Written by Michael Keenan

June 11, 2019

After January 15, 2020, only Facebook Pages that are registered with the Facebook News Page Index (NPI) will be allowed to send non-promotional subscription messages.

A popular Messenger Marketing strategy was to start a conversation with a subscriber acquired through a Growth Tool, engage them through messages sent within 24+1, then send broadcast messages to offer promotions or reengage then.

Unfortunately, many businesses sent unwanted promotional content in their broadcasts. This kind of approach was diminishing the integrity of the platform.

But with change can be new opportunities. From multi-channel strategy to segmentation and automation, discover five Messenger strategy tips from expert bot builders that’ll help you have more meaningful conversations with your audience.

Before digging into the step-by-step guide, let’s quickly go over subscription messaging.

Note: Some of ManyChat’s interface and information has changed. We’re working hard at updating this content. Please stay tuned!

Your Subscription Messaging Refresher

Subscription messaging used to let you send any type of message to your subscribers at any time if you had permission. Now you must have special permission to use this feature. Less than 1% of ManyChat accounts have subscription messaging.

24+1

Follow-up promotional Facebook messages outside of the 24-hour messaging window will no longer be allowed as of March 4th, 2020. ManyChat will only deliver tagged Facebook messages outside of the 24-hour window.

Read the Facebook Messenger Policy 2020 Guide for more information.

Promos

A promotional message is one of the following message types:

  1. One that encourages people to install an app, buy a product, sign up for an event, etc.
  2. One that advertises a new price or product offering
  3. One that reuses the same content from ads
  4. One that encourages people to enter a giveaway or promotion

The rule starts over when someone re-engages with your bot.

Tags for Messenger

For Pages not eligible for subscription messaging, you can use tags to send non-promotional messages outside of 24+1.

To learn more about the four tags you can choose from, click here. ManyChat will also introduce product updates to help you use these tags effectively.

4 Messenger strategy tips to tackle subscription changes

To help create your new strategy, we’ve put together expert tips that’ll set your bot apart from competitors and drive measurable ROI.

1. Build a multi-channel strategy with your bot at the center

Some may use their bots as one lonely marketing channel. However, the changes to subscription messaging urge you to make your Messenger bot a central part of a broader marketing mix that includes other channels like email and advertising.

“People are building these huge subscriber lists. For me, ManyChat is the backbone of the core of our marketing funnels. However, we still use email, websites, and more to build audiences. It’s about not trying to do everything in Messenger. It’s the middle part of the funnel, but it’s not the whole funnel. So utilize everything you can within your marketing ecosystem.”

John Preston — Director at Superstar Bots

Different channels play different roles in your funnel. Building a multi-channel strategy is a smart move to making sure you’re effectively communicating with your customers

Mary Kathryn Johnson, Founder of Messenger Funnels, explains,

“When I send people to an outside channel like Webinar Jam or Click Funnels, my goal is to bring them back into my ManyChat bot based on actions they took there. If someone buys a product, I tag them in ManyChat and subscribe them a to purchase nurturing sequence. If they buy a course, I talk with them in the course platform, but also notify them for live weekly chats in Messenger.”

And what’s the “next frontier” for Mary? Using integrations with her ManyChat bot to complement her integrated marketing mix.

So what does this mean for you? Make your Messenger bot tactical. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Define: Evaluate all your channels and determine which work best together with your ManyChat bot. Begin to look for opportunities to create new entry points.

Use the information you collect to garner new insights. Draw parallels between your channels and your audience’s current interactions. Is there a common place they get information like YouTube, Live Streams, or email? Identify their needs.

  • Think: How will you best reach your customers? Brainstorm different ways your ManyChat bot can bring people to and from your other channels.

Come up with as many ways you can to create value and keep people in your bot. Consider the different types of conversations and experiences they want, and determine the tools will you use to support that.

  • Test: Ask yourself, “does this message provide value for my prospect?”, and “are these conversations improving the way they feel, think, or accomplish their goals?”.

See if your new strategy is keeping people engaged with your bot, or bringing in more money for your company. And continue to enhance the experience along the way.

Mary shares,

Conversational marketing is a new technique. It’s not your mothers or fathers, grandfathers or great grandfather’s marketing channel anymore. Screaming ‘here’s my product!’ to people and broadcasting it is the old style of marketing. It’s not about the product, the service, or your company. It’s about the prospect. Think about how your conversation can take them on an adventure with you, and ultimately make a decision on their own terms.”

2. Treat segmenting customers like every other marketing channel

It’s no secret: Customer segmentation drives profitability because it focuses on user preferences, behaviors, and needs. Segmentation and Messenger Marketing go hand-in-hand — segmented audiences lets you send more effective messages.

Don’t be afraid to let cold people go, they weren’t buying anyway, it’s all about letting people self-select in and taking them to the next step rather than pinging them over and over again in hopes they’ll finally buy.

Big lists don’t equal more sales, but smart segmentation does.

The goal of segmenting is to understand your list better. Ask yourself:

  • How much have they spent with you?
  • What do you know about them?
  • How interested are they?
  • How many pieces of content have they interacted with?

The more you can answer these questions the more you know how and what to market to them.

Sid adds,

“Everyone of your customers is in a different stage of buying your product or second product. Segment them and target them with the right offer for their stage of the journey. Somebody at the very start might need a helpful video about your product, while someone who has watched the video and liked it might be ready for pricing information. If someone has never bought anything or read your content, blasting a promotion at them isn’t that helpful”.

Kelly Mirabella, Founder of Stellar Media Marketing, suggests:

Segmenting helps re-engage subscribers who went cold. You can easily group users by setting conditions to identify people who have and have not interacted with your ManyChat bot”.

Kelly uses these conditions to send more targeted messages to subscribers. If someone hasn’t interacted with the Messenger bot in 24 hours, she advises to do three things:

  1. For people who haven’t received a promotional message yet, send your +1.
  2. For people who have, send a paid message using Custom Audiences to put them back in a re-engagement sequence.
  3. For who went completely cold, delete them from your list.

Overall, segmenting allows you to tailor and target messages and rely on marketing automation vs. big blasts that have the same message to everyone

3. Take advantage of paid messages to re-engage subscribers

Did a bunch of subscribers go cold? Send a paid message to re-engage subscribers and put them into a targeted nurturing sequence.

Sponsored messages let you send a message to anyone you’ve previously chatted within Messenger. So if someone doesn’t engage during 24+1, you can send them a limited time offer or special discount to get them back in your bot.

Not sure what qualifies as a sponsored message? Kelly’s here to help:

For the things that are straight promotional or straight marketing, and it doesn’t fall under the right tag, it’s sponsored. You have to pay for the message”.

The benefit? Sponsored messages are easy, cost-effective, and proven to help you rebuild and nurture cold customers with relevant deals, content, and updates.

4. Use one time notifications

One time notifications

UPDATE AS OF 12/20/19: Facebook is planning to introduce a one-time notification API in February 2020 that lets you send timely and relevant notifications to a subscriber given their opt-in. This one-time notification allows you to support use cases that don’t fall into the definition of the four Message Tags.

The way we expect this to work is that you will be able to request a one-time notification opt-in from a subscriber and then send them one message outside the initial 24 hours.

Beyond tags, you can a single message to users who opt-in to receive them. The one-time notification (OTN) lets you send messages beyond 24 hours for use cases that don’t fall into the category of the four Message Tags. ManyChat will introduce a new Message Step option to let you request an OTN from subscribers

5. Make marketing automation a core piece of your new strategy

Automation should be used throughout your entire Messenger Marketing strategy to serve people in the best way possible. It allows people to guide themselves through your funnel, and you to create 1:1 relationships — nearly on autopilot.

John explains that ManyChat is so good “because everybody can go down their own individual journey. And it’s exactly what Facebook is looking for — 1:1 marketing. Everyone is going down their own path, and they’re asking the questions”.

So how can you build an automation strategy that nurtures and converts?

  • Dig into past conversations and identify the questions that come up over and over again. Then, work them into your sequences. It saves your team time from answering repetitive questions and helps qualify leads for faster conversions.

For example, a health coach might get the same questions about foods they recommend or dietary restrictions a lot. In response, they make new sequences to respond to these common questions and send content that helps them meet their goals.

  • Think through how customers buy your products, so you can spot the best moments to interact with your audience.

Consider what questions they ask, what they need to make a decision, how long does it take for them to decide. These are questions only your business can answer.

  • Make special buttons for different sequences to customize offers and maximize conversions. Think about the variety of actions you want people to take depending on their individual goals, and use them to encourage activity.
  • Create content with keywords that match what prospects are looking for. Your purpose is to deliver the right content, at the right time to keep people engaged.
  • Remember your bot is usually the first interaction point for prospects. Keep it authentic, conversational, and personal to keep audiences engaged.

As you can tell, you don’t need big broadcasts to market effectively. There are lots of smart ways to engage your customers and convince them to buy your product.

For questions or to see what other ManyChatters are doing, head to our community page and join the discussion about Subscription Messaging updates

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