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Chatbots vs Email Marketing: It’s Not Really A Competition

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Chatbots are the talk of the town and email has been a go-to channel for marketing since ages. But when there are already multiple marketing channels available to a typical business, how does one choose between the two? Here’s taking a look at why we think you need to engage your consumers beyond the typical email.

Everyone is emailing their customers

According to Pew Research, 92% of online adults use email for communication, with 61% using it on an everyday basis. In fact, the total number of email accounts worldwide, is expected to increase way over 4.3 billion by the end of 2017.

That’s a lot of people, falling under your target audience.

When 57% of email subscribers spend 10-60 minutes browsing marketing emails, through the week, it’s obvious that 82% of businesses in B2B and B2C are making use of this marketing channel.


Now imagine the number of emails being sent out every minute or the number of emails that your ideal consumer is receiving on a day-to-day basis. Irrespective of the value you have to offer, you probably lie under the 55% of businesses that achieve an open rate of at most 25% and click throughs that never go beyond 9-10%.

So is email ineffective? Absolutely not.

It is still one of the most effective channels when it comes to ROI and customer acquisition. Businesses with email marketing campaigns, get 40X more customers and a $38 ROI on every $1 spent.

Emails became a cluttered channel long ago. That’s when businesses moved to social media and advertising – but now that the space is as cluttered, where do you head to next?

Messaging apps.

Why messaging apps are the new marketing channel

Business Insider reported that the messaging apps are now bigger than social media networks. This shows how internet users today are more inclined towards using channels that enable them to personalize their conversation, keeping them away from the clutter on the feed.


Take for instance, the Facebook Messenger. There are practically 70 million daily users of the messaging app and about 1.3 billion monthly users.



Some of these users are on Facebook Messenger for personal communication with friends and family, but there are those who treat it as a more effective channel for talking to brands they are interested in.



Does Facebook Messenger Marketing really work?

Seeing this opportunity, even Facebook launched the ‘messages’ objective for ad campaigns. This enables businesses to set up campaigns that are targeted at encouraging their target audience to start a conversation with them or drive them to their site after the initial conversation.



Pretty sure you have seen some of these messages pop up in your messenger right after you have landed on a business’s Facebook page or liked it. But how many times have you clicked through the link that the brand sends you along with the message – if you ask me, only when I feel it is ‘highly relevant’ to what I was wanting to do with the business’s offerings.

But here are a few things I have been constantly hearing about the Facebook Messenger ads – for both B2B and B2C businesses:

“Don’t you think Facebook Messenger Campaigns are way too costly?”

“If I ran a simple website click campaign, it’s much cheaper than getting people to click through the Messenger message.”

Personally, here’s what I think about the Facebook Messenger Marketing campaigns:

1. Yes, they’re slightly costlier than the usual traffic campaigns – but the customer engagement is worth it. Right?

For instance, this is a typical campaign where I am driving the traffic to the ‘customers’ page of the client. The CPC is INR 7.55, but usually costs me INR 1.5 for the same target audience, messaging and graphics.


2. No, the customer conversations were not 100% relevant.

While out customer engagement rate did shoot up, the kind of conversations that we landed up with, were worthless. Most would just send a thumbs up or a hi in turn and leave. This is despite a campaign that aims at ‘talking to them’ by telling them what the business offers and asking what they’d want to know more about.


So basically, this campaign failed at engaging the ‘right customers’ and also driving conversions – unlike what it should be doing.

Of course, there are hundreds of tips and tricks available on how to optimize a Messenger marketing campaign for maximum results. But in my experience, the usual campaigns tend to perform much better – especially when you’re looking at engaging your consumers in a relevant manner.

But that’s just one account. I’m sure there are businesses that have the spend for Messenger marketing campaigns and are even getting the desired results from it.

What about the Messenger marketing bots?

Alright, so Facebook isn’t the only one to identify the marketing potential of the Messenger. There are products like ManyChat, It’s Alive, Chatfuel and more that are nailing customer engagement using the Facebook Messenger.

In fact, ManyChat has even delivered stupendous results like $5,000 worth of sales at zero ad spend! Aesthetic by Science implemented the ManyChat bot to engage its followers on the two Facebook pages it owns. It simply drove its followers to the t-shirt they launched, with a friendly message that gave them the option to also decline the interaction.

And of course, the gif they used along with the message was enough to give a human touch to the bot.


Now why did this campaign work better than the Facebook Messenger campaign I cited before? Here are a few obvious reasons:

  • It engages only with the followers of the brand – these are people who are already interested in what the brand does, so they are more likely to engage and make the purchase.
  • High level of personalization with custom graphics and messages, that are targeted at ‘engaging’ the follower and not just driving them towards a sale.
  • A sense of human humour in the messaging that obviously appeals more to the millennials.
  • Simple call to actions targeted at sharing more information with the follower, instead of overwhelming them with too many options.
  • Customer engagement and opinions, over sale – the hack to getting sales!

Similarly, there are also a few upcoming chatbots that are all set to change the way businesses engage their audience.

For instance, ZoConvert is enabling businesses to create a messenger bot in minutes and personalize their outreach to customers. It also lets you engage the social media followers who drop a comment on your posts, on Messenger – of course, with their permission.

Vostrolife is making use of ZoConvert to engage their website visitors with timely messages and updates on the Facebook Messenger. This helps them assist the shoppers in making informed purchase decisions, leading to a better customer experience.


Here’s what the timely engagement has resulted in for Vostrolife:

  • 40% CTR
  • 20% increase in sales

Here’s what worked for their campaign:

  • Timely reach out to customers on the channel they are most active on
  • High personalization of messages based on the content they have shown interest in
  • Ease of subscribing and making purchases from the Facebook Messenger
  • Easy cart recovery

Are chatbots the future of marketing?

If you ask me, they’re definitely a way to directly connect with consumers on a more 1:1 basis as compared to advertisements – no matter how personalized your copy is.

But the channel isn’t everything. You need to focus on customer engagement and add a little more personality to your bot – well, because chatbots also have a bad name in the digital landscape and you don’t want to be shot down for using one.

After all, you’re not there to spam your customers; only to help them make the right purchase decisions!

Chatbots are the new orange and I think every business needs them. Be it timely engagement, personalized recommendations, lead nurturing, driving social media followers to conversions or simply promoting a special discount, chatbots ensure that your message gets ‘delivered and read’.

What is your opinion on the Facebook Messenger Bots for customer engagement?


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