The Three Rules of Resurrection

HBO — Carice van Houten as Melisandre on ‘Game of Thrones.’

If “Retention is King” then “Resurrection is Magic.”

Perhaps, a dark art to raise past souls from the crypt of inactivity. I’ve touched on resurrection as part of Chatbot Growth principles in a previous story. A recent chat with Dennis Yang about’s broadcast feature prompted me to tease out and share what my method is to re-engage with users over messaging.

Resurrection is important when you have a consistent stream of new users, a solid on-boarding experience, but your retention isn’t doing so great.

A broadcast (A.K.A push message) provides a method to communicate with every user who used your bot and do things like test out features and “hopefully” nail that painful retention challenge.

The problem is non-geeks constantly have to make meaning of wave on wave of new technology. And chatbots take it to another level. Unlike other technologies that verge on magical from the beginning. Chatbots really do need to spell things out every step of the way. Especially, when you want to draw an inactive user back into your chatbot’s reality because done poorly it can be perceived as spam.

Therefore, I believe a quality resurrection message needs to reflect the need for users to make meaning of a new feature in a new paradigm by providing a mechanism to deliver why, what and how so bot builders can grow and users can do cool stuff.

“Tell me and I forget; show and I remember; involve me and I understand.” ~ the person who wrote the teach them to fish saying?

I designed my messages and realised it fitted the classic teaching pedagogy of:

  1. Tell Me
  2. Show Me
  3. Involve Me

Here is how I applied it to a new hash skill for Repost Bot (whose retention is ok but not great).

Note: “I have a new skill” is borrowed from Dharmesh Shah’s @growthbot. It’s a total winner!

I’m crazy about animated gifs to show users how things work. Unlike video which requires the user to press play. Animated gifs just land and show the goods!

Actual Show me example

This approach won’t help a feature that doesn’t fit with your product position or users don’t care for but it will help deliver it in the best possible light for users to quickly make meaning. So you can stay away from the dark arts, not be perceived as spam and focus on the numbers that lead you towards traction.

Thanks for reading and please shoot me ideas you have on how I can improve my approach, your own resurrection methods or even just ask for advice.

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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