Chatbots are all the rage these days, thanks to massive advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP). To show just how mainstream chatbots have now become, consider that there are now a whopping 300,000 chatbots on Facebook.
Chatbots are being increasingly used by businesses of all sizes to interact with their prospective and existing customers, not just in the area of customer support, but also in sales and marketing. According to Outgrow, 53% of customers are more likely to shop with businesses that they can message.
Chatbot marketing may seem complicated at first, but due to the emergence of chatbot platform tools, creating and distributing a chatbot on your website and messaging apps is now easier than ever.
In this article, I’ve compiled a list of 8 best chatbot builders that you can use to build your very own chatbot and supercharge your marketing.
But first, let’s cover the basics of chatbot marketing.
(Already know the basics? Click here to jump straight to the list of best chatbot builders.)
Table of Contents
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is an AI-powered software that can simulate a conversation with users via a chat interface on a website or a messaging app like Facebook Messenger, Skype, or WhatsApp.
With the help of chatbot technology, businesses can streamline their sales process and provide better customer support. From the consumer standpoint, chatbots can make it easier for users to find the exact solutions they are looking for, without wasting any time spent on searching or navigating a website.
The chatbot technology is enabled through a set of if-then rule statements programmed via a chatbot builder. In most cases, you don’t require coding knowledge to create even the most advanced chatbots, thanks to some of the most innovative chatbot-building platforms which we will reveal below.
How Do Chatbots Work?
Chatbots are enabled through a technology called natural language processing (NLP), a subfield of computer science and AI that is concerned with the interactions between computers and human languages.
Essentially, chatbots process the text presented to them by users, interpret what they’ve said, and determine a series of appropriate responses based on this information.
Chatbot Examples: 3 of the Most Creative Chatbots on the Web
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery — it’s the sincerest form of learning.” So before you start building your own chatbot, let’s take inspiration from the 3 most creative chatbots on the web.
Chatbot Example #1: LEGO
LEGO’s chatbot, Ralph, is a classic example of customer support done well. Ralph acts as a virtual shopping assistant on Facebook Messenger and helps users find the perfect LEGO gifts for special occasions. This reduces the indecision consumers typically face while shopping for gifts.
Image Credit: Edelman Digital
Ralph the chatbot asks users questions like their age, budget, and the type of LEGO sets they are interested in. A few seconds later, Ralph presents a slew of kits ready for purchase.
Ralph was responsible for driving 25% of all in-season online sales, providing a 6x return on ad spend within certain markets.
Chatbot Example #2: Hipmunk
Hipmunk is a platform that helps travellers find the best travel deals. In other words, people can use the platform to book flights, hotels, and rental cars.
To help travellers book flights and hotels more easily, Hipmunk created a chatbot, Hello Hipmunk, which is available on Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Slack.
Image Credit: Hackernoon
The chatbot uses the traveller’s location to determine where they are travelling from and sends them great deals from that location. The chatbot also shares maps, helping users ensure that the bot has determined the right location.
Chatbot Example #3: TechCrunch
TechCrunch is one of the leading technology blogs on the web. Their chatbot is a content marketing chatbot that shares personalized content from their blog.
Image Credit: TechCrunch
The chatbot allows users to pick the number of times they’d like to receive new content, along with the type of content they’d like to receive (gadgets, startups, apps, etc.)
The TechCrunch chatbot is available on both Telegram and Facebook Messenger.
Side note: We created our own content marketing chatbot a while back using the TARS chatbot platform (see #3 in the list below). It’s a bit dated, but click here to check it out anyway to get an idea of how a content marketing chatbot works.
Now that you the basics about chatbots and have seen some of the most creative chatbot examples, here’s a list of the 8 best chatbot platform tools.
8 Best Chatbot Builders
MobileMonkey is a popular Facebook messenger platform that lets you build chatbots on Facebook Messenger, grow your contact list, segment your audience, and even build messenger funnels (an alternative to landing pages) that opt people into audiences when they click on the ad.
The chatbots created via MobileMonkey can be programmed to make appointments, answer FAQs, track purchases, and use A.I. to match content to intent via keywords and interactions. The company was founded by leading internet marketer, Larry Kim.
MobileMonkey Pricing Plans
- Free – $0/month (includes Facebook Messenger bot basics, list building and audience tools)
- WP Pro – $98/year (includes enhanced Messenger bot for WordPress; billed annually)
- Pro – $49/month (includes advanced Messenger bot automation and integration)
- Pro Unicorn – $79/month (includes Facebook ad enhancements with bots and chatbot analytics)
- Team – $159/month (for agencies and freelancers running more than 1 Facebook Page)
The MobileMonkey free plan provides everything you need to design and deploy successful messenger marketing campaigns that will drive real results for your business. It includes features such as a chatbot builder, messenger ads, chat blaster, Q&A triggers, and more. For advanced features like drip campaigns, bot analytics, and integrations, you’ll need to upgrade to any of the paid plans.
To create your free MobileMonkey account, click here.
To learn more about MobileMonkey and its key features, please check out my in-depth review of MobileMonkey here.
Side note: Want to create a conversion-optimized Facebook chatbot? Check out Larry Kim’s ultimate guide to Facebook Messenger ads.
With HubSpot’s free chatbot builder, you can build a chatbot to book meetings, provide answers to common customer support questions, qualify leads, and more. Additionally, HubSpot’s chatbot builder is integrated with HubSpot’s free CRM tool, which means your bots can deliver more personalized messages based on information you already have about your contacts.
HubSpot Chatbot Pricing Plans
You can start using HubSpot’s chatbot builder for free. To integrate this chatbot builder with other HubSpot marketing tools, you can sign up for HubSpot Marketing Free — a free inbound marketing toolkit which includes forms, analytics, pop-ups, and email integration for your site.
Founded in 2015 by Vinit Agrawal and Ish Jindal, TARS enables individuals and businesses to create chatbots that can be used on your website and Facebook Messenger with no programming knowledge at all.
The chatbots created via TARS can be used for ordering/booking process, feedback collection, conducting surveys, user onboarding, training, customer support automation, and a lot more.
TARS Pricing Plans
TARS doesn’t offer a free plan, but you can sign up for a 14-day free trial to create a bot and test out some of the bot-building features.
- Professional – $99/month (includes 5 chatbots, 1000 chats/month + 1 chatbot designed by TARS Experts. Worth $199 for free.)
- Business – $429/month (includes 10 chatbots, 5000 chats/month + 3 chatbots designed by TARS Experts. Worth $597 for FREE.)
- Enterprise – Custom (includes 20+ chatbots, 50,000+ chats/month)
Click here to sign up for a free trial for 14 days (no credit card info required)
[Exclusive Discount Code] Use code 99SIGNALS_TARS to get 20% discount on all monthly subscriptions and 30% off on the annual subscription.
Side note: Ish Jindal, co-founder of TARS Chatbots, was a guest on episode #33 of my podcast Marketing Mantra. We had an interesting discussion on the evolution of chatbots and how conversational landing pages created via chatbots are more effective in lead generations than static landing pages. Click here to listen to the episode.
Botsify lets you create AI chatbots on your website or Facebook messenger without any coding knowledge. Botsify is integrated with several services, including WordPress, Shopify, Slack, Alexa, Google Sheets, RSS Feed, JSON API, ZenDesk.
The easy-to-use drag and drop interface helps you with template design for your chatbot. Lots of big brands use Botsify to design their chatbots, including Apple and Shazam.
You can find examples of bots created via Bostify at their bot store.
Botsify Pricing Plans
- Free – $0/month (1 chatbot, 100 unique users)
- Basic – $10/month (3 chatbots, 1,000 unique users)
- Premium – $30/month (5 chatbots, 5,000 unique users)
- Enterprise – $50/month (100 chatbots, 50,000 unique users)
Chatfuel is a free bot-building platform that lets you create chatbots on Facebook Messenger with no prior coding experience required. Chatfuel is currently being used by NFL and NBA teams, and publishers like TechCrunch and Forbes.
Chatfuel Pricing Plans
- Free – $0/mo
- Pro – Starts from $15/mo (price adjusts according to the number of subscribers)
- Premium – $199/mo
With the Pro plan, you get access to the following features:
- Ability to remove ‘Chatfuel’ branding on your chatbot landing pages
- No subscriber limit
- Priority support
- Multiple teammates
- Precise targeting with Facebook ads
With the Premium plan, you get access to the new Synced Cloning feature, which helps to easily clone your bot for each location of user’s chain.
If you’re in the eCommerce space and would like to learn more about how to build your own eCommerce chatbots, Chatfuel recently teamed up with Sumo to publish a mammoth guide on eCommerce Chatbots. Click here to check it out!
6. Flow XO
Flow XO is a chatbot platform that allows you to build and distribute smart chatbots on Facebook and your website. The platform provides lots of pre-built chatbot templates which you can customize easily with the drag and drop editor.
Flow XO Pricing Plans
- Free Plan – $0/month (5 bots and 500 interactions)
- Standard Plan – $19/month (15 bots and 5000 interactions)
(+$10/month to add 5 bots and +$25/month to add 25,000 interactions)
Wit.ai is a free chatbot software that lets you easily create text or voice based bots on your preferred messaging platform. Wit.ai learns human language from every interaction, and leverages the community: what’s learned is shared across developers.
To see how a Wit.ai chatbot works, check out their demo app here.
Wit.ai Pricing Plans
Wit.ai is a free chatbot platform. You can create a Wit.ai account by logging in via GitHub or Facebook. Once you’ve done that, you can create your first chatbot using Wit.ai’s chatbot building platform. To see how it works, click here.
BotKit is a leading developer tool for building chatbots, apps and custom integrations for major messaging platforms.
BotKit has an open community on Slack with over 7000 developers from all facets of the bot-building world, including the BotKit team. To get your invite to join the community, click here.
BotKit Pricing Plans
To view BotKit’s pricing plans, you’ll need to sign up for their free plan. And then once the account is created, you need to login to the dashboard and click on ‘Unlock Full Version’ from the top menu bar to view the following pricing plans:
- Developer – $5/month (3 bots, 100 active users)
- Professional – $20/month (unlimited bots, 2500 active users)
- Business – $99/month (unlimited bots, 10000 active users)
So these are the 8 bot-building platforms you can leverage to build your own chatbots to interact with your prospects and customers. There will be more chatbot platform tools emerging very soon and it’s only a matter of time before the big players jump on the chatbot bandwagon. But for now, these are the top 8 chatbot building tools you can rely on to build chatbots for your business.
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on June 5, 2018 and has been updated regularly since then for relevance and comprehensiveness.
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