Gone are the days when brands advertised and customers simply purchased. Today, consumers prefer to interact with brands before they buy from them.
That’s where conversational marketing comes in.
Conversational marketing enables one-on-one interactions between customers and brands, mostly in real-time, across multiple channels.
Consider these stats:
- 52% of consumers would make repeated purchases from brands that have a live chat
- 84% of small business believe that WhatsApp helps them maintain customer interactions
But why do customers prefer messaging?
Because it makes them feel positive about brands and builds trust, among other reasons.
The good news! Online interactions are now easily possible. Thanks to the various messaging platforms – Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, Telegram, Snapchat, etc.
But most brands end up making a big mistake — they use only one message app.
The result: they miss out on marketing opportunities that the other message platforms can offer.
So, what are all the different messaging platforms and why is it important to include many in your Shopify store’s conversational marketing strategy? And which ones should you use?
Let’s find out!
Channels to include in your message marketing strategy
Before we dive into the different messaging platforms, it’s important to understand the reasons message marketing is gaining so much traction now.
Some of the reasons are:
- Smartphone adoption has increased
- More people have easy access to the internet
- The open rates of messages have gone up
- Most messaging apps are becoming business-friendly
- Message platforms are easier to use
- They’re a more affordable form of marketing
- Message apps provide instant experiences and gratification
WhatsApp has around 2.44 billion users worldwide. This makes it the most popular phone-based messaging app. With a 98% open rate and 40% click through rate, it’s a must-have channel in every brand’s communication suite.
However, to be able to send WhatsApp broadcast messages to your customers, you need a WhatsApp business API – an application that allows businesses to send and receive unlimited WhatsApp messages without worrying about getting blocked.
One of the best WhatsApp business API apps, QuickReply.ai, provides all the features required for WhatsApp marketing, and enables automations. For example, you can use it to recover abandoned carts, for personalized bulk messaging, to boost engagement, and more.
Here’s an example of a WhatsApp marketing message:
With over 1 billion active users, Facebook Messenger’s open rate is about 80% and clickthrough rate is 20%. Businesses exchange more than 20 billion messages via Messenger with customers every month!
Online stores use Facebook Messenger as a customer service channel, too. Customers as well, prefer to send messages to brands rather than call or email them.
But that’s not all. eCommerce brands successfully use Facebook Messenger to drive conversions across the customer journey – from nurturing leads to conversions and post-sales engagement.
Here’s a graphic that shows the potential audience that marketers can reach via Facebook Messenger:
And here’s an example of a Facebook Messenger chat:
SMS has been one of the most preferred modes for customers to receive quick updates from brands. With a mobile-first mindset, a rapid growth of eCommerce and the need for one-on-one conversational marketing, SMS thrives in this most conducive scenario.
It has an open rate of 99% and a clickthrough rate of between 6% and 35% – the highest among the different message marketing channels.
And with the instantaneous nature of SMS most people click open the messages within three minutes of receiving them.
Brands use SMS messaging to send quick updates to customers about transactions, payments, deliveries, discounts, and brand announcements, among others.
Here are some more stats about SMS:
Telegram has 500 million active users monthly. (Source: Statista) Even though it has a high potential to help brands reach their marketing goals, many brands don’t consider including it in their message marketing strategy.
If you’re still wondering why to use Telegram, here are just a few of the many reasons:
- Telegram provides high level of security
- It offers customized bots that can perform automated tasks
- People can sign up without using their phone number
- It can be accessed from any device
- It does not have a time or size limit to include media in the message
- For example, you could include any number of videos in Telegram messages
You could take advantage of all the above features for your online store. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Create channels or groups
- Segment customers in different channels and groups
- Use customized bots to automate your channels
- You can also use Telegram to provide customer service
Here’s an example:
Live chat has the highest customer satisfaction level at 73%. And customers who use live chat are 2.8x more likely to convert compared to those who don’t use this tool to interact with brands. (Source: Freshworks)
To begin with, live chat provides customers an easy way to reach out to brands with queries, complaints, feedback, etc. Conversely, brands can respond to and resolve their queries within no time.
While automated chatbots can help drive conversions, live agents can strengthen customer relationships and loyalty with human-to-human interaction.
Here’s an example:
Another message marketing platform that’s become widely popular is Instagram Direct Message (DM). But there are many brands that, even though have an active Instagram account, rarely check their DMs to read consumers’ queries. That’s a big loss for them.
Check out these Instagram message marketing statistics:
- 89% of consumers want to messages brands on Instagram
- 150 million users have a conversation with brands every month
With millions of users, and most wanting to interact with brands for instant responses, Instagram messaging makes it easy for brands to nurture leads and drive conversions.
Here’s an example:
With half a billion monthly users and preference among marketers rising 120% year-on-year, Snapchat is known to offer great ROI to brands that have incorporated it into their marketing strategy. It’s a highly personal and engaging channel.
Snapchat offers features such as audio and video calling and notes, messaging, to facilitate one-on-one conversations with customers.
Here are some ways brands can use Snapchat:
- Brands use Snapchat to share product previews and teasers
- Teasers and previews before sales
- Run contests
- To share educational and informative content with customers
Here’s an example:
How to use message marketing channels for your eCommerce business?
To run promotions
One of the best ways to send promotional announcements and reminders is by sending messages. It’s an easy way to send quick updates that customers won’t miss because messages have the highest open rate.
Moreover, promotional messages sent through SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger have a higher open rate as people always have their mobile phones with them and usually don’t miss messages.
Here are some types of promotional messages you could send:
- Announcements for sales and discounts
- Sale reminders to build up to the D-day
- Flash sale announcements
- Festive offers
- Promote new products and collections
To share transactional updates
Today’s customers expect eCommerce brands to send them alerts as soon as there’s an update. The best eCommerce brands such as Amazon follow this practice, and customers have become used to this.
If they don’t receive updates about their purchases, they slip into anxiety and worry. Receiving timely updates has become a key part of customer experience. The faster you send updates to customers, the better it reflects on your brand.
And what better way to send alerts than messaging apps such as WhatsApp, SMS, Messenger, etc. With a high open rate of these message platforms, you can be sure customers would open and read your updates.
You could send the following transactional updates via the different messaging platforms:
- Confirmation of order received
- Payment confirmation
- Shipping details
- Order packed
- Order shipped
- Order out for delivery
- Order delivered
- Abandoned cart reminder
- Payment failure alert
To send shipping alerts
Think like you’re a customer. When you buy something, you’re excited and eager to receive your order. Aren’t you? And you’d expect brands to share shipping alerts so that you’re in the loop of your order’s whereabouts.
Moreover, sending shipping alerts is also a good way to keep customers engaged in between the time that the order is placed and delivered. That way, customers are aware about the date and time the order will be delivered and plan their movements accordingly.
Apart from that, shipping alerts also help brands reduce unfulfilled deliveries. Or it enables customers to cancel orders before it gets delivered.
Here are the shipping related alerts that you could send via message apps:
- Order ready to be shipped
- Order picked up by shipping agent
- Order shipped
- Shipping agent contact
- Order in transit
- Out for delivery
- Delay in delivery
- Shipment returned by receiver
To request reviews/feedback
Collecting reviews and feedback is a must for eCommerce stores. It not only helps drive sales, but can also help you make important business decisions based on what customers share with you.
Let’s back this up with statistics:
- 68% of customers prefer brands that have got positive reviews
- 85% of people consider reviews that are not older than three months
- 9 out of 10 consumers say reviews help them make purchase decisions
Here’s how you can use message platforms to collect reviews:
- Request for product reviews
- Ask customers to share feedback on their overall experience
- Request customer to share ratings soon after an action on your website
- Rate your products or services
- Ask them to share images or videos as reviews
To upsell and cross-sell
Using messaging platforms is an excellent way to boost sales by upselling and cross-selling.
Say a customer just bought a product on your site. While the customer is checking out, you could send them a live chat message to cross-sell a complementing item. Or, you could recommend a better product in place of what the customer’s about to buy.
All this can happen in real-time or as post-sales engagement. You could use the different messaging channels based on where the customer is in their journey and what actions they take.
For example, post-sales messages can be sent via WhatsApp, SMS, or Facebook Messenger; while real-time messages can be sent via live chat tools.
Here’s an example of Facebook Messenger:
To offer customer support
Last in our list, but not the least – you can use messaging platforms for real-time, efficient customer support. Most customers base their experience with brands on the quality of customer support they receive from brands.
When you use message platforms to offer support and help to your customers, you can benefit in many ways:
- Messaging apps are instant and more personal
- They’re quick and fast
- You can send updates with minimal text
- You can address customer queries in real-time
- Customers don’t have to wait
- There’s a human touch to it when live agents respond to customers
And here are the use cases for message platforms for customer support:
- To help customers make purchase decisions while they’re browning your products
- Offer incentives to drive customers to take favorable actions
- Respond to customer queries in real-time
- Address customer complaints faster
- Have a two-way, instant, conversational approach to customer support
Should you use multiple message platforms for marketing?
The answer is yes, you should use many different messaging platforms in your marketing plan. However, how many and which ones you should use, depends on your business, products, and customers preference.
You should try using all the above messaging platforms to determine which ones are working for you, and which platforms you can do without.
Having said that, some messaging apps such as SMS and WhatsApp are a must-have if you want to cater to today’s new-gen customers.
And for that, you can use tools such as QuickReply.ai – the best WhatsApp business broadcast API tool for online businesses.