Interview With Usama, CEO of Botsify on Chatbots and Messenger Marketing

Ever had a conversation with Siri? I bet you have.

While it isn’t practically any beneficial, you can always spend a good amount of time asking her stupid questions like what Trump had for breakfast. Setting all jokes aside, chatbots have evolved considerably and become a necessary supplement of most websites.

Chatbots have been proven to be radically more efficient in gaining conversions than traditional email marketing. Having said that, this breed of bots has turned out to be the most preferred tool for growth hackers and social marketers recently.

And the reason is quite clear- imagine getting a 50-70% open rate and 20-30% CTR! That's almost 10x the average of email marketing!

I had a short conversation with Usama, CEO of Botsify as he explained how he build a platform which lets users of any skill level create and customize their own chatbots. Let's dive in:

Q1. Before I began preparing these questions, I just performed a quick Google search on Chatbots. I was quite surprised to find that these have been around for more than 50 years! That was certainly a shocker. So Usama, when did you come to know about the existence of Chatbots?

Well, I came to know about chatbots when I was in grad school (the year of 2011). I probably heard the term in an Artificial Intelligence or Natural Language processing course. Since then, I started developing a huge interest in chatbots.

Shortly after graduation, I started my own company. It wasn’t about chatbots but more about technical recruitment, and it was a failure. One day, Facebook announced chatbots in the F8 conference and my long-awaited passion of working in this fresh, promising industry was revived and I established Botsify.

Q2. Every successful product has to have a story behind it. What inspired you to create Botsify?

When Facebook announced chatbots, I sat down to do a bit of research and it took me a complete week to understand how these things worked. I realized that if it would have taken one week for a person like me with the adequate technical knowledge to understand the concept, it would easily take 1 month or longer for a person with no knowledge.

Also, I felt that chatbots would be used by many companies in the future and decided to build this platform to make it easier for them to create their own chatbots.

Q3. For me, the very concept of AI is rocket-science. How do you build or develop the bots? Does it require deep knowledge of any coding language?

Yes, it does, and the whole idea of Botsify is to remove this friction. So, I made it for the purpose of serving customers with zero coding knowledge. For creating a good chatbot, you would need to know a programing language, some natural language processing rules to make your chatbot “intelligent”. By intelligence, it means that your chatbot would be able to understand user queries and respond to them properly.

Q4. I really admire the tagline which reads, ‘AI Powered Chatbots Without Coding Knowledge’. That really sparked my curiosity because my perceptions about chatbots were diametrically opposite. How easy is it for a user to start using Botsify?

As per our statistics, people are able to create chatbots within five minutes of signing up in Botsify. They have to just login with Facebook, connect their Facebook page (because Facebook chatbot works with a page) and they have to fill in questions and predefined responses which the chatbots are supposed to answer.

Be it about their pricing, their service, office hours or anything, you can configure these easily in Botsify. We also have a very comprehensive documentation and video series for people who want to get started quickly and want to learn about extra features.

Q5. Sounds amazing. Now, shall we delve deeper into the process of using Botsify in creating and managing sales funnels? Could you explain how that’s done with a few examples?

It depends on your business and your choice of what way you would think is the best for building the sales funnel. Here are a few of my go-to choices when I am building a chatbot.

1- Facebook allows the flexibility to reply to your users who comment on a particular post. That just means anyone who comments with a particular keyword on your post will get a message from chatbot, which could be a reply to his query, and the chatbot can even begin lead collection.

You just have to think of different possibilities, and experiment. For instance, you can ask a puzzle and the person who responds with the correct answer can be awarded a discount coupon.

2- Another is a parametric code. These are QR codes of your Facebook chatbot. You can print these codes on business cards, or A4 posters around your restaurant and whoever scans it gets a coupon code or a decent offer. Again, the number of possibilities for building your next sales funnel is limitless with this technique as well.

Q6. Are there any proven methods to successfully deploy chatbots for e-commerce websites? Perhaps, you could illustrate with an example. Say, let’s consider you have two prominent niche websites- a fashion store and another that sells food products. How would you go about implementing a full-fledged strategy to maximise user engagement and conversions?

Yes, I am glad that you brought this up. Chatbots for ecommerce platforms can play a vital role. Botsify is working on offering out of the box integrations which integrates with your e-commerce store and syncs your products between the chatbot and your store, and replies to your customers based on that.

One such integration we already have is “Shopify Integration” anyone who owns a Shopify store can sync his products with a Botsify chatbot. So, whenever a customer types in “Red shoes for men”, the query searched in your store and the chatbot responds with related products. The same goes for the food products!

We are also working on several other integrations like Bigcommerce, Magento, and WooCommerce but people can still create chatbot for their e-commerce site using their RSS feed or JSON API. This might get a bit technical but they still can do it.

Q7. Is there a strategy that involves purchasing paid traffic from Facebook and converting them with the help of Botsify? Do any of your customers use that trick?

Yes, in fact, several of our customers use this trick. Facebook, now has native ads for “messenger” which means when people see your ad on their feed and click the button, your chatbot will be able to send them a direct message to their inbox.

Suppose you are promoting red shoes as a paid advertisement on Facebook, people will click on the button and your chatbot will tell about more details, brand, and material used in the shoes and hence attempting to convert your customer to buy those pair of shoes. It’s just some random idea off the top of my head but you can definitely do much more.

Q8. I have to agree that the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur is to get your skills and the products that you’re selling to be noticed by the world. When did Botsify start gaining traction?

We had launched on ProductHunt a couple of times and that has been the major source of getting some traffic. If you do some decent work and get some initial traction, word of mouth is arguably the best source of traffic for gaining new customers and that has been the case for us.

Q9. At present, how many clients use Botsify? I’m also assuming there are big names involved. What marketing strategies do you use to land these clients? Enlighten us.

Yes, as of now we have cross 50,000 users on our platform and they have created over 45,000 chatbots. Being one of the top 5 chatbot platforms in the world, Botsify has been mentioned by big names including news companies in the middle-east like Al-Jazeera and Noon-News on board including other major e-commerce companies and fashion brands of Pakistan. When we launched on ProductHunt, several big brands like Sony Music, Apple, Skype, Shazam Music gave us a try. They didn’t make any official announcements on their respective pages, but they used Botsify which was a huge win for us.

Q10. So, how does Botsify differ from other chatbot creators like Manychat?

We are focused on building intelligent chatbots whereas if you go on ManyChat or Chatfuel, you will feel they shift the focus to marketing. That’s the reason we have already gone beyond just Facebook chatbots and now we even offer chatbots for websites, which can act as a replacement for your live chat. We also provide a chatbot for Amazon Alexa.

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Q11. What marketing strategies have worked out for you in getting leads for Botsify?

We are still working on this part. I personally love growth hacking and currently working on a few experiments to get more leads for Botsify. I think I will write about them separately once I’ve gained more traction 🙂

Usama and team have done a marvelous job transforming a hard-to-digest concept of technology into something as simple as a nursery rhyme. Botsify certainly has what it takes to revolutionize the chatbot sector and get noticed by even bigger names.


Feature image by Andrew McKay

Adi Suja

Adi is the Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Growthetics, a growth-focused content marketing agency. He helps with the growth of the Ecommerce Platforms blog.