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How Large Corporates Can Use Instant Message Marketing
Instant messaging is now one of the worlds most common forms of interaction and while it primarily services private communication we have seen businesses trying to make inroads with applications like Facebook Messenger Chat Bots and WhatsApp for Business.
As enterprises scale, they often opt for less personal forms of communication and 1-2-1 communication strategies are tossed aside in favour of scaled operations, but this can leave untapped markets with high conversion rates to your competitors.
When researching Instant Messaging for businesses, you'll notice tonnes of CRM tools offering you solutions which you may not be ready for or become costly to set up, which I think is a mistake. I personally always look to attempt things manually to judge its effectiveness and potential before exploring automation tools.
Instant messaging doesn't require you to develop your tools or use custom API's it only needs you to be a little creative with your implementation.
While a business of any size can leverage instant messaging, corporates with their reach can use it to seriously scale up their marketing and turn it into an additional branding channel, lead generation channel or a CRM channel depending on their needs.
Why IM marketing
Instant messaging is still on the rise, especially in developing nations, where traditional communication is too expensive due to infrastructure issues. The total number of messaging app users grew 12.1% in 2019 to reach 2.52 billion people, as taken from reports by eMarketer. That means 87.1% of smartphone users worldwide will use a mobile messaging app at least once per month in 2019, according to the research firm.
Instant messaging also has a far better conversion rate as it is not reliant on users logging in and the time spent in a feed versus the priority of the social media feed algorithm. Since the only barrier to entry is reading the message, there is very little friction in encouraging a user to view your content.
Selecting your IM ecosystem
Your first point of content is choosing the Instant messaging platform that best resonates with your target audience. It could be one of a combination of a few applications, namely:
Each Instant messaging tool has its pros and cons, and you'll need to do your research on each one before you plan your strategy. For example, WhatsApp is great for franchises since they can follow your central account and you can then split them off into groups such as locations and provide more granular campaigns with targetted information to that specific group.
Recruiting into your IM ecosystem
Now that you've selected the instant messaging arsenal, you want to fill each one with a relevant user base. You can do this by starting a recruitment drive via your traditional or digital marketing channels.
You can begin by creating anchor points that will drive users to your instant messaging channels by:
- Adding an invite link in the footer of your website
- Adding an invite link in the footer of your email addresses
- Adding it to a "linktree" and including it in your Instagram
- Creating a landing page on your site about the benefits of joining your IM service
- Adding a call to action in your blog posts
While this will drive traffic gradually, you can up the ante by
- Running paid advertising on social media
- Mentioning it in your search engine click to call ads on google or Bing
- Leverage the calling extension in Google and Bing Ads
- Running a competition
- Working with influencers
Campaigns like these will give you a rush of new contacts and form the base of future operations and marketing campaigns.
Marketing to your user base within an IM ecosystem
Once you've built up a following on your businesses, Instant Messaging profiles its time to start marketing to that audience. You can begin by offering them exclusive discounts, coupons, and have them spread the word through their Instant Messaging network.
Using it to generate a buzz and comparing the reaction to other channels is a great way to test the viability of your audience.
Protip! Remember to use UTM tracking for any Instant Messaging Campaign so you can track the reach of the messaging you put out via each platform. If not, you may see a bump in direct traffic, but you won't be able to gauge its effectiveness.
Standard marketing messaging
This strategy is most likely where most marketers will end up once establishing the channel using it as a direct messaging tool and syncing it with the same messaging they use in their social calendar or email. This method may work for a short time, but your user base by getting bored with your spamming and feel remaining in direct communication with you is not worth their time, and you'll see diminishing returns.
If this is your strategy for your Instant Messaging user base, you need to make sure you're building a healthy churn and bring in more subscribers than you're losing over time.
Driving digital ambassadors
Others may want to turn it into a branding channel by creating digital material for the platform and getting your audience to proliferate it across the network you're using.
You could create challenges that users need to enter, like creating or replicating an "Instagram story" and create a "trending challenge" and keep your audience entertained.
You could ask for feedback on your latest product or ideas they may have for improving your product or things they would like to see.
You could extract testimonials and positive sentiment you can use to create priority data for case studies and so much more.
Your Instant Messaging audience can also be turned into a brand-building tool with a few simple campaigns.
You could use it as a branding channel by reaching out to your community and offering them digital merchandise such as custom wallpapers for their chat screen or phone.
You could get them to send you a profile picture which you customise for them with your branding included and get them to change their profile picture.
You could get them to send you photos of product use, unboxing or visiting a location that can be used on your site, social media, physical marketing material and more
A shot in the dark
Instant messaging marketing campaigns are still a "healthy unknown", which makes it an exciting place to play in. You have very little competition from brands, but you will compete with peoples day to day messaging so don't assume your campaign will automatically resonate with your user base, it still needs to be creative and appealing.
Dark social has a wide range of applications and scope for virality if effectively used by brands. Marketers are now starting to leverage the power of dark social and turning into reliable traffic and lead acquisition channel.
Have you run an instant messaging campaign before? How did it work for you?
Let us know in the comments section down below.
If you would like us to help you create an instant messaging strategy for your site or want to know more about digital marketing for your business, then don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us
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If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on chat commerce and IM marketing.
- What Is Chat Commerce & How To Use It
- A Guide To Marketing Your Business With WhatsApp
- Click-to-WhatsApp Messaging Ads Coming To Facebook
- 10 Chatbot Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid
- The Role of AI and Chatbots In Human Resources