Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash

Messenger Marketing is a new kid on the block in the marketing scene. Similar to any new marketing channel, there are lots of uncertainties. As a startup, you may want to explore this opportunity, especially if your competitors are nowhere to be seen in this emerging marketing channel. However, you should ask yourself these questions before testing the water: is it worthwhile to allocate my marketing budget to messenger marketing? why is this channel becoming more and more popular? How do I get started? What are the drawbacks (as nothing is perfect)?

What is Messenger Marketing?

Before we dive into the details, pros & cons of Messenger Marketing, let’s start with a simple explanation of Messenger Marketing — in case you have not heard of it yet.

Basically, Messenger Marketing is similar to Email Marketing but instead of using emails to deliver your marketing message, you use messenger apps. There are many messenger apps on the market, for instance, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. You can use chatbots to help you out or if you want to provide a more personalised experience, you can choose to interact with your leads or existing customers directly via a messenger app. For example, WhatsApp offers WhatsApp Business App that serves this purpose.

Messenger Marketing vs. Email Marketing

Email Marketing always finds its place in every marketing plan — it is affordable, personalised and easy to implement. However, there are some challenges. Many email servers have a spam filter in place, your promotional emails might be filtered out before reaching the receivers. Even if you’re lucky and your emails pass through the spam filter, if your email content is not relevant or engaging, the receivers will not hesitate to hit to unsubscribe button.

According to a recent study conducted by Constant Contact, an email marketing platform, the average email open rate is 17.62% and the average click-through rate is 7.97%. At this point, you may be curious about the figure of Messenger Marketing.

Before I reveal the Messenger Marketing figure, I want to share some findings from Facebook Data and WhatsApp:

Source: Facebook IQ

Source: Facebook IQ

Source: WhatsApp

 

Impressive, right?

The “wow” does not stop here.

Here are some figures from Kissmetrics:

80% open rates for broadcast messages
30–40% click-through rates (4–10x email marketing averages)
5x the volume of content downloads and event registrations

Everything looks so promising so far.

What sorts of marketing activity can I do with messenger apps?

There are many things you can try out. For instance, distribute your content, seasonal sale alerts, new product release, ask for a review, offer a discount — Sky is the limit.

Let’s talk about money

Now you may have a question, how much does Messenger Marketing cost if I want to build a chatbot? The companies below all offer a free plan and coding knowledge is not required for building a chatbot.

(Disclosure: I am not working at any of the companies below or got paid by any of them)

ManyChat: Engage up to 25K subscribers — USD 145 per month.

MobileMonkey: Their paid plan starts from USD 42 per month.

Chatfuel: Their Pro plan starts from USD 30 per bot per page.

The above information is just for your reference, how much it costs depends on various factors — the number of contacts you have, if you need any additional features and so on.

Is Messenger Marketing so flawless?

 
 

Now you may want to just get started right away but hold your horses! As you know, nothing is perfect.

The very first thing you may want to think about is that, if you use messenger as the major channel to communicate with your potential and existing customers, the messenger that you use owns the mean of communication. What I mean is that unlike the traditional channels, like telephone calls and emails, you are bounded to use that particular messenger service. If you do not like your email service provider, you are free to switch to a better one, but this is not the case with messenger service.

The other drawback is that your potential customers may not want to reach out to your business via a messenger app like Facebook since a Facebook profile contains too much personal information, like DOB, hobbies, favourite movies, and so on. This sort of information can help you profile or segment your leads but there is a privacy issue you need to consider.

Before you start using messenger for marketing, you also need to make sure that you have enough manpower to handle the increased workload. Chatbot can no doubt answer some of the basic questions that your potential customers may have but for more complicated cases, you definitely need a human to take over. Otherwise, your chatbot may become an obstacle in your sales funnel.

Conclusion

Undeniably, Being an early adapter in Messenger Marketing or any marketing channel could give you an edge over your competitors. However, just like other channels, there are pros and cons. As a startup, it is particularly important to have a thorough consideration before allocating your budget in this relatively new marketing trend. If you are using messenger apps in your marketing — I would love to hear your experience and advice!