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How This Entrepreneur Made A Chatbot Platform Successful Chatbots are The Next Big Thing but capitalizing on the opportunity requires as much work as ever.

By Jennifer Spencer Edited by Dan Bova

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Bernhard Lang | Getty Images

Are you taking advantage of chatbot in your marketing strategy? Within the last year, 30,000 developers started building chatbots and almost every major tech company, including Facebook, Microsoft and Google announced support for chatbots.

For those new to the term, a chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface. Justin Clegg, co-founder and CEO of Rescue.io, saw how quickly consumer-driven messaging startups were scaling and wanted to be part of the action. Clegg began his technology career at Intel Corporation leading consumer product and content marketing initiatives for a variety of product device categories.

During his journey, Clegg has discovered a roller coaster on which he learned about himself and different consumer behaviors in messaging. Clegg felt it was important to create something of value within his community. In order for Clegg to build a chatbot platform, and create a successful business around it, he needed to focus on three key areas.

Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your Business

1. Ask the 'why' questions.

In order for your business to be able to withstand the heavy competition in your niche, you have to ask the why questions. Why am I building this? What specific problem am I trying to solve? Why will this be the greatest chatbot service for this particular niche?

These are important when setting up your chatbot strategy because it allows you to solve specific problems within your niche. Why questions make your chatbot more productive and targeted. It can also lead to the death of a horrible chatbot in which you were saved from production.

Trying to kill your chatbot is the best way to create a great chatbot. Get your hands dirty with your why questions and really delve into the why -- it can teach you a lot about both your target market and your chatbot.

Another great question you should be thinking about is this one...

Where are you creating lasting value within your service?

As with any chatbot program, the more values you collect the more lasting your product will become within your market. It's very important to understand the why questions because it will keep you grounded and on the right track within your market.

Related: 10 Tips for Creating a Great Chatbot

2. Identify the market you want to enter.

Everyone has personal pain points. Entrepreneurship stems from clearly identifying those pain points and being able to solve them. The challenge is to identify a market, or how many people are also experiencing your pain point. If the market is big enough and enough people would be interested, then you build a product.

Clegg mentions when you are thinking about your target market, you should remember your 'Why' and use this to identify your market to become more relevant to their wants and needs for the future of your bots success.

Once you have identified your marketplace it's time to set up a strategy which will attract them to your business. You can choose to have your interface connected to meaningful human experiences, include loyalty programs, create the right mix of bot-to-human conversation within your business, and more great ideas like these.

When you identify your market you have found a permanent home for your product. Don't skimp on this step because it will determine whether or not your chatbot will succeed or fail. Simply put, identify and then attack with a marketing plan which is personal, relevant and effective.

Related: 7 Ways Chatbots Can Benefit Your Marketing Strategy

3. Unify your team with communication.

As with any business, it will either succeed or fail because of the people within the confines of that company. Clegg says one of the superpowers a startup business can ever have between its employees is the power of communication.

Never underestimate the true impact of clear communication. Communication is not only making sure you're on the same page as everyone else, or vise versa, but it's also direct and honest feedback between team members.

Related: Top 7 Chatbot Monetization Strategies You Need to Know

It's important to have open lines of communication to stay aligned. It may require a phone call at 2 a.m. with a simple idea or product feature request. Anyone who has worked with Clegg can relate to countless experiences of him tripping out of the shower to pick up the phone with an idea around a product. With that, it's also critical to challenge each other's ideas and opinions to make sure you have exhausted every avenue in order to determine the correct approach to product development, marketing strategy, and a lot of other choices made within the business.

Having a unified team means having great communication at all times. It means you should always have an open mind to the new guy's point of view just as much as you would someone else who has been there for years. Allow them the freedom of clear communication and watch your team's unity soar.

Today, Justin is building Square One Labs, a next generation messaging platform to help consumers become more productive via mobile messaging. Clegg's vision for the future includes a variety of personal assistance services, task automation, connecting people to products and services and even bridging the digital divide by texting the homeless community. As it turns out, nearly 70% of the homeless community owns at least a feature phone and messaging could be a step towards connecting the tech elite to the homeless community in San Francisco.

You may have the best chatbot idea since the dawn of time. But will the public see your idea come to fruition? There are tons of ways to succeed, and a ton of ways to fail, these three ideas from Mr. Clegg will always keep your program alive and kicking until you reach your launching point.
Jennifer Spencer

CEO of Energent Media

Jennifer Spencer is the founder of Energent Media, a digital marketing firm for tech startups. She is passionate about helping brands leverage content to share their stories with the world.

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