Messenger Bots…The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
No it's not 1984…It's Messenger Bots…
Online messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype and Slack have largely replaced the need to ever text anyone in real life.
Just recently I was having some building work done on one of my properties. My initial interaction with the builder was by text. But on completion of the work, he sent me some photos over WhatsApp. So now we communicate on WhatsApp! Will I ever text him again? Doubt it. The WhatsApp Rubicon has been crossed.
So broadly speaking, you probably ARE already ‘doing’ messenger marketing in some form in your business. If you ever message a customer or prospect via Facebook or WhatsApp, that counts. So Messenger marketing DOES have a role to play in your marketing communications.
But what role should it play, and should it replace any other channels?
A few years back, a high profile marketer I follow announced he was shutting down his email list in favour of Facebook Messenger. Within 3 months, he was back in my email inbox again!
Why? Well he never said. But my guess is that email is better suited to longer messages to people who better know you. Messenger is better suited to shorter interactive messages to people who have just found you online, and have specific questions they want answers to.
Email is for nurturing, educating and selling. Messenger is ideal for customer service updates and reminders.
What Are Messenger Bots
So email and Messenger are broadly speaking, different beasts. But how about SMS? Should you abandon SMS in favour of Messenger?
Generally the answer is no.
Let’s say you are running a webinar. You need to remind registrants when their session is about to start. You then need to follow up with attendees to send them the order form link.
Not all your registrants will use the same Messenger platform (if they use one at all). But EVERY mobile device can reliably send and receive text messages.
If you use Messenger, you’ll also need your registrants to ‘double opt-in’ before you can message them. If they register online for your webinar, they’ll then need to sign up to your messages. It’s two steps.
Messenger also poses a problem of robustness. Facebook in particular like to change the rules about what you can send and how often. Facebook also ‘owns’ the data, not you. You might interact with a new contact for the first time on Messenger, but you want to get them OFF Messenger, and onto a platform you control.
So for most of my webinar reminder messages I still rely on SMS. By using Keap alongside Fix Your Funnel, you can still create an automated 2-way message interaction similar to a bot.
I’ll admit, Messenger bots are more feature-rich than SMS. But from a marketer’s perspective I think they are some way down the priority list.
In my experience, the best way to follow-up with potential customers is by using a combination of email, SMS and direct mail.
Perhaps you have a Messenger bot on your website too, but ultimately the bot exists to gather data for the channels you actually control.
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