Messenger Marketing: How To Use Chatbots To Grow Your Audience
The more popular an online communication service becomes, the greater the odds of it becoming a vessel for delivering marketing content. From web-pages, to email, to search engines, to social networks, businesses are always jumping on each new opportunity to promote themselves online. And the latest communication channel to get co-opted for marketing purposes in this manner is instant messaging.
It was only a matter of time before businesses realized they could leverage the rising popularity of communication apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber to increase their audience. This is easier said than done. While the audience is quick to adapt to emerging online technologies, it always takes the business a while to figure out how to utilize them effectively.
One piece of tech that is promising to accelerate this process is the chatbot. According to recent data, almost 60% of all millennials and Gen Xers in the US alone have interacted with chatbots in some capacity, and this number will likely increase in the future. The kicker here is that chatbots often use services such as Facebook Messenger for communicating with consumers. Hence, the more you know about instant messaging services and chatbots, the better equipped you will be to use them together for marketing purposes.
To find out more about this topic, take a look at the overview we have prepared in the rest of this article.
What is Messenger Marketing?
The definition of messenger marketing is fairly straightforward – it simply refers to the use of instant messaging platforms for promotional purposes. As is the case for other communication channels, instant messaging can be used to notify consumers about deals and offers, to share links to targeted landing pages, to provide customer support, etc. There are four main advantages to using instant messaging services for marketing:
- As the name implies, instant messaging is the fastest way to communicate online. And the faster you can reach consumers, the better your odds at converting them are.
- Instant messaging works by connecting two points on a network, making it a fairly personal mode of communication. This enables businesses to develop a deeper connection with their audience.
- Applications that provide instant messaging functionality are some of the simplest ones to use on the market, so its easy to set up your marketing campaigns without much technical knowledge.
- It is estimated that more than 2 billion people globally use instant messaging apps. The size of the market is enough to recommend instant messaging marketing, and the number is scheduled to grow even further in the coming years.
What are Chatbots?
Chatbots are automated conversation systems designed to mimic the way people talk in real conversations. How convincing of a conversation partner a chatbot is can vary greatly.
Some are little more than glorified choose-your-own adventure books, some can handle basic conversations reasonably well with a variety of pre-programmed answers, and some even use AI-powered natural language processing and generation systems to deliver a seamless conversation experience. Chatbots can be created in a number of ways:
- One option is to build one from scratch in a programming language. Python is a popular choice as it is one of the easier languages to learn, and it comes with many libraries for working on chatbots.
- Another would be to use a coding framework specifically designed for creating bots. IBM Watson and Microsoft Bot Framework are two standout examples here, giving programmers the resources they need to make practically any kind of bot.
- Finally, chatbots can be assembled by using simplified bot creation tools that even tech laymen. Examples include Chatfuel and Botsey, both of which offer a number of templates for making various kinds of bots.
Combining the Two
Chatbots and instant messaging work remarkably well together, and it’s easy to see why. On one hand, we have a large network of users that communicate with each other one on one through a text-based interface. On the other, we have a tool designed for performing routine conversations without the need for direct supervision. The net result is an easy to set up the system that can effectively engage with a massive online audience. In concrete terms, these systems are being used in several areas of online marketing, including:
- using chatbots for pushing customers to sign up for email newsletters on company websites
- offering personalized item suggestions to the shopper on e-commerce websites by having chatbots act as virtual shopping assistants
- providing chatbot-based, 24/7 customer service with a global reach, at a fraction of a cost of a human support staff
- raising brand awareness by having the chatbot act as a brand ambassador
- recording conversation data to sell to the emerging digital marketing companies for SEO keyword research purposes
- gathering customer information on a massive scale
Since both technologies involved are still in active development, we can expect to see even more implementations in the future.
Chatbots and instant messaging currently represent the cutting edge of digital marketing. The sooner your business adapts to using these technologies, the better prepared it will be to tackle marketing challenges of the future.
This is a guest post by Angelina Harper.