Are Chatbots the Future of Email? Unboxing Personic
What if you could guarantee that you would have 100% deliverability and 3x the open rate for your email marketing programs? That is the promise of some new technology being developed to help marketers deliver the content of their emails in the format preferred by a large segment of the population: chatbots.
In the early days of Email, it was common to refer to email marketing as the channel that “creates a dialog” with a brand’s customers and clients. That was a bit of hyperbole since Email Marketing in general is a broadcast medium. Chatbots on the other hand really are designed as a “two way” communication tool. In its simplest form, Chatbots are a bit of code that facilitate conversations between two or more people. Tools like Slack, Facebook Messenger, and text messaging are all examples of “chatbots”.
But chatbots have evolved recently, first incorporating a rules based interface to “simulate” two way conversations, as used in customer service applications. In this example, imagine a chatbot that basically simulates a phone answering service: “To continue in English, press one. To continue in spanish, press 2.” The bot responds to preprogrammed responses via a response tree. These bots can only respond to an exact preprogrammed set of responses.
Enter Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and now we have the early experiments in chatbots that learn as they interact and don’t need to have every answer preprogrammed. These tools are still in their infancy and results have been hit and miss and sometimes controversial. But it is clear that chatbot technology is on the rise and expect it to be part of the next wave of cutting edge communications channels between brand and customer.
Why should email marketers care? One word: Millennials. As Jeanniey Mullen pointed out in her Email Innovations Summit keynote address: for Millennials ( born from 1981-2000) interactions with messaging apps far outweighs their connections to email as a messaging medium. In fact, message apps and chatbots have surpassed social media platforms for daily interactions and usage. Plus the open rate for tools like Facebook Messenger is 80%.
So how does an email marketer, with a limited budget, get involved in making their content available in a format that takes advantage of immediacy and high engagement level of the Chatbot?
Enter Personic, a new California based startup that is developing a new platform to enable email marketers to offer their subscribers the option of receiving the brands email marketing message via Facebook Messenger, rather than their inbox, at the same time bypassing all the deliverability concerns involved in getting their message in subscribers inbox.
Today, I’m going to lift the cover off of Personic and take a look at this cutting-edge tool. Simply stated, Personic takes your email content and deconstructs it so that the content fits within Facebook Messenger.
After going to Personic.com and creating an account, you see the interface below:
First step is to add a Personic email to your list and clicking on the Installation tab which generates the code to embed on your site so that your customers can choose to have your content delivered either to their inbox or Facebook Messenger.
Below is an example of the signup in action on the site ipond.com:
And that is pretty much it and all the work you have to do. Personic does the rest. When your campaign is sent out, it is delivered to your Personic seed address. Personic breaks your content into pieces and delivers it to anyone who has signed up to receive your emails via Facebook Messenger. Then within the Personic interface, there are a series of tools to monitor subscribes and unsubscribes, analytics, and preferences. There is even an authoring tool (not completely functional yet in this early version of the software), which will eventually allow to create your own scripts for bots and currently allows you to mock up bot interactions.
So how does your email look when it makes the transformation? Well, first there are some limitations. Currently any 3rd party banner ads will not be shown due to Facebook’s terms and conditions. Below are examples of how the email looks in the inbox vs Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger Version
Pricing for Personic is free for up to 100 Facebook Messenger subscribers and then is $10 a month for every additional 250 subscribers (bulk pricing available). Personic was founded by Ankesh Kumar, a serial entrepreneur who has been involved in the email space for some time, including founding SocialMail and appmail.
To learn more about Personic go to their website at Personic.com or reach out directly to Ankesh Kumar at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Personic team is very open to industry suggestions and feedback as they continue to develop this powerful delivery tool for email marketers.