Written by Michael Keenan

November 6, 2020

If you’re a Chat Marketer using ManyChat, you already know how valuable follow-ups can be. They’re a great way to reconnect with customers who reach a conversion point in your flow, but leave without taking action. 

But when you have hundreds of people running through your bot each week, how can you account for those who abandon a flow? 

Using a Smart Delay, you can automatically send subscribers a follow-up message after an amount of time expires. If you think that sounds powerful, consider how you can also use ManyChat’s features to personalize your message with each contact further. 

Follow this guide to learn everything you need to know about ManyChat’s Smart Delay and increase your flow conversion rate. 

What is the Smart Delay?

Smart Delay is a delayed timer that sends a message to subscribers after a specific amount of time expires from their last interaction, or at a pre-set date and time. It’s a marketing automation that allows you to re-engage with people after a period of inactivity or at a specific date.

If you’re reminding a subscriber about an action they forgot to take, the Smart Delay is a great way to let them know and continue the conversation. 

With ManyChat, typical delay ranges are minutes and hours, but you can delay a message for up to 365 days. You can also set a Smart Delay to trigger during certain times of the day or on specific days during the week. 

Say you are creating an email drip campaign, you can guarantee that an email won’t go out on the weekends, during business hours, etc. 

In Flow Builder, you can choose between two delay types:

  1. Duration: where a message sends after a specific period of time
  1. Date: where a message sends based on the date field you input. 

Top use cases for Smart Delay

Chat Marketers are always finding new ways to incorporate Smart Delays into their campaigns. While this is not an exhaustive list, some common Smart Delay use cases are:

  1. Sending content to make a second or third impression after someone clicks through from a Facebook ad or becomes a new subscriber. 
  2. Reminders to complete a conversation after a subscriber becomes a lead, and they drop off mid-funnel.
  3. Creating a multi-channel drip campaign you can see inside of Flow Builder.
  4. Sending webinars, appointments, and other event reminders.
  5. Giving subscribers the option to “Remind me later” for content, challenges, and coupon redemption. 
  6. Part of your post-purchase flow to get product feedback and reviews. 

How to use the Smart Delay

Smart Delays are the core of your re-engagement automation because it automatically sends messages to subscribers after a period of time. 

Ideally, you would send these messages to encourage subscribers to click through your text, email, or Messenger, such as a promo code or coupon. 

Before you set up a Smart Delay, it’s important to go over a few things to maximize your follow-ups’ effectiveness: 

1. Identify where people drop off in your flows

Since the Smart Delay is a re-engagement tool, see where people stop interacting messages in your flows. A common indicator of drop-off is a message with high open rates and low click-through rates. 

Good messages to use a Smart Delay tend to be conversion-focused, whether it’s signing up for an email list, getting a lead magnet, or purchasing a product. 

2. Create one or two follow-up messages for your automation

Once you know where people drop off, create one or two follow-up messages to convince them to come back to your flow and complete a transaction. If you have a subscriber’s phone number or email address, you can send them follow-ups on SMS and email channels as well as Messenger.

Two things to consider when planning out your Smart Delays:

  • If you’re sending a re-engagement message in Messenger, you have to comply with Facebook’s 24-hour message window. 
  • For email and SMS, you can send unlimited messages until a person unsubscribes from your list. But try to avoid spamming.

3. Tag subscribers who convert in your flows

Since Smart Delay comes into play at key conversion points in your flow, it’s important to tag subscribers who complete an action. 

Tagging people who convert makes your Smart Delay more effective. To avoid sending the follow-up to people who didn’t convert, you have to set a Condition. 

The Condition block will have the bot check to see if a subscriber has already converted, and if they have, they won’t receive the message. 

For example, The Crawfish Hole used a Smart Delay to follow up with people who didn’t place an order after expressing interest.

Building a Smart Delay in your flows

You’ve done a bit from prep work to get up to this point, but it all leads up to this step: building out the Smart Delay into your flow. 

Smart Delays are similar to a Sequence, but the difference is that you build it right inside Flow Builder rather than a separate tab in your dashboard. 

Let’s look at how to set up the Smart Delay in your flows. 

Step 1. Find drop-off point in your flow

Remember the drop-off point mentioned earlier? Go to that message in your flow. 

In this example, we’ll send a follow-up message for someone who didn’t purchase the Lightweight Summer Tent.

Set up an Action block to tag subscribers who convert. If it’s a consumable item, you may want to set up a “last time purchased” Custom Field to track their buying habits. 

Then, go into your message settings and click the Continue to another step.

Then link your Next Step to a Smart Delay block.

Step 2. Set the Smart Delay 

In your Smart Delay, input how many days, hours, minutes, or set a specific date to trigger the message. 

Step 3. Set your Condition block

This will tell the bot to check the Condition first before sending a message. So if a subscriber already purchased the tent, they won’t get the follow-up message. 

When setting up your condition block, use the Tag Isn’t condition and select the tag you use if someone purchases. 

Step 4. Create your follow-up message

After setting up your Action and Condition blocks, set your follow-up message to trigger when the user doesn’t match the condition. 

Don’t forget to connect the follow-up message after you write it so people end up back in a message where they can buy something. You can offer incentives such as discounts, bonuses, or exclusive offers to entice them to pick up where they left off. 

Marketing better with ManyChat’s Smart Delay

Sometimes, a contact won’t respond to your messages for a period of time — and that’s okay. Consider targeting them with a re-engagement message using Smart Delay. It’s a great way to re-engage people without taking time away from your other work and increase the efficacy of your marketing efforts.  

Want to create smarter marketing automation in your business? Start free with ManyChat now.