5 Minute Read For decades email has stood unopposed in the world of digital marketing. Email marketing has stood the test of time because it still delivers the highest ROI of any channel, it\u2019s personalised and can retain customers using direct data on a continuous loop \u2013 therefore I\u2019m guessing it\u2019s part of your existing strategy. So, which is better; Facebook Messenger Bots or Email Marketing? \u00a0 As we have learned throughout history, every king has been usurped by the evolution of changing public demand. This might not be natural selection, but email\u2019s reign might have finally received some long-needed competition. Our insatiable appetite as marketers may have finally produced email\u2019s rival: Facebook Messenger Bots Stick with this guide as it introduces\u00a0Facebook\u00a0Messenger Bots Vs Traditional\u00a0Email\u00a0\u2013 an impartial non-biased look at the advantages of each and how you can benefit from using both. What is Email Marketing? What are\u00a0Facebook Messenger Bots? Advantages of Email Marketing for Your Business Advantages of Facebook Messenger Bots for Your Business What do Facebook Messenger Bots do Better? Will Messenger Bots Take over Email? WHAT IS EMAIL MARKETING? Email\u00a0\u2013 with 2.76 billion active users \u2013 is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels for reaching a broad audience of consumers who have already shown interest in your products or services. It is the king of\u00a0ROI,\u00a0and on a platform where 91% of users are active everyday, it has unprecedented potential to hook your audience repeatedly. \u00a0 \u00a0 Every marketing platform contains multiple elements of intriguing and unique creative mixed with analysis and feedback. Each of these play a vital role in the life of your campaign. Broken down into 4 fragments of an effective whole, these are email\u2019s main content segments: Creative The overall design of the email, layout, heading and structure of the message provided. Emails with clear and concise headings and copy are opened 8X more than heavy or busy emails. Relevance Retargeting, broadcasting and messaging represent the bulk of email content. Personalised emails have a response rate 70% higher than their generic counterparts. Incentive What\u2019s In It For Me? Make your message and value provided clear from the start. This will erase any doubt the user may have of trusting you when taking action. Copy Consider your language and tone to benefit your brand and capture the audience\u2019s attention. Your copy needs to persuade the reader to keep going, and take action. WHAT ARE FACEBOOK MESSENGER BOTS? \u00a0 A messenger bots is a piece of software that uses\u00a0artificial intelligence (AI)\u00a0to automate tasks and converse with you. The more you chat with the bot, the more it will learn and the more useful its responses become \u2013 like The Terminator. Its 1.2 billion users visit the Facebook Messenger App multiple times a day, to \u2018check in\u2019 to their private conversations. Its content, therefore, is more personal and informal than the email drivel often pushed out by companies \u2013 remember this when using it. The bot appears as a typical messenger interface, and the messages appear as \u2018normal\u2019 in app conversations. However, many bots now also use menus with pre-set phrases, such as \u201cTell me what\u2019s new\u201d. So you can imagine that interactive industries, such as travel, finance, media, health and retail have all found success through this system. Bots use AI technology to understand your question, contextualise it, find the right response and deliver it with a conversational \u2018human\u2019 voice. So, now comes the classic marketer question: If you build it, will they come? The answer? Yes. But you will need to promote your bot. Users are able to search for companies and bots inside\u00a0Facebook Messenger\u00a0by name, so you\u2019ll probably get some users that way. The main ways to promote your bot and get it off the ground include: \u00a0 Messenger Links link back to your bot through your Facebook page and posts. Customer Matching Using your customer\u2019s phone number you can find them on Facebook Messenger via this tool. These will include an opt in form for the first Facebook communication. Messenger Codes Like Snapchat\u2019s visual barcodes, you can scan the image and it will take you to the brand\u2019s Messenger bot. Messenger Buttons You can embed these buttons on your website. When users click, it automatically starts a conversation with them. ADVANTAGES OF EMAIL MARKETING FOR YOUR BUSINESS When traversing the cut-throat jungle of email marketing, it is important that you have a clear understanding of what you want to include, how you wish to inform and what value you provide \u2013 otherwise you\u2019ll get lost and so will your customers. \u00a0 \u00a0 From the inception of your campaign your content must be compelling. If you can capture your audience\u2019s attention on a regular basis, you can leverage this extremely powerful channel. With an astronomical average\u00a0open rate\u00a0of 21.73%, and an average click-through rate that puts Facebook marketing to shame, the email marketing jungle has plenty of hidden treasures to discover. Research has found that 6\/10 online consumers made a purchase as a result of email marketing \u2013 more than half of your conversions come from email, a completely free medium. Essentially, low-cost conversions and incredible ROI is why email marketing continues to thrive in a world where AI, albeit in its infant stages, exists. \u00a0 \u00a0 Conversely, social media ads deliver a 20% conversion rate on average. This is largely due to email\u2019s ingrained sense of familiarity when receiving marketing material through the platform, while targeted marketing messages through Messenger might seem a little intrusive. Now, a lot of numbers have been thrown around to support the case for email marketing, but what does this all mean for your\u00a0sales and marketing? Send your Latest Promotions to Your Email List. Since consumers have come to expect marketing material in their inbox, they will likely respond to content a lot more positively, provided you make it inviting and offer value. Your value proposition should include some element of exclusivity \u2013 this will encourage engagement and action. Reach Interested Customers. You can use email to stay connected to your customers and interest groups. Your advertising campaigns may cover a variety of powerful marketing awareness tools. To supplement this, email allows you to send information directly to your consumers \u2013 provided your message is clear. Personalised emails will further peak the interest of prospects that could be converted through an easily followed sales process. \u00a0 Drive traffic back to your website through specific CTAs (Call-To-Actions). When marketing sales or exclusivity offerings, it is imperative that you drive traffic directly back to your website. Take this opportunity to build trust by supplying the consumer with exactly what they signed up for \u2013 whether it be reward points or the\u00a0latest blogs\u00a0or ebooks. The\u00a0compelling call-to-action\u00a0(CTA) presented in an email is far more readily accepted than those present in social media. The customer expects to be delivered to another page and is thus ready to learn more. This is because emails are not an experiential platform of social interaction, but rather a means to acquire information. The audience can therefore leave the platform without disrupting their experience \u2013 making them more inclined to through to your website. ADVANTAGES OF FACEBOOK MESSENGER BOTS FOR YOUR BUSINESS Chatting with a bot should be like talking to a human that knows everything. If you\u2019re using a bot to change a restaurant reservation, the bot should, for example, know how to use any credit on your account and for how many people you typically book. They accomplish their task from start to finish, in the place where your customers already spend most of their time: messaging apps.\u00a0 Facebook Messenger\u00a0bots integrate with your Messenger and Facebook apps, and are able to draw information from both. A \u2018chatbot\u2019 instigates a series of dependent questions to collect the necessary information to understand your intent, and then deliver the right content to satisfy your needs.\u00a0 With access to both your background information and your current instructions, bots automate conversations that deliver personalised results on a scalable level. Today, messaging apps have over\u00a05 billion monthly active users, with people now using them\u00a0more than social networks. As people research, they want the information they need as quickly as possible and are increasingly turning to voice search and messenger requests as technology advances. Artificial intelligence will continue to radically shape this front, but a bot should connect with your current systems so a shared contact record can drive personalization. \u00a0 The Forrester research company, predicts that by the end of 2020 about 80% of businesses will\u00a0adopt chatbots\u00a0to increase their CRM (customer relationship management) and revenues. Better Open Rates & Engagement Messaging is the principle way of interacting with customers through a direct stream of conversation. Because of its interactive and immediate response, Chatbots have far higher open rates than emails (chatbotslife.com).\u00a0 Who doesn\u2019t check unopened messages on their phone?\u00a0 With access to both your background information and your current instructions, bots automate conversations that deliver personalised results on a scalable level. Rapid Growth Are using Messenger Bots really worth it? Think about where your customers now spend most of their time during the day, and you\u2019ll find that, yes, they are worth it. Messenger doesn\u2019t broadcast your brand like\u00a0Facebook ads or Google Adwords, but that\u2019s not its purpose \u2013 and why this guide isn\u2019t comparing it to either. If you want to interact with your customer on a granular level, you need to be able to handle multiple inquiries at once. Chatbot automation makes this possible. Personalised Experience equates to a higher click-through rate, much like named email subject headings. Chatbots take this further by incorporating your past personal information, location, device and your current need, to enhance user\u2019s experiences. Data extracted from the conversation also supplements future interactions, by learning (through AI) what your customer\u2019s habits are. \u00a0 So, what if this hubris surrounding Messenger Chatbots and AI is true? Is email marketing in danger of being replaced? WHAT DO MESSENGER BOTS DO BETTER With the help of messaging apps, bots help consumers find solutions no matter where they are or what device they use \u2014 no forms, cluttered inboxes, or wasted minutes spent searching and scrolling through content (Hubspot). Communication, service, and transactions intertwine.\u00a0 Unlike the self-serving marketing of the past, bots directly provide a service to the customer. \u00a0 In general, bots can be broken down into two categories: informational bots and utility bots. Informational bots Provide users with a new format in which to consume content. For instance, you could subscribe to breaking news alerts based on your reading habits. Utility bots Solve a user\u2019s problem, whatever that may be, via a user-prompted transaction. The most obvious example is a shopping bot, such as one that helps you order flowers or buy a new jacket. According to a recent\u00a0HubSpot Research study, 47% of shoppers are open to buying items from a bot.\u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 But utility bots are not limited to making purchases. A utility bot could automatically book meetings by scanning your emails or notify you of the payment subscriptions you forgot you were signed up for. Email inboxes have become more and more cluttered, so buyers have moved to social media to follow the brands they really care about. Ultimately, they now have the control \u2014 the ability to opt out, block, and unfollow any brand that betrays their trust. Facebook Messenger\u2019s bots recognise the user\u2019s intent and provide the right content with minimum user input. Every question asked brings the user closer to the answer they want. This is where Messenger Bots outperform traditional forms of marketing \u2013 and yes, for the sake of this argument email is in that category. Bots open a real-time communicative dialogue with the customer, instead of just analysing feedback provided to you. Granted both are highly effective, and once tested, the science of great email can boost your returns. However,\u00a0bots make people\u2019s lives even easier. They take the hassle out of subscriptions, link-clicks, cluttered messages and downloading content by harnessing the ask-and-you-shall-receive-immediately virtue of AI. Maximum impact with minimal fluff. \u00a0 \u00a0 Bots start by asking a leading question that determines the single most important variable. Then use follow-up questions, \u2013 and to minimise friction \u2013 option buttons to gain the necessary context and hone in on a solution. So they not only open a dialogue with the customer, they streamline your solution to the customer\u2019s need \u2013 instantly. All any buyer wants is the most direct line between their problem and a solution. In the\u00a0future, that line is a\u00a0bot. WILL MESSENGER TAKE OVER EMAIL? If the success of WeChat in China is any sign, these utility bots are the future. Without ever leaving the messaging app, users can hail a taxi, video chat a friend, order food at a restaurant, and book their next vacation.\u00a0WeChat\u00a0has become so ingrained in society that a business would be considered obsolete without its integration. People who divide their time between China and the West complain that leaving this world behind is\u00a0akin to stepping back in time. \u00a0 40% of WeChat user\u2019s message with a business every day (Qi\u2019eZhiku). As Clara de Soto, cofounder of Reply.ai, told\u00a0VentureBeat, \u201cYou\u2019re never just \u2018building a bot\u2019 so much as launching a \u2018conversational strategy\u2019 \u2014 one that\u2019s constantly evolving and being optimised based on how users are actually interacting with it\u201d. This constant learning will become the future of much more than the bots discussed above; it will usher in a new era of machine learning focused on providing customers with services they require immediately. Research from Forrester\u00a0showed 15% of companies worldwide said they were using chatbots regularly in late 2017, 30% were piloting them, and 41% were planning to use or test them in 2019. This is directly attributed to the extremely intuitive nature of bots. Each deliver a myriad of services in accordance with how varying users use your products differently \u2013 adjusting content provided to the user\u2019s response. Creating a persona around each individual, not just a group of consumers. \u00a0 However, Messenger Bots are a double-edged sword amidst the current state of customer centric content. Bots provide a scalable way to interact one-on-one with buyers. Yet, they fail when they don\u2019t deliver an experience as efficient, complex and multi-layered as conversations people are accustomed to having with other humans on messaging apps. Too often, bots lack a clear purpose, don\u2019t understand conversational context, or forget what you\u2019ve said two bubbles later. To make it worse, they don\u2019t make it clear that they\u2019re a bot in the first place, leaving no option to escalate the matter to a human representative. Therefore, as more and more brands join the race, we\u2019re in desperate need of a framework around doing bots the right way \u2014 one that reflects the way consumers have changed. \u00a0 \u00a0 When you spammed someone\u2019s email, at least there was technology to\u00a0filter out the noise. But since bots function inside messaging apps, you\u2019re invading and polluting a historically personal space. If you\u2019ve ever used Siri, you know there\u2019s a much lower tolerance for machines to make mistakes. Customers will unsubscribe from your bot without thinking twice, if that bot is despondent. This makes the stakes incredibly high to get messaging right. But then why would someone would turn to a bot in the first place? According to a HubSpot research report,\u00a0 71% of people willing to use messaging apps to target customer assistance, do so because they want their problem solved, fast. Immediacy is directly tied to patience. And customers don\u2019t expect to need patience to acquire what they want. Patience isn\u2019t required to use a bot \u2013 for the most part. Thus, by cutting out laborious steps in the customer\u2019s journey, they will supersede email\u2019s capabilities \u2013 catering to an impatient mass of consumers. \u00a0 \u00a0 We\u2019ve discussed how bots offer higher quality content, now comes the question of competition. Executives have confirmed that\u00a0advertisements within Discover\u00a0\u2014 Facebook\u2019s hub for finding new bots to engage with \u2014 will be the\u00a0main way Messenger monetises its\u00a01.3 billion monthly active users. If standing out among the\u00a0100,000 other bots\u00a0on the platform wasn\u2019t difficult enough, we can assume Messenger will only feature bots that don\u2019t detract people from the platform. But this increasing level of competition isn\u2019t new. Being seen amongst the fray of branded content is an age-old marketing adage \u2013 whereby creative, quality content is king. A surge of marketing volume and increasingly relevant advertising, has left brands with two must-haves to convert the customer. To be creative, and to deliver required services fast. This emphasises using visual mediums in unison with informative tools. Tools such as email and Messenger bots. \u00a0 \u00a0 If this guide has expressed anything, it is that making your customer\u2019s lives easier is imperative. A bot does this by providing instant customised service. Email does this by offering accessible exclusive information. So don\u2019t abandon email just yet, but start building a bot that caters to your customer\u2019s ever-increasing need for immediate answers. The intelligent and judicious use of both traditional Email AND Messenger Bots will reward you. Both deserve a place in your digital marketing arsenal. Liked the post? Interested to learn more? Start a conversation with us below to see how you can take the lead across mediums like Messenger Bots and Email Marketing. Having this chat with our managing director today could save you time and money, while boosting your lead generation across social media, search engines and email marketing. So build streamlined marketing campaigns through your free consultation below.