Messenger and Chatbots: The future of small business communication

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Messenger and Chatbots: The future of small business communication

As messenging apps play a more critical role in the way consumers engage with not only each other but businesses too, chatbots are coming to the fore as a way to communicate with customers 24/7. Amberlea Henriques Director of #AdSocial and Australia’s ManyChat Ambassador Partner gives Kochie’s Business Builders the lowdown.

Like all things, the way in which we communicate has evolved over time!

From handwritten letters, to voice calls, email to SMS! Evidently, as our lives become busier, our interactions become noticeably shorter. With time of the essence and mobile devices always in hand, consumers now expect to be able to speak with businesses and brands at their convenience and in most instances outside of standard business hours. Long gone are the days of trading 9-5, with the introduction of web and social media it is now an expectation to be accessible 24/7!

This is also prevalent to marketing and growth strategies as those who are successful, are those that acknowledge these transitions and refine their communication strategy in accordance. So where are we at today? Several studies all concur that people now prefer short form messages delivered via direct message apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and similar. And evidence also supports adopting this method will significantly, amplify connections with consumers.

Rarely do we answer telephone calls from unknown numbers and those we do are promptly disconnected when we discover it’s a cold call. SMS faces challenges as in many instances to navigate the reader from the message to a web form, clickfunnel or offer you need to include a URL which is often met with trepidation, unsure if it’s a virus.

And as a comparison between email and short form ‘chat’ messages; email typically achieves *20% open rates and *3-5% click through. Versus, Messenger broadcasts which are consistently showcasing open rates of *80% and click through averaging 20%.

Both methods take a similar investment of time to create, function similarly (which we will touch on soon), however the latter will reach more consumers and exponentially increase your opportunity for ROI. For this reason alone, we recommend using Messenger during your initial introduction.

But this isn’t to say that traditional forms of marketing are ineffective. The key to master marketing is to use all! However, do so in a strategic process to build a relationship and trust in your brand.

Are you excited about this evolution in communication? Yes! Then let’s get into how to start using Messenger in your business! Hello Chatbots!

Chatbots are pre-programmed, short form text replies triggered by a user’s action or keyword phrase. They can be connected to ads, posts, URL’s or QR codes. This automated technology allows businesses and brands to communicate 24/7 on Messenger to showcase their offering and respond to user enquiries. Additionally, they can subscribe users to receive sequenced, time delayed ongoing messages.

It is important to note that whilst Facebook Messenger delivers these messages; it is third party software where the chatbots are programmed. We recommend using ManyChat for its ease and powerful integration capabilities.

ManyChat is to bots, what MailChimp is to email.

Comparably both platforms grow lists of subscribers, they both have segmenting functionality, bulk broadcasting, automation and high-level reporting. The primary difference is one distributes content into email inboxes whilst the other delivers news in short-form text via Facebook Messenger.

Like Facebook, Manychat adopts a ‘user-first’ experience to ensure that as familiarity with the technology grows, users feel ‘safe’ engaging with content. To achieve this, Manychat has embedded best-practice code so whilst it’s a single click action that subscribes them to your marketing list, if they later decide to opt-out they need to message the page again to reinstate communication.

But don’t let this scare you, it’s in fact a brilliant feature as this essentially cleans your marketing list so that you’re only speaking with those who are engaged! This also ensures your not paying elevated subscription fees for people who have no interest in your offering.

Right now, businesses and brands are adopting this ingenuous technology in varying degrees. Some are using it to streamline processes, eliminate monotonous tasks and be available to their clients and fans 24/7! Whilst others are using chatbots to generate leads, funnel sales prospects, get bookings or sell products. In many instances, businesses are discovering that an upfront investment in this technology are sparing their operations mammoth employee overheads long-term, as a pre-programmed ‘bot’ can make some roles redundant! Here is some examples..

Imagine receiving a notification at 7am, wishing you a good morning and asking what time you’d like to collect your coffee on your way into the office? For it to know that you always order a flat white, 1 sugar and prefer almond milk. For it to stamp a virtual loyalty card so once every 5th buy, you get your 6th free! This is happening right now using Many Chat chatbots connected to Facebook Messenger.

It’s 9pm, and your doing your routine evening scroll on Instagram and see an advertisement to own your own home. The caption encourages you to click the link in the bio to see if you qualify for finance. You’ve got a minute to spare so you click to learn more. A chatbot greets you and has pre-populated a form with your name, email and phone number. All you need to do is enter your household income, and the chatbot can tell you if owning a home is achievable.

With third party integrations, all your details have now been passed onto a sales consultant. And the action you took to submit your income, has also subscribed you to receive ongoing messages from the builder until you opt-out. This builder now has the ability to guide you through the sales journey within the bot, so they exclude you from their paid advertising campaign and now leave that marketing budget to attract new prospects. This builder is a savvy marketer as they have now discovered the power of ‘free’ remarketing!

Insider Insight – there is ‘talk’ that Facebook may charge for bulk broadcasting in the future. This isn’t surprising given the immense value this feature presents to businesses. We believe it would be comparable to sending a sms broadcast, so a nominal expense but still an outgoing to be mindful of. For now, however it’s FREE! So, reap the rewards for as long as you can!

Chatbots ‘bots’ delivered via Social Media are the new apps! Users are no longer required to download a million, custom built/purpose specific apps for their entertainment anymore. All of the above examples can be delivered via just one – Facebook Messenger!

With Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) announcements this year that direct messaging apps are taking precedence over other social media applications; chatbots are the latest ‘essential’ for businesses and brands progressing with the times.

Just as a website was once the go-to for consumer research, in 2019 its all about Facebook Messenger and bots!

The most common phrase the team at #AdSocial use “there’s a bot for that!” Because there literally is the possibility to create a bot for almost any scenario!

 

 

 

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