Written by Michael Keenan

December 18, 2019

“After March 4, 2020, only Pages that are registered with the Facebook News Page Index (NPI) will be allowed to send non-promotional subscription messages. We highly encourage relevant pages to submit their application immediately to register with the News Page Index to allow sufficient time for review and approval before the new policies go into effect.”

If you’re reading this, you may not be happy to hear that Facebook is getting rid of Subscription Messaging. You may rely on this type of broadcast to send non-promotional messages outside the 24-hour engagement window. But after March 4th, you won’t be able to use Subscription Messaging anymore — even if your Page is approved right now. 

The good news is, even without Subscription Messaging, there are ways to send content to your subscribers without paying. We put together a few tips so you can better prepare for the next round of Facebook updates. 

1. Capture email addresses and phone numbers

One of the best ways to distribute content without Subscription Messaging is to collect more contact information from your subscribers. When you have a client’s email address and phone number, it opens up another line of communication. So the next time you send content, you can reach people on other channels, even if they are outside the standard engagement window. 

Email addresses, in particular, are easy to capture in Messenger; they are typically attached to users’ Facebook accounts. When you ask for an email in your flow, it pops up in a users’ Messenger window, where they can simply tap and send. Phone numbers need to be typed in, but are still a useful piece of information to have. 

To start, you want to create an email and SMS opt-in flow before March 4th. Your goal is to get as many of your existing subscribers to give you their phone number and/or email. Attach whatever incentive you can afford to entice them. This information will become valuable after the update because you can send content on other formats and drive people back into your bot. 

2. Segment your audience

Audience segmentation is a great way to send relevant content to certain groups and build closer ties with your subscribers. It lets you focus on what your customers need, and helps you cater to it. When you show people you understand them, they’ll engage with your message and refresh the messaging window to continue your marketing. 

For instance, say you break up subscribers by how much they’ve spent in your store. You can send special discounts based on their loyalty, and personalize the message to get them to click.

Segmenting your audience involves collecting the right information about them. You can do this by setting up a lead scoring or advanced targeting action block. These blocks help you track users’ behavior, interests, and even contact information, if you want. You can then use this information to send them down specific flows, provide relatable content, and even deliver highly-targeted paid messages once someone goes cold. 

3. Go multi-channel

Multi-channel distribution is an effective way to send content without Subscription Messaging. Marketers use channels such as email, Messenger, SMS, and social media to connect with customers on the channel of their choice. Not only does this provide higher click-through and open rates for messages, but also helps you stay top of mind with your subscribers.

You can drive someone to an outside channel such as SMS or WebinarJam, then bring them back into Messenger based on the actions they took. If someone buys a product, you can tag them in ManyChat and put them into a specific nurture flow. Adding extra channels helps bring people back into your bot, refresh the 24-hour window, and maximize your marketing efforts.

Your goal is to use Messenger as the backbone of your marketing funnel, but you should use other channels to build and nurture your audience. You can incorporate Growth Tools like the Messenger Ref URL to bring people into your bot from anywhere: YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, wherever. As a marketer, you want to use all the tools at your disposal to get people to engage with your content.

4. Use different types of content

To keep distributing content through Messenger after March 4th, you’ll need to keep the standard messaging window open. You might be tempted to send a bunch of blog posts and eBooks in this time frame, hoping people will click, but that will only lead to spam complaints. Instead, keep people engaged with different types of lead magnets: helpful articles, quizzes, videos, downloads, flash sales, and interactive experiences.

A great example of this is a mini-course. Mini-courses are a fun and easy way to keep people clicking inside Messenger. People learn something from you and, better yet,  these courses build trust between your business and them. You can set up a three- to five-day sequence with a final call-to-action for conversion, whether it be to buy something or for those who need more nurturing (subscribe them to another sequence). 

Start by figuring out what problems your audience has around topics related to your company. You can use a site such as AnswerThePublic to find queries and questions your customers are searching for on Google. Then, build a quiz to drive people into the sequence and understand their knowledge gaps around the topic. After, send them into a flow based on their answers that sends course materials they can learn from inside Messenger. The goal is to let them drive the experience and keep them clicking so you can keep the messaging window open. 

5. Send paid messages with lead magnets

Paid messages such as Sponsored Messages are a powerful way to connect with people outside the 24-hour window. You can pay to send them to anyone who’s messaged your Page through a bot or live chat within the last 12 months. It’s a cost-effective way to get people back into a sequence, coming in at about 10 cents per message opened, on average. 

Say you build a mini-course and want to drive traffic through the sequence. Instead of running ads to a completely cold audience, you can send a Sponsored Message to people who’ve already engaged with your company. Since you’re paying to send these messages, you want to attach an incentive for people to click. This format also works well for e-commerce companies who want to run a flash sale or coupon redemption reminder to past contacts. 

If you’re going to send Sponsored Messages, you should follow some best practices to maximize your spend:

  1. Use images that appeal to your audience. 
  2. Personalize ads to get people’s attention.
  3. Always include a clear call to action.
  4. Send an irresistible offer.
  5. Segment your lists so you don’t send messages to people who have unsubscribed or exist in the 24-hour window.
  6. Keep messages short and concise.

Sending Sponsored Messages inside ManyChat is pretty easy. To learn more, we recommend reading The Brief Guide to Facebook Sponsored Messages

6. Use relevant Message Tags

Message tags let you send personally relevant updates to subscribers outside the standard messaging window. Although you can’t use them to send promotional content such as coupons or discounts, you can use them to send the following message types:

  1. Confirmed event reminder.
  2. Post purchase update.
  3. Account update.
  4. Human agent.

To learn more about Message Tags, check out The Short and Sweet Guide to Facebook Message Tags

Although Facebook is getting rid of Subscription Messaging, there are many different ways to distribute content without it. As you plan your campaigns after March 4th, be sure to use the above tactics to continue to reach your audience and drive results for your business. 

For more information about the March 4th, 2020, Messenger Policy Updates, check out the following articles:

  1. The Complete Guide to Messenger Policy Changes: How To Do Messenger Marketing After March 4, 2020
  2. A Brief Guide to Facebook Sponsored Messages
  3. A Short and Sweet Guide to Message Tags
  4. No +1, No Problem: How to Keep the Messenger Engagement Window Open