Email has been the go-to marketing and communications tool for business owners since it’s creation. No matter how many other communication methods came in to play, such as SMS, calling or mailing, nothing has proven to be as effective as email marketing for ongoing interaction with clients. That was, of course, until the birth of email’s biggest rivalry of all time – messenger bots.
The rise of messenger bots certainly threw a spanner in the works for email marketers. They use artificial intelligence to accomplish an array of functions in the way of human communication, to provide automated and customised responses, and to sell products. Messenger bots can also be integrated into most social media platforms and websites such as Facebook, which launched bots for its Messenger app in 2016.
Like most digital marketing revolutions, both email and messenger bots come with their fair share of pros and cons. We tallied up both alternatives to help you decide whether your business should take its communication beyond the typical email.
The Pros and Cons of Email Marketing
Let’s start with the obvious. Webmail provides a straightforward platform to contact a large clientele. Email promotions, email automations and sales funnels are simple to create, duplicate and send.
Almost all generations are accustomed to receiving emails from businesses and marketers. So no matter your industry, demographic or region, you have the means to connect with your specific target audience through email marketing. In fact, do you know of anyone who doesn’t have an email address? Probably not.
If your target audience is an older generation, it is likely they are not yet engaging with Messenger Bots. Therefore, email marketing is still a good go-to option.
The other great thing about emails is they can easily be distributed and shared amongst your contacts, making it easy to expand your reach and audience. It is also ideal for people who want to send out long forms of copy, large files and visually pleasing, personalised content.
There are a few downsides to email marketing however. It can lack the human-like aspects that messenger bots possess (as you will soon read). Email open rates are also significantly lower than those of messenger bots, and response times can be delayed, which can impact customer service and, as a result, your sales.
The Pros and Cons of Messenger Bots
Since you can integrate messenger bots on to your website and most social media platforms (where a large majority of people hang out online), messenger bots serve to act as the primary channel for communication in the modern day.
Amazingly, there are over 300,000 messenger bots currently active on Facebook alone. And given that most Facebook users already have the Messenger app, it seems a pretty good place to start. Check out our blog on 5 ways to use Facebook messenger bots in your business, which gives you some awesome tips on how to use messenger bots to boost brand awareness and sales.
As previously mentioned, messages that are sent via messenger bots have much higher open and click-through rate (CTR) than traditional email marketing. While messenger bots have a CTR typically ranging from 15%-60%, emails sit on approximately 4% – you do the math.
Perhaps this significant CTR variance that exists comes down trust. A customer must first interact with your bot before you can converse with them, therefore they have already gained an element of trust before you can shower them with messages.
Once you have engaged a customer on a messenger bot, you are able to go back and access the data they have provided. This enables you to offer a more personalised consumer experience.
For example, the customer may ask about a particular product on your website. You can then target this customer with future promotions via the messenger bot that align with their interests. Messenger bots can also be used to notify shoppers of cart abandonment, recommend alternative products and respond immediately to customers’ frequently asked questions.
On the contrary, most savvy Internet users can distinguish the replacement of a messenger bot for real-time human communication. A bot is only as good as they are programmed to be, which is why building one takes time and requires carefully thought-out processes.
So the question remains …
Are messenger bots ready to make email marketing a thing of the past?
We highly doubt it. But they are expanding our options in the realm of online marketing. Both functions allow you to use sales funnels to raise brand awareness and ultimately sell products. However we are able to see the advantages and disadvantage of each option.
How does one choose between the two?
Depending on your specific industry, brand and audience, you may feel one serves your business better over the alternative. But why pick if you don’t have to? Many businesses and marketers use a combination of the two and actually find they compliment each other.
What are you thoughts on messenger bots over email marketing? Does one work better for your business? Let us know!