bots in English teaching

The BOTS Are Coming: What I Learned Setting Up a Messenger Bot for English Learners

On Sunday morning, I had an hour or so to do some work.

I considered writing out video ideas for the week, finalizing my course, or writing some emails.

But I decided to do something different:

I created a bot for English learners on Facebook Messenger.

I had seen a couple in action and thought it would be a fun thing to do.

So, I did a quick search and chose one of the first bot generators that I saw (no coding here!).

I signed up and started building.

If you don’t know what a Facebook bot is, the main way it works is to give automated responses based on what users type.

For example, you can add keywords such as:

– improve my speaking
– speak fluent English
– talk to people

And then, give an automated reply.

I did this for a few keywords, wrote out some automated answers, and then told people to join me.

As you can imagine…

… pure bedlam!

People were getting automated replies for questions they weren’t asking. People were asking to speak with a human. People were getting very frustrated.

I had to turn off the automated replies and respond to each message individually.

It was a bit of a nightmare, to be honest.

After setting up what I thought was going to be an automated tool, I had to spend all this time responding to questions.

But, it turned out that this wasn’t a bad thing.

This is what I learned:

1. Interaction Goes a Long Way

Another feature of having a Messenger Bot is that you can create a main menu that people see inside Messenger.

Mine consists of links to get my free book and to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

After answering a question, which is easy to do in Messenger due to the speed and voice feature, I suggest that they download my book (and join my email list).

On Monday alone, over 60 people downloaded my book straight from Messenger.

I’m also getting so many ‘thank you’ messages from those who I help.

This goes a long way.

Learners take lessons from teachers that they know, like, and trust.

If you’re struggling to get learners, start interacting with them in a one-to-one way.

Don’t force anything on them. Sell softly. But help them first.

I got three requests for 1-2-1 lessons yesterday.

I didn’t even offer these anymore.

If you’re looking to grow your schedule, go out there and interact with learners.

Messenger is a great way to do that.

2. Marketing Strategies Change But Principles Remain

Another feature of the Messenger bot is that you can send messages out en masse.

This is new and I imagine that by the end of 2017, everyone will be doing this.

Right now, I’m getting 92% open rates.

But people will soon get bored of receiving marketing messages through Messenger.

Open rates will drop.

Marketers will then look for the next big thing.

If this sounds stressful, don’t worry.

Email marketing is still king. It has been for a long time.

In fact, I’m using Messenger as a way to grow my email list.

Whatever strategy you use, follow my 3-step plan:

1. Be clear on what you offer and how you help
2. Create a system for creating learners into paying students
3. Build awareness and send learners into this system

When it comes to number two, make your long-term focus email.

3. Humans Are Still Needed (For Now)

I had a few people unsubscribe from my Messenger platform because they kept getting automated messages.

Learners want to speak to humans, not robots. Teachers are still needed.

View new technology as a way to complement your teaching.

New tools are being introduced all the time.

It’s exciting for me to see what’s next and where things go.

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If you’ve enjoyed this, then consider sharing it.

If you want to communicate with Jack the Human through Messenger, click here.

It’s a lot of fun and I’d love to help you.

And if you’re ready to get everything you need to build a teaching business – along with your own personalized version of the 3-step plan above – then come and join us inside TEOC.

Click here to learn why more and more teachers are joining this unique course and community knowing that they are getting the best training and support that will help them get a full-time schedule and scale their teaching business.

Thanks for reading!

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