Are Messenger Bots really the future of marketing?
To be completely honest with you all, this post originally started as an email to my subscribers.
But then I apparently had more views on the matter than I thought! After the dust settled, I was left with a 1500-word blog post I wasn’t about to send them all in an email!
I dedicate this post to those amazing email subscribers who stick with me week after week, helping me achieve higher than the average 20% open rate (more explained later) and giving me an outlet to dish all my digital marketing thoughts regularly.
While this post discusses bots and the future, I’m not ready to give up on email, so don’t worry! If you’re on my list, you’ll still hear from me plenty.
Since the beginning of starting my business, I’ve always heard from every expert your email list is where’s it’s at.
The money’s in the email list.
Your email list is your most important asset because it’s the one thing you own.
But lately, there’s a new king on the horizon and I’m not sure I’m sold yet.
Facebook Messenger bots in particular.
I really do see the value. I’ve subscribed to a few messenger bots myself to see what people are doing with them, and I’ve seen some really cool things.
I’d like to start by breaking down why I think bots are awesome and the future of digital marketing.
Business are flocking to bots because of 4 main things:
- Open rates for bot messages are astronomically higher than open rates for email
- Messages are more interactive with subscribers than traditional email
- More people use Messenger in their daily lives than email for personal communication
- It’s the cool thing to do
In a recent post from Chatbots Magazine, they stated email open rates were an average of 21.8%, and 49% of those were opened via mobile. Their own bot test led to 98% open rates and a CTR (click-through rate) that was 12-times higher than their traditional email campaign.
There’s no denying bots perform. In my opinion, bot statistics are so high in part because the average person isn’t immune to it yet.
Personally, I absolutely HATE that little notification number above apps on my phone. If I know I have notifications, I MUST look. It’s an addiction.
Except for one app…
My email (currently at 136) can sit there with crazy numbers of unopened emails and I just don’t care. (It’s only so low because I’ve set up automations to keep my inbox numbers low. Be sure to visit my series on email organization)
I’m NOT immune, however, to Facebook Messenger.
I start to freak out if I see a number there.
Is it for work?
Is it personal?
Is it messenger marketing? <–New feeling
I MUST FIND OUT.
So, I click and BOOM, there are your high open rates.
Sometimes, I open the message just to get rid of the red dot on my phone, and I don’t even read the message.
This is important.
From a digital marketing standpoint, if I’m not reading messages I know are marketing, neither are others.
It’s something to ponder as you build out bot campaigns. Make sure they are worthy of reading/watching/listening.
Secondly, bots are more interactive with subscribers. Bots allow you to ask questions, get feedback, and more.
I recently subscribed to a bot and was immediately asked a series of A/B questions in order for the bot (aka the company) to tag me properly and see what type of subscriber I was.
In doing this, businesses can specifically target me later on only for the products they think I’ll purchase.
I’ve seen people do this in email as well, but as we already discussed, if only 20% of people are opening emails, most are never going to be tagged.
I also like the casual nature of bots. You can communicate in a much more conversational manner than what’s expected in email.
The interactive-ness of bots is also extremely useful.
Just by asking a few questions, you can find out specifically what someone needs and, with the right bot process in place, your bot can answer for you.
People might think this leads to an inauthentic and non-personal experience, but the opposite is true.
Bots lead to a more personalized experience because by the end, you can step in at just the right moment and communicate with the subscriber about what they actually need help with, not starting from the beginning and going through the “Do you need this? What about this?” process. You know exactly what that person is looking for and you can get to the point.
This saves you time and time is money!
IT’S WHERE PEOPLE ARE
Think about the last communication you had with a friend. What about a family member? Were either of those via email?
I would bet my pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer the answer is no. (And nobody messes with my ice cream.)
It was via some form of instant messaging system. Text, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Voxer, Slack, SnapChat…the list goes on and on. Why? Because people actually use messages to communicate, so there are a ton of outlets providing that service.
If you are a smart business owner, you want to market where people actually are. That’s why one of the best forms of paid advertising is Facebook.If you are a smart business owner, you want to market where people actually are.Click To Tweet
People are on Facebook for personal use, so it makes sense to reach them on that platform.
Communicating with people via messaging services one-by-one would be one of the most time-consuming and tedious tasks out there, which is why bots are so amazing.
You’re able to create a series of messages to communicate with people all over the world, instantly and with a more personal touch than email delivers.
And while bots don’t currently have access to all those different platforms, Facebook Messenger is a widely-used method of communication, so it makes sense it’s where the bots are.
COOL THING TO DO
Ok, the last one is my own opinion. I honestly do feel that way a little. I think businesses are testing out bots because that’s what’s “on trend”, they see others doing it, and they want to avoid FOMO (fear of missing out).
Even Neil Patel, a master digital marketer, wrote, “The earlier you learn and use a new marketing tactic, the more likely you are to benefit from it. It’s the perfect time to use Facebook Messenger bots.”
Be sure check out Neil’s entire post, How to Get 88% Open Rates and 56% CTRs Using Facebook Messenger.
I only advise you use bots for your business if it’s something you feel truly invested in, because it does take a ton of commitment to make good ones.
With bots being so relatively new, I think we’re just on the horizon of some awesomely amazing and awesomely horrible bot experiences.
Make sure yours is one of the good ones.
HOW TO GET STARTED
ManyChat is a great option for all types of skill levels. It has a free version, but the paid versions are also extremely affordable starting at $10/month.
If you’re interested in learning more about bots, what they can do, and how to set them up, I suggest you visit BotBos.io for a free mini-course to get started. It was created by Stephanie Blake, a marketing genius I consider the queen of all things bots. When I have a question, she’s the first person I reach out to.
Ok, I’ve gone on and on about how great bots are. BUT, in the beginning, I said I wasn’t completely sold.
The one thing I keep coming back to is I don’t own very much information about the people subscribed to my bot. I can see a name, gender, language, and time zone…but no email.
With all types of influential marketers saying from the beginning your email list is your most important asset, I’m scared.
I’m scared to move to a platform where I don’t have an email address.
Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, yes, there are still ways to get an email address, but it’s an extra step. And extra steps lead to less results.
This is why I’ve seen marketers go from asking for a name, email, phone, address, yada, yada, on traditional opt-ins down to just an email address.
In this case, simplicity wins again since a one-click button to subscribe via Messenger is a lot easier than typing an email address.
In the end, I think I’m willing to give bots a try. They can do everything email marketing can do, plus a few extras, and I’m ready to give it a shot.
What do you think?
Are bots really the hottest marketing trend for 2018?
Feel free to connect with me via my bot – that little Facebook Messenger button at the bottom of your screen. I promise you’ll get an answer ;-P