When it comes to marketing messaging as a business, there is a lot to consider. For starters, not all channels will even allow you to send batched marketing outbound communications. That doesn’t mean you should write them off all together. It’s 2019. The days of brick and mortar may be behind us. But if you think of your potential consumer base as passing traffic to your virtual store front, then every channel you open up to them is a door for more business to come through.
In this article, we’ll talk you through how taking an omnichannel approach for your marketing messaging inevitably leads to an increase in both operational efficiency and opportunities for revenue generation. We’ll also look at what you will require from your messaging API provider to make your hot new marketing strategy, a reality.
Marketing messaging channels for campaigns
There are three main channels to consider leveraging for your marketing campaigns. Each with unique advantages.
Facebook Messenger for marketing messaging
Whilst Facebook Messenger does not support the sending of outbound marketing communication at scale (via an API or not), it can still be used for marketing in a number of ways. One of the most popular is to make the call-to-action on existing Facebook ads campaigns a ‘Message Us’ button. Prospects can use this to enquire with your agents further. This then opens a 24 hour window in which customers can be marketed to by the company. Another way is to include a QR code in print or display campaigns. This will then trigger the customer’s Facebook Messenger app open with a direct channel to the business. For example, a campaign could advertise a discount and encourage users to message to see if they qualify.
What you will need to implement: a reliable API provider with strong ties with Facebook, a system to manage inbound communications, an easy integration process.
WhatsApp for marketing messaging
Similar to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp has the same limits when it comes to outbound marketing. This also means it allows the same 24 hour marketing window following an inbound message. This conversational style of commerce is becoming increasingly popular with consumers. It also sees higher rates of conversion due to a better customer experience. This is because the user feels better served due to the informality and immediacy of the channel. With WhatsApp also now the fastest growing communication app with 1.5 billion users worldwide, this is not a door you can afford to keep closed.
What you will need to implement: a reliable API provider with strong ties with WhatsApp, a system to manage inbound communications, an easy integration process.
SMS/RCS for marketing messaging
With an open rate of 98% and no restrictions on outbound marketing, SMS is a great way to communicate with an audience who have opted-in to receive marketing messages from you. The crucial step will be to gain these opt-ins legitimately at the point of capture. You can achieve this from marketing campaigns that encourage the user to text in a keyword (still a low-effort and therefore highly successful call-to-action). Or, you could seek them for cross-sell or upsell purposes at point of new account registration.
Further to this, RCS, the next generation of SMS coming soon to Europe for most Android users, will boast the same level of engagement with SMS, but with all of the rich features and functionality as OTT chat apps (Messenger, WhatsApp etc.). This will include smart reply buttons, the sending of images, video and other files, website preview, and more. dotdigital is an early access partner with Google who are spearheading RCS globally. We will therefore be able to provide it as a channel as soon as it is available.
Furthermore, our Branch technology means you will be able to send with predefined fallback options. All this means is that you will only have to do one send for your communication, and the consumer will either receive it on SMS or RCS, whichever one is available to them. This of course eliminates the need for multiple sends and cutting the cost of a campaign dramatically.
What you will need to implement: a reliable API provider with strong ties with Google and all global networks, a system to manage inbound communications, an easy integration process.
Today’s consumers are more empowered by the internet and typically tend to retrieve research independently before making key buying decisions. In addition to marketing campaigns that drive consumers to the channels mentioned above, there are additional channels to consider for pre-sale enquiries. These are from prospective customers who have entered the sales funnel at a later stage in the buyer decision process. While your website may answer some your prospects’ questions, given the breadth of information that would need to present to catch all, this would put the onus of effort onto the consumer to locate it. Alternatively, creating a seamless and friction-free way for consumers to retrieve the answers to their questions creates a better customer experience and increases the likelihood of conversion.
The most relevant channel for this would be web chat. Your chat agent leveraging this channel would essentially be able to act as an information concierge and serve the customer, engaging, supporting and converting. If the customer is in one of the wrong web spaces, the chat agent using dotdigital’s live chat solution would be able to easily transfer them to the correct place, creating the ideal friction-free user journey, instead of directing them elsewhere, nudging them outside of the funnel, possibly to never re-enter.
The other advantage of using dotdigital’s live chat solution is the unified customer view, whereby you would have the ability to store information in a centralise data profile in order to better serve the customer with information that is relevant to them. Data fields can be customised but may include first name, age, geographical location, device type and more. These can either be integrated to a CRM via API, or pulled from a CRM using webhooks.
Consumers have increasingly varied communication preferences. And as we’ve mentioned, companies should view each channel as a point of entry for the customer. By providing more doors and options, more customers will enter and engage, increasing the likelihood of conversion. A contact page should for this reason have a variety of communication options for the consumer. This could include SMS, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, email, WhatsApp, web chat, email, RCS and Apple Chat.
You may think that managing the inbounds from this may be tricky. But this doesn’t have to be the case with the right provider. In fact, with dotdigital, you have two options available to you. You could utilise the centralised data store of information and dotdigital’s chat solution. Or, you could integrate the One API into your existing platform. With either option, agents will be able to reply to inbound communications from one place. No matter the channel they are received from. The benefit of the One API is a single integration process. This means you can choose which channels will work best for your business now. And be ready for any more in the future.