Hi. I’m Mary 👋
I work as a Marketing Lead at Art&Fact. Like most women, I care about the way I look and worry about my skin. I would even call myself a full-time beauty enthusiast. I used to spend hours reading the contents of skincare products and took my time to choose a good fit. Now, working at one of the largest beauty brands in Russia — I can finally make use of my hidden talent — and help girls and women in Russia maintain their skincare routine with ease.
Art&Fact is a Russian-based beauty brand that manufactures cosmetics and skincare products. Since April 2020, the company has brought out more than 35 products for face, skin and hair to the Russian market. I think we’re growing pretty fast for a young company. Our brand has its own philosophy in product manufacture: using only effective and clinically-tested formulas.
I like being around our products, it’s pretty both inside and out.
We develop these formulas in collaboration with leading labs in Europe and the US. And then manufacture them in Russia under very strict standards (quality control). No artificial fragrances, dyes or flashy ingredients, nothing like that. It doesn’t increase the product cost, so that helps our customers save some money. And of course — no animal testing. But the real problem is in choosing the right skincare products. There are countless customer needs, even though there are only few types of skin.
Our company has a huge Instagram account, we do most of our business there (это правда? проверить). Everybody uses Instagram and more people want to buy stuff right there without leaving the app. So our DMs look like this: ‘What beauty products should I buy?’, ‘What products are a good fit for me?’, ‘Are the products I’m buying safe for my skin?’. We get a ton of these questions every single day. So, me and my team, we came up with the idea to run a series of free Zoom consultations with skincare professionals to help customers choose appropriate products. First as a test, to see if there was any interest among our clients. I came up with the test specifics: 100 video consultations on Zoom, 30 minutes each.
I was finally trusted with a big project
My workplace. We do live up to the Art part of the name, I guess 😊
As preparation, I went through several important steps. First, I had to hire 5 skincare professionals and to prepare personal info cards for each one of them. I added their qualifications and experience there. This way customers could read about and choose a professional they wanted to consult with. Second, I created a short survey about the skin type and other personal details to make the consultation more individual and to reduce the duration of each session. Then, I had to find a platform to put everything together. And finally send an invitation link to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
I went with YClients. It’s a popular platform among beauty professionals in Russia. They schedule meetings on Zoom there. I figured, most beauty professionals already heard of YClients. I knew that these weren't particularly tech-savvy people. I spent several hours setting everything up. Profiles, schedules, small pre-consultation survey, then I tried to launch the whole thing. Bam, error message: please try again. It just wouldn't work. I started bombarding support and nervously explaining the delay to my boss promising "tomorrow" each time. "Tomorrow" never came and it was late in the evening when I left the office and took a subway home. I spent two weeks trying to get this ship sailing and I was still nowhere (найти другое выражение).
I felt beaten and almost gave up
I felt frustrated, even hopeless coming home that evening. My husband Nick felt something was off and started shooting questions about my project while we waited for the food delivery. I told him the whole story. I met Nick on Erasmus program and we’ve been married for 3 years. He is an amazing, very determined guy and he always gets things done. He recently became a Head of Product at Chatfuel. Nick’s brain is always going a 100 miles an hour. While I was describing my project, he already hatched up a plan. Why don't we make a chatbot?, he said. I thought he was joking. I couldn’t manage a platform made for beginner users and he was suggesting I make a bot. He proved me wrong.
Me and Nick on vacation in Turkey
My initial plan was to make an Instagram post with promo details. Then send a Typeform link to people who replied to the post. They would complete a pre-consultation survey and receive a link to YClients. Finally, they would book a meeting with a skincare professional. Nick offered to do everything within the Instagram DMs. We grabbed a laptop and started pulling it all together.
Chatfuel is an out of the box solution. Nick showed me how to organize everything, so that clients wouldn’t leave Instagram. A client posts a keyword to my post saying ‘I want consultation’ and my bot DMs them back. Next they receive the survey. It’s got all the questions we'd like to know before the consultation. The answers are then saved to Google Sheets. Then, our customers choose skincare professionals right in DMs. Nick made cute profile cards with pictures and descriptions. I didn't even know this stuff existed in DMs. After the survey, clients receive a link to Calendly and schedule a Zoom meeting. Calendly supports sending follow-ups for both email and sms. That allowed me to solve another problem. The skin care professionals could now recommend products after the consultation with a couple of clicks.
It took him 40 minutes and my bot was ready
Our marketing team launched an ad campaign and published a post the next day. At last, that ‘tomorrow’ came. It wasn’t as difficult as I initially thought. I’m sharing a link for the template I used for my project. You can use it, if you want. Just duplicate my flow and edit its content, the flow should work just fine.
I felt so proud to finally show my project to our CEO
Against the odds
We raised our outreach and engagement rate. 100 applications made within 2 hours. We tested a hypothesis with relatively low costs and resources involved. Huge kudos to my precious Nick ♥️ 86 out of 100 applicants made a purchase right after the consultation. Another 200 users got a discount code.
All 100 consultations were booked within 2 hours. We also offered a special promocode for people who couldn’t make it in time. So on top of it, we got lots of new contacts that put them on the waitlist. After 16 hours the first 100 winners booked a Zoom consultation with a skincare professional of their choice. Here’s the kicker. After the promo was done we received tons of messages from people asking when is the next one. It was clear that 100 slots wasn’t nearly going to cut it.
I’m so happy that I didn’t give up, even though I was so close to stop believing in myself. I learned that sometimes walking a beaten path is not as easy as it seems and it’s good too venture out. My manager told me I was becoming an essential part of the team. Because I was willing to think outside the box. And my decision to run promos with Chatfuel was the best choice for our customers and our company.