How to Create Conversations With Messenger, SMS and Email

How to Combine Messenger SMS and Email

One of the most complicated practices when it comes to getting the right leads is the infamous two-way conversation, otherwise known as “Chat Marketing”. If you’ve worked in marketing, or even owned a small business, at one stage or another you’ve probably faced this process of lead generation, where a potential customer expects relevant and human approaches to convince them to buy. 

Of course, the hard part of this practice is knowing when to send the right message at the right time on the right medium. And these mediums have been evolving since 1999. 

When it comes to using these new conversation tools, we’re often our own worst enemy. We rush to the new best medium, which right now is Messenger, and forget about everything else. Many times in my career I’ve seen marketers and business owners shun tools because they haven’t had success or they haven’t used them in the past. 

Today, those outcasts are email and texting. However, both of these still work to start conversations. It just takes a different approach than what we’re used to — something I call “Waterfall the Conversation”. 

Here’s an action plan for better Chat Marketing practices using this new method. 

What is “Waterfall the Conversation”? 

“Waterfall the Conversation” is the process of using a combination of Messenger, email, and SMS to deliver real-time, targeted messages to potential customers. This happens by starting an interaction in Facebook Messenger, then retargeting prospects and extending the conversation through email marketing and text messages. Waterfalling pertains to all aspects of a business, including chat marketing, lead generation, and customer loyalty. 

How to Create Conversations With Messenger, SMS and Email | Waterfall the Conversation

Whether you are a small business owner, marketer at an agency, or even a freelancer working your own, there is no client that will not benefit from combining conversation tools to better connect with potential customers. 

The Problem with Conversational Approaches Today

A conversation can make or break a lead generation strategy. Do it well, and you can build meaningful connections and trust with customers. Fail to talk with them correctly and lack of warm leads and less sales are sure to follow. Despite all this, chat marketing is a newer approach subject to the ebbs and flows of rules and regulations. 

As many of you may know, a lot of Messenger Marketing changes have taken place this summer. Some alterations and newly enforced rules are forcing us to switch up our chat marketing approach. You can’t just broadcast everybody anymore. 

Why? Because Facebook doesn’t want Messenger to be ruined like email was over the years. Email went from 80% open rates to 15%. I’ve even seen some people with an average open rate of 5%. Outdated email marketing tactics involve sending the same message over and over again, so many times that eventually your audience stops looking at your emails. 

Following this “Waterfall the Conversation” strategy is sure to get your emails read, your text messages opened, and your Messenger chats engaged with. 

(Plus, I’m hoping that something I recently heard about coming out is going to make this a heck of a lot easier in one place.) 

Related: Announcing Email and SMS in ManyChat!

How to “Waterfall the Conversation” Correctly

One thing I’m adamant about with pretty much every one of my clients is having a Messenger subscription, email, and cell phone. We’re starting to put cell phone number into play with a lot of our restaurant and retail clients, but it’s not huge yet. Ideally, the flow is Messenger, then email, and then text.

There are two key components to a good waterfall conversation flow: A software where conversations can be built, and an understanding of your audiences’ interests and issues that can be used as a reference while creating this multi-channel flow. There are a few different ways to set up the waterfall, but in general it follows this overall structure.

Start by sending a message in Messenger.

When you start with Messenger, your goal is to get people to engage. Engagement means you can continue to interact with users without using tags, or essentially a valid reason to message someone after they go cold. Recent changes tell us that Facebook will only allow four tags, which is down from seventeen. So you’ll have to find other ways to continue the conversation with your audience. 

A user may engage with your Messenger bot. If that’s the case then you’re in good shape. If not, well, you need to take another approach. 

Move cold Messenger subs into an email drip campaign.

If someone doesn’t engage with your message, you can push them into an email sequence in ManyChat. This is an automated process — so you only have to arrange the whole thing once and make minor tweaks when necessary. 

Push unresponsive email subscribers to SMS list.

There is no limit for how many emails you can  send in your email sequence. However, if someone doesn’t open any emails, you want to send them a text message. 

Your goal is to take people down a path, target people correctly, and engage them correctly. You’ll see better results when you tie all these elements together. 

Say I have  1,000 people in my audience: 500 in Messenger, 500 in email. I send out 500 Messenger conversations and only 300 engage. Instead of losing those 200 subscribers who didn’t engage, I zap them into an email drip with the other list of 500. 

Now my email drip goes out to 700 people with a 40% open rate. Leaving us with 420 inactive subscribers who will get a text saying, “Hey, what’s going on?”. And the idea is to figure out how to get them to interact — this is going down the waterfall. 


This one is a must-have for chat marketing campaigns. Whether a user opens or not, I’m going to use retargeting to get another chance at re-engaging potential customers. 

Maybe somebody gets the Messenger sequence, they engage, they make an appointment, they go to a cart to buy something, they look at a website, but things happen. Kids spill cereal. The dogs bark. The UPS driver shows up, or Amazon shows up and drops off some Dan Kennedy books, which — RIP. A legend. 

These things interrupt patterns. All of a sudden that person, who already engaged and looked at your landing page, got interrupted. Well, guess what? It’s time to retarget. 

Best practice for “Waterfalling the Conversation”

Segment audiences to tailor messages.

Messages should always be tailored to an audience, at a bare minimum, by why they are there. There is no substitute for creating personalized, relevant messages to a subscriber based on interests and goals. Whatever they happen to be, we segment the heck out of it because each conversation is different. And when you segment, your engagement rates go up. 

Use live chat to engage real-time.

One-to-one conversations separate you from the competition. I frequently pop into Messenger live chat and talk directly with subscribers. I had a guy this morning who replied back, blown away that I sent him a voice message. People are often surprised when you show up in real life … well, digitally. They don’t expect it.

Text like you’d text a friend.

Cut out all business lingo. It doesn’t matter where the conversation takes place, chat with people like you’re already friends. I get people all the time that’ll text back, and I get notified. They text one of our marketing numbers, and I personally reply back, 

«Hey, by the way, this is Matt. You replied back to one of our messages. I’d love to have a conversation with you. This is my personal cell.» 

It doesn’t always have to be automated. Don’t be afraid to make things personal, just create conversations and have great ones. 

Want to put this strategy into action today? Get a ManyChat Pro account to get started.

Matt Plapp Headshot for ManyChat

Matt Plapp is the President of Driven Media Solutions, a full-service marketing firm located in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky. He has over 18+ years of experience in marketing. From corporate America to locally-owned companies, he’s been involved in most forms of marketing and has seen it all. His goal is to help businesses create and implement a plan that will work as a foundation for their brand.  If you want to take your sales, profits and BRAND to the next level contact Matt for a FREE consultation.

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