The Ultimate Guide to Messenger Marketing

Growing a personal shopping service through Facebook Ads from zero to a multi million-euro revenue figure taught me about the key challenges of mobile marketing:

  • 40% of consumers abandon a site that takes more than 4 seconds to load.
  • 26% say its difficult on a smartphone / tablet to compare products / retailers and get all the info needed to make a purchase decision.
  • 60% lower conversion rate on mobile compared to desktop.

According to Forrester, mobile creates 30 billion moments for advertisers every day. Mobile moments are the battleground where companies will win, serve and retain their customers.

This year, mobile ad spending will surpass TV as the leading advertising medium in the US. Customers expect to get anything they want immediately and its up to advisers to deliver. Tragically, few companies will make the leap. Those that do will reap the rewards.

How can businesses leapfrog their competition to deliver superior customer experiences? Messenger marketing allows you to do just that.

In this elaborate guide I will explain all the ins & outs of this exciting, new marketing channel. If you want to come out ahead as the world moves away from email & mobile browsers and towards messaging apps, then this guide is for you.

Read on to discover how to use Messenger marketing to grow your business and finally, our take on what needs to be build to create long-term relationships with customers. Use the below index to quickly navigate between this 2000+ words post.

Communication is Changing

The way people communicate was radically changed by the smartphone and app ecosystem. Though people haven’t shifted away from email and phone calls, chat has clearly become the preferred way to communicate.

As more and more businesses adopt chat to create mobile moments, we believe that chat is right at the heart of the battleground. After all, what better interface is there to deliver customers what they want immediately?

Messaging apps are easy to use and more importantly, people really like using them as can be seen through the year on year increase in time spent.

Now businesses need to be able to capitalise on this opportunity and grow their business through messaging apps. This is where Messenger marketing comes in!

What is Messenger Marketing?

Messenger marketing is the act of marketing products and/or services to consumers using a messaging app.

More and more messaging apps are providing automation options to help businesses move beyond using chat for customer service only.

This enables businesses to instantly transact with customers without leaving the chat interface. They can attract & nurture leads by collecting info, sending them content and answering their questions. Ultimately, the same leads can be converted into paying customers.

Conceptually, email marketing works very similarly. However, in practice, emails are often pushed to a list of subscribers. Messenger marketing, on the other hand, is based on a 1:1 conversation and allows you transact without leaving the interface.

Messenger marketing is a logical evolution of email marketing as chat becomes the prime interface for business. More importantly, the results are phenomenally better with Messenger marketing as open and click-through rates are 3 to 4 times better than email.

For this reason, Messenger marketing will be growing incredibly fast. Now is the time for marketers to get on the bandwagon and start building their audiences on messaging apps.

3 Messenger Marketing Strategies You Can Try Today

With this in mind, here are 3 examples of Messenger marketing strategies that already work very well:

Lead Generation

Messenger marketing is a great way to capture rich profile info and turn users into hot leads.

What do you need?

Let’s take a typical car brand that runs Facebook Ads to promote new models and invite users to book a test drive.

Facebook Lead Ad

In this particular example, we will replace the static form behind the button ‘Sign Up’ with a Messenger Bot.

Click to Messenger Ad

Messenger Bot Flow

By acquiring leads through Messenger Bots, we have seen customers double conversion rates compared to static landing pages.

Content Delivery

Ever wondered how you can magically increase your newsletter open and click rates? Stop optimising your email campaigns for minimal uplift and consider using Messenger broadcasts to truly take a big leap forward.

What do you need?

Hubspot wanted to find out if there are better alternatives to email for delivering content. Rather than asking people to signup for their newsletter through a form, they offered the option to get the content via Messenger. After four weeks of testing, they found a clear winner. The Messenger strategy resulted in a 242 percent higher open rate and a 619 percent higher click rate.

Here’s how a Messenger newsletter looks like.

You can implement a Sent to Messenger plugin to generate subscribers from your existing website/app traffic. Like Hubspot, you too will be amazed by the metrics and opportunity to build closer relationships with your readers / customers.

Re-engage potential customers

When a prospect comes knocking on the door with an active purchase intent you have a limited window of opportunity to close the deal. Since everyone is busy you need to stand out. Messenger allows you to do just that.

What do you need?

When customers visit your website and view products or potentially add them to a basket, you have the opportunity to re-engage them. Messenger marketing offers the most effective way to retarget people on Facebook.

Abandoned cart messages over Facebook Messenger

Once you implemented to Messenger checkbox plugin, you can subscribe to events such as an incomplete purchase and direct potential customer to a conversation thread in Facebook Messenger. To guide such conversations you can use Messenger bot flows.

More than via a cart reminder email, you’ll be able to assist the sale and uncover new insights to improve your customer journey going forward.

With that, we have gone through the three ways you can get started with Messenger Marketing:

  1. Lead Generation
  2. Content Delivery
  3. User Re-Engagement

Here’s why you shouldn’t wait with implementing them:

High Engagement Rates

A 2017 report from Sendgrid Inc. provides the average open and click-through rates for emails send through their platform. In their research, they found that average open rates were 30.6% and click-through rates were 2.5%.

Messenger marketing, on the other hand, currently results in open rates and click-through rates that are 3-4x that of email based on Facebook Messenger data from 2017. Some industry experts highlight even higher click-through rates.

As such, you start the see the potential of this popular medium for marketing purposes. For various reasons, people are much more likely to see your message and engage with you in a messaging app than via email.

This is good news for any marketer looking to increase engagement with prospects and existing customers.

Messaging Apps enable Seamless Experiences

Today’s empowered consumers prefer immediacy and easy of use.

Chat offers just that and is step by step being integrated into core business processes. Traditionally chat is used to provide customer support. Now chat is also becoming the interface for automatic task completion (e.g. info collection, inventory search, re-ordering) and outbound communication (e.g. content delivery, shipping updates).

To help realise the potential, we have seen a developer community surround chat platforms and work with their public APIs. Now we’re getting to a phase where the messaging automation tools are becoming more mature and start offering integrations into existing backend systems.

This will allow chat to become part of the broader customer journey from the discovery phase until the re-order. Customers can learn about offerings, make a purchase & payment, ask questions and come back to re-order. All within 1 conversation thread.

Compare this to email, which often ends up in a cluttered inbox and requires your customers to click-through to a website and create an account or login in order to complete a task.

Getting something done NOW within ONE conversation thread is the main potential which messaging apps offer. Within ONE conversation thread you can create mobile moments where you win, serve and retain your customers.

Not convinced yet? Then checkout out SnapTravel which did $1 million in revenue within their first year on the Messenger platform.

Why Facebook Messenger?

On a global scale, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the most widely used messaging apps in terms of monthly active users (MAUs).

Yet, WhatsApp is still fairly basic in functionality (more like SMS) whereas Facebook Messenger offers the ability to automate chat conversations with a complete set of UI elements (e.g. buttons, images, webviews) and functionality (e.g. human handover, payments, retargeting).

Furthermore, Facebook offers a set of discovery options to help you drive traffic to your bot and engage subscribers:

With all of these options and more, Facebook Messenger is making clear steps to become the #1 Messaging App for Business on a global scale.

How to Grow your Business with Messenger Marketing

Now that we have gone through the power of Messenger Marketing, lets examine how to successfully setup and manage this new channel for customer acquisition and sales.

These are the steps to take:

  1. Create your Messenger Bot
  2. Gather Subscribers for your Messenger Bot
  3. Turn Subscribers into Customers

Now, lets go through these in more detail.

Step 1: Create your Messenger Bot Flow

In order acquire leads and customers through Messenger, you’ll need to define your bot flow. A great way to start is by replacing an existing webform or funnel with a Messenger bot. This enables you to easily run an A/B test and compare the CPA results.

What do you need?

Bot Flow Builder

JSON creation tool

Now that we have setup our bot flow and replaced an existing webform with a Messenger bot, lets see how to drive traffic and acquire subscribers.

Step 2: Acquire Subscribers for your Messenger Bot

Compare Messenger Marketing to Email Marketing. Your goal is to gather subscribers whom you can sent marketing messages. Not just once, but throughout the customer lifecycle.

With Facebook Messenger, you can broadcast a message to everyone who currently has an open conversation with your Page or a custom set of people. The custom set of people can consist of everyone who has previously engaged with your Messenger bot.

Therefore, it’s much easier to gather subscribers for Messenger Marketing than it is for Email Marketing. After all, Facebook users only have to sent one message to your Facebook page. They don’t have to type out their email address or go through a cumbersome opt-in process.

Here’s an example of how that works.

Example of Click to Messenger Ad

If you see this Ad, tap the CTA to enter Messenger and sent the first message, you’ll automatically be added to a list of subscribers. This opens a wealth of options such as retargeting a subscriber who drops out of the conversion funnel or activating a subscriber after the initial purchase.

More importantly, you can grow your subscriber base via a plethora of other bot discovery tactics:

  • Facebook Page ‘Message’ CTA via a Get Started Button
  • Short Link Distribution (eg via Landing Page, Email
  • Bot Availability via Discovery Tab
  • Trigger Bot via Facebook Post Comment
  • Trigger Bot via Check Box Plugin

Each of the above actions allows Facebook users to enter into a dialogue with your Messenger bot. More importantly, they are all free and organic discovery tactics. As a result, you can acquire Messenger subscribers at a much cheaper rate than email and with higher chances of engagement.

Want to see the step-based process to setup Click to Messenger Ads and link your Messenger bot? Then read on below.

#1. When setting up your Ad, you can choose between ‘Messages’ and ‘Conversions’ as objective. Both can be used to create Click to Messenger Ads.

Tips for Success:

  • Use the messages objective to reach people most likely to reply to your business’ messages. Use the conversions objective when you can actually track the conversion in- or outside Messenger.
  • Capture your audience’s attention with click to Messenger ads which follow creative best practices for mobile.
  • Setup the content that will greet people in Messenger. Add images, Quick Replies, and buttons to encourage interaction.
  • Be responsive. Make sure your community management team responds to messages that requires a ‘human’ touch.

To simplify things, we choose ‘Messages’ without Conversion Tracking. You can continue to create your Ad and configure your Messenger Setup.

For a very simple 1 or 2 step interaction you can use Facebook’s standard functionality. In this case we recommend using the JSON from before to trigger the dedicated Bot Flow.

#2. We can copy and paste the JSON into the Facebook Ad Manager.

Messenger Setup inside Facebook’s Business Manager

#3. When you complete this task, you hit the publish button in Maxwell’s flow builder and can go live with your campaign.

Boom! Now you can go live with your Click to Messenger Ad and start acquiring subscribers for your Messenger Bot.

Step 3: Turn Subscribers into Customers

By now you know that it only takes 1 click and 1 message to gather a subscriber and start an ongoing conversation. This means that subscribers can be retargeted upon drop-off and receive content broadcasts. All with the goal to turn subscribers into customers.

When doing so, marketers should recognise users’ behaviour in chat and try to align their communication approach. After all, chat sessions be very different and broadly grouped into 3 categories: active, passive and sporadic.

An active chat session is one in which users are fully focused on a conversation and will send a message to each other within 20 seconds of the previous one. For instance, an intense back-and-forward between girlfriend and boyfriend would qualify as an active chat.

Someone in a passive chat session is less engaged and might take several minutes to send another message. This is the sort of on-again, off-again conversation you might have with a friend while you’re slightly distracted, perhaps while watching TV or cooking dinner.

An user in a sporadic chat session will just check and send messages occasionally throughout the day.

As such, marketers need to align their retargeting approach to individual chat sessions and user behaviour. Often, determining whether a chat session is ongoing or not requires waiting until the next day.

PRO tip: by integrating your e-commerce backend you’ll be able to let users orders products without leaving the chat interface. Facebook Messenger offers native payments options for Creditcard and Paypal. An alternative is to integrate your product feed and let users complete the purchase on your website.

For PROs: Bot Triggers & Message Context

Subscribers might discover your Facebook Ad, click to enter into a Messenger bot conversation and then later abandon a shopping cart on your website. This is where bot triggers come in.

Your Messenger bot can subscribe to events that are registered in your backend systems (eg incomplete purchase) and act upon such events by sending a message to the individual user.

Email marketing automation works very similarly yet requires you to visit the website in order to complete the purchase. Messenger marketing often doesn’t as more and more messaging apps start offering native payments.

Bot triggers are also the fundamental functionality that can be used to let Facebook users receive important documents or subscribe to updates (eg ticket delivery, shipping updates).

Example of Bot Triggers

Taking it one step further, bot conversations can be personalised by storing customer profile info and order history. This is where message context comes in.

For example, an existing customer comes back to place a re-order. With message context your bot can display previous orders and a pre-existing shipping address. This lowers friction as the customer is able to complete actions faster.

With that, we have now gone through the three steps to grow your business with Messenger marketing:

  1. Create your Messenger Bot
  2. Gather Subscribers for your Messenger Bot
  3. Turn Subscribers into Customers

For PROs, use Bot Triggers and Message Context to make Messenger Bots part of your overall Customer Experience and lower friction even further. Now only one question remains:

How would you use Messenger Marketing?

As more and more people prefer messaging above other communication channels, the potential for you to market your products and services through Messaging apps becomes even greater.

If you want to learn about our industry-leading software for Messenger marketing and receive our success stories, then message or email 😊

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