Person laying against someone's legs on couch while reading a WhatsApp business message


Elevating Each Stage Of The Sales Funnel With Business Messaging

June 16, 2023

In marketing, communication is everything — much like the proverbial tree in the forest, your customers won’t hear a peep from your marketing campaigns if they aren’t around to see or hear it. It’s why they’re called “touchpoints,” after all: interactivity is key.

And in a world rife with thousands of potential touchpoints that inundate consumers every day, it’s easy to see why standing out and providing customers with the information they need is a crucial component of any marketing strategy.

That’s one reason why so many marketers have embraced the emerging popularity of business messaging platforms in order to thoughtfully engage their customers throughout each stage of the sales funnel. In fact, one Meta-commissioned study found that 1-in-2 marketers “believe their brand can use [business messaging] to assist customers in the pre-purchase phase.”1

The study further discovered that about 4-in-5 marketers who use business messaging expect the channel to provide a positive return on their marketing investment — a rate higher than those reported for traditional mainstays like television and out-of-home advertising.2

So, in a world oversaturated with marketing messages, channels, and campaigns, why has business messaging emerged as such a stand-out tool throughout each stage of the sales funnel? Below, we’ll review some benefits and best practices savvy marketers can employ with business messaging throughout the customer’s journey.

Two people sitting on bench indoors and one is holding a coffee and they are both looking at a business message via WhatsApp

Top of Funnel: Driving Awareness and Interest Through Ubiquity

If your campaigns are starting to feel like the proverbial tree in our introduction, you may unearth some newfound enthusiasm from customers by engaging them on the device they — for better or worse — enjoy the most: their phones.

We all know that people are glued to their personal devices, but the extent to which this trend continues to grow — outpacing a range of other daily activities — is worth some reflection. One jaw-dropping study revealed that people check their phones almost 100 times per day — about once every ten minutes.3 Another analysis of consumer habits found that in 2018, for the first time, Americans reported spending more time on digital media channels than traditional ones (TV, radio, print publications, etc.) combined.4

Clearly, the rise of smartphone dominance can provide a tremendous opportunity for businesses to reach out directly to their customers. Meeting your prospects on the channels where they’re most comfortable leads to increased visibility and superior click-through rates (one study found text messaging click-through rates are as high as 98% — much higher than its runner-up, e-mail, at 22%5).

But how do these benefits come into play at the top of the funnel, when a customer is still just in their “awareness” stage? Obviously, you can’t just text message information about your brand to everyone in the phone book — despite all of its powerful benefits, business messaging still can’t trick customers into enjoying spam messages.

However, the platform’s workaround for this issue also provides another shot-in-the-arm for your lead generation: the opt-in. As agreeing to receive messages from a brand (especially ones from which you can easily unsubscribe) is a fairly low-stakes request, marketers have found great success in identifying new prospects by simply asking if they’d like to receive infrequent marketing messages.

This tendency is enhanced when brands offer even minor incentives to customers, such as:

  • Early access/sneak peeks
  • Contest/giveaway
  • Loyalty programs
  • Free shipping
  • Flash sales
  • Anniversary/birthday specials

In fact, one study found that offering a small quid pro quo to those who decide to opt-in to your messaging campaigns could potentially increase your subscriber list over five times faster.6 Keep demonstrating the value you bring to your interactions with your leads, and there’s a strong chance they’ll keep coming back for more.

Person sitting on the back of a truck with camping gear in the woods while smiling on a video call

Middle of Funnel: Directly Engaging Customers In Their “Comfort Zone”

As we proceed down the tunnel, a marketer’s goal turns from driving awareness about your brand to nurturing consideration. In other words: it’s time to convince consumers that your product or service is the best choice for their particular needs.

Traditional methods, such as customer testimonials, informative FAQs, and deployment of nurture campaigns, will continue to be effective in messaging channels as they are elsewhere. However, business messaging can provide one particular advantage in this phase that’s hard to find in any other channel: direct and real-time interaction with your audience.

This capability drives a deeper connection between the brand and its customers, offering personalized solutions and instant feedback. It also allows your agents to delve into a level of specificity unavailable in other channels, tackling specific pain points, objections, or other issues the customers may raise while still in the consideration phase.

By engaging with customers directly through business messaging, marketers gain the benefit of instant, real-time reactions to their campaigns and products, while also fostering customer satisfaction, trust, and retention throughout the journey.7

Additionally, with the power of automated chatbots, your messaging platform can address frequently asked questions, as well as smartly respond to such queries as availability, sizes, colors, and more for each of your products or services — 24 hours a day, without any of your agents needing to lift a finger. This not only provides instant satisfaction to consumers with a quick question, but frees your agents up to tackle more complex issues or questions that aren’t addressed in your FAQs or chatbot scripts.

One last note: Remember, business messaging is just one channel, and works best in conjunction with others as part of a comprehensive omnichannel strategy. Don’t be shy about using business messaging channels to drive eyeballs to other useful assets that may drive conversions, such as your blog, social media, YouTube channel, etc. Thanks to business messaging’s high click-through rates, you’ll have a helpfully powerful tool at your disposal to build your audience across all channels.

Person driving through campground with golden retriever in passenger seat

Bottom of Funnel: Removing Obstacles To Purchase and Driving Action

This is it — the moment of truth!

The third and final stage in the traditional sales funnel — “decision” — represents its most critical step. Messaging at this stage nudges the customer toward taking the steps to purchase, and should ideally make it as seamless as possible for your customers to finally make their purchase.

Thankfully, the lightning fast, real-time nature of business messaging empowers brands to create a sense of exclusivity, scarcity, or urgency, all with messages they can feel confident knowing their customers are almost certainly reading.

Messages can not only provide “calls to action” for customers to make a purchase on your website, but enact a purchase without ever leaving the chat. Consider the increasingly popular "Text-To-Buy" capability adopted by some brands, which allow customers to make a purchase directly in the chat. If the customer elects to provide their payment and address information, a simple “yes” command can initiate a transaction — no need to visit another channel. Interest in these features continues to grow, especially among younger demographics: one study found 20% of Gen Z consumers reported they’d be interested in making purchases this way.8

Business messaging also provides an elegant solution to one of the most common problems faced at this stage of the funnel: Cart abandonment. Shoppers will often put an item in their cart without finalizing their purchase for any number of reasons: perhaps they got distracted, balked at unanticipated fees, or decided at the last moment that they needed a little more time to think.

Whatever the case may be, one study found that optimized abandoned cart text message reminders can deliver as much as a 58% recovery rate9 — a serious boost in revenue for any organization.

Another key bottom of funnel benefit: As you begin to develop a clearer understanding of your customers' preferences and sales history, you can send personalized product recommendations both at the time of purchase or as part of a general marketing message — a great way to help build up average order value.

Person laying on outdoor bench while smiling and reading a marketing message on phone through WhatsApp

Retention: The Cycle Continues

Of course, the funnel doesn't simply end when the customer makes their first purchase — think of it as more of a cycle, then a funnel. Post-purchase messaging tends to remain focused on retaining the customer, best positioning them to become loyal brand advocates.

Beyond delivering vital information such as delivery updates and receipt confirmations, post-purchase messaging can lean even more heavily into personalization, especially as they begin to accrue a purchase history with your company. These messages can range from a simple 'thank you' note for their purchase, to a curated selection of recommended products based on their previous purchases. Even a simple “how did we do?” message could achieve wonders in fostering trust and collecting feedback about your brand experience.

Additionally, business messaging could potentially supercharge any customer referral programs, especially when paired with worthy incentives to customers who spread the good word about your brand.

Lastly, business messaging allows you to keep your customer “in the know” about new product launches, sales, or other pertinent info that may drive increased purchases — without getting lost in an email spam folder. Again: Because you’re meeting customers where they’re most comfortable, they’ll almost certainly see your message, and are more likely to act on it.

The Funnel’s Gone Mobile: Meeting Customers Where They Are

While business messaging isn’t likely to completely replace traditional marketing channels just yet, but it does stand to provide significant benefit and value to just about any omnichannel marketing effort.

Integrating business messaging into your marketing funnel is no longer just an option - it's a necessity. By meeting prospects where they are, you’ll find yourself well-positioned to stay relevant in the long term, resonate with your audiences, and create meaningful, lasting relationships with your customers.

Curious about the power of business messaging but unsure how to get started? Check out this guide exploring a number of entry points for business messaging in marketing.

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