Every startup struggles when trying to show what its resulting product is going to be. The problem is that investors and early adopters normally don’t trust words – they want to see something that already works. However, startups usually have neither time nor money to create a fully-functional product. Here comes a solution, which is to create a minimum viable product (MVP).

MVP is a minimalistic model of a product, which includes only key features of the final product. It can help to significantly reduce failure risk as you can get feedback from your potential audience before launch. Also, having MVP is an essential part of attracting investors, which usually implies that without MVP they would hardly take your proposition seriously.

At the same creation of MVP can also turn out to be a challengeable task. The way how difficult it gets totally depends on the product type. In some cases, getting MVP can eat money and time that startup can’t afford. Therefore, one needs to find an appropriate MVP model that won’t leave him without resources halfway.

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In this article, we will take a close look at an MVP model that has recently gained a lot of popularity. It’s about chatbots, which can be wisely used for an effective MVP strategy. (I’m not talking about such ones as Facebook comment bot but about more advanced virtual assistants.)  

The best things about chatbots are the simplicity of creation and application, low development costs, fast feedback from a potential audience, and no need in a standalone application. At the same time, chatbots can give a real and bright glimpse at how your product or service should work.

Topic is interesting for you, – “How to use Facebook Messenger for Business”

Main steps to making chatbot as MVP

Obviously, chatbots are not about a visual thing. By their nature, chatbots are conversational interfaces, which are meant to provide human-like communication with services. On the one hand, it makes an entire development process easier than making applications or websites. Especially when it comes to such examples like simple Facebook comment bot. That’s because the creation of impressive UI usually costs more money and time than startups have, and chatbots don’t need it.

On the other hand, nice UI can drive attention even if the functionality is poor. But with chatbots, you can’t hide problems in visual part. All that you need in this case is to focus on conversational flow. It should be consistent, seamless for a user, and simple enough to sound natural.

When you are ready with basic conversation scenarios, you can add more functionality. Don’t ignore it, but also don’t overuse it. Use Facebook Messenger and API (application programming interface) to insert buttons, images, videos and audios into replies of a chatbot. They will help to create a rich conversation and drive such an engagement that is hardly possible with just a plain text.

1.      Creating bot conversation

Conversation with users is the first and foremost part of bot development. Many bot makers struggle with it, which happens because they underestimate an importance of knowing the potential audience. The thing is that in order to approach it right, you need to have a clear psychological “portrait” of your average user. In a nutshell, you can get this “portrait” from buyer persona.

According to Tony Zambito, the leading authority in helping organizations understand their customers, buyer persona is “a research-based representation of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.”

Profound understanding of potential buyers should help to create a chatbot that speaks the exact language your buyers use. It’s very important because language can either attract users or make them want to quit conversation as soon as possible. Special spoken phrases, short sentences, natural reaction to replies of customers – all these and much more count and make conversation human-like.  

Apart from traditional tools for creating buyer personas, chatbot itself is one of the best tools for gathering information about users. Lately, you can leverage it to improve the way chatbot interacts with users.

2.      Adding functionality

You may think that in conversation the only thing that really matters is text. In real life conversations, yes, but keep in mind that we still need to consider messenger. And conversations in messenger contain much more than just text. Normally people send each other links, images, video and audio files. Chatbot shouldn’t be an exception (except such bots likes Facebook comment bot that needs only text).

Most messengers, including Facebook in the first instance, have APIs that provide such default options like UI items (buttons, carousels of images), analytics, built-in conversation ads, natural language processing possibilities and much more. Of course, you can ignore most of the additional options at the beginning. But as you advance in development of your bot, you may find them useful.

3.      Creating landing page for chatbot

Surprisingly, it turns out that chatbot landing page is something most bot makers aren’t aware of. Don’t be like them – create a mini-landing page that can help your customers understand what your bot serves for. Don’t shy off to show them opportunities your bot contains. Make it clear and vivid.

Use Facebook messenger as a hosting platform and Manychat for building mini-landing page for your chatbot. Here is a nice example of chatbot landing page (mentioned on Chatfuel website).

facebook comment bot

Conclusion

If done right, MVP can be a great basis for further development of product or service. Moreover, if you pick chatbot as MVP model, you can get fast feedback from potential customers as they are still enthusiastic about chatbots. Comparing to other MVP models, chatbot will help you to validate your idea within an extremely short period of time and, thus, reduce costs.

Therefore, easiness of development and deployment, possibilities to drive engagement with the variety of features, extensive analytics, an option to use Facebook messenger as the main platform, time and money saving – all together these advantages make chatbots a highly efficient MVP model.

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Growth Hacker and Sales Hacker, MVP builder, love to run technology companies.