Communication Is Changing
The way people communicate is changing in a big way.
Just compare the way you communicate today with the way you did 10 or 15 years ago. If you’re like most people, you have shifted away from email and phone calls and toward SMS and messenger apps.
Like everyone else, you probably prefer communication that is convenient, instantaneous, and always at your fingertips. And, because most of us use our smartphones as our primary PC (not to mention our primary source of contact with others), we prefer communication that is smartphone-friendly.
Messaging apps are the perfect solution.
They’re fast and intuitive. The responses you get are short and easy to read. And people like using them!
These are just a few of the reasons why messaging apps have become so universally popular today, and why they’re such a great channel for marketers looking to reach new customers and grow their business.
What Is Messenger Marketing & Why Is It Important?
Messenger Marketing is simply the act of marketing to your customers using a messaging app.
You can build a list by attracting new leads, nurture those leads by sending them content and answering their questions, and ultimately convert those leads into new paying customers.
Conceptually, it’s similar to how Email Marketing works. But in practice, Messenger Marketing works much differently than email. It’s much more conversational— with Messenger Marketing people are looking for a conversation that feels 1-1, where emails from most businesses are one to many. Also unlike email (where open and click-through rates continue to decline year after year), Messenger Marketing is actually growing.
And here are a few reasons why:
High Engagement Rates
A 2016 report from Statista compared the open and click-through rates for different types of emails. In their research, they found that the average email open rates were 5.9%-18.8%, and the average click-through rates were 0.4%-2.1%.
Compare that to Messenger Marketing—where marketers are currently seeing open rates of 80% or more and click-through rates greater than 30%—and you’ll start to get an idea of the potential of this new marketing medium.
People are much, much more likely to open and click on a messaging app than they are with an email. And that’s good news for any company hoping to engage their leads and prospects online.
Messenger Apps Have Less Friction Than Email
One of the beautiful things about messenger apps is that they provide a seamless user experience with very little friction.
By comparison, think about all the friction that comes from using email:
First of all, simply looking at your inbox is probably enough to fill you with anxiety. If you’re like most people, your inbox contains anywhere from a few dozen to several thousand unread messages. Seeing all those “open loops” is painful, especially when you know it could take hours to sort through & organize all those unread messages.
Second, email comes with the constant threat of spam and viruses. We’re inundated with unwanted email every day, and we all know someone who accidentally downloaded a virus from an innocent-looking email. So the trust factor with email marketing continues to decline.
Finally, consider how much more work it is to open, read, and engage with an email. Emails tend to have a lot of text, and depending on the email and the device you’re using, that text may or may not be formatted correctly for your device.
Have you ever tried to read a non-mobile-optimized email on your phone?
It’s painful… and even big companies like FexEx are making this mistake. Not only is the text impossibly small, but in some cases you actually have to scroll back and forth if the text wrapping is off.
Messaging apps have none of that built-in friction. They are safe and familiar places for us. We’re comfortable using them. The messages we receive in messenger apps are typically short and easy to read, and they’re automatically formatted to look great.
Speaking of which…
Messenger Apps Are More Marketer-Friendly Than SMS
OK, so email as a marketing channel continues to get more and more saturated. But why not turn to SMS marketing, rather than using messenger apps?
Because SMS is decidedly not marketer-friendly.
If you’ve ever subscribed to an SMS list, you know that SMS messaging is very bare-bones. Your options for inserting images or videos are limited. You can’t hyperlink text, which means any URLs you include are going to be long and ugly. And you can’t include buttons or other customized calls-to-action.
To put it plainly, SMS marketing is ugly.
And to top it off, it can be expensive. Especially when you have users who might pay up to 10 cents per text message they receive.
These are some of the reasons why SMS marketing never really took off, and why Messenger Marketing provides a much better opportunity for marketers.
Messenger Apps Are More Personal
Another great thing about messaging apps, compared to traditional advertising, is that they are much more personal and interactive.
Just about every other traditional advertising channel—TV, direct mail, email, print, radio, etc.—is a one-way communication. The company is communicating AT you, and there isn’t much you can do to personalize it.
But Messenger Marketing changes that.
With chatbot marketing, the messages you receive can be easily customized based on the links you click as you progress through the message flow. And at any point you can always type a message to the company and get a personal response from a live customer service rep.
This makes communication on messaging apps more personal. It’s a two-way street, just like communication should be. And most importantly, this is the kind of communication people are growing to expect from the companies they do business with.
Messenger Apps Are Growing Rapidly
In just about every country in the world the most frequently used app is a messaging app. They’re pervasive; everyone uses them. And this has been the case for quite some time. Messaging apps surpassed social networks in terms of monthly active users way back in early 2015:
Now the specific app that people use varies by country—Facebook Messenger is the most commonly used app in North America, while WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook) reigns supreme in Europe. In China, WeChat is the hands-down winner. But regardless of the specific app, it’s clear that messengers are the channel of choice for people all over the world when communicating with friends & family.
Why Facebook Messenger?
With all the messaging apps out there, why should you focus on Facebook Messenger as your go-to app for Messenger Marketing?
There are several reasons.
Second, Facebook has been testing and expanding the capabilities of its Messenger app for this very purpose. So unlike WhatsApp, which is still a fairly bare-bones app (more like SMS), Messenger features the ability to build automated chatbots complete with images, videos, galleries, call-to-action buttons, and more—making it the app of choice for marketers and business owners looking to grow their business with messenger marketing.
How to Grow Your Business with Messenger Marketing
Now that you know a little more about what Messenger Marketing is and why it’s becoming such an important marketing channel, let’s dive into some more specifics about how you can actually use this marketing channel to acquire new leads & customers.
First we’ll go over the fundamental, overarching principles of Messenger Marketing in general. And then, in the next section, we’ll show you how to actually do it all inside of ManyChat.
How to Get Facebook Messenger Subscribers
The first step in Messenger Marketing is to get some subscribers.
If you compare Messenger Marketing to Email Marketing, this would be the same thing as growing your email list. But unlike Email Marketing (which involves a friction-filled process of requiring someone to opt in), getting new Messenger subscribers is much simpler and easier.
There’s one way to get someone to subscribe to your ManyChat subscriber list:
- They send a message to your brand’s Facebook page
That’s it—they don’t have to type out their contact details or perform any sort of annoying opt-in confirmation. All they have to do is send you a message.
Pretty simple, huh?
Here’s an example of a Facebook ad with “Send Message” as the call-to-action. If you saw this ad in your newsfeed, clicked the button, and sent the company a message, you would be automatically added to their ManyChat subscriber list:
By using ManyChat’s growth tool widgets, you can even embed a “Send Message” button on your website—allowing people to join your messenger list right from a blog post:
And here’s an example of a post using ManyChat’s “comment to subscriber” feature. In this post, the text tells people to leave a comment if they want to receive a free guide:
Once you do, you will be sent an automatic response message, like this:
Send Messages to Your Subscribers
Now that you’ve got some subscribers, what do you do next?
Well…you send them some messages, of course!
At this point it might be helpful to use Email Marketing as a reference point. When you send a message through Email Marketing, you basically have 2 options:
- Send a one-time broadcast
- Set up an autoresponder series
The same is true of Messenger Marketing. You can send one-off broadcasts to your entire list (or to smaller segments of your list)…
And you can also set up automated messages that respond to certain keywords with pre-written responses. And when you combine a number of those automated sequences together to give users an interactive & conversational experience, that’s called a “chatbot.”
Automate Your Messenger Marketing With Chatbots
Chatbots send content to your users automatically, based on the actions they take (clicking on call-to-action buttons, typing in certain keywords, and so on).
But unlike email autoresponders, chatbots allows for logic branching and greater personalization. Instead of simply blasting out the same email to everyone, chatbots allow for menu options like this:
This gives the user the option of choosing which information they get—so they only receive messages they’re interested in. (Which is probably another reason why Messenger Marketing has such high engagement rates.)