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How to choose the right chatbot builder: An easy guide for newbies and veterans

4 mins read

Although there’s the option to build a chatbot from scratch, most people turn to a chatbot builder to save them a lot of time and effort. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the best chatbot builders on the market and how you should go about choosing one which is right for your business.

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Here’s what we’re looking at:

Understand the purpose of your bot

Before you decide on which chatbot builder you want to leverage, it’s important to determine the reasons you’ll be using the chatbot within your marketing strategy. Depending on your business needs, some chatbots will work better than others. 

For example, if your chatbot’s main purpose is to sell your products or services, you need to ensure that the chatbot builder you use is able to have a direct integration with an ecommerce software such as Salesforce or Pipedrive. 

And you need to consider the functionality of your chatbot and how advanced it needs to be. If you need a chatbot which only features a ‘Book a Meeting’ widget, then you don’t need to invest in a robust chatbot builder which will be more difficult to manage. 

Many chatbot builders can cost a considerable amount of money, so establishing the main purpose of your chatbot is extremely important. This will ensure that you don’t end up over-spending or using a builder which will probably fail in the long run. 

Don’t worry - I’ll talk more about determining a budget for your chatbot later on in this blog. 

Our favourite chatbot builder is HubSpot. They’re one of the pioneers of conversational marketing and their tool is renowned for being one of the most powerful in the game. Check out some of the awesome benefits their bot can offer here.

Establish your different options

As I’ve already mentioned, there’s a huge amount of options available on the market when it comes to chatbot builders. This means that you’ll have to weigh your options carefully before you make the big decision. 

Here are three different types of chatbots, all of which can work better for different kinds of businesses:

Button-based chatbots

The most basic type of chatbots are button-based. These bots require the user to choose an answer from a range of different options. Check out an example of a button-based bot below.

example chatbot builder

They require the least amount of technical skills during the build and usually cost less than some of the more complex bots. In addition to this, button-based chatbots are pretty easy to manage and maintain. 

Regarding the benefits they offer to a user, button-based chats help to automate mundane tasks such as bookings and registrations. They also allow users to reach a desired goal without having to type a single word, which is particularly beneficial for mobile users. 

This is due to the fact that buttons reduce spelling errors and other general frustrations which can arise when users have to type sentences out on their phones.

However, there are certain scenarios where button-based chatbots will fall short. This is because they’re unable to generate appropriate responses to users when they need a specific answer to a question. 

Want to know about button-based chatbots and whether they’re right for you? This blog from Chatbots Life is definitely worth a read as it explains when buttons should and shouldn’t be used on your chatbot.

Keyword recognition-based chatbots

These types of chatbots are a little more complex than button-based bots. They require your chatbot to be able to understand certain words which the user types in order to generate a response. This is done through the use of text classifications and other types of machine learning. 

To give you a better understanding, here’s an example of a keyword recognition-based chatbot in action…

A customer lands on your chatbot and they want to know more about one of your hotels. They type in something like ‘Tell me more about your hotel in Newcastle’

Your chatbot should then be able to process certain words used within their request in order to generate a response. It would automatically send the user to a page on your website which gives further details about that specific hotel. 

One of the main benefits of these bots is that they give you a great amount of control over your automated messages. Your bot will never generate a response with content which has not been manually created by people who work at your company.

Contextual chatbots

The third and final kind of chatbot which businesses use are contextual chatbots. These are the most advanced type of chatbot due to the fact that they can self-improve based on what users are asking for and the way in which they ask for it.

For these types of chatbots to work effectively, they need to be loaded with large amounts of data so that they have as much ammunition as possible to generate appropriate responses to users.

Although contextual chatbots are probably the most powerful type of bot, they require a lot of manual input from you and your employees. They also tend to cost more money and you need to be sure that it’s right for your business before you make the investment.

But before you can do that, you need to clearly outline a budget.

Determine your chatbot budget

Like any type of investment, it’s crucial that you plan a clear budget to ensure you don’t overspend. By doing so, you will also narrow down your options to a much more refined list of chatbots which are going to be suitable for your business. 

Because the chatbot market has become so competitive, narrowing down your options isn’t going to be easy. Therefore, you’ll need to do an extensive amount of research about the different types of chatbots available and how much they cost.

This links back to the first point about understanding the purpose of your chatbot. Once you know the reason why you’re going to invest, you can get started with the decision-making process by researching chatbots. For example, this can be done by reading comparison blogs and customer reviews. 

We’ve put together a blog which offers advice on how to create a marketing budget and also gives some guidance on other areas of marketing which are worth investing in. Have a read of it here.

So, let's sum things up

Choosing a chatbot builder isn’t an easy task. There’s a lot which needs to be taken into consideration. Therefore, in order to make the decision easier, you need to determine a certain number of things: 

  1. The first is the reason that you’re going to invest in a bot. There are lots of reasons why bots are used and in order to make sure that you pick one which is going to work for your business, you need to make sure that it’s going to be able to help you achieve your goals.
  2.  Secondly, you need to make sure that you’re fully in the know about the different types of chatbots which you could potentially invest in. There are three main types and, although each of them offer great benefits, they’re all completely different.
  3. Finally, set out a clear budget. The last thing you want to do is over-spend and end up losing out. Your chatbot is there to improve your company’s profitability and by purchasing the wrong type of chatbot builder, you’re decreasing your chances of this happening.

Before you go away and do anything, we recommend that you learn as much as you can about the basics of conversational marketing and how chatbots work. This is why we’ve put together a conversational marketing playbook.

Become a HubSpot conversational marketing expert with our brand new playbook

From chatbot performance analysis to buyer persona consideration, there’s a lot to take into account when it comes to ensuring your chatbot is a success. However, it’s important not to forget about elements such as conversational design and keeping up to date with best practices. 

In order to help you become an expert in conversational marketing, we’ve put together a playbook which covers everything you need to know about the concept. Download your free copy below.