Staying connected with your customers and starting the conversation with new ones is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s digitally complex world.
It took a while, but companies have gradually learned how to make use of email marketing to the point, where our mailboxes are now full of unwanted spam messages. We get a whole range of offers, discounts and news sent to us every day and most of the time we don’t even bother opening them. It’s called ’email fatigue’ and it is a real thing.
Services like Gmail go even further and filter out all the promotional emails into separate tabs, so we can focus on the most important stuff and ignore the spam
Across all industries, the average email open rate rarely goes beyond 25%. This means that only 2.5 out of 10 people will actually read what you send to them. More importantly, only 4% of people on your email list will end up taking some action based on the email they receive from you. Give yourself a pat on the back if your click through rate is higher than that.
Despite such low numbers, email will most likely remain one of the highest grossing channels even in 2019 and its role in digital marketing and e-commerce is still crucial, but it is clear that the effectiveness of e-mail marketing will gradually diminish.
So which channels on the other hand will grow in the coming years?
Based on the early signs, we are entering an era of conversational commerce and with a growing popularity of messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, we strongly believe that these will play much more of an important role in marketing in the near future.
In particular, it’s likely going to be the chatbots built on these platforms that will see a huge growth over the next few years.
What is a chatbot …?
A chatbot is a programmed application that can talk to a customer based on a pre-prepared scenarios. Chatbots can help with choosing a specific product. Answer the most frequently asked questions or directs a visitor to a specific page. It’s a great way to engage with a visitor and start a conversation. Chatbots are normally built on a platform and the ideal one today is Facebook Messenger.
Now let me tell you why!
No. 1: Popularity of messaging platforms
We use a variety of applications to communicate with our friends and family. It all started with SMS and now it continues with WhatsApp or FB Messenger. Since you are still very much in control who’s allowed to message you, it still somehow excites you when you get a message, hence the growing popularity of these apps. FB Messenger is the largest messenger service with over 1 billion active users (source) is positioned the best to make a big impact in 2019
No. 2: Messenger is a great way to get straight to the customer
I don’t know about you, but I have several email accounts and tend to use them interchangeably. By contrast, on Facebook, the vast majority of users only have one account, which means one Messenger account too!
That means that the message you send, will be delivered directly to the recipient. The users are protected by Facebook directly in Messenger too. Any attempt of abuse by businesses is quickly recognized and blocked. Thus, the messages sent this way don’t tend to be perceived as spam, but it rather opens the way for a conversation, that is highly targeted and beneficial. Users themselves do not have a problem with it and like to join when it adds value.
No. 3: Companies need to proactively reach out to their customers
With so much noise out there, presuming that the customer will remember what your business is about and find you when the time is right, is a bit naive.
If you are running your own business, you probably know too well, that as soon as you send out a newsletter you can expect a small spike in sales. The same probably goes for your advertising too! Switch you Google ads off and see online sales drop.
In addition to advertising, your marketing content (i.e videos,blogs etc.) also need to be somehow delivered to the customer, otherwise no one will find it. If done right, chatbots allow you to do all of the above, while making it look like a one to one conversation. Before chatbots, having such a personalised conversation was almost impossible and still is for many companies.
No. 4: Messenger is ideal for segmentation
When it comes to closing a deal, nothing beats a personal conversation. This is purely down to a 2 way conversation, where a customer expresses a problem and a salesman offers a solution. The direction of such a conversation depends on questions and answers from both parties.
Chatbots come really close to the real world example, where a tailored solutions are offered in real time, based on a customer’s input. Every interaction is tagged and can trigger multiple possibilities for a chatbot to respond with. This simply can not be done with email or social media networks. At least not in real time!
For example, my property valuation chatbot asks for a postcode and a property type. Then it checks if the details are correct and either continues or gives you an option to change the details you’ve entered. It also waits 5 minutes to prompt you again, if you’ve not responded. If you’ve not responded within 5 hours, it tags you as lost lead and will never bother you again.
No. 5: Facebook Messenger is the ideal entry platform
When Facebook spun off Messenger into a separate application in 2014, everyone was shaking their heads as it all felt a bit pointless. It turned out to be a brilliant move after all.
Especially in 2018 when Facebook was hit by the Privacy scandals, its messaging platforms were mostly unaffected by this and continue to gain traction.
When Mark Zuckerberg opened the Messenger platform for bots in April 2016, most people had no idea what to do with them. Since then, chatbots have evolved and became one of the fastest growing marketing tools in 2018. The possibilities are endless and the days of dull bots are long gone. With countless API integrations the sky’s the limit, when it comes to utilising chatbots for your business.
No. 6 Natural communication replaces static content
“By 2020, the average person will have more conversations a day with bots than they do with their spouse” (L. Heather Pemberton, Gartner)
By nature we are social animals and we learn and get new information by communicating with others.
Companies like Google and Amazon have been trying to take advantage of this for a few years now with their voice assistants, turning a static web content into a voiced response. It is a far more interactive, personal and fun way to provide the right information at the right time to customers, which can have a big impact on their loyalty. If you are a small business a FB Messenger bot can be a great start.
Over the past few years chatbots have evolved from a gimmick to a very powerful marketing tool, that can not be ignored by marketers and entrepreneurs in 2019.
If you’re not using them yet, you have a huge opportunity to enter a mostly unsaturated market and build a great following at a very low cost. Facebook Messenger is a great place to start before your competitors start doing the same.
If you would like to find out more or needing help building your own chatbot, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise.