Popular online communication services are often used for marketing. Businesses use web pages, emails, search engines, and social media platforms to promote themselves. Instant messaging is the latest marketing channel; hence, messenger marketing is popular.
Businesses are recognizing the potential of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber to reach more people. Utilizing these technologies effectively, however, is easier said than done. While users are quick to adapt, businesses often take time to figure out the best approach.
Chatbots can accelerate marketing. Over 50% of US millennials and Gen Xers have interacted with chatbots. Chatbots commonly use Facebook Messenger. Learn about instant messaging and chatbots to use them better for marketing.
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. Like other ways to talk to people, instant messaging can be used to tell customers about deals and offers, share links to landing pages that are relevant to them, help customers, 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 it’s 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 a chatbot is as a conversation partner can vary greatly.
Some are little more than glorified choose-your-own-adventure books; some can handle basic conversations fairly well with a variety of pre-programmed answers; and some even use AI-powered natural language processing and generation systems to make conversations flow smoothly. Chatbots can be created in several 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 can use. Examples include Chatfuel and Botsey, both of which offer several 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 the one hand, we have a large network of users who communicate with each other one-on-one through a text-based interface. On the other hand, we have a tool designed for performing routine conversations without the need for direct supervision.
The net result is that it is easy to set up a 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 to push 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 the cost of a human support staff
- raising brand awareness by having the chatbot act as a brand ambassador
- recording conversation data to sell to emerging digital marketing companies for SEO keyword research purposes
- gathering customer information on a massive scale
Both of these technologies are still being worked on, so we can expect to see even more uses for them 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 the marketing challenges of the future.
This is a guest post by Angelina Harper.