In a situation of universal self-isolation and a total transition to online messengers have become a key marketing tool for interacting with the audience. Messengers are one of the most popular channels for direct dialogue with customers, forming a personal approach to each one and receiving feedback.
The rise of messengers to the forefront is not accidental: messaging in WhatsApp or Telegram is the most natural way to start a conversation with a client and get operational feedback from him. On the one hand, this channel gives you personal access to consumers, and on the other hand, it helps you automate this process.
In favour of messengers, their popularity also speaks: in 2019, they were already used by 2.5 billion people — a third of the world's population. In India, WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram are the leaders among messengers: in January, their monthly audience was 68 million, 34 million and 22 million users over the age of 12, respectively, – figures continue to grow.
Using online messengers – from delivery to training schedules
Messengers as a marketing tool are indispensable for companies that deal with a large number of referrals. This is primarily a b2c segment: eCommerce, the travel market, service companies, clinics, and info business.
Now, during the period of self-isolation, the pool of issues that are solved using messengers has been updated. First of all, they have become relevant for delivery services, online stores, and takeaway restaurants that are facing a huge volume of purchases. Chatbots and automated messages help these companies cope with the load: accept orders, notify them of the delivery status and arrival of a courier, answer the most frequent questions, and send notifications about promotions and personalized offers.
Educational platforms and entertainment sites can also make their work much easier using messengers. In self-isolation, people have more free time for leisure and training, so the load on these services has increased significantly. And after the transfer of schools and universities to a remote format, there was a huge influx of visitors to resources for remote classes, and not everyone is able to process such a large pool of requests. Therefore, many sites use messengers to notify users about broadcasts and new products, remind them of an appointment for a webinar or training, and tell them about the schedule for the day.
Online messengers have also found a new use among fitness clubs, dance studios and sports stores: since offline work was not available for them during the period of self-isolation, they had to switch to online training. WhatsApp, Viber, or Telegram messages for such organizations have become a great way to send a link to the broadcast, remind you of the start of a class, tell you about the schedule, and provide users who have subscribed to the newsletter with a list of exercises for self — training.
Event organization with online messengers
In mid-March, mass events were banned — from then on, all forums, exhibitions and seminars were moved online. The organizers have taken over the baton: Facebook has already announced the transition to digital format with the annual F8 conference, as well as Google Cloud Next, Adobe summit Microsoft, MVP Summit and many others. And if chatbots, group conversations and telegram channels were previously actively used for offline events, then their effectiveness has increased significantly online.
After the event, you can send out presentations of speakers in the messenger and ask participants to leave feedback about the event.this is more convenient than sending an email, because such a message is more likely to be read and much easier to respond to. The organizers use chatbots to inform about any changes, announce performances, send links to broadcasts and news from the organizers. In addition, there is a tendency to combine event participants in a common chat for Dating and communication — this channel of networking, which was previously only addition to offline, has now become a key role in the current conditions.
Issues and cases
Let's try to summarize the basic marketing objectives that your business can solve in the current situation with the help of messengers.
Mass mailing. You must use this channel carefully and only with the consent of your subscribers, otherwise, there is a risk that your account will be banned or users will stop paying attention to your requests. For example, you can announce the launch of a new product or promotion.
Feedback from the audience – Using messenger, you can easily collect feedback: ask for a review, rate the service, or send a survey. All this will help you understand what is now important and in demand for your customers, whether they are satisfied with your product and how it can be improved.
Chatbots – This tool, as we saw above, has a huge functionality: from providing information and answering questions to processing orders and even making payments. For example, when the Singapore coffee chain Kopi Ong offered its customers to pay for an order using the Foodster chatbot developed by DBS Bank, the company's sales jumped by 20%, and without the need to hire additional staff. Moreover, the waiting time for the drink to be prepared was reduced by 30%, which could not but affect customer loyalty.
With the total transition to electronic payments during General self-isolation, this feature has become especially relevant, since it allows you to make payments faster than using a bank card. A number of Indian FMCG brands have signed a partnership with a startup from Bangalore, Yellow Messenger, to use chatbots for sales via WhatsApp. One of the largest retail chains, Spencer's, has also started trading with yellow Messenger bots.
Reminders and notifications – Here everything is simple: reminders about participation in the webinar, about the events that the user was interested in, the beginning of broadcasts, and the need to make a payment. Online messengers have now become an excellent way to provide high-quality customer service for stores, restaurants, and delivery services. These companies can use messages to inform customers about the order status and the time of arrival of the courier without having to load the call centre and develop a mobile application.
Answers to clients' questions – Sending a message via messenger is much more convenient than “hanging” on the phone line while waiting for the operator to respond, or writing an email and worrying that it will get lost among a stream of other requests. This is important primarily for those companies that have experienced an influx of requests — including the aviation business, which now has to sort out a huge number of requests for ticket refunds. In addition, many people now experience a lack of communication, and correspondence in messenger helps them partially compensate for it — unlike a request on the site or a letter to technical support. Therefore, by the way, it is useful to add a multi-button on the site that combines different widgets: callback, smart request, as well as links to messengers and social networks. With it, the user can choose a convenient way to communicate.
Of course, the possibilities of online messengers for business are not limited to this list — everything depends on your imagination. For example, the coffee shop Presso installed cardboard table-tents on its tables with the offer to put “like” in the messenger in exchange for a free Cup of coffee after that, customers were asked to leave a review on one of the sites. This promotion helped increase the number of visitors and improve the company's reputation. Of course, this case refers to a time when the situation in the world was different, but judging by the trends in the market, we will soon see even more new non-standard ways to use messengers for business.
It is obvious that after the stabilization of the situation in the world, the new reality will be different from what we are used to. Accelerated development of online services, popularization of remote services, total automation — all this will remain with us even when the world situation stabilizes. Companies that have not yet used online messengers in internal correspondence will recognize the convenience of this tool and will make it part of their regular practice.
Businesses will also appreciate the marketing capabilities of this channel: not only the number of users of online messengers will grow, but also the share of their use in promotion. And perhaps next year, doctors, lawyers, interior designers, fitness trainers and coaches will conduct consultations for their clients on WhatsApp or Telegram.