Over the last few months I’ve been asking a number of ecommerce professionals the same question. And when I say ecom pros, I’m not talking about generic store owners.
I’m talking about the kind of people we all turn to for advice, guidance, and the tips we use to increase revenue. People like Ezra Firestone, Noah Kagan, and the founders of some of the biggest ecommerce businesses around.
“If you could employ only one tactic for your store this year, what would it be and why?”.
I wanted to understand the highest profit actions brands could adopt. The changes they could make to drastically increase the revenue of their store.
And the answers surprised me.
Not because they were some revolutionary new tactic no-one has heard of or because they all leveraged some upcoming tech like VR.
No, I was surprised because a good 60-70% 60-70% of the answers all revolved around the same core concept.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of those answers.
- Ezra Firestone – Leverage Video
- Noah Kagan – Connect with customers on a 1-1 basis
- Soma Toth – Make use of emerging high-engagement channels
- Reza Khadjavi – Use sequential retargeting to create a logical, personalized experience.
If you strip these tips down to their base, core concepts you’ll find one underlying, core function.
Being better able to communicate with your audience not only presents more sales opportunities, but also ensures you’ll convert more of those opportunities into cold, hard cash.
The question is, what’s the most effective method for communicating with your target market today?
The Failing Method of Ecommerce Communication
The average person spends just under 3 hours per day on their mobile phone. That comes out to almost 86 hours per month.
It’s a huge amount of time and represents a massive opportunity. Unfortunately it’s an opportunity that has, generally speaking, been overlooked.
Ecommerce stores across the globe are still focused on on-site conversion methods like overlays, better copy, video marketing and the like.
These are all incredible ways to grow revenue, but they rely on the user being on your store at any given time. As soon as the user navigates away from your store, all that effort is wasted.
Of course you have email marketing with campaigns including cart abandonment, flash sale notifications, and generally nurturing to help bring inactive users back.
But with email there’s a tonne of hurdles that lower efficiency. First, emails don’t often send a notification to the user to let them know there’s something that needs their attention.
Yet the bigger issue is that people are unknowingly dependent on their spam filtering and promotional tabs to keep them from receiving anything resembling a sales email.
Its one of the main reasons why email open rates across industries hover at the 20-25% mark. Basically, ~80% of the people you send emails to will never even open them.
Smart Insights puts commerce’s open rate in 2017 at 16.75%
So what’s the solution?
Do you simply send more emails? Keep testing subject lines for better opens? Or continually grow your list so you can remain incredible profitable even with a 20% open rate?
You do none of the above. What you should be doing is leveraging the emerging channel that is absolutely kicking email’s ass when it comes to engagement and sales.
Messenger is the future of ecommerce marketing. It’s the joint most active messenger app with 1 billion monthly active users.
Note that these numbers aren’t for total Messenger accounts, but active users. People who are checking Messenger regularly.
If you can leverage this highly engaging channel, you’ll see an insanely high engagement rate which will lead to more sales.
At Recart we tested the channels against one another to see which would come out on top in terms of engagement and sales. Here’s how they stacked up:
In all key metrics Messenger was far and away the more effective channel and eventually drove more revenue.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that simply because Messenger can achieve an 80% open rate it’s easy to see success.
Messenger is a completely different beast to email marketing and you need to know exactly how to leverage the channel for maximum effect.
Here’s a few tips we’ve discovered to help you hit the ground running with your Messenger campaigns.
The Quickest Way to Ruin Your Chances
We’ve all got that friend who takes forever to respond to a message.
It’s annoying, right?
You send a potentially urgent request or question only to wait days or weeks for a response.
When it’s your friend who makes you wait it’s simply frustrating. It’s not enough to make you shun that relationship forever more.
But when it comes to a faceless brand online, that lack of response could be enough to turn a customer into the arms of your competitor.
Let’s put it into perspective. A customer is browsing your range of t-shirts and sends a message asking if you have a particular design in large and blue.
Thanks to your current processes it takes you 24 hours to respond. 24 hours in which your potential customer is still shopping. They’re checking your competitor’s store and, if they’re quicker to respond, they get the sale.
Not only have you lost the sale to that competitor, but you’ve also lost a potential repeat customer. There’s very little chance they’re going to come back to you when they received exactly what they wanted from another brand.
Timely responses are simply good customer service, and according to Forrester:
“53% of US online adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question; 73% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.”
Messenger, like email, is a direct line to your ideal customer. However, unlike Messenger, it’s a channel that often comes with a lengthy delay. Messenger is key to providing quick, direct feedback to your customers which will increase sales.
But What If I Can’t Reply Immediately
Being able to reply instantly to consumer requests around the clock is an unrealistic goal. You have to sleep sometime, right?
In an ideal world you’d have a dedicated support team who could easily answer queries and questions regardless of the time of day.
However, this isn’t an ideal world and outsourcing your customer service or hiring more full time staff might not be within your budget.
So what else can you do?
Set up automated responses.
There’s a number of Messenger tools out there such as ManyChat which will allow you to set up automated responses based on keywords.
The below is an example of an automated chat from the guys at 1800-flowers.
However, be aware you’ve got to stay on top of these automated messages.
The transactional and keyword triggers aren’t as sophisticated as we’d like them to be just yet. Every so often you’re going to get a response that sends the AI through a loop and leads to a useless conversation that will only lower trust in your brand.
You’ve got to keep checking in with how the automated responses are managing and tweak/amend your triggers and responses to offer a better service.
Don’t Start From Scratch
Facebook Messenger is a new channel, right? And so it’s going to need a completely new approach, new copy, new images, new… everything!
Yes, it’s a new channel and yes it requires its own specific approach. However, you don’t have to start from square one again.
You’ll likely already have a number of effective email sequences which can be directly moved over to Messenger. Things like:
– Cart abandonment campaigns
– Receipt delivery
– Fulfillment updates
– Welcome messages
All of these are perfect examples of sequences that, with a little amendment, can be moved over to Messenger. Cart abandonment however, should be your first priority as it’s basically a goldmine for your brand.
We did a little test over at Recart over 18 days where we pitted Messenger against email for cart abandonment campaign. These are the results:
You can see that not only did Messenger gather more subscribers, but also generated an extra ~$3200 over 18 days.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel here. If you’re keen to experiment with Messenger pick whats already working well, and adapt it to the channel with better engagement.
Speaking of which, let’s next address how to adapt your current messages.
How to Write Killer Messages
Email, PPC, landing pages, and the majority of other digital channels are one directional.
You’re telling your user what you think without giving them an opportunity to respond. This is where Messenger is different. It is, by design, a two way communication channel. You need to make sure that you’re fostering and leveraging the channel in the right way.
Thing is, Messenger is also extremely new so there’s (as yet) no real best practices templates to copy from. To try and make a start not his I reached out to Katya Sarmiento of Botsfor.business and Mikael Yang, founder of ManyChat for some pointers.
I’ve distilled their expert experience below.
Write like you would to your friends – Messenger is a short form communication channel primarily used on small mobile devices. Don’t copy and paste your emails across as they’re too long and won’t work well on the smaller display. Write all your messages as you would to a friend – short, succinct, and colloquial.
Use emojis – Most people use emojis when contacting their friends to add a little color into their messages. With Messenger campaigns, you should be doing the same. Emojis not only increase engagement across social channels, but when used correctly can help you build a better brand image.
Gifs and Images – Once again, most modern messages make use of gifs and images. These are great not only for building on your brand image, but also for breaking up copy and making messages more interactive. The guys over at KlientBoost do a great job of this through their on-site Intercom messages.
If I had to sum this up in a word, it would be “friendly”. Imagine that you’re writing every message as you would to your best friend to make the best use of the medium and for the greatest gains.
There’s No Better Time to Start With Messenger
The funny think about marketing is that core concepts rarely change. The same emotional triggers, psychological principles, and need for effective communication will always be there.
From as far back as the first market stall to the modern day ecommerce landscape, success is founded on two criteria:
1 – Have a product that provides value
2 – Effectively communicate that value to your ideal consumers
However, what does change is the method of exceeding your customer’s expectations in these core areas. I can’t help you with the value your product provides.
What I can say is that Messenger is quickly becoming the most effective method of communicating with your users. It’s becoming the most effective method not only for opening a trust building dialogue with your customers, but also of turning those conversations into more sales and loyal fans.
If you’ve not yet started Messenger marketing for your store, now is the time to start. Get in on the ground floor and grow along with Messenger’s capabilities.
What’s your opinion on Messenger? Is it true the next big communication channel, or is it just a fad that’s destined to die off?