Bots with Purpose: 9 Ways to Improve Your Messenger Marketing Strategy

Bots with Purpose: 9 Ways to Improve Your Messenger Marketing Strategy

June 26, 2019

In 2017, studies indicated that more than 75% of smartphone users were using messenger apps monthly. Two years later, the data suggests the number is well above 80%, with four out of five users communicating in app-based channels beyond email, text, and social media direct messaging. And according to Business Insider, more people are using the top four messaging apps each month (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Viber) than the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn) and currently, more that 25% of the world population are using messenger apps.

Messenger marketing is a fantastic, low-cost tool for small and mid-sized businesses, especially direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies. It’s “conversational marketing,” and a true mobile-based solution that doesn’t require a custom app. Messenger marketing is an opportunity to go to where your users are already spending time throughout the day, and begin a dialog with them. And by using chatbots to automate responses, your customers get to connect with your business on their terms, 24 hours a day.

One of our favorite chatbot case studies comes from The Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas. R/GA helped the luxury resort increase revenue on-premise and rebook visits directly by creating Rose, a sassy and quick-witted VIP bot that shares insider information, who netted a business result of increased spending on the premise through helping guests find exactly what recreation, food, drink, and services they’re looking for without leaving the property. Her “playful personality has wooed hotel guests who booked direct into spending 37% more than guests who do not engage with her.”

Or take LEGO, who boosted huge sales through a bot and series of “Click to Messenger” ads on Facebook. The Danish toy company created a targeted campaign that resulted in a 3.4x better ROAS (return on ad spend) compared to ads linking to the company’s website, and those who did purchase ended up spending nearly twice as much (1.9x). How about Hipmunk, whose groundbreaking travel bot was so successful in booking hotels and flights with automated transactions that they built a second bot in Slack for booking business travel that’s generating huge return?

These large brand success stories are impressive, but messenger marketing works for businesses of all sizes, and doesn’t require a custom-coded solution. Tools like ManyChat make it incredibly easy to build basic bots, and they integrate perfectly into Facebook Messenger, where more than two billion messages between users and businesses are already occurring each month.

Most importantly, chatbots allow you to have one-to-one conversations at scale. They acknowledge and respond to your customers on their schedule, without the cost of a 24/7 support team.

Start with What’s Already Working…

Begin with taking one of your top lead-generating tactics or funnels, and set it up in Messenger 

Don’t test everything at once. When you’re just getting started, you need to know that your existing messages and sequence are already working. Begin with one of your proven tactics and test the channel, not the content or process. It’s not necessary to build a new funnel or marketing campaign just for Messenger. Instead, integrate Messenger into what is already helping new customers discover your products.

…But Don’t Approach It Like Email Marketing

Remember, Messenger marketing is conversational marketing: a one-to-one approach. This is a different attitude and tone than email marketing, which is one-to-many. So, make sure your copy is matches the medium. Email marketing is successful at telling a longer story over a series of updates. But Messenger marketing is more akin to texting. You’d never put a full-length marketing email in a text message. Don’t send one in Messenger, either.

Instead, your copy should be designed to maintain a conversation. Think about ways to get someone to engage. Rewrite your messaging so that you’re asking, not telling. The customer’s job is to respond, not click to learn more. Find ways to encourage them to affirm your what your brand is saying.

Make It Easy to Connect to a Human When Needed

D2C brands excel in customer service and building personal connection with their consumers. Messenger bots can handle the day-to-day tasks by making answers immediately available to those looking for more information. But, be sure they provide an option to connect to a brand rep for personalized answers so that customers can also get the solutions they’re looking for.

Create Different Bots for Different Purposes

Consider crafting three different bot sequences that mirror the customer journey, each designed to match where someone might be in your funnel and purchase process.

  • Build a “Marketing” bot to share marketing messages to build brand loyalty and communicate your difference. Treat the messages here like content marketing: the primary purpose isn’t sales, but sending users to your store, site, social channels, etc, to enjoy more content.  If the buttons lead to your site, you should send them to a mobile-responsive and optimized landing page, with obvious and easy navigation. You can also use this Messenger bot to amplify your existing content releases and grow traffic.
  • Then, build a specific “Sales” bot that designed to convert. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp can both start the sales process, and a simple click will take them to your eCommerce checkout page to execute the transaction. (This, of course, should also be mobile ready)
  • A “Customer Service” bot can provide follow-up information such as order notifications, shipping, and other CSR tasks.

Get Compliant with Facebook ASAP

For businesses looking to get started with Messenger, there are two important policies to be familiar with to get high engagement and avoid complaints.

  • The 24+1 policy states that once a user has engaged, businesses can message a user as much as they want within the first 24 hours. Then, a bot can send ONE more message after that 24-hour window. If a user has replied or re-engaged by sending a message, the 24-hour window starts over.
  • The subscription messaging policy allows businesses to send regular, non-promotional messages to a user if they are approved with the Page-level Subscription Messaging feature. Most businesses can be approved under the “News” category, so be sure to apply now to take advantage.

Program Your Bots Based on Real Customer Conversations

If you’re wondering how to predict the conversational flows and topics, you likely already have a great place to start: use your past customer service threads to imagine and map out the kind of information your customers want to know.

Add the Messenger Option to your Email Opt-in Page

This is a simple one. Many of your potential consumers prefer to receive Messenger updates, and most will get much better open rates than emails anyway. This allows messaging to become part of a funnel that’s already working. Manychat gives you a check-box growth tool you can easily implement to your site design.

Test the User Experience to Optimize for Results

Yes, it’s important to test whole messages and sequences, but you should also test the layout and design of your messages. Bots have relatively little screen real estate, so every tiny decision matters. Try experimenting where input buttons are placed. Change the language. Add and subtract emojis. Try one three-line message vs. three one-line messages. Monitor the click rate of CTAs and the response rates to know what’s working.

Experiment with Click to Messenger Ads

Facebook’s Click to Messenger ads “optimize delivery of ads to people more likely to respond to your business in Messenger.” These look like standard Facebook ads, and include an image, video, carousel, etc, but the call to action button says “Get Started” or “Send Message” and directs people from the news feed into a Messenger conversation with your business. Right now, this is an important category to Facebook, so Click to Messenger ads are quite affordable compared to other options in the Facebook suite. Plus, once somebody messages you, they become part of your contact list, and you have access to everything Facebook knows about them—name, email, likes and dislikes, etc. For business looking to build the top of their funnel and subscriber list, this is super efficient way to generate leads for the best ROI and ROAS.


Conversational marketing opens up a lot of opportunities. But it’s important to remember that this is a new style of connecting with customers…and new way to think about customer service. You can’t simply dump the same messages you’d share via email, social, or especially advertising into a Messenger bot and hope for the best. Careful and creative copy are key.

But executed thoughtfully, messenger marketing is an extremely fruitful process to build brand loyalty, and a fantastic way to improve the customer experience and bring your audience both products and content they’ll love.