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Message Marketing: Bring audiences from conversation to conversion

Social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, are attractive to marketers for obvious reasons. However, the popularity of mobile messaging apps surpassed that of social media apps back in 2015, and the gap only continues to widen. It’s no surprise then, that these apps offer serious message marketing potential.

More than half of U.S. residents will use a messaging app by 2022, with the most popular Facebook Messenger app alone projected to reach 138.1 million users. Not only this, but when it comes to business, 56% of users would rather message a business than call and over 50% are more likely to shop with a business they can message.

That’s because chat apps allow users a convenient, comfortable space to interact. The simple structure also makes it easy for marketers to deliver content without optimization. In short, this marketing channel provides a unique opportunity to reach a wide demographic in an intimate, conversational and engaging – not to mention profitable – way.

How message marketing works

Most of the major messaging apps offer advertising opportunities like Facebook Messenger’s options of display ads that appear in the inbox, sponsored messages, customer relations tools and click-to-Messenger ads that pull users from social media platforms to the Messenger app. When users tap on your ad in their app’s home tab, they are directed to the destination of your choice. The ad-chat combination boosts engagement and click-through rates.

The key to maximizing these marketing efforts is building a quality chatbot to handle the majority of the communication. A chatbot allows you to customize messages to advance with links that move the conversation forward in different directions. Optimized chatbot conversations with engaged audiences can achieve upwards of 80% response rates, no easy feat in today’s environment of untrusting consumers. By sending users content and helping them select for customized content, customers have more control over their satisfaction.

The good news – it’s like email marketing, only better

If you’re already using email campaigns (check out our post on personalized emails), you can use the same skillset and content to apply to the messaging platform. Unlike email, though, messaging implies a two-way connection that’s more interactive and conversational. Modern customers want a personal, customized relationship with companies they do business with. So they are much more receptive to outreach in this format.

And the possibilities are wide open. You could utilize message marketing to reach existing and potential customers. This article details six ways to build your database. You can deliver the same kinds of content you would in an email, like company or industry news. Or introduce a new product/service linked to a landing page. Message marketing can also be used to increase sales with limited-time promotions, discounts, giveaways and contests.

Many brands have had success using this channel for messaging about events too. This might look like an invitation or even an opportunity for participants to further engage during live events. Of course, you could use it for post-event messages and surveys as well. Additionally, these apps provide an excellent avenue for customer assistance and support.

Even better news – an upcoming merger is changing the game

Facebook has announced plans to integrate the messaging services of three of the most-used chat apps – Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger– by early 2020. The applications will still stand alone, but the underlying infrastructure will be integrated so that users can message people on the different platforms within their preferred app.

For marketers, this means that your reach will expand to a much more diverse population, and with less effort. There will no longer be a need to create separate chatbots for each different platform in this new messaging system. It’s hard to ignore the popularity and ease of this outlet, all the more reason to get your conversational marketing game going.

Message away, but carefully

Even with Facebook reporting 10 billion messages being sent between people and businesses each month, this is still relatively new marketing territory. It’s exciting to venture into marketing space that isn’t oversaturated, but you also want to be mindful of user perception.

Messaging apps are one of the few spaces where people have been able to interact without being bombarded with ads. Be careful to avoid an intrusive or pushy approach, and utilize strategic targeting. The upside of this platform is that users have more control over opting-in to receive messages from businesses. So you may be less likely to annoy them than with other channels.

Coupling informative, useful and entertaining content with a quality chatbot is essential to effective implementation and creating natural-flowing conversations. It’s also important to select the right messaging app for your business goals. This infographic from Text Magic outlines some of the pros and cons of popular options. Focus on your audience’s wants and needs and experiment to find what works.

As people around the world increasingly use messaging apps to connect, it’s clear that successful brands will target these apps as part their overall digital marketing strategy. Position yourself among the innovators, and get your messaging on!

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