The 5 Myths of Chatbots with Michelle Barnum Smith

Michelle Barnum-Smith talks myths of chatbots

Marketing for 20 years and a corporate career in Vodafone, China Telecom and now running her own digital marketing agency.

  • Saw messaging marketing for the first time and saw the future
  • Setting up funnels is so easy and frictionless on Messenger
  • Ideal for Amazon sellers – don’t have to think about marketing, seamless
  • Michelle is not an Amazon seller but is a marketing strategist


Myth 1 – You have to have a huge Messenger list to make a difference

  • Email died because nobody reads everything – poor engagement now
  • Traditional view was to get an engagement the figure required was 100,000 email addresses in your list
  • ManyChat conference in Texas last week, Facebook Messenger Gods were there and put paid to the myths of chatbots
  • Only 1% of Business Profiles on Facebook are connected to Messenger
  • Penetration hasn’t even started yet
  • Open rates nad click through rates are like 90%
  • Click through rates of 80%
  • Compared to email hot list is 12-15% open rate and 2-5% click through rate
  • So you need massive email numbers to get anywhere which is true
  • But 500-2000 Messenger list is enough to start – so an end to the myths of chatbots versus emails

Myth 2 – Amazon Reviews Funnels

  • Steady stream of reviews for Amazon listings from Messenger – review funnels
  • Setup a retargeting ad on FB to match my Amazon customers to an FB audience
  • Some sort of offer to get them to leave a review
  • Problem: When you’r retargeting an audience on FB if it’s too small FB won’t even run the ad to make it retarget-able
  • That audience and those subscribers are going to be really expensive – $10 per customer
  • Problem 2: Abnormal review velocity in Amazon gets flagged and your account gets suspended
  • You play roulette doing this an expensive and dangerous game to enter

Myth 3 – Keep in Touch

  • Build a new shiny list and you get distracted and move off
  • Then come back to it later and expect fireworks
  • Ignore you girlfriend for a few weeks nad you’ll not get much response – same with your audience
  • Especially with Messenger – if people get confused about your connection and ‘delete’ your conversations then FB will close you down
  • If you only need Messenger for 1 or 2 products then go use a launch service rather than Messenger
  • You need to get back to people and have a conversation or don’t bother
  • Have 5-10 related products and messenge your audience every week or 2 -5 times a month
  • Get people to know, like and trust you
  • Don’t get blocked

Myth 4 – Be Congruent and Relevant

  • A smattering of products all over the board and works for arbitrage
  • But private labelling is building a brand
  • Selling shower heads nad makeup – you will confuse your audience
  • You push a lipstick offer and a few weeks later you push a lawnmower it won’t be congruent
  • Caveat: If the products can be kind of in a ‘deal club’ sort of thing then it can work
  • For maximum results in building your messenger audience then you need 5-10 products in product groups so that when you message there is relevance there
  • You need your products to be congruent for the conversation to make sense and have a consistent brand

Myth 5 – Messenger is only for Amazon

  • I can only use this Messenger list for Amazon offerings – right?
  • No, you can send that traffic wherever you want
  • If your audience knows, likes and trusts you then they’ll go with you
  • If you’re starting out and are an Amazon seller then do leverage the trust Amazon brings on your Messenger list
  • Having your own traffic source gives you power to send to your products wherever they are

The Three Bs – myths of chatbots – avoid these…

  • Burning your List
  • Getting Blocked on Facebook
  • Banned on Amazon
  • Take a longer term view – build your brand outside of Amazon as well.
  • Build your Messenger list for long term use


  1. Myth: I need a massive Messenger list to make a difference in your business
    • Shift: You only need 500-2000 subscribers to get the momentum you need
  2. Myth: I can harvest a steady stream of Reviews for your Amazon listings
    • Shift: Using tactics promoted out there, you’ll likely be paying through the nose for those review subscribers + if you’re getting a steady stream you’ll likely get banned on Amazon anyway (dangerous and expensive game to play for limited results)
  3. Myth: I can message your audience once or twice and be able to message a few months when I have something new to offer
    • Shift: Without consistent communication your list will forget about you and will be upset with your messages resulting in deleted conversations, getting marked as SPAM and you getting blocked on Facebook
  4. Myth: I can offer a smattering of different products to my Messenger subscribers and they’ll be anxious to buy
    • Shift: Messenger Subscribers need consistency to not be confused by your Messages. The best campaigns are from brands with 5-10 RELATED products so there is consistency in the type of offer being presented.
  5. Myth: If I build a Messenger list for my Amazon business, I can’t use it to promote to my website or other storefronts.
    • Shift: Leveraging your Amazon presence is a great way to build your brand with cold traffic (ie Facebook Ads), but once your audience knows you provide consistent value, you now have a traffic source you can drive to any destination: Amazon, Shopify, even selling directly on Messenger!


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