As of late, it feels like an arms race between email marketing or Messenger marketing. A world where marketers have to pick: the workhorse of today or the most exciting channel of tomorrow?
At first glance, I can see why. We’ve seen audiences engage an insane amount on Messenger -- 619% more than email. There’s also a cool 1.3 billion people who use Messenger on a regular basis.
When companies ask me which one to use, my answer surprises them: have your cake and eat it, too. Email and Messenger together will make your business more money than picking one. Which one you should use when -- and for whom -- comes down to context.
Here are three things to consider as you decide which areas of your marketing strategy need email, and which need Messenger.
Every interaction your company has with someone needs a purpose. All communication should be deliberate, whether it's with a prospect or a customer. Your marketing goal will determine whether email or Messenger makes more sense.
In some cases, you have a lot to say -- or show. That’s a big reason email remains the channel of choice for long-form communication. Email wins at getting lengthy points across that people can store and share later. More often than not, though, most marketing and sales emails I get don’t fall into that camp.
“Chatting with you > Talking at you”
This is where Messenger's shorter communication style thrives. When you get an email, it feels like companies are talking at you. With Messenger, those same companies are chatting with you. It also pays to keep in mind who you're trying to reach. Even though chatting is better for some, it's not better for all.
Did your audience use the internet between 1990-2005? Chances are email was how they kept in touch with friends and businesses. It still is older generations’ line to businesses, according to HubSpot. Email used to be our connection to businesses and a personal CRM. But times have changed.
Younger generations don’t spend time in their email inbox; they message one another. It’s part of a larger shift where messaging apps have become the activity that dominates91% of our time on screens. To be a successful marketer in 2018, you need to meet users where they spend their time. The most delightful marketing experiences of tomorrow will happen on platforms like Messenger.
How my dad thinks I use my phone, anyways.
If you and I are anything alike, you've gone through a few email addresses over the years. Student email? Good until graduation. Work address? Great until you change jobs. Email addresses tie to finite periods in our lives. Things like Facebook IDs, though, will never change. You're always going to be you. Messenger Marketing means you can engage with someone throughout their life.
Okay, not as many as Homer. But you get the idea.
Over time, you’ll learn more about prospects that you can use to personalize how you engage them. It’s a best practice across platforms. Messenger has a secret sauce in this camp, though, that many marketers don’t realize. You can personalize in real-time on Messenger. Every word they say or button they click can steer them into a hyper-targeted experience. You’ll capture their intent and delight right away, without having to wait until the next email goes out.
Let your audience set the tone for where they want to engage with you. It'll add value across all your channels in both the short and long-term. There's some group of your email audience that wants to hear from you, but not in their email inbox. Give those people another option for staying in touch, like Messenger.
Once you do that, there’s a good chance that you see an improvement in both open and click-through rates. Every message going out the door is only to people who want to hear from you on that channel. This can help your deliverability score in the long-term, too.
That's not to say it's an absolute one or the other. Be tasteful and use both together. We have a lot of people who prefer to download e-books on Messenger. But after talking with them, we learned that many of them still read it on desktop. We started emailing them a copy of their e-book, too, to provide a better experience. Think back to the differences between email and Messenger we discussed in this post. Use both channels together in tandem when you see value.
There are few times in life where 1+1=3. Marketing through email and Messenger in tandem is one of them. The behemoth channels of today and tomorrow have their differences. It's not about how you use one, though, it's about how you use both. Great marketers will use context to have their cake and eat it, too.
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Originally published Feb 22, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated June 11 2021