Does Facebook Messenger Replace Email Marketing?

Welcome to episode 385 of Hit the Mic with The Stacey Harris.

Hello, hello. 385 is here. Only 15 more episodes until we hit the big 400. Oh, my god. We’re going to do something fun. I don’t know what yet, but we’ll do something fun, I promise.

I want to talk about email marketing today, because there have been a lot of talk. It started kind of in 2017 in the digital marketer, digital marketing circles, and now it’s going a little more mainstream. More and more people are starting to embrace this, this idea of using Facebook Messenger as a way to communicate with their peeps and really building a list via Facebook Messenger, through Facebook, which has a tool now, but also through ManyChat, which is what I use for our messenger stuff.

And I really love Facebook Messenger. It’s a really powerful way to connect. I have some automation set up so people can get their frequently asked questions answered in the middle of the night on a Sunday when I’m in no way in my office or on my device and certainly now answering emails and stuff like that. So this allows people to get quick information like pricing and frequently asked questions about Backstage or booking me to speak or whatever their questions might be. Betty Bot, who is our Facebook Messenger bot, handles those.

Real talk about Email vs Messanger Marketing

Here’s the deal, though. This tool is very much so being positioned as a replacement to email by a lot of experts out there, and I’m totally using air quotes when I say “experts,” but that’s a whole other conversation. So they’re saying, “Oh, well, my open rate on my email is 20 or 30%, but I can get 95% open rates on Facebook messages, or I can get a 75% click-through or an 80% click-through or a 90% click-through. I just can’t do that with my email these days,” and on and on and on and on.

Here’s the deal, though. As incredible as Facebook Messenger is, it’s not an email replacement. There are some major, major differences. For one, Facebook Messenger is something that a lot of people are still very protective of because they’re used to using that as the space to connect with friends and family, because it’s pushing a notification, like a text message would, through to their phone, because that’s how they have it set up, and they’re not always super receptive to that being a promo from you. So much like email, we have to be respectful of the environment we’re taking up, the time and attention we’re taking up in their space. And so there are still, again, some major, major differences.

As far as Messenger, though, because it is not as crowded as their inbox is … part of the reason they’ve moved conversations with friends and family outside of email chains is because Facebook Messenger is just less crowded. There are less people utilizing it for now, because it’s still newish marketing technology.

With that, though, there’s also the big, big, big difference, which is, for the most part some rules have been established with the way we email and the way we connect and the way we collect emails. That is not quite there yet with Facebook Messenger, meaning people are not necessarily understanding that when they send you a message they are being subscribed to something. So you need to be really aware that you’re making it super clear that they can stop getting messages from you any time. That’s why in my initial message when Betty Bot introduces herself I actually have a little sequence there that goes out that tells you exactly how to stop getting messages, because people aren’t used to that.

When it’s a bot, say it’s a bot!

Also, the other big difference, Facebook Messenger can feel like a person, so don’t deceive them. When they’re getting an email from you, they realize that you’re not necessarily right there. If they hit “reply,” they’re not necessarily going to get an answer. If you haven’t made it clear with your Messenger bot that it is a bot, they might get really turned off when they figure out, and they’re going to, that it is a bot.

So there’s also that other thing you need to consider, which is making it clear that this stuff is coming from your chat bot, whatever that may be. I decided to go as far as naming her. Her name is Betty, Betty Bot. I’ve referenced her a few times now, so you probably know that, but you guys message her, so you probably know that from there. But we went as far as naming her because I wanted her to have a personality and be a part of the team. I didn’t want her to be a cold interface that people ran into, i.e., automated phone lines when you call to deal with your phone company or the cable company or whatever customer service line, your bank, and you get the “press 1” for, I didn’t want that to be the environment or the connection that was created when you messaged me. So she has a name and she has a personality. And she says very plainly, “If this is urgent, let me know, and I will go find a human.” That’s really critical.

Aside from those kind of differences, though, these can be a powerful tool when you work them together. You can really make sure that you’re giving your customers a whole experience. For example, there are some really cool, cool ways to trigger a Messenger based on a comment. We’ve had some clients who did this with Facebook Lives. This is something we’re going to test with Facebook Lives this year for my stuff, which is, “In the comment below, type in …” whatever you want your trigger word to be, and that will initiate a message saying, “Here’s the thing.” Well, here’s how to take that a step farther and make sure these things are working together. You deliver the thing. And I am 100% a proponent of just delivering the thing, not making them take an extra step there.

But then offer them some additional thing. “Hey, I’d also love to send you blah-blah-blah, but it’s best sent through email. Send me your email. Enter your email address and I’ll make sure we get it to you.” That’s a great way for you to deliver some up-front value, and then take it a step further to actually get that email address, as well.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other, use BOTH!

So now we’re building our email list and our Messenger list so we’re able to connect with them in more ways. We’re also getting more qualified people on our email list, because these are people who not only watched a video, but wanted a freebie, and then wanted to take it a step further. And so yes, not everyone is going to get that email address, but that’s okay, because you do have them on your Messenger list. So this allows you sort of to double up, because realistically, Facebook Messenger is still rented land. Yes, we may be connecting, or collecting, rather, connections in something like ManyChat, but we ultimately need a tool someone else controls to get that, to send that to them.

Now, we run into that a little bit with emails, as well. We’re running through email list providers; however, that’s really more of an interface and less of a piece of real estate that somebody else controls. So just be aware of that, because again, and I mentioned this earlier when we talked about the differences, Facebook Messenger as a marketing tool is relatively new. It started really like late 2016, early 2017, getting some real attention and momentum. Now you’re starting to see more and more and more people not only talk about it but actually use it to connect.

Just like with everything else on Facebook, how we’re able to use it, how we’re able to connect with people there may change, may evolve, and so be aware of times where you can really use these tools together. Sending an email to your list and saying, “Hey, if you have questions, the best way to get ahold of us is really not by replying to this email, but dropping us a message on Facebook.” So now we’re using our email list to drive traffic to a Facebook message where we can have a conversation with them much more quickly than we might be able to via email.

We can also take them out of that inbox where they’ve got, “I’m going to commit to being here less,” or “I’ve got too much to even get through.” There are people in the community and friends of mine who talk about having hundreds and thousands of emails in their inbox. That’s not necessarily the case in their inbox for Messenger.

So utilize these tools together. Much like we talk about any social media tool and any content tool and any email market tool, when we use them to lean on each other, when we use them to support the same message across the board, we’re going to see better results. We’re going to see a real difference in the impact we’re making, ’cause we’re not just hitting them in one place over and over and over again. We’re hitting them kind of where they are at every step of the way in the way that’s going to connect with them in that place so they can see the value of whatever it is we’re trying to tell them. And that’s the goal, right? We ultimately want to make sure that they’re getting to value and they’re seeing that we have the solution to their problem.

I talk about this a lot, but ultimately we have one job, and that’s, take our clients from problem to solution.

That’s the whole job. And that problem to solution is going to consist of a lot of different interactions. It may be Facebook content, it might be Facebook Lives, it might be Facebook messages, it might be email messages, it might be blog content or podcast content or some other social network content.

Ultimately, though, the people who move through this process the quickest and get to the part of the process where it then becomes a freebie or program or coaching or really them investing to see a difference, which is when they start moving from problem to solution a whole lot quicker, it may take a lot of different free stuff up front, in the front half of that problem to solution, those little changes we can make, those little tweaks, little bit of progress we can help them make so that they understand that we’re the person who can take them the rest of the way to solution.

All right. So that’s what I wanted to talk about today, because there’s a lot of misinformation, there’s a lot of excitement, I’m going to say, around Facebook Messenger, because it is a really cool tool. We’re implementing it in a lot of ways this year. We played with it a lot in 2017. We tested it with our stuff, we tested it with client stuff. This year we want to really step up our game and get serious about how we can be using this consistently, and I want the same for you.

But you have to understand that, like anything else, this is not a magic pill to the Holy Grail of wonderful, unlimited sales. Okay? It’s going to be about A, respecting the place, the real estate, respecting the space you’re taking up in their time, calendar, existence, phone, whatever. It’s also going to take utilizing this as a part of your overall strategy.

And we’re going to talk more about this next week here on the show, but where does this fit in your overall social media strategy, where does this fit in your overall online marketing strategy and where does this fit in your overall marketing strategy, and how does it align with things like your brand voice and your brand values and your business integrity? How does that all fit together to make space for this tool?

Okie dokie.

All right. I didn’t mention this earlier, but as always, this episode is brought to you by Hit the Mic Backstage. It is the next step for this show. We’ve got lots of cool stuff in there, including a whole, brand new freshly done Facebook guide. We have a Messenger training in there using ManyChat. We’ve got a ManyChat training in there. And more cool stuff coming. Oh, and by the way, the Instagram videos for the new Instagram guide have been rolling out, too. So that’s a great way to also stay in touch and connected with your community.

So check that out, Otherwise, I will see you next week.

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