This is a guest post from Text
What should your business do if roughly half your customers want to be reached one way, and the other half a different way? That’s an issue that many entrepreneurs contend with on a daily basis. 54% of customers prefer email while 46% would instead use a messaging app of some sort.
Apps such as Facebook Messenger, Line, Whatsapp, Viber, etc., created a dynamic way to communicate similarly to SMS text messaging, but often go further with video and voice chat features. The wave of mobile messaging apps has created a new landscape that can directly benefit companies looking to grow their brands.
Courtesy of: Medium
The numbers mentioned above will always vary due to different preferences among various demographics, but the truth that everyone isn’t using the same platform remains.
This leaves businesses with two choices: They can either relegate their campaigns to only one of these platforms, and leave out a massive percentage of your customers, or use both and reach everyone.
Email vs. messaging apps
Messaging apps have added a new terrain for marketers. In fact, the businesses who use these platforms for marketing have reaped the benefits of their growth and success.
There are over 2 billion people worldwide using chat apps, with another half billion expected to join them by 2021. More people use chat apps on a daily basis than use social media.
Thanks to their popularity, several messaging apps have popped up over the last couple of years, and the ones which existed before this boom are leveraging themselves in a field that keeps getting more crowded. What that means to you is that your customers are using several different apps to communicate.
Another problem messaging platforms have is that they are often governed by the rule of cool. While still fairly popular, Skype was the premier messaging and video chat application for both desktop and mobile devices. However, Microsoft’s 2011 $8.5 million acquisition of Skype marked the beginning of its decline, due to the company’s failure to acknowledge the changing desires of the marketplace.
Within the social space—where messaging apps exist—there’s a constant need to remain relevant in a marketplace that’s becoming increasingly saturated. The popularity of a company today does not mean that that company will retain its relevance in the future.
Email, on the other hand, is a more traditional means to communicate online. A person using any email provider can send a message to anyone with their own email address. It doesn’t matter if it’s Gmail going to a Microsoft account or an email on a private server. Your message will get there. And by this point, virtually everyone uses email: 3.8 billion people by 2019.
However, people are prone to ignoring emails that don’t seem immediately relevant or wanted. By comparison, we read a chat message before deciding if it’s something we want to deal with.
The solution: Choose both
The either-or approach may not be the best way to address this situation. Using email and messaging apps in combination gives your business the best of both worlds. It allows you to send printable coupons and more in-depth content like newsletters via email while using chat apps to leverage the urgency and now factor to instantly engage customers.
Done right, these tools can be used together in ways that make them both more effective.
Mobile messaging apps are an excellent way for people to get promotions or other pieces of visual content. It could be a limited-time offer on Facebook Messenger, a quick message reminding customers about a special event, or even sharing a clever meme just to brighten everyone’s day.
Promoted content shouldn’t be something that slips through the cracks. Taking the combined email and chat app approach is an excellent way to make sure your customers don’t miss your message.
Oftentimes, emails can be ignored.
By adding messaging apps to the equation, you can funnel users to the more traditional medium when it’s a better delivery vehicle for your content. For example, use Facebook Messenger to send a quick reminder to your customers about your recent email newsletter.
Courtesy of Thrive Hive
Messaging apps are a great way to promote limited-time offers. The customer gets an alert, they check their phone, and discover a great deal they must take advantage of now, or else it goes away.
That’s great for getting customers to look at one or two bits of info, but sometimes you want to show them more than a couple of things.
Meanwhile, an email can list several specific pieces of new information, and then some. Try sending the email, and then following it up with a message touting up what’s in there.
Though good email marketers know the value of sending relevant and high-quality content, there’s still a ton of clutter choking up our inboxes: 53% of people say too many of their emails are irrelevant.
Use messaging apps to drum up curiosity and enthusiasm about upcoming or recent newsletters. One possible message could say, “Check out our newsletter to find out what goes on sale next week.” Another example might ask, “Want to know who will perform live at our customer appreciation sales event? Check out this month’s newsletter.”
The aim is to build suspense and pique the curiosity of the customer in order to improve your open rates.
Follow-ups and surveys
Courtesy of SurveyMoney
Customer feedback can be exceedingly valuable for businesses. It gives a company information on how well they’re serving the customer, and ways they can improve their business.
Surveys are an excellent way to get this all-important feedback, and at the same time, make the customer feel valued. The trick is convincing your customers to do the survey.
Chat messaging and email can be paired with surveys to encourage your customers to take the time to actually respond by linking your survey to something of value. For example, a simple post-purchase survey can be done via a messaging app. The reward is a nice coupon for completing the survey delivered to the customer’s email.
Technology to help with technology
Juggling email marketing with messaging apps sounds complicated, and it is if you do it the hard way. No business owner wants to spend any more time than they have to on shooting off emails and jumping from one messaging platform to another.
Most professionals don’t have the time to read, answer, and then send out every email and message manually either. The good news is that they don’t have to.
There are several great options to automate the email and messaging process.
Chatbots are a godsend to businesses who use mobile marketing. They allow customers to contact a business 24/7 and ask basic questions or access services like booking appointments after business hours. There is a wide array of chatbots to choose from.
Several messenger apps have chatbot options, most notably Facebook Messenger. There are also several third-party chatbots you can use as well. All these apps have their strengths and their weak points, depending on what your marketing goals are.
One of the best benefits of chatbots is that they can work across several channels. Two chatbot options popular among businesses are LivePerson and Amazon Lex because they’re easy to use with many different messaging options.
LivePerson is a top pick by many because it works with websites, Facebook Messenger, and text messaging. And the best part about LivePerson is that it transitions seamlessly to a human agent when necessary.
Another excellent chatbot option that spans across platforms is Amazon Lex. It is popular because it allows business to branch out to multiple channels including Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, and SMS. Business like the no upfront cost option of this chatbot.
The bottom line is simple: Chatbots can handle what would be a Herculean workload and allow you to focus more on your business.
As the classic saying goes, “The customer is always right.” This means that whatever platform the customer wants to use—email, messaging, or text messaging—is the one you should be using.
Your business will inevitably end up using multiple platforms to engage with your customers.
And even though a customer might favor one of these above the others, those other platforms shouldn’t be ignored. Tools like chatbots and third-party services have made the multi-platform approach easy and cost-effective.
Using email marketing with messaging will help you reach customers more efficiently, no matter which method they’re using.
Anastasia Sviridenko is a content marketing manager at TextMagic, bulk text messaging software. She is always striving to find new ways to create and promote content.