There’s a reason email marketing has been successfully fighting off the “email is dead” belief for years.
Yes, sparkly new platforms draw us with new opportunities and yet unseen features all the time. Because of them, many marketers have jumped to the conclusion that email marketing must be dead.
There’s a reason why it isn’t dead, though: it’s among the most personalized, one-to-one conversations businesses get to have with their audience.
To top that off:
- There are almost 4 billion email users worldwide (no social platform will top that anytime soon!)
- The average open rate is around 18%, click-through rate is 2.69%
- The average unsubscribe rate is less than 0.2%
…and so on. We’re not here to talk about email marketing, but there’s proof that email marketing isn’t going anywhere.
However, we’ve come to a point where the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. That’s a lot, and it makes it increasingly difficult to stand out.
Which is why in this guide, we’ll show you how to use the next best option to personalized conversations that help you sell: Facebook Messenger subscriptions and selling through them (yes, it’s possible!).
Why Facebook Messenger Matters as a Marketing Channel
As we mentioned, half of the world’s population has an email account.
Facebook Messenger with its 1.3 billion is a pretty unbeatable close second. It’s hard to think of a platform that gives you such one-on-one access to so many people.
The Messenger app is also the third-most popular free app in the App Store, and a 2018 statistic says that businesses and customers exchange around 8 billion messages a day on Messenger, up from 2 billion in 2017.
Furthermore, Statista reported on the key role of Facebook in online shopping:
- Facebook ranked third in a ranking of leading apps accessed before shopping device sessions in the United States
- Facebook had an occurrence rate of 7.8% during online shopping device sessions as of late 2017, ranking higher than Amazon or Google Search
This makes Facebook and online shopping closely linked, and it amplifies the role of Messenger as an opportunity for businesses to directly communicate with their (potential) customers.
When it comes to effectiveness of Messenger marketing thus far, HubSpot reported on an experiment with Messenger content delivery that saw a 2.5X increase in open rates and 6X the number of clicks in comparison to email marketing.
Additionally, David Marcus, Facebook’s VP of Messenger said that conversations between users and companies inside Messenger have a 30% better return on investment than retargeting ads on the web.
People crave one-on-one conversations. Messenger is what helps businesses facilitate this in a genuine way. It comes down to the experience you offer and not just the products or services you sell.
How to Grow Your Messenger List
The verdict is clear: Messenger is the way to go if you want to make the most of conversational marketing and a one-on-one interaction with a potential customer.
If you want to be able to talk to a user through Messenger, the conversation must be started by the user. If that doesn’t happen, you cannot send your message.
According to Facebook’s guidelines, possible entry points for a Messenger conversation are:
- Person sends a message to a business
- Person starts a conversation with the business using a call-to-action button within a Messenger conversation (such as a share attribution)
- Person starts a conversation with a business via a plugin, such as the Send to Messenger plugin
- Person starts a conversation with a business through an ad
- Business uses the Customer Matching API to match an existing customer via phone number and name to a person on Messenger
Let’s go through a few ways you can leverage these to encourage your ideal customers to message you.
#1: ‘Send Message’ Facebook post (organic)
This method is as simple as it gets.
On your Facebook page, in the section that lets you create a new post, you can click Get Messages.
Then, you’ll have the space to write your post, change the image on your post, and an option to schedule your post for the future.
When they see a post with this option, your followers will be able to go beyond simple likes and comments and reach out to you privately, which you can later leverage to build your Messenger subscriptions.
#2: Comment to checkout through Messenger (organic)
For this method to make sense, you’ll need a Jumper account with at least one product added to it. In a nutshell, a Jumper account lets you add your own products that you can then sell using automated checkout bots on Messenger.
(You can do so beyond Facebook’s platform on places like YouTube and your website, but we’ll keep it limited to Facebook here.)
To add products, go to Products > Add new in your Jumper dashboard and follow simple prompts to fill out all the fields.
Most importantly, get specific with your product name, hashtag, description, and image, so that your potential customers get the best possible experience when completing their purchase.
Then, you can go to Sales channels > Facebook, add your product(s) to a post, and use the text of that post to encourage your followers to comment with the product hashtag or click the Shop Now button.
This will take them into an automated checkout sequence on Messenger, and your mission to have them start a conversation is complete!
#3: Click-to-Messenger ads on Facebook and Instagram (paid)
Finally, you can create an ad on Instagram and Facebook that will result in a new Messenger conversation. These can lead to a product checkout just like in the method before this one, for which you’ll use your Jumper account again.
You’ll also need to have access to your Facebook Ads Manager.
Here’s how to make this happen.
Step 1: Create a Facebook ad campaign for Messenger
In your Facebook Ads Manager, click the +Create button to kick off the campaign creation process.
When asked about your marketing objective, select Messages. Name your campaign and click Continue.
Step 2: Select your target audience
In the Audience section, you’ll be able to define an audience by location, age, gender, languages, demographics, interests, and behaviors.
If you want to target a new audience that you know has certain traits and follows specific patterns, you can use these fields to define that audience.
If, however, you want to target people that have already interacted with your business, you can achieve that with Custom Audiences.
Custom Audiences will allow you to target:
- Your existing customers
- People on your email list
- People who have visited your website or specific product categories
- People who have interacted with your content on Facebook page or your Instagram business profile
You can also create exclusions (for example, target people that visited your website but exclude your existing customers) or use Lookalike Audiences to target people with similar traits to the list that you uploaded.
Check out our advanced guide to Facebook ad targeting to make the most out of targeting.
Keep following the prompts within your ad setup for ad placement and campaign budget.
Step 3: Create your ad and add JSON
You’ll go through ad setup options such as:
- The format of your ad: carousel, single image, single video
- Media: one or more images, a video, or a slideshow
- Ad setup: ad text, link description, call to action
With all of this in place, your last step at the bottom of this page is the Messenger Setup section. This is where you’ll bring your Facebook ad and your products in Jumper together.
As you’ll notice, the Standard Template option is selected by default, and you can click Edit to make changes to this template.
Next to Standard Template, select the Custom Template option.
Then, click +Create New.
Rename this template to something you can later recognize, and below the name, click on the JSON (Visual tab will be open by default).
Click at the top of the text field, select all text (CTRL+A or CMD+A) and delete it.
Then head back over to your Jumper dashboard and open Sales channels > Facebook.
From the bar at the top, select Ads, then click on Product.
Then, select the product you want to promote with your ad. On the right-hand side, you’ll see the preview of what this product will look like inside Messenger. You can edit your call-to-action text.
Then, click the Copy Ad JSON code button.
Head back over to your Facebook ads manager and paste this code into the blank custom template field.
After that, you’ll see a screen looking like this:
Click Preview in Messenger on the right-hand side to test your product in your own Messenger. You’ll receive a message and everything should look good to go!
How to Keep Your Messenger Users Engaged
Once you’ve successfully started a conversation with an ideal customer, your next goal is to keep them engaged with you through Messenger.
More specifically, through Subscription Messaging feature on Messenger.
This is the only way you can stay in touch with them later on and reap the benefits of Messenger for your online store.
Here’s what you need to know.
Subscription Messaging is one of the three message types available for businesses through Messenger. They are:
- Standard Messaging: messages can be sent during a 24-hour window that resets every time the person sends a message to the business, with one bonus message that can be sent outside of that 24-hour window
- Subscription Messaging: messages that can be regularly sent to subscribed users, similarly to how you’d contact your email list. These messages, however, cannot contain promotional content, advertise a product, or market an offer, which makes them more limited compared to Standard Messaging
- Sponsored Messaging: messages that can contain promotional content and be sent outside the 24-hour standard messaging window (to users that have previously messaged you and haven’t blocked you), but are paid for
As you may have noticed, Subscription Messaging falls right in the middle of the messaging possibility spectrum.
With Standard Messaging, you can be promotional for free, but only within the first 24 hours after receiving a message from a user.
With Sponsored Messaging, you can be promotional whenever you want to be, but you have to pay for it.
Subscription Messaging is a sweet spot, but you must proceed with lots of caution and strategy.
In the next section, we’ll show you how to make the most out of it regardless of its limitations. But first, let’s get you approved for Subscription Messaging.
Here’s how to request and be approved for Subscription Messaging:
From your Facebook Page, click Settings.
In Settings, select Messenger Platform from the left-hand side menu. After that, go to Advanced Messaging Features.
Then, next to Subscription Messaging, click Request.
Getting approved requires you to pass a manual review conducted by the Messenger team. What you select and write in this request is what they’ll see.
As mentioned earlier, subscription messages cannot be promotional. For that reason, they have to fall into one of the following types:
- News: Informs people about recent or important events or information in categories such as sports, finance, business, real estate, weather, traffic, politics, government, nonprofit organizations, religion, celebrities and entertainment
- Productivity: Helps people manage their personal productivity with tasks such as managing calendar events, receiving reminders and paying bills
- Personal Tracking: Enables people to receive and monitor data about themselves in categories such as fitness, health, wellness and finance
The majority of online stores and businesses in general will fall under the News category. After selection, you can enter additional details, including describing the typical messages you want to send and how often.
Then, you can write up to 10 examples of such messages. Facebook also provides you with examples of what you can and cannot do:
Based on these examples of what makes a helpful message, the best way to go is to look for categories and topics within your area of expertise to update your subscribers on.
- If you’re a fashion online store, you can share styling tips
- If you sell office supplies, you can share tips on productivity and organization
- If you sell kitchenware, you can share best recipes and cooking tips
You notice the pattern: make your messages helpful and valuable, and you should be good to go. Submit your best example, and you should be approved soon!
How to Make Sales With Subscription Messaging
As you already know, the most efficient marketing is the one with the most specific, targeted efforts.
This hyper-focus usually manifests through segmented email lists, narrowly targeted (or retargeted) paid campaigns, and other strategies that rely on user behavior.
This is also why it’s a better idea to pay for an online marketing campaign than a commercial slot on TV.
In other words, instead of targeting a group of people based on their location, age, or other broad identifiers, you’ll see a much higher return if you target them based on what they’ve explicitly shown you they like and want more of.
In Messenger, these are the people have shown their interest, engagement, and intent by reacting and responding to your valuable, non-promotional messages you’ve sent through Subscription Messaging.
Through Subscription Messages, you can do more than just send a piece of information and instruct the user to go to your website.
You can also ask questions with multiple-choice answers, or even open-ended question to receive actual messages from your target audience.
When you spark such engagement, two things happen:
- The recipients of your messages show you what they’re interested in, so you can segment them and nurture them with follow-up messages accordingly
- They reset the 24-hour period in which you can send promotional messages
This lets you send highly relevant, specific, timely promotions and offers to people who have expressed interest in certain topics and product categories.
Remember, your subscribers can unsubscribe and block you at any time, so every message you send should be highly intentional and considerate of their attention and patience. Don’t abuse their trust!
A great example comes from Andrew and Pete, the content marketing duo. They run an event called Atomicon, and as a Messenger subscriber of theirs, I’ve received a question on whether I’ve bought a ticket yet.
When I tapped ‘No’, here’s what happened:
Their initial message was a simple question. Not pushy, not promotional. My response signalled that I’m interested enough to let them know I don’t have a ticket. As a result, they’ve told me where to buy it, as well as asked for reasons I might be holding back!
From here, this interaction can result in a purchase or in a really useful piece of feedback.
By following this example, you can engage and nurture your Messenger subscribers.
You can then use the 24 hour period to send announcement such as:
- Discount alerts for product similar to those they’ve purchased in the past
- Announcements for new product launches
- Announcements for product restock in their category of interest
- Reminders that their product might be running out and they need to order a replenishment (especially for products such as skincare or anything that requires a refill)
Your Jumper account gives you a CRM option where you can tag your customers and subscribers so you can send them targeted messages just like the one above.
This way, you can segment by channels, products, collections, and more to send truly personalized and targeted messages, broadcasts and promotions.
In other words, you can aim for the ultimate, overarching goal: more sales, recurring revenue from loyal customers, and a marketing strategy you can always rely on.
Sounds Good? You Can Start Right Away
Remember: the sooner you apply for Subscription Messaging, the sooner you’ll be able to implement these strategies to attract, segment, and nurture your ideal customers.
Don’t forget that they want to hear from you. It’s up to you to show up where they’re already hanging out and spark that initial message from them to you.
And once you successfully do that, Jumper’s CRM and Broadcast feature are there to support you in the long run so that you have a reliable, consistent strategy to reach your most interested potential and existing customers.See what Jumper can do for you by creating a free account. Happy messaging!