Ok, you’ve made the “world’s greatest chatbot” but how do you get people to know that it exists? In this week’s blog, I’ll share five tips that I’ve found work well over the years without having to spend any money too!
1 — Post on message boards/websites
The main method of getting your bot into the hands of people who will actually care about it, is to write about it on message boards, websites, Facebook groups and other online forums but don’t just post it on any old place. Let’s say you’ve made a fanbot about a celebrity such as Taylor Swift. There would be little point in posting it on a website dedicated to hard rock music, as the users wouldn’t be interested and probably just class it as spam. However, if you post it on a dedicated Taylor Swift forum, it’s going to get a lot more traffic.
Find websites appropriate to your content. You’ve made a chatbot that recommends money off deals for baby products? Great, write about it on a mother and baby forum. Not just a “ch3ck out mi kwl bot!” post but take time to explain what it can do and how it can help. Also, no need to be too specific about where you post. The baby product bot could be advertised on a shopping site. The Taylor Swift bot could be posted on a general pop music site. As long as it’s vaguely related and the you think the users may be interested, go for it!
2 — Make it stand out from the crowd
Websites that are directories of bots can be useful if you are looking for something specific and while I recommend you add your bot to them, this should not be your main method of publicising your work. Placing your bot in a website with thousands of other bots will not make it stand out, as it will just get buried and people are only going to discover it by chance. It’s like advertising a blade of grass by putting it in a field! You need to make it unique so it will grab people’s attention. Find a niche.
My bot Mitsuku became hugely popular after it was uploaded to a games website which was aimed at males between the ages of 18 and 30. At the time, all the games on the site were based on various sports or driving games and so when Mitsuku appeared, it was so different to anything else there that the users went crazy for it. Word of mouth did the rest.
Our example Taylor Swift bot could be placed on a music technology website or put the baby products bot on a “money saving” forum. Somewhere just different enough to make it stand out but not totally unrelated that the users are going to skim over it.
3 — Get a good reputation
Ok, this one takes a while but is definitely worth it. People are more likely to check something out if the creator has a good reputation. Simple as that. The hardest (and most time consuming) part is building your reputation in the first place. Begin this step by contributing to discussions in bot groups but only if you have something valuable to add. A quick “yeah I agree” will have the opposite effect and people will see you as a spammer/troll. If a member is having difficulty with something bot related, offer a solution where possible.
A nice easy way to build your reputation is to welcome new members to a group. A quick hello takes no time at all and the new user will definitely appreciate that someone has noticed them. Also, offering advice on another member’s project will demonstrate that you have taken the time to check it out and you’re probably quite a nice person for doing that!
As your reputation grows, so will the respect that others have for you and they are more likely to check out any new work you produce.
4 — Enter competitions/awards
There’s nowhere near as many bot contests and competitions as there were when I first started with chatbots but if you look carefully, you can still see one or two kicking around. Most of them now are based on giving awards rather than comparing chatbots in 1v1 battles though. Keep a lookout for any of these, as there’s usually a couple each year and even getting nominated for an award will raise awareness of your work.
5 — Create a quality product
Finally, make sure your bot is actually worth someone spending their time to look at. Test it to see if it works first before advertising it. This shouldn’t need saying really but I’ve seen people advertise bots that barely function, go into loops or are such a bad user experience that nobody will ever use them.
Also, does your bot have a purpose? Do we really need another random cat.gif bot or “insert a clap emoji between each letter of your name” type bot? The answer is no by the way! I always try to check out any new bots but if I see anything like these, I don’t bother checking out any other work by the same author and I’m guessing I’m not the only one.
Spend time creating a good product rather than just thinking how to advertise it.
Five things not to do
As well as these five things to do, there’s also five things NOT to do. Do you like how I balanced it out? ;)
Do not spam — Post about your bot once or twice. That’s it. Unless you’ve made major changes, nobody wants to read about your bot every day. Also make sure your bot doesn’t spam users. The user will contact your bot if they want to talk to it, never the other way round.
Do not use fake reviews — Nobody likes a con artist. A guy recently made a very substandard chatbot and was getting rave reviews for it. Upon investigation, I could see that these reviewers were all working for the same company! Bad move…
Do not hijack other people’s threads — Unfortunately, it’s all too common to see people posting unrelated content on threads. If someone is asking if anyone knows of a finance bot, I can assure you they are not going to want to check out your Taylor Swift bot and this will only get you a bad reputation.
Do not just post a link — I’ve seen many posts on groups which are just a link to click on with absolutely no description, presumably to talk to a bot. I say presumably because I’ve never clicked on one. Do people really still click on unknown internet links? If you are wanting people to look at your work, the least you can do, is to describe what it is.
Do not ignore users — If someone has taken the time to check out your bot and left comments or criticism, the least you can do is to acknowledge them. Many a time, I’ve left constructive comments to never receive any form of response from the bot creator. This makes you look like all you cared about was the clicks.
Hope these tips help your chatbot get more popularity. They worked for me and I’m lucky enough to now have one of the world’s most popular chatbots without having to spend a single penny on advertising.
To bring the best bots to your business, check out www.pandorabots.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.