The 10 Best Slack Chatbots for Marketing in 2017

I've been ruminating a lot about bots recently, and whether all of these new machine learning products are actually artificial intelligence, or if AI is little more than pattern recognition, as complex as it can be.  And while we're marketed plenty of products that clearly aren't actually intelligent (which of course begs the question what exactly we mean by "intelligence"), the one field that has a vested interest in mimicking human emotional response is the world of chatbots. 

I use chatbots every day for my job in marketing, and I wanted to share a list of some of the most valuable chatbots I've found, why they're useful, and how much they cost. During a fascinating Slack meetup last week, I was interested to learn that people are now spending more time on messaging services than on social media, which is a profound change in how we used the internet.  Even more intriguing is that a growing number of conversations that take place through Hipchat, Facebook Messenger, AIM and slack are now conducted with automated messaging robots called chatbots, which are built to make developers', salespeoples' and marketers' jobs easier by executing specific commands directly from within one messaging service, rather than navigating across multiple platforms. 

Here are some of the best chatbots I have found for marketing that will make my job easier in 2017.  

1. Statsbot

Statsbot is one of my first and favorite chatbots, allowing me to query both Google Analytics and Salesforce, as well as to set up recurring reports and alerts at a specified time of day, week or month, and finally to set certain alerts if benchmark metrics are not achieved, or thresholds crossed.  Statsbot understands fairly complex complex commands, and has become a vital tool for reporting and business insight. 

Cost: The free version is quite powerful, though the paid version is affordable and well worth the cost, with tiers at $5, 15 and $25 per month a pop. 

2. Workbot (via Workato)

Workbot is sort of an IFTTT for Slack, connecting over 150 platforms to the messaging service, from GitHub to Quickbooks to Docusign.  You can run simple commands in each app, as well as set up complex recipes from using everything from notifications to resolve issues assigned to you about your codebase, when invoices are created, or a contract is signed.

Cost: Workbot is cool, but the free version is close to useless, and the next tiers are $99 and then $499 per month, limiting its use to enterprise power users.  I can't justify the costs personally, though the tool is quite powerful. 

3. Senders 

Senders is actually an email plugin with a chatbot that offers the same functionality to query information about someone using their email.  Senders creates a professional Rapportive-like card for anyone who emails you, including links to their website, social media profiles, as well as any recent blog entries or social posts that person or person's company might have made.  Though they push users to volunteer information to complete on online profile, it's a great way to get a little information about the sender of any email and where they work.  

Cost: Absolutely Free! 

4.Trello

Trello is a great (and mostly free) project management software, that I've used across several companies for years. Trello uses a simple Kanban board of cards and categories, allowing you to assign tasks and project to different team members, track the progress, and attach documents and collateral all to cards that move across a board.  The Trello slack bot allows you to update information and progress on each card, reassign users or even move cards around according to the status of the project. 

Cost: Free; Trello has some paid features. 

5. Reveal

Revealbot is a really compelling bot that allows you to not only manage and report on Facebook advertising spend, but also supposedly optimize and automate some of the work that goes into running an effective social media campaign. Similar to bid optimization scripts in Adwords, Reveal claims to allow users to not only report and manage Facebook Ad Spend, but run slash commands and schedule rules to optimize campaigns, for example to cut a budget if the Cost Per Acquisition crosses a higher than desired threshold.

Cost: There are a number of different platforms starting at $10/mo

6. Taskbot

Taskbot is a very simple text input-based project management bot, where you can keep simple "To Do" lists. I mostly use the native @slackbot's slash commands of /remind me {date} project, but taskbot offers a few additional features like keeping a running list of tasks in a given channel as well as assigning responsibility to more than one team member.

Cost: Free

7. Growthbot

Growthbot was built by the founder and CTO of Hubspot.  Though I believe you need to actually need to be a Hubspot customer to access any of the real marketing and sales tool, Growthbot looks like it can integrated with Google Analytics, and do anything from disseminate content to a blog, to pulling up client records from your Hubspot CRM, without leaving the comfort of your very own Slack community. 

Cost: The bot is free; Hubspot is not. 

8. Arc

Arcbot is really used for the purposes of making quick Google Analytics queries on the fly, as well as scheduling simple GA reports.  You can set up daily reports for anything from sessions to bounce rate, and how that metric or dimension might have changed from a previous time period.  I used Arcbot quite a bit until I found most of it's functionality replaced by Statsbot. 

Cost: Basic Plan is free, while a paid plan offering conversion reporting and behavior costs around $9 / month. 

9. Domainr

Domain Research is an is an ICANN-accredited registrar, allowing potential entrepreneurs to request the availability of domain names. They do collect data on searches, though assure users that information is confidential, making money with partnerships between registrars and other vendors they refer. 

Cost: Free

10: Screenhero

Slack has a very nifty native (and very underutilized imo) /call slash command, which when I started using Slack a couple years ago, was the final nail in the coffin of Skype, allowing you to initiate a free voice call to any team member.  However, until very recently there was no native video chat to the messaging service, and though you could easily initiate a Google /hangout, the command launched a third party browser-based video call.  Slack recently purchased Screenhero, to integrate Join.me and TeamViewer functionality (i.e. not just video calling, but screensharing, presentation and remote desktop.

Cost: Unclear as of yet. 

BONUS: Troops

Troops is a chatbot that I just installed a week ago, and I'm quite impressed to far... Fundamentally, troops allows you to pull basic (up to 5 fields) from any Salesforce reports, and schedule a Slackbot to regularly run that report at a given interval.  You can get daily reports of leads created, to monthly opportunities closed by owner.  You can also search your Salesforce Org from directly within Slack, and one of the neatest features is called a "Gong," alerting users to any opportunities won, as soon as they happen. 

Cost: free... for now I think. 

If you have an awesome Slackbot that is useful for marketing, please let me know and I'd love to check it out! 

Tigh Loughhead Presents Elegran Marketing at Dreamforce 2016

A few weeks ago, Elegran was invited to be one of the first real estate brokerages to speak at Dreamforce in San Francisco, on a national stage at the largest tech conference in the world.  Salesforce invited Elegran’s Tigh Loughhead to speak about the company’s industry-wide leadership in lead generation and nurture, and innovation with marketing automation.  Elegran was recognized for its revolutionary use of marketing automation technology to segment its clientele—for in depth training of the firm’s sales and marketing teams, to educate their team about the product working for them, and finally for achieving success by building hyper-targeted, complex lead nurture and drip campaigns built around specific buying criteria and friction points throughout the purchasing process. Elegran has grown rapidly as a result, with the company’s relatively small team of salespeople generating 7-800% more revenue than the average NYC real estate agent.

[] caption “Tigh Loughhead speaking about marketing automation at Dreamforce 2016 in San Francisco”


Marketing automation is a burgeoning technology.  As more and more businesses move towards digital transformation, there is an inevitable thrust to automate inefficient tactics and scale processes that generate profit.  Traditionally, marketing has been an entirely separate endeavor from sales.  However, digital advertising creates the opportunity for granular data analysis at every stage in the supply and demand chain, from brand awareness to marketing conversion, to sales outreach and follow up, to closing a deal.   

Marketing automation closes the loop in the consumer lifecycle, allowing automated processes to supplement the inefficient administrative tasks of marketers and salespeople, and generates the insight to let ROI drive business decisions, and a number of tech companies are taking notice. MailChimp, a popular entry-level email marketing platform, now offers drip campaigns out of the box, and Zillow, the largest internet listing website, is starting to offer automated follow up and lead nurture as part of their Premier Agent product. What these tech companies have realized is that marketing automation, if done correctly, can allow a traditional business to scale their profit.  

Elegran has been optimizing lead generation tactics in New York City for years, building a complex, multi-channel marketing strategy encompassing SEO, SEM, Remarketing, Display, SMM, inbound and content marketing, email and much, much more… As a result, Elegran amassed a large database of leads to feed a powerful sales team, but lacked the insight at a high level to track each lead all the way to closing a deal, within its customer relationship management platform.

Elegran had invested in the premier enterprise CRM platform in Salesforce for the entire sales team, though before launching drip campaigns, Salesforce adoption among their actual sales team was extremely inconsistent, as there was no standardized operating procedure for client classification or workflows in Salesforce.  Although Elegran was profitable, the lack of a data structure restricted sales people’s individual ability to grow their business, and limited Elegran’s expansion and profit as a company.

Elegran realized that defining a data architecture would provide the foundation for growth and scalability, empowering both sales and marketing teams, and offering management the business intelligence to make smarter investments.  To define this structure, the team dove into the entire consumer journey of a client, from a prospect’s first exposure to the Elegran brand, to the needs of a long term client transacting their third deal with a trusted real estate advisor, and every potential progressive step in between.

The four stages Elegran derived from the customer journey were Awareness, Follow Up, Nurture and Re-Engagement, encompassing the entire consumer journey and the different needs at every stage.  Each stage was further segmented by lead or client type (Buyers, Sellers, Renters, etc.), as well as micro-segmented by purchasing criteria, such as budget, neighborhood or amenity.

In the interest of transparency and accountability, to educate the sales team, Elegran hosted in-depth focus groups and numerous training sessions on the what, why and how of each drip campaign.  In addition, a marketing automation campaign directory was provided to every Elegran employee, outlining what criteria or action would opt a prospect into that specific campaign, details about that drip, and the specific business goal the firm was trying to achieve.

Elegran is now running between 10-15 drip campaigns across the Awareness, Follow Up, Nurture and Re-Engagement stages, providing personalized content and contextual messaging dynamically generated to provide value to a consumer’s experience.  In April, Elegran participated in a closed beta-test of Pardot’s “Engagement Studio,” providing the inspiration for one of Elegran’s first complex, multi-path drip campaign, which was presented at Dreamforce.

As a result of the success of this complex, multi-path journey generating significant revenue for the firm, Elegran’s Marketing Director, Tigh Loughhead was asked to speak about the success of this campaign at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco on October 4th at Dreamforce. Tigh talked about how, as a result of one of many active campaigns, Elegran has to date, funneled a little more than 1200 prospects through the Awareness stage, that previously would not have even been touched by the sales team, which now have been properly nurtured all the way to the closing table.

This single innovative campaign resulted in numerous deals and tens of thousands of dollars in profit that would have been untouched otherwise. Prospects that would have been discarded or overlooked last year were turned from dormant or cold leads into luxury real estate clients. This single campaign eliminated the need to cold call (or email), allowing Elegran to scale email outreach to new leads, using a totally automated solution. Elegran continues to experiment with automated strategies across all segments of their data architecture, optimizing campaigns, diving into ROI, and being the first in real estate to create automated strategies to serve their clients and their entire team.  

I'm Speaking at Dreamforce 2016

I am incredibly excited to be invited by Salesforce to one of the first companies in real estate to be invited to speak about Marketing Automation at Dreamforce 2016 on behalf of Elegran, held October 4th-7th in San Francisco. Dreamforce is the largest software conference in the world, attracting over 175,000 technology entrepreneurs and business leaders, to connect with their peers and learn from industry pioneers. I will join speakers Melinda Gates, Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff, Tony Robbins and many more on the stage at Dreamforce this year. Elegran prides itself as a pioneer in technology and real estate marketing in NYC and is eager to present successful marketing strategies on a national stage to other leaders of the global business community.
Tigh Loughhead, Marketing Director at Elegran Real Estate and Development, was asked by Salesforce to speak at Dreamforce this year about Elegran’s innovation in lead nurturing and marketing automation, which it has used successfully to build an inbound marketing strategy, align marketing and sales teams, and leverage cold and dormant leads. Recently quoted on the Salesforce blog and Pardot product release announcement of Engagement Studio, Tigh has used lead nurturing technology strategies to close the loop between the traditional marketing and sales funnels at Elegran, about which he recently gave a presentation at Salesforce’s NYC headquarters in Manhattan. Details about Elegran’s Dreamforce session can be found below.https://success.salesforce.com/Sessions#/session/a2q3A000000LBY1QAO
Elegran attributes its rapid growth in becoming one of the leading firms in New York City to its high level of customer service, the excellence of its team, and its investment in technology and marketing. Elegran’s mastery of customer segmentation, nurture and conversion have propelled it to become one of the fastest-growing and most exciting firms in the industry; and the first to totally customize Salesforce for real estate, investing in the software for every member of its sales team, becoming one of the leading firms in the world of marketing automation.
Tigh Loughhead is an expert in digital marketing with a background in advertising and real estate technology, helping to grow several startups in New York City. As an expert in marketing automation, lead generation and real estate marketing tech, Tigh brings a wealth of digital marketing knowledge and management skills, such as CRM implementation, SEM, SEO, automation, content strategy, branding and conversion optimization to Elegran. In 2014, Tigh was one of only 10 people asked to sit on Trulia.com’s “NYC Rental Advisory Council." For the past two years, Tigh has run Elegran’s marketing team, focusing on lead generation, data analysis, and aligning sales and marketing to build Elegran as a scalable business. 

Reimagining Marketing Automation with Pardot Engagement Studio

Yesterday Salesforce launched the general availability of Pardot Engagement Studio, a powerful new UI for creating and reporting on lead nurture and drip campaigns.Elegran was lucky enough to participate in the private beta, and I must admit I'm quite impressed with the new interface and its functionality.

Read more about the product release here and here , or check out a short video of how Elegran implemented the reporting interface below: 

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/06/salesforce-pardot-engagement-studio.html

http://www.pardot.com/blog/salesforce-announces-general-availability-pardot-engagement-studio-b2b-marketing-automation-reimagined/

Elegran specializes in high-end luxury Manhattan real estate, but the firm is also dedicated to being a leader in real estate marketing technology.  We currently have several drip programs running using Engagement Studio, and we've already seen a some incredible results re-engaging lukewarm and forgotten leads, and handing them back over to our sales team to close, continuing to close the loop in our marketing to sales to deal funnel.  

Engagement studio actually empowers Pardot users to listen to numerous "triggers" based on user actions, then channel the customer journey along a personalized drip, visually representing the path to marketers along an intuitive flow diagram , that makes visualizing and reporting upon the success of content and design much more robust and user friendly. 

If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to share any experience or insight I might have gleaned using the program so far. 


Statsbot Salesforce Commands for Slack

Slack Commands for Salesforce and Google Analytics Automation

I've been a huge fan of Slack for a while now, the team-collaboration tool that is becoming more of an automated work management system than simply an instant message platform.  I use Slack to keep in touch with multiple teams; the marketing team at work, as well as my motorcycle club, including many individuals operating across multiple offices and timezones.  However, the true utility of Slack extends far beyond personal communication, as apps like IFTTT, Zapier and Statsbot actually integrate external software and even devices from Slack Channels and Bots, allowing you to control, report and even automate your personal and professional life directly from Slack. 

Slack commands are incredibly useful, and have replaced many of the myriad calendar, to do list or even project management platforms I've perfunctorily used in the past.  Using the /remind command in Slack allows a bot to schedule a personal reminder at a specific time, on a particular day or in a few hours from now.  Setting reminders for other team members, or even an entire channel is even more useful.  Simply type (in any channel)   "/remind [someone or #channel] [what] [when]" and @slackbot will not only remind you of [what] at that particular time, but keep a log of tasks due and completed in your Direct Message history. There are numerous other incredibly useful "slash" commands to /invite users, take a /poll, or even set up a /call with the #channel, nearly completely supplanting the utility of Skype. 

Slack also integrates with multiple other platforms and devices, allowing you to query and control other platforms directly from Slack.  I can access my Google Drive, or create a Google Hangout directly from within Slack, or integrate with other project management tools like Jira, Asana or Trello. Using IFTTT, I've set up social media posts or mentions to post to a #social channel so I can monitor activity across different sites.  I've set up a Craigslist scrape to post any new motorcycle listed for sale in New York State mentioning the word "Ducati" in the title to a Slack channel in real time. I've configured my Amazon Echo to automatically post reminder to Slack, anytime I add an item to my Alexa To Do list. 

These personal and professional automations save time, but the most impressive app I've seen yet is called Statsbot, which allows you to run Google Analytics and Salesforce reporting directly from within Slack.  As much as I absolutely love running reports in Salesforce  (then exporting and waiting to download a CSV, then finally manipulating the data) @statsbot has native querying language and native graphing tools built into the app.  

For the past month, I've set up automatic weekly and monthly traffic and conversion reporting, so I get a direct message in a private channel as soon as I get a cup of coffee on Monday morning, or right before a marketing meeting. 

Similarly, I've set up alerts for traffic or goal thresholds, that automatically notify me if visits and conversions don't reach or surpass specific targets, so I can make adjustments to the website or any campaign in real-time.  I have similar email alerts set up through GA, or Uptime Robot, but I'm much more likely to notice a Slack notification over a form email. 

Finally, last week Statsbot announced an integration with the Salesforce API, integrated with Slack, that functions similar to the Statsbot Google Analytics integration.  

I can query individual leads or accounts with the info command.  I can query amount won or this week's leads by source, and make marketing adjustments on the fly, rather than wait for an ROI report from a marketing or finance analyst. 
I can query a list of all open opportunities by stage, or even opportunities scheduled to close this month, which is far easier than getting a quote from my favorite Salesforce consultant to build a dashboard.  And, I can get realtime stats on my sales team, how much they're closing, from where and how well they're managing Salesforce. 

Best of all, I can schedule these reports to run hourly, daily or weekly, and report back to me at a specific time, when I think I might need it. 

Slack is quickly becoming the most used software tool in my professional life, as it's giving me realtime insight into various different platforms, social channels, applications and data, that I would need to query individually to use. And Statsbot is quickly becoming one of the most powerful app integrations with Slack as commands and scheduling allow me to automate much of the redundant marketing reporting that previously sucked up much of my team and my time in the past. 


Times Square from ClickZ Live NYC #CZLNY #CZLNY2016


ClickZ is one of the premiere digital marketing summits in the world, and I was lucky enough to attend in NYC this year on behalf of Elegran.com.  At the forefront of online visibility, search is changing, yet links and content are still king. 

While the world wide web moves from our desks to our phones, mobile experience becomes crucial.  Somewhat counterintuitively, as computing power and the human capacity for data transfer increases exponentially, the trend towards mobile fundamentally requires less bits and less code rendered to the end user. 

Finally, from Panda to Penguin to Hummingbird to RankBrain, Google is getting smarter, and while there are still ways to game the system, content creators' long term strategy is only safe if the focus is on value, rather than hacking SEO.

NYDucati takes Manhattan: Stuart Parr's Bike Night

I recently organized a bike night with Stuart Parr at his Art of the Italian Two Wheel exhibit at 285 Madison Avenue in Midtown NYC.  Stuart came out on a 1974 MV Agusta 750S Grand Prix motorcycle, and we tore around Manhattan with around thirty Ducati riders.  Video credit above goes to my friend MrPrufrock and you can find out more about the event and future rides on my Ducati motorcycle blog NYDucati.

Rise and Fall of the NYC Subway System

As New York City mass transit costs increase again for the third time in six years, it's interesting to note that the MTA ridership is still a shadow of what it once was.  I'm a proud passenger of NYC public transit, but it's hard to imagine that the annual travelers on the NYC subway system today is well below the passenger totals of the 1930's and 40's, despite New York having a population of a million or two less people. 

     -via DadaVis

International Anonymity in High End Real Estate

With over half of NYC Condos $5,000,000 and above purchased by anonymous shell companies, New York City has become a haven for the wealthy elite to hide their money in Manhattan real estate.  According to a stunning expose this week in the New York Times Real Estate section,  "government officials and close associates of officials from Russia, Colombia, Malaysia, China, Kazakhstan and Mexico" are taking advantage of American tax loopholes allowing billionaires to literally "house" their money in untraceable, exuberantly expensive condos. 

Opaque shell companies own 57% of the condos at the Bloomberg Tower and Trump International, 64% at Time Warner Center, 69% of condos at The Plaza, 77% of the Condos at One57, sparking public fears that real estate in New York City has become an for foreign wealthy elite to hide their illicit accrual of wealth. The condo boon brings a massive influx of capital into New York City, but also pushes us one step closer to making Gotham into a billionaire's playground. 

Read more on the article here: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/nyregion/stream-of-foreign-wealth-flows-to-time-warner-condos.html