As a business, wherever people are spending their time and attention is where you want to be. For a long time, this was the inbox. People would leave their email client open in their browser all day and check it religiously every hour, if not every minute.
Then it was social media. Some people would, and still do, live their lives through their Twitter accounts or Facebook pages. Maintaining and updating their virtual presence as if it was more important than their physical selves.
Today, it’s messenger applications. Whatsapp, WeChat, Viber, Slack — these are the places we hang out most. And the gap between them and other communication platforms is only getting wider.
The big messenger apps know they are the future, already offering businesses many ways to interact with their customers through their platforms. Whatsapp with its new enterprise app, WeChat with its business accounts. And, of course, Facebook Messenger, with its business features that are responsible for over 1 billion business to customer messages being exchanged every month.
This is just the beginning. Messenger has plans to become the go-to medium for b2c interaction, bar none. A big component of which will be its prototype ‘Messenger Broadcast’ feature — a self-serve interface that lets businesses send marketing messages at scale.
This may sound a little like email — and it is. But the similarities stop there. With its potential for more natural, engaging, enjoyable, and highly-converting B2C conversations, Messenger marketing is a revolution all of its own.
Here are some of the major reasons why.
Hook up to the network
Email sits in some separate dimension far away from the rest of the internet. Messenger is connected to the biggest social network and one of the most popular news outlets in the world.
With this in mind, if you use email to keep your readers in the loop with your latest content, then where would you rather send your messages too?
The fact is, you can work hard building an email list of millions and send them new content every day, but most people won’t go out of their way to read it. And worse yet, the activity of the ones that do won’t have any impact on your organic reach or engagement.
With Messenger, readers don’t even need to fill out a form, never mind click away to another part of the internet to find and read your content. By simply commenting with a particular word on a post, users can become a part of your Messenger list and receive content straight to their inbox.
Firstly, this means the chance to demonstrate social proof and increase your organic engagement. And secondly, it means much higher message engagement than email — as much as 242 percent higher open rates, and an up to 619 percent increase in click-through rates.
Have real-life conversations, in real time
Wherever you look, people are demanding more interactive, personalised experiences. No longer do people have the patience or interest in things that are only single-sided and one-dimensional.
The electronic equivalent of the mailing system, email can’t help but be this way. Messenger apps, on the other hand, are built to be two-way interactions that allow information to flow both ways — simultaneously. Messenger marketing, therefore, appears like a more natural conversation someone would have with their friends, able to adjust in real time according to the exact needs of the situation.
This immediacy and personalisation is the key that Messenger holds over email. For instance, when someone interacts with a particular post, message, or button, it can instantly trigger a specific sequence. This approach feels much more authentic and can shrink the sales cycle from days down to minutes.
Infinitely scalable and expandable
As of the third quarter of 2017, Facebook has a little over 2 billion monthly active users. Of those 2 billion, 1.3 billion use the Facebook Messenger app. And among those 1.2 billion app users, over 1 billion messages are exchanged between businesses and customers.
These numbers haven’t gone unnoticed. Marketers are reporting just as impressive figures, with return on investments as high as 400 percent. They’re recognising Messenger for its low upfront cost and vast network that can allow businesses to expand their offerings at a scale never before possible with email.
One way this is being done is with Messenger’s pre-set automated responses. They work in much the same way as email autoresponders, but in a more convenient, scalable, and immediate way. That means businesses can give more customers what they need — at the very moment they want it. Resulting in more sign-ups, higher conversion rates, and much less wasted time.
Messenger is like email’s younger cousin. A more personal, spontaneous character that can achieve the same results — often much better — with half the effort. But that doesn’t mean all uncles are redundant. Email still has its place; it’ll just be more behind the scenes than on centre stage, where apps like Messenger will be well and truly stealing the show.
Joseph Pennington is a freelance writer and long-term traveller from the North of England. Find him on Medium exploring remote working, technology, spirituality, meditation, and everything in between.