Updated: Nov 8, 2019
It's for good reason that there's been all sorts of buzz about Messenger Marketing lately. It's better than SMS marketing in every way except for one...let's get into it.
Wait...before we jump into all the bold word sections below I want to point out where Facebook Messenger stands between Email and SMS Marketing. Email Marketing is great, but it is oversaturated which leads to low open rates and click-through rates. SMS Text Marketing has very high open rates, but can truly piss your customer/client off. I don't know about you, but my text messages is a private place that I don't want companies blasting into all the time. Industry leaders suggest only sending 2 text message blasts out per month because of it.
Facebook Messenger Marketing plays in a nice middle ground between Email and SMS. High open rates of typically about 85% and it's not quite as personal of a space as SMS. As time goes on people will continue to get more and more use to receiving messages from businesses in Messenger and it will become common place.
Rules to follow
SMS Text Marketing
The rules of SMS Marketing are similar to Email:
- You have to get consent
- You have to provide opt-out options.
- You have to make sure you let them know that "Msg&Data rates may apply".
Facebook Messenger Marketing
Facebook Messenger on the other hand has a whole slew of rules that formulates the only downside, BUT this could also be its biggest strength as these rules may prevent Messenger Marketing from following in the footsteps of Email Marketing.
Shooting out a message to your Facebook Messenger Subscriber list is called a "Broadcast". Think of it as your typical Email Blast.
All Broadcasts fall within 3 categories with different rules for each:
Subscription Broadcast allows you to deliver non-commercial content to your subscribers at any time you want. Use it as a conversational option to start a dialogue with your audience. Keep in mind, broadcast messages cannot contain any ads or promotional materials.
Promotional Broadcast allows you to send commercial messages only to subscribers that were active (interacted with your bot) in past 24 hours. Use this option carefully, do not annoy your subscribers with mass promotions. Use Subscription Broadcast first to reveal the audience interests to deliver relevant commercial content.
Follow-Up Broadcast can be sent at the end of 24 hour window after Promotional Broadcast to remind your subscribers about your promotion. After that you won’t be able to send them any promotional messages until they interact with your Messenger bot again. This follow-up message can be automated so you don't miss your chance!
To summarize, at the time of this blog post being written, you're only allowed to send promotional offers to subscribers on your list that have interacted with your bot in the last 24 hours. After that offer, you're allowed to send one follow up broadcast before your window is up. This is called the 24+1 rule. Come January, this rule is supposedly changing so that the "+1" is removed from the "24+1" rule so you'll either have to pay Facebook to send a Message Broadcast or get your subscribers to opt back in via sending an email or SMS message, both of which can be easily automated.
Facebook Messenger is worldwide. "WeLl SMs is WoRlDwiDe tOo", yes but it's fragmented. The suppliers of SMS are different in every country. Costs are different and more importantly the setup is different and needs to happen in every country where SMS campaigns are launching.
If you’re a business that wants to send out messages to people in the US, Canada, Mexico and the UK. That means 4 separate SMS setups, 4 different costs and potentially more than 1 aggregator. Aggregators are the SMS suppliers/wholesalers, such as Vibes Media.
If you launch a Message Broadcast on Facebook Messenger to the same 4 countries, it only requires a single launch and of only incurs 1 cost (free within the 24+1 rule) and the build is to a single API.
Facebook Messenger BLOWS SMS Marketing out of the water with this one. We create ChatBots that will automatically upload information to your CRM or Google Sheets for you, can calculate custom quotes/estimates for customers/clients, can pre-qualify leads, and LOADS of other things. Anything that has an API key can link to a Facebook Messenger ChatBot. There's a 99% chance that any software applications you use has an API key.
Facebook Messenger is connected to...well...Facebook! I don't know if you knew this or not, but Facebook knows everything about you. Seriously though, that mole under your left nipple? Yeah, they know about that. But for real, this is a huge selling point for Facebook Messenger Marketing because it makes collecting data 10x easier. No more sending people to online forms for them to fill out. Just ask them directly in the bot and they can CLICK their email and phone number to give it to you. They don't even have to type it out! So with as little as 3 clicks you can gain:
1. A Messenger Subscriber
2. First Name
3, Last Name
6. An Email
7. A Phone Number
Let's see SMS Marketing do that... The least path of resistance always wins. Just ask water.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for why Messenger being connected to Facebook is such a big deal though. It allows you to seamlessly integrate with Facebook ads and it also allows you to instantly add people into your Facebook custom audiences.
It's fairly normal for a business to pay about a penny per SMS text message that they send out. This means that if they are sending out a million texts they are going to be charge $10k just for doing so.
Sending out Messages on Facebook Messenger on the other hand can be free if you are only interested in sending out plain SMS like messages. If you want to incorporate things like conditional logic and API integrations you'll need to upgrade to the Pro version of ManyChat. Which starts at only $10 a month! As your subscriber count increases you can expect to pay more, but it's very reasonable considering everything it allows you to do!
In summary, the best practice involves the use of both Messenger and SMS Marketing, but if I had to choose one...I would 100% choose Facebook Messenger. The ability to step back and allow chatbots to automate different aspects of your sales, marketing, and support is unbeatable. SMS is good for little reminders, such as for webinars, but is mostly used by us to opt people back into Messenger Bots to reset the 24 hour window.
If you're interested in learning more about how Messenger Marketing can be implemented into your business to automate and enhance your business infrastructure feel free to schedule a call with us today!