Marketing Expert Simeon Bateman Explains the Benefits of Using Facebook Messenger For Conversational Marketing

With so many startups competing for the same customers, it can be hard to figure out how to stand out from your competitors. One strategy, conversational marketing, focuses on creating genuine connections with your customers to help build trust and confidence in your brand. Labs mentor Simeon Bateman, CEO of SimBco, a digital consulting and business development agency, held a session to discuss the five benefits of using Facebook Messenger as a conversational marketing tool.  

Benefit #1: A large existing user base

One of the biggest marketing challenges startups face is growing their customer base. With Facebook Messenger, once you sign up, you have access to billions of potential customers worldwide. This ease of access can be especially beneficial to cash-strapped startups that can’t allocate a lot of money to marketing. “People don't have to install anything. We can do so many things on Messenger without having to build out any infrastructure,” Bateman says. “Not to mention that Messenger is the third-largest social media platform in the United States with 83 percent of 25 to 54-year-olds using the app. Globally, the platform has 1.3 billion monthly users.”

Benefit #2: High conversion rates and deliverability

With traditional email marketing, getting potential customers to open your email is a challenge in itself. “If you build out your email list, getting a 20 percent open rate with a 2-5 percent clickthrough is huge,” Bateman says. “With Facebook Messenger, you’ll get an average of 80 percent open rate with 20 to 50 percent click-through. So if you do those same things that you're doing in email in Messenger, you’ll have an incredibly different response.”

On the deliverability side, once you send a message through Messenger, you can clearly see whether or not it’s been sent and read. There’s no need to worry about your message being filtered to Spam or invalid email addresses. “Also, the fact that you’re getting four out of five people—that 80 percent open rate—to read your message is huge,” Bateman says.

Benefit #3: Personalized customer interaction

Marketing is all about outreach and acquiring customers. But building meaningful, real-time relationships with these customers can go a long way towards improving the perception of your brand. “You need to view marketing the same way you view building relationships. You have conversations,” Bateman says. “If you can create an opportunity to provide what feels like a one-on-one interaction with the user, even if it's automated and they know it's automated, it still builds that rapport.”

Even though most Messenger set-ups are automated, you still have an opportunity to add a human element. “If we have a lead that comes onto our botted messenger, we ask them questions and then once they become qualified, we can notify the admins. They can come in and just take over that chat, pick up and run with it and become that person that the user was already talking to,” Bateman says.

Benefit #4: Low costs

One of the biggest benefits of using Facebook Messenger for conversational marketing is its low cost. “You can't go out and buy a Messenger list. Which means that your customer list is grown organically with people who opted in intentionally,” Bateman says.

You may also up cutting your advertising costs as well. “Let’s say you run an ad on Facebook showing a picture of a pizza, and say, ‘Hey, tell us your favorite flavor of pizza and we'll send you a coupon!’ Customers comment on the ad and in Messenger they get a message that says, ‘Thanks so much for connecting! We love pizza too! Here's a free coupon. It's good for the next week.’ One of the added effects with this is increased engagement on your post, which lowers your costs for running the ads,” Bateman says.

Benefit #5: Protections for the customer

Not only can Facebook Messenger benefit your startup, but it can also be a good option for the consumer, especially savvy ones who want to communicate with brands on their own terms. If customers decide that they no longer want to communicate with you, all they have to do is delete the message  or type “stop,” no email required. “Once that's happened, we can't message you anymore and so from a user perspective, there are safeguards that go in place to make that work,” Bateman says.I think it’s great that Facebook has put these rules in place to not allow companies to spam consumers. As a business person, I wish there were less restrictions sometimes but in truth, if we're doing our job right we don't want to be spamming people anyway.”

Learn more about customer acquisition.

This post is based on content from a WeWork Labs programming session.

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