Guest Post

Written by Max Gibbons

July 21, 2017

Marketing via chat apps is the new hot thing. And among chat apps, Facebook Messenger—with its 1 billion monthly users—is arguably the biggest marketing opportunity in years. In this post, I’ll cover:

  1. Email — the aging status quo
  2. Messengers — what makes them different?
  3. Facebook Messenger — The secret to Messenger Marketing

Read on to learn why implementing a chatbot should be a central component of your marketing strategy. (Spoiler alert — You’ll actually reach your customers!)

Email — The aging status quo

Email as a marketing channel for sending one-to-many messages has been the standard since the early 90’s. In the beginning, people read every message; it was novel…even fun. Marketers knew that the inbox mattered to people, and quickly recognized it was a good way to get impressions. Of course, everyone figured this out, and SPAM was born.

Now, most people find email a necessary evil that sucks time from other more important things. From a marketing perspective, email is a fatigued, overly saturated channel.

Poor engagement rates

Email has poor open rates. The very best marketing campaigns max out at 60% open rates, but the norm is closer to 30%. And moving a person from the top of the Marketing Funnel to the middle is rare. Of the 30% who opened the email, only about 1% will click to sign up, view, download, or do whatever your call to action is.

For example, imagine you just spent hours crafting a thoughtful message, with the perfect copy and images, and your headline is a masterpiece. You hit Send on a list to 1,000 email addresses. Between spam filters and stale addresses, about 700 (if you’re lucky!) were delivered to inboxes. Of those 700, about 210 were opened (if you did a tremendous job with the subject line). Most of those 210 people glanced for 1-3 seconds and closed it, hit delete, archived, or moved on to the next message that will also be mostly ignored. But for 2-3 people, the stars aligned and they had both the time and interest to not only read your message, but also click on that shiny button of hope at the bottom that moved them from being just a prospect, to being a lead.

Email marketing vs Messenger Marketing – a quality vs quantity isssue

For the most part, email marketing has become just a numbers game. The more email addresses you have, the more money you make. It’s a brute force, shooting-from-the-hip kind of thing that calls into question whether it’s worth the time you spent tweaking that headline.

Even if email is a revenue center for your business, it’s a tough marketing channel…many forces are working against you:

  • Your audience is sick of email and is building an immunity to email marketing
  • Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo want their brands to be associated with good user experiences, and spend billions on algorithms and machine learning to perfect spam filtering
  • Email is built on an ancient protocol that’s easy to spoof, which is why you still hear about people getting their emails hacked

There is a better way…

Messengers — what makes them different?

There are several players in the messenger space, but Facebook Messenger is the platform marketers need to be watching in 2017.

What makes Messenger different is that it’s :

  • actively used (Facebook’s 2016 earnings report declared that people spend 50+ minutes on average per day in Messenger and viewing content in Facebook)
  • trusted
  • real-time communication with high engagement

Actively used

In recent years, there’s been a dramatic shift in user behavior. People are spending more time in messenger apps than on social networks. For anyone wanting to build a business online, you want to be where the people are…inside messenger applications.

Trusted

People love chat, because not just anyone can write to you, and it’s hard to get spammed. Chat is a peer-to-peer communication channel with a built-in culture of trust. It’s easy and fast to get and share information with people that you know.

Real-time communication

People like Messenger, because it’s immediate. Think of it more like a phone call, as opposed to an email that sits in a cluttered-up inbox. The information you get via Messenger is both consumable and immediately useful…things like:

  • Where are we meeting today?
  • What do we need to talk about?
  • Hey, did you see this link?
  • Check out this video!

Messenger closes an immediate knowledge gap, and people are trained to believe that anything coming through with that little red notification is important, and needs attention right now.

Facebook Messenger — the secret to Messenger Marketing

Facebook sees where Messenger Marketing is going, which is why they’ve invested billions of dollars in acquiring platforms, and building Messenger services. They’ve seen what’s happened with WeChat in China, and it’s very likely they’re positioning Messenger to be the next big player.

Better marketing ROI than email

For a marketer, every dollar you spend on Messenger Marketing will be more effective than email, because your messages will actually be delivered to your target audience, and, once delivered, the open rate will be much higher. Due to its underlying technology, Facebook Messenger delivery rates are nearly 99%. People are generally happy to receive these messages, and also open them because they’re trained to think that Messenger messages are important.

Get to know your customers faster

People are also trained to give Facebook a lot of personal information. People don’t trust email and don’t want to give away too much information anymore. For a marketer, you could spend 6 months working someone in an email marketing funnel and learn only a few things about them. But with Messenger, and especially with the tools we’ve built in ManyChat, you can move people through the Marketing Funnel 10 times faster, just by sending a message and learning something about that person from how they interact with it.

For example, you can ask a question:

  • Are you a marketer?
  • Are you a sales professional?
  • Do you love to knit?
  • Are you thinking about buying your first house?
  • Do you want information on <insert your product or service>?

And they’ll respond Yes or No.

You now have a data point on that person—received almost instantaneously—that would perhaps have taken 6 months to get via email.

The amount and type of data you can collect on potential customers is rich, and helps segment people based on their interests, their jobs, and the things they’re trying to accomplish. Once you know the customer and understand their knowledge gaps, you can then provide timely and relevant information. Messenger lets you move your prospects through the Marketing Funnel bit by bit with micro-interactions. This helps build trust as the prospect moves down the funnel toward making a buying decision.   

Help them to buy

Marketers use social media, content marketing, email, and other tools to build awareness. Once a customer is aware (the top of the Marketing Funnel), a marketer’s role is to help that person evaluate the offering, and then help them overcome any objections to making an actual purchase. Messenger is a wonderful tool to help people move through the funnel in a much more reliable, secure, and intimate way than email.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.