Five Must-Haves for a Healthy Chatbot


Whether you are trying to find traction, or if you are already growing, here are five growth functions(with examples) you need to keep in mind to grow a healthy, happy and well adjusted chatbot.


Mariya Yao’s 7 tips for making a successful chatbot really reads “7 tips for getting users who give a shit”. In other words, don’t promote to the converted AKA (Bot Community). Go out and attract users where they live.

Mariya’s article has referenced a great acquisition example, Swelly: a community polling bot that paid YouTube influencers to educate and market to their audience. It worked. They grew incredibly fast, 800,000 users in three months.

Perhaps a channel that supports a method to educate is critical to acquire users to your chatbot?

Activation (Onboarding)

The welcome/tour, the onboarding, the explanatory copy, the empty states, and the defaults of your product make up the first mile. Ironically, these crucial components of initial engagement that make up the “top of your funnel” for engaging new users are typically addressed in haste as a product is launched. — Scott Belsky Crafting The First Mile Of Product

ABC highlights the benefits while mitigating objections to SPAM

Good onboarding educates and improves retention. Chatbots tend to focus on solving quick and dirty problems for technically adept users. So onboarding isn’t normally a priority in the short term. But others, like news sites want to adopt tech mainstream internet users.

ABC News (Australia) does a superb job of onboarding the “first mile” for their readers. A fickle bunch when it comes to technology.

This example is one of four screen shots. All can be found on my google drive


“The point is, every improvement that you make to retention also improves all of these other things — virality, LTV, payback period. It is literally the foundation to all of growth, and that’s really why retention is the king.” ~ Brian Balfour

Reward users for their action with something that makes them feel good and belong.

No one likes a leaky bucket especially Brian Balfour. If retention is king then Swelly is the queen. Swelly is experienced phenomenal growth by continual optimisation of their product that generated a breakthrough master stroke: a never ending “next step” with a feel good reward.


We’ve never had that opportunity to blank canvas what the people dream of. — Dharmesh Shah on Small Bus Trends

Dharmesh creates new value offerings to bring users back to Growthbot

Dharmesh Shah’s Growth bot does a great job of resurrecting users by regularly introducing disengaged users to new skills learned from engaged users. Offering something of value validated by reading your logs supersedes any carefully crafted ad or marketing message to get your users back.


Yeh, yeh, Referrals, right? Wrong.

As Emma Siemasko quickly puts my hopes to bed in her 5 referral program myths worth debunking post.

Forget the idea of the viral loop. We’re not saying it isn’t achievable, but a referral program alone isn’t going to put you on the highway to viral growth.

If you’re the Uber type or beyond traction this Uber referral example is pretty sweet.

Unfortunately, this messenger capability is an exclusive between Facebook and Uber.

All is not lost, though. Facebook just release referral parameters for urls linked to FB Analytics so in theory tracking referrals is possible.

Hope this provides insight and\or inspiration. I assume many reading this story are trying to gain traction, perhaps, read Brian Balfour’s post on Traction vs Growth to know which out of the five functions to focus your energy.

Cameron is co-founder of Foster Labs a chatbot build & growth partner. Foster Labs favourite projects are Repost Bot, Ask Joel and BotStackJS a best of breed node.js bot framework for Facebook Messenger.

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