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Speed: The Little-Known Reason Why Messaging is Transforming Marketing

chatbots are transforming marketing

In 2008, Barack Obama announced Joe Biden as his choice for Vice President…

Over a text message. To more than three million Americans.

Some publishers call that message the most important text in SMS history.

And despite your political leanings, you have to admit the savvy behind Obama’s decision to reveal his Vice President in such a personal way.

As one commentator points out,

“He knew how important and personal it was to the people. This clever bit of campaigning helped him rally millions of voters to his side and generate record contributions from contributors.”

But… it makes you wonder.

What was really so special about that moment? Why do people all around the U.S consider that text message to be so important?

Well, the reason is quite simple. Obama reached out to a massive amount of people individually in a matter of moments.

And if you could leverage that same power as a marketer, then that would be amazing.

With chatbots, you can.

The rise of chatbots and messaging platforms allows corporations to create that same speedy, intimate effect.  

And it does it far better than email ever could.

How, you ask?

Well let me explain.

Why Messaging Is Faster Than Email And Why That Matters

No. Messaging is not faster than email.

At least, not technically speaking.

Both email and messaging platforms deliver messages to inboxes within moments. And if there is a difference, it’s negligible, most likely sitting somewhere in microseconds.

But we’re not talking about technical speed. We’re talking about your ability to reach customers and clients quickly.

And that’s a whole lot different than determining how long a message takes to travel between devices.

Said another way, we’re not asking how long messages take to travel through digital space, but how you can reach your customers quickly.

For that, messaging beats emails.

First, 60% of people around the world have a mobile phone. And, in 2013, that number was increasing at a rate of about 4% every year.

Usage for those mobile phones is equally impressive, with 51% of internet access happening on mobile instead of desktop or other devices.

internet usage among adults

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According to the Huffington Post, people check their phones an average of 85 times per day.

In other words, people don’t just have phones, but they regularly — if not obsessively — check those phones for messages and notifications.

What about email, though?

Well, the largest portion — 39% of people — check their email one to three times per day.

How often do people check their emails?

(Image Source)

Clearly, if you’re trying to reach your customers quickly, email isn’t the answer.

Messenger platforms, though, might just be.

In fact, people are so addicted to their phones that nomophobia has now been coined as the fear of being unable to access your smartphone.

One researcher says,

“Our smartphones have turned into a tool that provides short, quick, immediate satisfaction, which is very triggering. Our neurons get fired and dopamine is being released, and over time this makes us acquire a desire for quick feedback and immediate satisfaction. This process also has contributed to developing shorter attention spans and being more and more prone to boredom.”

Lucky for you, marketers can leverage the compulsive habits — or fears — of consumer-phone relationships by using messenger apps.

And the versatility with which they can do that is practically endless. Pura Vida Bracelets uses chatbots to target cart abandoners, Sephora to learn about its customers, and 1-800-Flowers to run a flower-delivery service.

All of those advantages, though, revolve around one overarching benefit. It’s the same reason we keep harping on mobile, here.


In particular, you can reach your audiences faster because… well, they spend virtually every waking moment connected to their smartphones.

Since you’re connected to their smartphones through chatbots, you can reach them whenever you want.

And that quick pace is transforming the marketing environment in four noteworthy ways.

Here they are.

1. You Can Immediately Target Cart Abandoners

In 2016, consumers abandoned 77% of online shopping carts.

How often do people abandon online shopping carts?

(Image Source)

That’s three-quarters of the people visiting your website, adding to cart, and leaving.

Discouraged yet?

Fortunately, you don’t need to be.

To prove it, consider the top reasons that people abandon their shopping cart.

Why people abandon online shopping carts

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As you’ll notice, the biggest reason by a long shot — sitting at 61% — is because costs climbed too high.

Maybe shipping costs discouraged them, or maybe tacked on fees and taxes did the trick.

Whatever the case, that’s a problem you can easily solve.

It’s called offering a discount. And the quicker you reach out to those people with a sale, the better.

One study of over 2,200 U.S companies discovered that leads were seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with decision makers if the company reached out to them within the hour.

Unfortunately, traditional methods just aren’t cutting it, with 7% of companies responding to customer queries within five minutes and 50% not even responding after a full five days.

What does all of that mean?

It means that people are most susceptible to you changing their mind if you reach out to them quickly.

Fortunately, messaging platforms are darn good at doing that.

Take a Facebook Message I received from Pura Vida Bracelets after abandoning my cart as an example.

Within minutes, I received this message.

Abandoned cart follow-up message

Then, the next day, they sent me this message.

Second abandoned cart follow-up message
last chance follow up message for abandoned cart

Here’s the smartest thing they did with this cart abandonment follow-up campaign, though. They offered a discount.

61% of people leave because the price got too high. But messenger platforms allow you to contact the customer and offer a discount on the items they left in their cart.

And they allow you do that within minutes rather than days.

2. You Can Quickly Upsell Existing Customers

Do you know the probability of selling to a new customer?

5% to 20%.

What about an existing customer?

60% to 70%.

probability of selling to new vs existing customer

(Image Source)

That’s a massive difference.

And perhaps the easiest way to get existing customers to pay more money is by upselling them on the next product in your arsenal.

They buy shoes, you offer them matching socks. They buy a Star-Wars T-shirt, you offer them a Star-Wars jacket.

Amazon has been using this tactic for ages.

amazon upsell

And the world’s largest online retailer doesn’t do so flippantly. They do it because it works. Amazon knows that offering follow-up products gradually increases the average price per order, benefiting their ROI.

Lucky for you, you don’t have to leave this tactic to the giants of online business.

You can use the same upselling tactics.

And you can do it where your customers are already hanging out — on messaging apps.

Take the 1-800-Flowers chatbot, for instance.

1-800-Flowers chatbot

(Image Source)

Once the user chooses a set of flowers, they select a date for delivery.

1-800-Flowers chatbot options


(Image Source)

And while 1-800-Flowers doesn’t actually use an upsell tactic, they easily could integrate one.

“Oh! You love those flowers? So do we! Here are some chocolates that we think match the bouquet perfectly.”


“Great selection of roses! Would you like us to add a personal note for just another $5?”

With a tactic like that, you’ll quickly increase the price of each order and your overall ROI.

Plus, since you’re reaching the customer in the middle of the transaction, they’re more like to buy the add-on item.

It’s like when you’re checking out at the grocery store, and you pass all the candy bars in line at the end.

Those are practically irresistible.

The same is true for your chatbot upsells.

3. You Can Follow Up With SQLs Instantaneously

The speed of chatbots isn’t just changing the B2C world. It’s also changing the B2B world.

In particular, it’s changing how sales professionals can reach out to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).

Email has been the tactic of choice for sales departments for a long time. They segment their campaigns, A/B test their emails, and send the best of the group.

But… it’s still not working.

Fast Company found, for instance, that its average cold email reply rate sat around 1.7%.

That’s horrific.

And it’s even more disturbing when you find out just how important it is to follow up with leads quickly.

Only 2% of sales are made on the first contact, and yet 48% of sales teams never follow up with a prospect.

80% of sales, on the other hand, are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.

(Image Source)

The point?

You need to follow up with prospects and email isn’t working.

Might chatbots hold the answer?

It’s possible that, over the next few years, we’ll see more and more B2B companies use chatbots on messenger platforms to reach their prospects.

Especially since the chatbot conversion rate is about 266% higher even than social advertisements.

Consider this email, for instance.

(Image Source)

There’s no reason you couldn’t send a similar message through a chatbot.

And since messenger platforms reach your customer far faster than email does, the response rate is often better. Meaning all of the energy you spent following up doesn’t go to waste.

One survey by CONVRG gave away coupons on its chatbot and received three times higher response rate than the traditional email campaign.

The truth is simple and the application, even simpler.

People want you to follow up with them quickly and messenger platforms are the best place for you to do that.

4. You Can Deliver Curated Content To Users Within Seconds

Email campaigns have unintentionally turned content curation into a crapshoot.

Most the time, businesses create a piece of content they hope will apply to their audience’s fears, needs, and desires, but the results are often mixed.

Sure, you can segment your email campaigns, using savvy technology to group people into the appropriate division and then serve up content that applies to each segmentation.

But there’s a problem… people change.

And segmentation tends toward being a bit too rigid.

The good news though, is that if you’re like most content marketers, you have a massive database of content.

60% of content marketers create at least one piece of content every single day.

You can use all of that content to cater to different people at different times.

Consider, for example, how the Whole Foods Market chatbot does this.

Whole Foods Chatbot


(Image Source)

Here’s the wonderful thing about chatbots. Since you can ask the users questions, you can deliver content that’s relevant to them that very day.

No one is the same from day to day — except for maybe Santa Clause… he never changes.

And because of that, you need a way to deliver curated content to the right people at the right time.

In fact, 57% of marketers said that custom content was their top priority in 2014.

And that’s for a good reason. 61% of consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by custom content.

61% of Consumers' are Influenced by Custom Content

(Image Source)

But you definitely don’t have the bandwidth to do all of that content curation manually.

Fortunately, with chatbots, you don’t have to.

You can serve curated content to people when they want it — finally acknowledging the fact that everyone changes from day to day.

The content you deliver should change as well.


Now, you can reach your customers within minutes rather than days.

Many people don’t just check their phones regularly, they also keep their messaging app notifications buzzing.

Which means that the moment your chatbot sends a message is the same moment that the customer hears from you.

Not hours, days, weeks, or even months later, like traditional marketing methods often force.

And there are four primary ways that marketing is transforming because of that increase in speedy outreach.

In particular, you can target cart abandoners, upsell existing customers, follow up with SQLs, and deliver curated content faster than ever before.

What used to take hours now takes seconds.

Not because chatbots are faster technologically, but because they reach users faster.

Evidently, messaging isn’t just useful for political campaigns, but for marketing as well.

Thanks a lot, Obama.

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