What is Facebook Messenger Marketing? What are chatbots? Why is everyone talking about them?
Don’t let the name put you off! Chatbots are the single most powerful way of reigniting your Facebook audience, and to simulate real 1-to-1 conversation, at scale.
Like Email – Only Better.
Enjoy open rates like the 1990’s!
Chatbots can be set up to answer questions immediately using personalisation so that it feels like a human conversation. Or, they can be used to drip feed messaging directly into people’s Facebook inboxes, like an old fashioned newsletter. The difference is that Messenger gets an average open rate of 80% versus 20-25% for most emails.
They are delivering the kind of open rates that haven’t been seen since the 1990’s when email first came around. Larry Kim describes chat messaging as a ‘once in a generation shift in how people communicate.’ Messenger marketing is very similar to email marketing, but applied on Facebook and because they are still relatively new, there are only around 300,000 chatbots in operation, out of the 70 million business pages on Facebook.
If you’re looking for ways to break through the noise and you missed the bus the first time around (ie. when Facebook took off), get on board now with messenger marketing and you won’t make the same mistake twice.
Brightspark is an early adopter and we have a developed a strong reputation for identifying the trends that are going to bring the most value to businesses.
We are definitely behind this one because people want convenience and speed, and they don’t mind talking to chatbots if it will give them the answers they want. In fact, according to Facebook, 53% of people say they are more likely to shop with a business they can contact via a chat app.
In this Facebook Messenger Marketing guide, discover more about the benefits of chatbots and messenger marketing, see our favourite bots of the moment, and learn how to build your own bot.
5 Use Cases of Chatbots & Messenger Marketing
Automate the routine
Chatbots can reduce the time spent on answering the same basic questions over and over, leaving more time for actual human-to-human customer support to tackle more complicated questions that may arise. We’re finding that the best bots provide an element of immediate customer support, while still letting the user feel like they’re in control of a self-serve process. People like this feeling of independence and responsiveness from the brand or business they choose to engage with.
Build your list of subscribers
When someone sends you a message, they are essentially opting-in to hear from you. Once you have an opted in list of subscribers, you can send messages to them. This is especially helpful if you already boast a sizeable Facebook audience, but don’t have permissions to market to them via email yet. Skip the email, go straight to Messenger.
Up-sell using rich content
Use your chatbot not only to answer questions, but they can also be used to up-sell products and services as well. If someone asks a question and receives an answer, don’t just leave it at that! Make some product recommendations related to their query, or direct them to some rich media that will keep them engaged longer. Better still, analyse past buying behaviour and tailor attractive offers. For example, hotels can send offers to people who booked Easter break in the past with an offer in the weeks leading up to spring. Because the entire chatbot interaction takes place on Messenger, it feels more personal and less like a marketing message.
Break through the noise
Because Messenger bots are still relatively new, there are only around 300,000 chatbots in operation, out of the 70 million business pages on Facebook, which means that early adopters are able to break through the noise in their markets, reach their audience directly, without facing a too much competition.
Another great reason to use bots is because they are fun! Sephora’s chatbot has gained a lot of attention recently because of the interactive try-on feature which lets users see what specific make-up products will look like on them.
Which brings us on to …
Our Favourite Chatbots Of The Moment
(last updated February 2019)
Brightspark Consulting – We’ve got to toot our own horn here for a minute. Our Brightspark chatbot takes users on a “choose your own adventure” journey. We then share some of our blog content based on the users’ choices, hopefully providing some value and encouraging more traffic to the blog!
Win North Kildare House – We recently made this bot for a client who is selling tickets to win a house. If you haven’t bought one already, it costs just €100 to a win a 4 bed house. Do it! In addition to providing information about the contest, we made the bot so that it can respond to frequently asked questions in a personal and friendly way. It’s a great resource because people are asking questions at all times of day and night, and they are getting the information they need immediately.
GoPro – GoPro does a great job of using the ‘gallery format’ to feature a carousal of images and information so the user can see a lot of examples of GoPro in action in a stylish and helpful way. Because they’re such a visual brand, it makes complete sense for GoPro to showcase their amazing videos and pictures in their chatbot.
Arsenal FC – Maybe a sports team isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you hear ‘chatbot’ but Arsenal’s innovative bot changes the game. Use the bot to get real-time game updates, player stats, or find tickets to upcoming fixtures, and more.
Sephora – through three different Messenger Bots, Sephora’s chatbots let users book makeovers, get product reviews and recommendations, virtually “try-on” different makeup products, and much more. Sephora reports an 11% increase in makeover bookings and high engagement with the bots, and their continued evolution shows that the make-up retail giant is deriving substantial benefits from bots.
Universal Orlando Resort – the chatbot for Universal Orlando Resort in Florida helps you get the most out of your visit to their theme parks. Our favourite feature of the bot is that it can give you the wait times for rides, as well as general information like its location and height requirements. The bot can also give you food recommendations based on your location within the parks. This extra customer service element helps create a positive experience for the park guests, hopefully encouraging them to come back again.
Travelocity – With this chatbot, you can book, manage, or simply search for travel information and accommodation. The bot makes it quick and convenient for users to find options that work for them.
With so many easy-to-use tools available, there is no reason to put off adding a chatbot to your Facebook page and website. You know they don’t only live on Facebook!?
With more and more people disengaging from the Facebook news feed, nimble companies are moving to Messenger to keep their business in front of mind of target users. Not only will bots provide value, but jumping on now will make you one of the early adopters in this fast-growing marketing channel.
How To Win Local Elections
So are you ready to get on board the Messenger bus early?
Just Do it!
The good news is that you don’t need to be an experienced coder to build a bot that will take your Facebook page to the next level. One of the hottest areas right now is the emerging ecosystem of chatbot tools. Some, like ManyChat, were first to market, are cheap, and somewhat easy to set up. With ManyChat, you simply drag and drop different elements into the chatbot builder and within minutes you will have a functioning chatbot. This tool has a free version but the Pro version offers more useful features and it’s still very affordable at $15/month.
Here at Brightspark, we like MobileMonkey. (that’s an affiliate link) It’s a platform built for marketers, so it’s more than just drag and drop. It offers machine learning to really hone the language used by your audience which basically means that as more people interact with your bot, it will learn how to respond most effectively. MobileMonkey will take you to the next level and it lets you know of any errors you make along the way – trust us when we say this is a huge advantage! Because I really like MobileMonkey I became an affiliate which means I get a small kickback if you click this link and end up buying the service.
Tip: if you sign up for any of the MobileMonkey webinars, you’ll usually get offered a discount for an annual subscription that works out around $9 a month! Or you could just go on to the platform now and pay $19 a month.
Get Subscription Messaging Set Up
Originally, Facebook had announced that as of 1 January 2019, only approved Facebook pages would be able to send non-promotional subscription messages through Messenger. They pushed the deadline back indefinitely, but you should still take the first step of applying for subscription messaging permissions as soon as you can. Applying takes no more than a few minutes and is simple. Head over to your Facebook page to get started.
Facebook subscription messaging allows you to send messages to users directly into their Messenger inbox. Sometimes called drip messaging, it’s the one that will replace email so you should make sure you understand how you can do it.
Users must opt-in before you can contact them, but this is simple as they are considered “opted-in” once they send you a first message, and like email, they must be allowed to unsubscribe from you.
The important thing is that subscription messages cannot include promotional content. This means that sending sale announcements, coupons, deals, or anything similar is off the table.
But if you run a business where you play by the rules, you give and share your knowledge freely, then this is nothing new for you. If you are B2B, you should definitely apply for subscription messaging permissions on Facebook and start to migrate your content over to Messenger. It’s not that you’re going to be shifting to ‘doing’ Facebook, you are simply ensuring your content gets seen, in people’s inboxes, the ones that they still look at.
How To Get Approved For Subscription Messaging
Click on your page Settings → Messenger Platform. Scroll down to Advanced Messaging Features and click on Request.
You will be taken to an application with the following questions:
- Select the type of messages your Page will send from the three options: news, productivity or personal tracker.
- Provide additional details, describing the information and updates services your chatbot provides.
- Give 2 examples of subscription messages your Page will send.
Just make sure the examples you provide do not include promotional material as you probably won’t get approved if you do.
Your request will be sent off to be reviewed by a real person at Facebook so it might take some time to get approved. In our experience it’s pretty fast, but you may not get approved first time. Just try again and you will do it!
What do you think of chatbots and Facebook Messenger Marketing?
If you found this Facebook Messenger Marketing guide useful, please click the blue messenger icon (over there on the right). You can talk to us on our Messenger bot there, and we’ll take that as an opt-in! Starting in March 2019, we are going to dual publish our hugely popular newsletter on Messenger and email. So if you want to receive a monthly round up of the latest digital marketing tips and advice, sign up.