am a B2B business, and I exclusively work through Messenger.
08:12 Vinay: Right. Okay, so to break that down a little bit, at the end of the day, you're talking to or talking with marketing to people, and that should be the perspective as opposed to you're trying to reach a business who is not on Facebook.
08:31 Mary Kathryn Johnson: That's right, that's right. No matter what that person who's engaging with you, even if they represent a business, they're still a person, they still have... Especially on Facebook or in Messenger, they have a Facebook profile. That's what you're engaging with. Not the business. I'm trying to get other business owners who have a personal profile on Facebook to engage with my bot and understand whether or not what I offer is what they need.
08:56 Vinay: Sure. Okay, and text marketing. Everyone carries a phone around these days, the last thing I think people want, even though they spend so much time on their phones is for it to be pinging every five minutes, if not five seconds with new messages and things of that nature. So how would you say a text marketing is the way to go.
09:20 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Very, very good question. Alright, so here is the number one barrier for most people, most businesses to start using text marketing. Because they align this idea with how they use email marketing, which is they could send three messages a day, they could send a message every single day for... I have one client who sends a message every day, an email message everyday for 100 days. You would not do that in text, right? I wouldn't even do that in Messenger, so there's the barrier, but that's also... The reason it's a barrier is because it's a misconception. So when we talk about email marketing, we're talking about actually, that's the way I'm communicating. Once people get on my list, I'm communicating with them in email, same thing with Messenger. Once people get on my Messenger list, I'm communicating with them in Messenger. Once people get on my text list, I'm not communicating with them via text. Number one, every single text I would send would cost me. It would be, I could get it as low as a half a cent, that's not that big of a deal, but that's not where people want to communicate my message, that's not where they wanna consume my content, text marketing right now, until we build out other options but right now, text marketing is just to get people's attention.
10:36 Mary Kathryn Johnson: You're right, everybody has this thing. Everybody takes... My friend Peter Lisoskie, who's the CEO of a program called Openless App, he says, and I steal his words, and he's okay with it, he says, the phone, text marketing, people have their phone with them from the boardroom to the bathroom, so you're gonna get their attention no matter where you are, no matter where they are, you're gonna get their attention, and that's all it is used for, is to get their attention. So you better be clear and relevant, because if you try and text people and it doesn't apply to them, you're basically training them not to answer your texts or to opt out. So it is more imperative than anywhere else because this phone is everywhere and it's in their pocket or their purse or next to them at their bed, so if you text them at 11 o'clock at night by accident, they are not gonna like you. So use it just to get attention. Then once you get their attention, there's always a link in there to send them somewhere else where you actually want them to consume whatever it is you're talking about. Does that make sense?
11:39 Vinay: Sure. In terms of getting people's attention, is that something... Should we just send text messages for perhaps a webinar registration or something of that nature, or are there broader ways of looking at this whole idea of getting there?
11:55 Mary Kathryn Johnson: So here's what happens, So you're going to... Okay, this is two different topics to start with. The first topic is, how do you get that opt in, how do you get them to give you your phone number.
12:06 Vinay: Sure.
12:07 Mary Kathryn Johnson: And that's the first step, just like how do you get them to give you an email address or click through to Messenger. So you have to have something valuable enough that is important enough for them to give over their phone number, you're not just gonna say, "Hey, text the word 'Yes' to this number to get on our corporate newsletter." Most people, that's not very valuable, unless you are a corporation that they really want to hear all the information you're gonna send them for their newsletter, but most people know newsletters are not the things we opt in for anymore, we're even much more specific than that. So have it be something valuable enough for them to actually exchange their phone number, then once they do that, then you communicate with them wherever, give them the newsletter or do whatever, and then you're going to remind them say, "Hey Mary, our newsletter's published again today, and click this link to get it."
12:58 Mary Kathryn Johnson: So that's the text you would be sending them. Definitely, if you're getting a webinar registration or a summit registration or a challenge registration or anything like that, you can say, "Hey, text the word, blah, blah blah, text the word challenge to this phone number and you're registered." And then reminders of that, "Hey, the challenge is going live today at noon. Click here to join us." Then you're actually being relevant and also, really important to follow the law, because getting a text registration, getting a text opt in is not like giving an email opt in or a Messenger, they are very specific. TCPA, I think is the acronym, laws that you have to follow and people have to really explicitly understand that they are opting in, and they're giving you permission to message them via text. So you'd have to look at those rules, those laws, there are specific things you have to say, you have to have a terms of conditions that you can send them to and all of that before you can actually text message them. Yeah.
14:01 Vinay: Okay. Now that we have wrapped their minds around this whole idea of the kind of technology that we need to use to nurture leads, I guess the other part that most businesses would struggle with is this idea of what exactly we need to put in the messages in order to continue a fruitful, nurturing discussion until they're ready to buy.
14:32 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Yeah, yeah, so I'm not gonna touch email, I think everybody, we know about email, we know how that works. We know email automation, I don't even hardly use it very often, so I have a list of 30-something thousand people, they don't hear from me very often. [chuckle] So I'm not gonna touch that, but Messenger and text, I'm gonna touch that because you can take your text list and you can text them something and then give them a link to actually start a conversation with them in Messenger, let's say. And so what we put in that is very important because this is all text-like, Messenger and of course SMS, it's like you're texting someone and people don't want to... You don't typically text someone a big long series of sentences all at one time with paragraphs in between and numbered bullets, like you would in email. So what's really important is to think like texting, number one, from a business standpoint, if you're communicating with your prospects this way, the second thing you wanna think about is the conversation is not about you and your products.
15:38 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Okay, so business-wise, it's not about me and my products, I know my products are amazing and everybody needs them, but when you're having these conversations, you have to make them about the prospect and what they need. So what I say in this is, you can build out these automations just like you do in email, you can build out these automations in Messenger, and as you build them out, you have to think a lot from the prospect's perspective, so you're building out the destination first, you gotta know where you're headed. What's the conversion? What are they gonna buy? What are they gonna get? Are they gonna get on a call, are they gonna book a calendar appointment. Are they gonna do an application, are they gonna just go straight to the sales page? You have to know what the conversion is. Then you have to build that know, like and trust that they're gonna need to go through that adventure in order to get to that conversion comfortably and not feel like I'm just selling them something and don't care.
16:29 Mary Kathryn Johnson: So that conversation, that adventure is the nurturing part, it's the fun part, it's the part that is... That you get to sink your teeth into. That's the chameleon and the catalyst in me, just goes nuts in that. So you have to understand that back and forth, you don't just take your email and break it up into chunks and dump it in a Messenger bot, don't do that, you're going to spam, people aren't gonna like you. You need to make it conversational and know where your prospect is coming from, what they need next, how they feel before your product and how they're gonna feel afterwards, and talk to them about them, not about you, and that's the... I'm telling you right now, that's the thing that is most difficult for every entrepreneur because we have been so well trained to do traditional marketing where it's all about me and my product, and I've got five years experience in this, and this... We've helped 5,000 clients and it's all about me. And to switch that to, "It's all about my prospect," is kinda difficult for most people.
17:29 Vinay: You mentioned that we should personalize the content and also be aware of where they're joining us for the journey. I can see a chatbot being used on say, a website or landing pages, depending upon where your customers come through to. How do we take that information and make it relevant to them as they sign up to receive your messages?
17:58 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Perfect, yes, great question. So what you're talking about is the place they're using to opt in, the place you're using to get their attention. So your website, you can have an opt in button, you can have a chat widget, you can have a link. And that's the place they opt in, and then once they actually get into your Messenger bot or into that conversation, then you're going to ask them questions, you're going to segment, have them self-segment themselves. So you're gonna say, just for the sake of explanation, "Do you like to color blue or the color red?" So all the people that say, "I love blue," are gonna go through a different nurturing process, and all the people say, "I love red," are gonna go through a different nurturing process, and then you can get even deeper than that.
18:42 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Great. Let's say we're talking about dresses, "You like a blue dress or a red dress?" Fantastic. "I like a red dress." "Alright, do you like a princess cut? Do you like a T-length cut? Do you like a scoop neck, a V-neck." You can get so detailed through that. "Is it an evening gown? Is it a summer dress?" You ask all those questions and you can get specific information and talk to them about that. "Yeah, it's the summer time. Isn't it amazing? We've got this beautiful weather for us up in the Northern Hemisphere. Beautiful weather and everything is going wonderfully," and then you can introduce them and get them further and further along, "Are you going to wear this to a picnic, are you gonna wear this to a summer evening party?" All of that. That's what you can do once they get into the bot and segment them so that you speak exactly relevantly.
19:30 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Think about it, an E-commerce store, a store who sells dresses, that would land them exactly on the type of dress they just described to buy it now, otherwise, they've gotta go through in the e-com store and go, "Well, I think I want this," and they've got all these choices they've gotta look through and how many times they're gonna get distracted, "Oh, that's cute. Maybe I should go there," and now they're off of that red dress, and they're on to something. We do it all at Amazon. We start on Amazon and we have 50 million different other products that get presented to us that we just get distracted by. Well, in your Messenger bot, you can stay relevant and give them exactly what it is they're looking for.
20:08 Vinay: How would we scale this now. Because I can see that as you get to 1,000 or 10,000, segmenting at such specific details is fine for something like an E-commerce store where somebody is looking for a specific item, but say, a B2B journey where you need to probably reach out to several people who will ultimately make a buying decision, it's more about understanding where they come from and being able to inform and educate to such a time as when they're ready to make a buying decision collectively. How would we segment it so we don't get caught up in all the minute detail, but sufficiently to be able to nurture them as a whole?
21:00 Mary Kathryn Johnson: So I don't agree that we nurture them as a whole. Chatbots actually are one-to-one conversations that are automated. So each individual who comes into my chatbot. Number one, they're coming in with their own personal Facebook profile. So I'm not nurturing them as a group. So they come in with their profile and I can ask them targeted questions at the same time as I'm asking the person standing next to them the same questions, and those two people will have different experiences that might lead to the same product, but might not. They might lead to a different product. So for instance, I had a client who has... David Siteman Garland, who creates a course called, Create Awesome Online Courses, and he has created awesome email list and he has five, six different products that are all associated with that, software, WordPress plugins, those kinds of things. And so as they come into their bot, we ask, "What are you looking for? Do you need to grow your email list, do you need to create your course, do you need to... " Etcetera, etcetera.
21:56 Mary Kathryn Johnson: So each person that comes in, they could come in at the same time, they could come in a week different, a week later, it doesn't matter when. They come in, they get asked those questions, they get segmented and they are taking on that journey based on the way they answer those questions personally. And it doesn't matter how many people. I have a bot that has 2.2 million subscribers, and we're getting people opting into that several per second, and they all get the same segmentation, they all get the same question, they all choose which journey they wanna take.
22:30 Vinay: Even though we're having these individual conversations, do we need to club some of the information together? For example, people from the same organization, do we need to pull them and look at how they're moving together as a cohort, as opposed to just individual?
22:45 Mary Kathryn Johnson: You could definitely. Yeah, you can definitely do that. So one of the benefits of Messenger specifically, and also these other programs that I'm working on with the future and text marketing going into amazing programs that aren't dependent on Messenger, but using the same kind of concepts and conversations, you could go in there and you can search for all the people who answered this question this way, and all the people who answered this question this way, who live in this area of the world. You can get as detailed as you want, this is data. Now, with Facebook, Facebook owns this data, but you can use programs like Zapier and things like that to hopefully get that data out just in case Facebook shuts down your account, which they do, unfortunately. But you can still find all the people who are similar, and that's the purpose for that segmentation, so that you can take that group of people and be even more relevant all at the same time. So I have a course called Bot Academy Bootcamp, and we do it live. I'm not a DIY training kind of gal, I don't put up prerecorded videos and have you go watch them and say, "Great! Hope you had a great life," and less than 20% usually, actually finish the course. I don't like that so I do it live and I take a cohort through.
24:00 Mary Kathryn Johnson: So anyone who's interested in that, I've segmented those people, are you doing your own... Are you learning chatbots for your own business or are you learning chatbot for your agency? And then I will do separate training courses for those groups of people. Did you opt in at this time and did you join me on this webinar at this time, if you joined me or you opted in after that, well, then I'll send you to a wait list and you're gonna have to wait for the next launch of our bootcamp. So you can segment, take that data and use it to specifically communicate to a group of people that match whatever criteria you find relevant for your business.
24:38 Vinay: S2: Right, okay. What about touch points? How should we look at the frequency which we communicate with them, especially as we look at nurturing them for... At certain times, it can be a definite period of time, but others it could be much longer than what we would expect.
24:58 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Yes, that is a really question, Vinay. I really have to talk about that for a second, and those touch points and the frequency of which you communicate with your audience is going to depend on the medium you use to communicate, okay? So email, we all know that. We can get on someone's list and they're gonna do a webinar, and they're gonna do this Evergreen or live webinar, and then they're going to have follow-up messages, and then they're gonna tell me the cart is closing, and urgency, and scarcity and all these kinds of things, and through that process, I could get 30 emails from them in the span of two weeks, that's conceivable. So you follow that medium, if that's the standard way, because we're not in email very often and we've gotta try and hope that when someone opens their email because they're not notified in email anymore. I don't know anyone who has notification still on their phone that they've gotten an email, so that means we have to wait for them to go into their email and we're gonna hope out of the hundreds of emails that they have that they're gonna find ours. So that's why we email people, email so frequently. It's a crap shoot. You have to hope you get their eyeballs.
26:07 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Messenger is very different from that. Again, it's not as, like you mentioned, it's not as personalized as text where we don't want to send them five text messages in a day. I don't even wanna send them one text message everyday, but messenger is very similar to text in the sense that most people still do have the notification on their phone that they got a Facebook Messenger message, a direct message. And so if they already have that or they have that notification on their phone, you need to be cognizant of that, you need to be aware of that so that you're not abusing that privilege of that notification. So standard for Messenger and also to follow Facebook's terms of service and their rules, you don't want to send more than, let's say, one message a day for three days, okay? And I'm talking about outbound. So if I'm going to try and get your attention via Messenger, there's a rule for Facebook where you can't send a message to someone who has interacted with your bot with it after the last 24 hours. So if I interact with your bot and 24 hours go by, 24 hours in one second, I, as the business can no longer push a message to you, okay?
27:20 Mary Kathryn Johnson: If I, as the customer and in my Messenger and I see, "Oh, that's right, so and so sent me a message," and then I start interacting with your bot again on my own, I initiate that as the prospect, then the 24 hours starts up again, okay? So that's one thing with Facebook Messenger and then that's the rules, but then just to be kind and follow best practices, we really don't wanna be messaging in that inbox more than say, one time a day. There are exceptions to that, but my standard rule one time a day for three days, and that's it. And I can do that within that 24-hour period. There are tags you can use in Messenger that'll allow you to send outside of that 24-hour hours, if you're doing something specific, like sending them a confirmed event information that they've signed up for, sending them an update to their customer profile or sending them an update to an order they placed. Those messages, you can send outside of 24 hours, but if you're just trying to market to them and trying to get them to buy your stuff, Facebook is like, "Nope." Within 24 hours, and that's it, unless, they choose to send to you. So that's with Messenger. And then text, I would be even more limited. Really, only get people's attention via text when it is highly relevant to what they have asked for and it applies directly to what they need. So it's much more sparingly in actual text, SMS marketing.
28:48 Vinay: I'm just thinking about a scenario where, say, a person is on your website and looking at a few different topics and they choose to insert their details on one particular page, you then get tags associated with that to entry, saying that they're also interested in this other topic, how would you provide more information or related information on those other topics when the primary communication is about, say, topic A as opposed to B?
29:24 Mary Kathryn Johnson: So first off, just from a standard marketing best practices, you really wanna make sure that there's a... What's the word I'm looking for? They're related. They're highly, highly related, and I know there's another word I'm thinking about that's just not coming to my head. It's congruent, that's it. So between the first thing they said they're interested in, but then they said this is a secondary thing, those two things better be congruent, in other words, they're either smaller pieces of a bigger thing or they're one piece of the other. They really have to be related to each other very closely, so that's first. So I would start with the first thing that they said they're most interested in, and then the secondary thing I would leave to, at the end of my nurturing for that first thing. Because we know in marketing, we know the more we confuse people and give people more options, they're gonna make no choice. So if they've already said, "This is very important to me and I'm kinda interested in this," then I would go for the thing that, this is very important to me, and exhaust that and get them to, yes, yes, yes, because that's what Messenger does each time they click a button, it's like a mini yes, it's like a micro commitment. It's amazing.
30:33 Mary Kathryn Johnson: And it's much easier to say, "If I'm bothering you, you can just unsubscribe," and it's a wonderful thing. I would rather have a small list of white hot people that want exactly what I have to offer, than a huge list of people, really, who couldn't care less about what I'm saying. So yeah, I would start with that one, and then at the end of talking about that, say, "Well, you know what? You also said you were interested in this, so can I maybe come back to you tomorrow and talk about that? Or would you like to hear about that now?" You can give them that option, but I would stay as focused as I possibly could.
31:06 Vinay: Are we able to lead score within, something like your Messenger Bot or do we need to export all that information out to a platform?
31:17 Mary Kathryn Johnson: I would advise, strongly advise that you export every piece of data you can outside of Messenger exactly when you collect it. Because that bot that I mentioned to you that has two million subscribers, it's called, God Quotes, and all it does is give daily prayers, daily inspirational content that people signed up for, and at that time, we could send it, we were approved to do this, and up to two million people getting daily prayers telling us, Wow, this information, our family starts our day with your daily prayer, thank you." And I've gotten messages that, "My son is in the hospital and that message you sent yesterday just gave me the energy and the hope to walk into his hospital room again today." Or, "My husband left me last week and when I got your message today, it spoke directly to what I'm dealing with and it gave me the strength to get out of bed." These are deep impact that we're making on people's lives, and October 16th, 2019 was the day that God was banned from Facebook. They shut down that bot. Facebook shut down that bot and nothing I did or said, no person I contacted short of Mark Zuckerberg himself, could get it shut back on and the only explanation they said was you're violating community standards. And from a bot perspective, I knew I was not violating any of the rules.
32:39 Mary Kathryn Johnson: I couldn't do anything, I didn't get any response. I was applying and appealing everyday, and finally, just all of a sudden, two weeks ago, miraculously it was turned back on. No explanation, no message, no nothing, it was just, all of a sudden it's there. So use that, please, as a lesson, to take every single piece of data as you get it and go somewhere else with it. Because I did not have an email list, I did not have any of those emails, I did not have any of those people's phone numbers, I could not communicate with them outside of Messenger so they're gone. So I was getting those messages saying, "Where did you go? I have to go into my son's hospital room today and, what happened? Our family didn't get our daily prayer today." And I could not respond at all to any of them. So yeah, you can do leads scoring and all of that stuff in Messenger and go ahead and do it, but I would take them somewhere else, if it were me.
33:34 Vinay: And just from your experience, should we suffer the unfortunate incident of being turned off or banned, what would be an alternative, apart from text marketing?
33:50 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Either text marketing, or email marketing, or, again, I'm working with other programs where this Openless App I mentioned, where it's my container, it's my platform. I own the data, I own the experience, I own the conversation. I don't have to ask Google for permission, I don't have to ask Facebook for permission. I don't have to ask Instagram, or Pinterest, or any of those other apps. They own the data, not you. I don't have to ask them for that permission I would rather bring them into my container, and yes, you can say your website is that and your email is that, but those are not nearly as powerful as the communication tools we have available now. So if you're still just relying on your website and your email list, that's awesome, but I'm telling you now, 80% of the people on your list never see your message, they don't. 20% is the open rate of standard emails. So 80% of the people that you worked so hard and spend so much money doing ads to get on that list, don't even hear what you have to say, so the future is, own it yourself.
35:00 Vinay: Sure, and in terms of the actual content that we're sending out, it would seem to me that you don't really need a traditional copywriter and that you need a different way of looking at copy, would that be right?
35:15 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Yes. Oh, my goodness, you are so amazing. Vinay, can I just say, you are... This is one of the most amazing interviews I've had, I have to stop and say that because every single thing you're talking about is leading directly to the best practices that we can use in marketing in general, but specifically in conversational marketing so yes, yes, yes. There are copywriters and traditional copywriters, and they do amazing jobs creating sales pages and landing pages and emails, and long-form copy and blog posts and all those things, and those are still the backbone of most content, but this kind of marketing, this kind of conversation is a completely different language from that, and I'll just give you, if you want me to, I'll tell you a quick snippet of exactly how I teach people how to do this and how you can do this on your own. So just really quickly, I used to be a Twitter gal before this whole Messenger Bot thing came on, and I've been doing this now for a little over three years, and Messenger Bot just happened like three and a half years ago or actually, just reached four. So I've been doing it about for three and a half years and they were just opened up as an option about four years ago, April of 2016.
36:29 Mary Kathryn Johnson: And so I used to be a Twitter gal because it was to the point, I didn't sit there and talk about what I was doing at lunch or talk about my kids' toilet habits or you know. I wasn't with the whole Facebook thing at that time. I was more in Twitter, it was short and sweet. Well, Messenger is like Facebook and Twitter had a baby, I call it, and FaceTweet, you're tweeting on Facebook. That's how it works. So I would keep it to 160 characters or less, and we're talking about every back and forth message. So you can have a text block that you send someone and say, "Gosh, so here's the PDF that you opted in for, that shows the five biggest business mistakes I made in my business and how to solve them, how to avoid them. You ready for it?" And there's a text block. And then you have a button that says, "Yes, give it to me." Or "Nah, not interested." Okay, that's the beginning of the conversation after they opt in. So they say, yes, give it to me. The next message is going to be, again, 160 characters or less and you're gonna say, "Great, here it is," and you deliver the thing you promised.
37:38 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Then you come back after a time delay, 'cause you're gonna give them about a minute, let's say, to look at that PDF and you think along the lines of how your prospect is consuming this, they're not just reading everything, they're consuming short pieces of content so you give them, say, 60 seconds to read that, then the bot comes back in and says, "So, what do you think? Would you like more information like that or more help as to how to do blah, blah, blah?" And they say yes or no. You can give them both of those options, and if they say no again, then you just say, "Great, I really don't wanna bother you, so if you wanna unsubscribe, just type the word stop and I'll never bother you again." So that's done. You've given them an out, a comfortable out.
38:15 Mary Kathryn Johnson: But if they say, "Yes, I want more." You can say, "Great, you know what? I have a training that shows you exactly how I helped so and so do X, Y, Z, and make X amount of money in X amount of time. Would you like to see that training?" "Yes, I'd love it." "Fantastic, let me ask you a couple of questions first. Are you a brand new to business." Let's say, my course is, how to teach them how to start an e-commerce store. "Are you brand new to business or do you already have a store and you just wanna grow it?" Okay, so there, I'm gathering data, and you notice, this is back and forth, I'm getting them to click buttons. I can actually even ask them questions to actually have them type a reply if I wanted to, and I can take that reply and get it out to a Google Sheet or I can get it to my CRM, so then I say, "Would you like to learn how I helped this person do this amazing thing?" "Yeah, I'd love to." Then you can send them straight to a webinar replay or I know I'm actually delivering webinars right inside the bot, so they can interact with the content.
39:10 Vinay: Oh, okay.
39:11 Mary Kathryn Johnson: It's an amazing thing, guys, so you can actually have that conversation to be able to get them to consume information. Think about how many emails I would have had to send or how much copy in that email they would have to read through to get to three buttons, three choices that I just had them make in a short period of time, in a bot. So FaceTweet, if you're gonna take... You already have your emails. You're gonna take your email and you're gonna translate it into chatbot copy, the first thing you're gonna do is take that long email copy, you gotta put it in a Google Doc. Then you're gonna read that email, and I guarantee you there's a purpose to that email. There's a feeling you're trying to get across, there's a transformation you're trying to get across. If I read your email and all I got from it was, buy my stuff, it's not a very good email. You probably didn't hire a copywriter to do that. So if you have a transformation and you're saying I can help you be more secure because I'm trying to help you start an online e-commerce store to make more money to be able to contribute to your household, right?
40:14 Vinay: Yeah.
40:14 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Is it security you're looking for? Is it belief in yourself? What is it? There's some kind of transformation feeling that I'm getting across in that email. Let's see, you wanna keep that feeling, then you're gonna take that big long email into Google Doc and you're going to distill it down, take out all the gobbledygook, take out all the extraneous sentences and take it down to one paragraph. With that same transformational feeling. So you're gonna choose the sentences in there, that still convey that feeling, but aren't long and big long copy, okay? So now you have it in a paragraph, now you're gonna do the same thing and you're gonna still that paragraph down. You're gonna distill that paragraph down, while keeping that same essence to one sentence. What is the one sentence out of that paragraph that conveys that self-confidence, that whatever that transformation is, and then you're gonna distill that sentence down to one word. What is it? Is it confidence? Is it belief? Is it security? Is it... What is that?
41:14 Mary Kathryn Johnson: And if you can do that, you can translate your big long email copy into chatbot copy, because then you take that paragraph and now you have the essence of what you wanna say in a short block, you can take each of the sentences in that paragraph and you can develop a text block in a Messenger Bot related to that and ask a question to get them to interact with your content instead of just tell, tell, tell, static. This is dynamic content, this is engaging, an email is static, it's consuming. They don't interact with it, so you have to take that now and translate it into, how do I get them to participate in what I'm saying, and I don't get them to participate in what I'm saying by saying, by typing, "My product is amazing, and I've had this many years experience and I've helped this many clients." That's where the essence of the fact that, "It's about them, not me," comes into that. So you're gonna take the email copy and distill it down. You're gonna remember, it's about the prospect, not you, and you're gonna get them to engage in what you have to say, and they will be so much more apt to know, like and trust you enough to actually do the thing you want them to do, which is buy your stuff or get on your calendar appointment or go through your application or whatever it is. Does that make sense?
42:35 Vinay: I'm just curious also, are there elements of UX and UI that we need to be aware of as we design our bots?
42:45 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Yes, yes, yes, yes. So user experience, user interaction, really, that's what it's all about. So you add images, you can add gifts, you can add emojis. You can make that experience as personalized as possible, but now, when I said I'm a chameleon, okay, I am a chameleon, but I still bring myself to the conversation. I still bring my own communication style, my own vernacular, my own slang words. When you build a bot, especially when you build these conversations, think about your persona, because the bot is gonna be your persona. It's gonna be your alter ego as a business. You do not want to create a bot as if it's actually you sitting there typing right now, because that's misleading, and that's actually illegal in many states, to make a bot impersonate you and make people think that you're actually there typing when it's an automation. Okay, so don't do that. You're gonna develop a persona for this spot so that people, as they interact with it, they become comfortable with who you are. By the time they get to your sales page, it speaks, again, it's congruent. It speaks the same way you speak. When they see you on a video, it speaks the way you speak, so it's not incongruent. It's not like shocking like, "Oh, wait a minute, who's that person? I've been chatting with a bot and it talks this way. It doesn't sound like that."
44:09 Mary Kathryn Johnson: You can create that experience for your audience to really become comfortable, and also to repel the people that don't speak like you do, who aren't comfortable with you. That's okay. Repel them, please, because you don't want them in there complaining to you that they don't agree. That's not where this is. This is not a debate. This is marketing. If they don't agree with you, give them the exit ramp out of your adventure to go somewhere else with someone they do agree with, but they'll tell if they're comfortable with you or not, and that's the experience. You're speaking their language with your vernacular, so that they're either comfortable or they're not.
44:49 Vinay: There's been a lot of conversation around artificial intelligence and answer engines. How do you see that impacting things like Messenger Bots and text marketing?
45:03 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Yeah, good question. Right now, AI is, it's pretty rudimentary, right? It's infant stage. So definitely we can use it. There are programs you can tap in right now and connect your Messenger Bot. I use two programs to build these Messenger Bots, I use ManyChat and Chatfuel. They're both amazing platforms. You can connect that platform, ManyChat or Chatfuel, you can connect it with another platform called Dialogflow, which basically allows you or Janice, I think so, it allows you to use some of that artificial intelligence, that keywords and getting to know you based on your interaction with the bot. But again, it's still rudimentary. And again, who owns that data? Is it Dialogflow that owns that data and can data mine it, or is it Facebook that owns that data and can data mine it? But you can't do that.
45:54 Mary Kathryn Johnson: And so, where we're headed in the future is where, like I said, you can own that data and you can have your own AI engine built into your own container. That's available now, but still, with Messenger bots and Dialogflow, it's rudimentary, but at least, it'll helps you be more relevant so I can create things like with keywords, so let's say I'm doing a customer service, so there's a brick and mortar store, or there's an e-comm store, and they have specific hours that their customer service is open because it's very engaging. People are constantly asking questions or whatever.
46:28 Mary Kathryn Johnson: You can create in even ManyChat or Chatfuel, you can create keywords that if anyone says the word hours or location or address or order or something like that, the bot will automatically kick in and send them a message saying, "It sounds like you're looking for... " Or, "It sounds like you're wondering what hours we're open, is that correct? And they can say yes or no, and if they say yes, then you say, "Great, here are our hours." Instead of waiting for a live chat person to come in and type for the 500th time, what are the hours? So that's how artificial intelligence is allowing us to even more personalize our bots and our conversations, but again, it's not full AI where, you have the Amazon algorithm behind you that can, then all of a sudden, pop up the next appropriate product based on the interactions they've had for the past six months. Right?
47:23 Vinay: Certainly. Yeah.
47:23 Mary Kathryn Johnson: You can do that in your own container, but not in a bot or in Dialogflow.
47:28 Vinay: Is there any other aspect of lead nurturing or conversational design as it applies to Messenger bots and text marketing that we haven't covered as yet?
47:41 Mary Kathryn Johnson: Let's see. Anything in relation to them that we haven't covered. The only thing I would say is have fun. This is because texting, because we're so used to texting back and forth with people we know very well, it's a fun thing. It's not just to send information. I have two sons who are young adults, 18 and 21, and we text back and forth. They show me memes, they send me to YouTube videos. I send them recipes, things like that. It's fun. And so, have fun, even if you're a business, even if you are a financial institution, which could be the most conservative, straightforward, you're not gonna use emojis kind of thing. You can still have fun, you can still be human-like, even though you're an institution, even though you're a business. And of course, you don't wanna go overboard in that either, but find that happy ground, but have fun.
48:39 Vinay: Excellent. Mary, thanks so much for this. Where can people head to, if they wanted to find out more or connect with you?
48:47 Mary Kathryn Johnson: I would love to chat with anyone who's interested in what we just talked about. I'm telling you, this conversation has been more informative than... I'm on a lot of podcasts, in a lot of summits and speaking opportunities, and I really have to say, honestly, and you won't hear me say this very often, that this conversation has been right down my alley and you have hit it, every single thing, and you were able to just bring out exactly where we're headed as a marketing collective, at least those of us who want to do these conversations, so kudos to you. But where you can find me is messengerfunnels.com, and that's messenger, not in terms of Facebook Messenger, but in the terms of the messenger of your conversation. That's what that's designed about, the messenger of your message, right? So messengerfunnels.com. I also train on this at botacademy.com.
49:38 Mary Kathryn Johnson: And I don't know if we can give a lead magnet to your audience, an actual training on this. I have a conversion method that I give and actually, that's a text. It might be better to put in the notes from this conversation if you want, instead of me saying it. It'll be texting the word future to a particular number, and you'll get a full training, both audio and video, on exactly how I create these bots and these conversations to be high converting, to actually get people white hot for what you have, or leave, and then convert at the end. I'll give that to your audience for free.
50:22 Vinay: Certainly. Thanks so much, Mary.
50:24 Mary Kathryn Johnson: You are welcome. Thank you for having me. I have absolutely enjoyed this and I'm absolutely thankful for the opportunity.
50:31 Vinay: No worries. A pleasure.
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