1. Create a flow and state your objective
Before you write any content, you must first understand what you’re writing for. It’s likely for a goal that leads to generating leads, getting sign-ups, or making the buying easier process. But once you get that out of the way, it comes down to how you’re going to do it.
This is the tricky part, because this is where scriptwriting comes into play. For copywriters like myself, it’s not a daily occurrence where we’re writing conversations between characters. In fact, it’s even more difficult in this scenario because you have to completely guess on one side of the conversation, seeing as that’s going to be the user:
“Think of the chatbot script as writing one side of an entire conversation before the other person has said a word. You need to think through how the other person might respond or interact with you and come up with responses to these hypothetical conversations.”
Plus, not every user is going to be the same. Say for example you’re creating a chatbot for a retail site that sells every type of clothing. Obviously people are going to be visiting for different reasons; some for shoes, some for tops, some for socks.
Scripts would need to be created for each of those. You want to create a personal experience that caters to your audience. Not some stock-y generic message that’s easy to see through. If someone wants to look at your skirt collection, then mention something about skirts and present them with a bunch of skirt options.
Just consider your experience on the phone talking with a robot. Wouldn’t you rather be talking to a human? Of course you would. On social media, or a website, if you can make the process that much more personable, it can make a huge difference.
2. Use personalization (but not too much)
Every statistic in social media involving personalization points to it being beneficial…
- “Marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized web experiences.”
- “Leads who are nurtured with personalized content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities.”
- “Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates.”
- “74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized.”
- “63% of respondents are highly annoyed by the way brands continue to rely on the old-fashioned strategy of blasting generic ad messages repeatedly.”
Chatbots are already a personal experience, seeing as you’re delivering tailored content based on the user’s answers, but you can go further.
Adding the user’s name, or even giving your chatbot its own name, to disrupt the idea that your user is talking to an automated robot can help. However, you don’t want to go overboard with this. Addressing them at the beginning with a simple ‘Hey, John!’ and at the end with a ‘Thanks, John!’ is more than enough.
3. Be as human and conversational as possible
Impersonating a human can be hard work when scriptwriting. It’s not like a normal social media post. It’s not a sales-pitch nor is an engaging question for the sake of boosting your engagement rate.
You have to consider how a conversation works. Again, this is a lot easier for those that write dialogue on the regular. But copywriters really don’t, unless we have dreams of writing that book we’ve always wanted after work. So our lone practice is with writing a script for chatbots, right?
Well, not exactly. Because we’re writing out scripts everyday just by speaking! You say something and a response is made in kind. When writing a script, you have to determine not only how to speak like a human, but to have the tone, voice, and sentence structure of a human as well.
You need perspective to decide what type of statement or question is going to bring about a response that will convince the actual human on the other side of the screen you’re human. So before you even begin to write, consider what type of personal your bot is going to have. You want them to be personable, naturally, but how they’re going to speak depends on the brand.
Check out how H&M’s Chatbot speaks:
Do you think most chatbots are going to use terms like ‘Perf’ or ‘Inspo’? Of course not! They’re appealing to a younger milennial audience, so they use terminology that will most relate to them.
4. Be sparing, direct, and concise in your messaging
Consider how long a message is on Facebook Messenger. If you make a wall of text, nobody is going to read it. You can even send a wall of text to a friend and they’ll hit you with a Tl;dr. It’s unappealing to look at and few people, especially those talking to a retail store on Facebook, are going to want to read through all of it.
Like most things concerning social media, being concise and direct is the way to go. Don’t overwhelm your user with a bunch of statements and questions. Get to the point immediately.
If you have a message that’s unavoidably wordy, break it up into three separate messages, instead of just one long message. You could be saying the exact same thing in those messages that you can in one. It’s just far more aesthetically pleasing to the eye to see a little bit of a breakup in your messaging.
5. Pace your messaging
Remember: you’re trying to mimic a human not just in your messaging, but in the overall experience. That means not responding as soon as you receive a message or response from your user. People want immediate results, sure, but you also want to give them some time to mull things over and think them through.
Test out different speeds until you find a sweet spot. In our experience, we’ve found that about a second-long delay helps with engagement. Different industries are going to have different audiences and a number of factors may come into play.
Age, for one, could be one of those factors. If you’re appealing to an older audience, a longer delay may be more helpful, seeing as you want to give them more time to respond and think.
6. Drop CTAs throughout
No matter what your ultimate goal is at the end of a session, there’s nothing stopping you from dropping additional CTAs throughout the chat. Don’t limit yourself to that one CTA, either. If you have an opportunity to upsell, take advantage.
For example, say you’re writing for a retail bot. The user is eventually going to funnel their way into finding the one thing they’re looking for, but suggestions can be dropped along the way of things that might also be interested in and sales.
7. Condense information
As stated earlier, you don’t want to inundate your user with information. Keep it succinct, pithy, and concise; not just to use as few characters as possible and avoiding a brick wall of words, but to be direct and clear in your.
8. Clicking is easier than writing
If you provide people with the option of doing more work or less work, which are they going to choose?
It’s not a trick question. Now consider that same approach with chatbots. If you’re presenting your user with a number of options to choose from, do you think it’d be easier for them to click on the option they want, or to write it out?
It also looks a lot more organized and saves on that much-needed space I keep on reiterating throughout.
9. Give them options
As you can see with the image above, presenting the user with options can greatly assist them in making a quicker decision. It also opens up avenues for other funnels they might go through that they might not have had without those options being presented for them.
10. Keep it simple!
And with all things social media, it always ends on the same message: keep it simple. There’s no need, especially here, to go into exorbitant detail about a particular product or service. If they’re using the chatbot in the first place, it’s likely they’ve already made up their mind about what they’re specifically looking for.
If they were just shopping and wanted greater details, they’d go to the website or contact a representative to get more information. Chabots are just a method of eschewing all the unnecessary details that go along with a user knowing exactly what they’re looking for.