In the age of messaging apps, email marketing is not what it used to be. So it’s time to develop some new marketing solutions for your customers. Fortunately, there are plenty of messaging and notification alternatives, such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, live chat, WhatsApp, and push notifications to choose from. There are also many apps, from Zendesk to Tidio, to help you utilize these channels.
Why Use Alternative Messaging Tools?
Alternative messaging tools are relatively new to the eCommerce market, which is used to relying on email marketing. However, here’s why you can no longer just rely on email for your marketing and customer support needs:
Email Marketing Is Old News
Customers are inundated with annoying marketing emails, which makes it very difficult for your business to cut through the noise. Many advertising emails end up straight in your customer’s junk folder. This doesn’t mean you should completely give up on email; email marketing still has an ROI of $42 USD for every dollar spent, but you should consider a multi-channel or omnichannel marketing strategy.
Alternative Messaging Tools Are Better for Marketing
Alternative messaging is better than email at getting to your customers—messaging has very high open rates, and your customers already spend a lot of time on messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. (The same cannot be said for their email inboxes). Moreover, messaging apps facilitate 2-way communication, meaning that your marketing no longer needs to be one-sided, and customers can ask questions.
Messaging Tools Are Great For Customer Support And Engagement
The one-on-one nature of messaging helps you form better relationships with your customers, making customer service more accessible, increasing engagement, and ultimately leading to higher ROI and customer retention.
What Are The Alternatives to Email?
There are several great alternative messaging tools out there which will transform your customer support and marketing efforts:
SMS is a great messaging system. It is possibly the most effective messaging platform, with a 99% open rate. This is because SMS is a relatively private form of messaging used with close family and friends and engenders a sense of trust (and true one-on-one communication). SMS is, therefore, perfect for customer support and notification, and also the occasional marketing message. But you shouldn’t abuse the privacy of SMS, so make sure you don’t send your customers too many SMS messages.
Like SMS, Facebook Messenger has a high open rate, so it’s an excellent platform for marketing and support (without being as private as SMS). In addition, people browse Facebook in their downtime, so are more likely to be receptive to marketing messages. Messenger is also great for customer support: use it on Facebook and your website as an alternative to live chat software.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app worldwide, with 98% open rates. WhatsApp has high trust and is perfect for both marketing and customer support. You can set up a live chat function using WhatsApp business API on your website to create a similar experience to using a specific live chat app.
Push notifications through your app or web app are great because they appear on customers’ screens and won’t go away until clicked on, meaning they will always be seen. However, this also implies push notifications can quickly become annoying, so use them sparingly (like SMS) and make sure push notifications are an opt-in, not opt-out, option.
Live chat software is a must-have for customer support and engagement in any modern eCommerce business. Current customers prefer live chat to helplines or email, as customer representatives can give instant replies through live chat, just like a shop assistant in a brick-and-mortar store.
Offering live chat increases customer retention because asking questions in the live chat is a lot easier than calling the support line. As a result, customers who would have formerly been lost are retained, and even better, customers who have messaged the live chat have a higher conversion rate.
Platforms To Set Up Alternative Messaging Tools
If managing your alternative messaging tools seems daunting, don’t worry because there are plenty of platforms to help you send messages without you having to be present 24/7:
Twilio’s MessagingX is an omni-channel marketing platform with APIs that allows you to send and program messages for SMS, MMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Business, among others.
Sendlane is a personalized SMS and email marketing platform. It offers automation, multivariable segmentation, integrations, split testing, and two way replies to have customer conversations.
Tidio is a live chat app which is perfect for small businesses, as its basic live chat plan is free. Tidio also works as an easy omnichannel messenger, where you can message customers on different platforms through the same chat.
Zendesk is one of the oldest and more established customer service software options. Zendesk provides omnichannel messaging, and call center services, making it a good all-round option for customer support. While Zendesk is a bit pricey, it comes with more advanced features, reporting, and customization, which makes it perfect for enterprise-level businesses.
FreshDesk is a cheaper, more fundamental, version of Zendesk, which offers omnichannel marketing, call center and over 500 integrations. It’s a great solution for medium and small businesses, though it is less customizable than Zendesk.
Embrace alternative messaging tools to bring your business into 2022. SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, live chat, or other email alternatives can drastically improve your marketing, sales, customer service and engagement. You can do it with plenty of messaging platforms to organize your campaigns and service delivery.
Need help setting up alternative messaging apps and the platforms they run on? CodeClouds can help. With our experienced API developers adept at working with customer service platforms like Twilio, you can get it all sorted in no time!