Ever since Facebook opened its gateways to messenger marketing back in 2016, more and more companies are exploring the potential of this new form of marketing. The idea is simple: As with traditional salesmen, your customers learn more about your product or service in a conversational form, acquiring information through a series of personalized questions and answers. However, in contrast to traditional methods, users receive these messages in their preferred instant messaging app where the texts can be enriched with pictures, links, videos or even GIFs and cards. What’s more, these conversations can be fully automated, using what’s known as chatbots, making it possible to run them 24/7, every single day of the year. The days of hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing emails camping unopened in your spam folder are long gone. Whether you are using messenger marketing for lead qualification, re-engaging your potentials, running personalized campaigns, live broadcasting during an event, customer service, or one-to-one content delivery, the advantages are pretty obvious. However, there are a few best practices and guidelines that are good to follow to make the most out of the new wave.
The 24-hour window:
Facebook distinguishes three different message types when using messenger: Standard, Subscription and Sponsored. It is important to know when you should pick one over the other and when you can use them. Standard messages can be sent during a 24-hour window after the user has sent a message to you. One additional bonus message can be sent outside of this 24-hour window to follow-up on the conversation, hence the ‘24+1 policy’ name. Subscription messages can be sent any time, but they are strictly forbidden to contain any promotional content. The typical use cases Facebook lists are the following: “News: Integrations whose primary purpose is to inform people about recent or important events, or provide information in categories such as sports, finance, business, real estate, weather, traffic, politics, government, non-profit organizations, religion, celebrities, and entertainment. Productivity: Integrations whose primary purpose is to enable people to manage their personal productivity with tasks, such as managing calendar events, receiving reminders, and paying bills. Personal trackers: Integrations that enable people to receive and monitor information about themselves in categories such as fitness, health, wellness, and finance.”
Transform your content: Now that you are familiar with the basic rules, there are a few other important things to keep in mind. Instant messaging apps and the way they are used for communication is different than, for example, email or Facebook ads. You need to approach them differently and can’t just copy and paste the message you deliver on other platforms. People are used to smaller chunks of information so you will probably need to deliver the message in multiple smaller parts or in a condensed form. The key is to grab attention and build interest over and over again to keep the users engaged in the long run. You can use rich media, link videos or external articles, and it is probably the only business channel where it is actually advised to use emojis. The key is to adapt your message to fit the messaging app you are using.
Adjust to your users’ needs: Marketers are applying personalization more widely than ever before, and it’s simply because it works. However, a good marketer also knows that personalization means more than just using the recipient’s first name. Personalization can be as easy as offering different topics that your users can subscribe to or giving them different replies based on the conversation history, but can get more complex if you integrate the solution with your other systems and you can offer more personalized information based on the stored account information, previous purchases, preferences, etc. A great practice is using tags at multiple parts of the conversation so you can better segment your audience and provide the best experience possible.
Avoid spamming: A definite advantage of delivering your message in an instant messaging app is the open rate. Compared to the results you had with email, you can be sure that you will see a significant boost. People are still used to receiving personal messages on those platforms so whenever a notification shows up, it means something important has arrived that needs their attention. However, you can’t just automatically text users—you need their consent first, and they can mute the notifications, unsubscribe, or even report you with a few easy clicks, so you need to make sure that you are not spamming them with something uninteresting.
Create a persona: If you think about your chat conversations, you don’t write or respond the same way you would via email. It’s more personal, more open, and that is why you need to make the voice of the messenger channel personal, too. Think about it like the mascot figure of your favorite sports team that you can all like and relate to. This will also define the way your chatbot talks, the style and tone of the conversations, and some special elements that make the conversation an engaging and memorable experience. Make it an experience that urges users to come back and do it again.
Never disguise the chatbot as a human: It is proven that the right persona can boost your chatbot channel, but it’s also proven that you should never fake the chatbot replies as real human answers. The best practice is to make it clear right at the beginning that your audience is talking with a chatbot, so this way, if something goes wrong, they will be a lot more patient and understanding. Ask for confirmation whenever the input can be interpreted in different ways and offer a surrender option where users can switch to live chat and talk to a real human member of staff.
Guide users through: As a final piece of advice, there are two really simple tricks: Don’t ask users to type too much, and don’t leave users unattended. There are multiple ways you can implement buttons in the conversation or even provide a complete messenger menu to help users to get to what they want quickly. It’s equally important to always have a response, even when the chatbot is unsure what to do or doesn’t have reply. These cases should be part of your default conversations and have a funny or cute reply that can set the expectations.
Implementing messenger and chatbots into your marketing plan can help reach your customers and engage and inform them about your products and services through a channel they are comfortable with. By following the best practices and guidelines above, you’ll be sure to make the most of your chatbot and create a high-quality messenger marketing experience for your users. Need more helpful bits of advice? Just get in touch with us!