Why Business Messaging Is a Critical Marketing Tool
August 31, 2023
A business messaging platform isn’t just a support tool — it’s also a powerful marketing channel.
Many marketers are already using business messaging platforms to engage and nurture leads. In fact, 48% of marketers in our recent survey reported they’re using business messaging to encourage omnichannel shopping.1
The marketing appeal of business messaging is clear — it’s not just another cold, transactional channel. It’s a tool for building trust with potential customers through one-on-one conversations that make them feel heard and address their concerns. With multiple, personal touch points, marketers can lay the groundwork for not just a future sale, but a long-term relationship.
Read on to see several ways business messaging proves to be a powerful marketing channel.
Engage consumers on a channel they already love
Consumers use their phones to make buying decisions everyday — from virtual try-ons and customized orders to mobile checkout. But instead of scattering all of these actions across a smattering of apps and tools, what if they could make buying decisions from the same messaging platform where they’re already communicating with friends and family?
That’s why business messaging is such a valuable channel for generating, nurturing, and converting leads. Shoppers are already using messaging in their personal lives, so it’s easy for them to start chatting with brands.
WhatsApp, in particular, is the most popular messaging app, with roughly 2 billion2 monthly active users. Chances are, your potential and existing customers are already using it.
Connect marketing to sales and support
As a marketer, it’s nice to imagine a single campaign that encourages a customer to purchase and stay loyal to your brand for years. But more often than not, sales are the result of cross-departmental collaboration — especially if you’re dealing with existing customers.
A business messaging platform empowers your marketing team to work together with sales and support. Every group can access the same messaging tool to quickly help leads and customers, no matter their need. Team members across departments can also view shoppers’ conversation histories so they can provide helpful assistance, additional context, and avoid being repetitive.
Chief experience officers recognize how valuable this cross-departmental collaboration over messaging is for shoppers. In our internal research, 68% of CXOs reported that business messaging is a major priority, and 44% expected to increase their messaging channel spend.1
To see the value of connecting with sales and support over messaging, imagine you’re a marketer for a home appliance company. You run a click-to-message ad campaign about your brand’s latest washer, which leads a shopper to a conversation with your marketing team’s chatbot. They ask a technical question about the washer, so the bot redirects them to a sales agent who can provide a detailed answer.
A week later, your marketing bot asks the shopper if they’re still interested in the washer. They confirm that they are and complete the purchase in the messaging app.
When the customer has an issue with the washer a few weeks later, they reach out to your brand’s support team over your messaging app. The agent provides quick, helpful responses and promptly resolves the issue. Impressed with your brand’s customer care, the customer decides to purchase the dryer that goes with the washer.
Gather zero-party data and unique customer insights
The crackdown on third-party cookies has been a long time coming for marketers.
Since GDPR took effect in the EU in 20183 and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was implemented in 2020,4 laws and regulations have been shifting companies’ online data-gathering processes. Safari and Firefox browsers already disable third-party cookies by default, and Google recently announced that it will phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome by Q3 2024.5
But customer data isn’t disappearing. Instead of relying on third-party information, marketers will need to gather first-party and zero-party data from customers. First-party data is information about shoppers’ interactions with your brand, like browsing activity and in-store purchases. Zero-party data is information that customers voluntarily share, like answering survey questions or sending product preferences over chat.
A business messaging platform simplifies the zero-party data-gathering process by offering plenty of ways to collect information. Embed polls, surveys, and contact forms in your chats so customers can share their data without even leaving the messaging app.
But to gather this information, your brand needs to show shoppers why they should share their data over chat. Say you’re sending a survey — explain that you’ll use the information to make personalized product recommendations. Or, you might offer consumers an incentive, like a promo code, in exchange for sharing their data.
Remember, you’ll need shoppers to opt-in to messaging before you send them marketing chats asking for their information. They’ll be more likely to do so if you focus on helping them over messaging. Add value with each chat, and potential customers will be more willing to share their information.
Create dynamic chats that go beyond text
A business messaging platform is a channel for communicating over text, but it’s also so much more than that. There are plenty of other elements you can include in conversations to keep shoppers engaged, like:
Your product catalog. Potential customers can review your products’ photos and details, including inventory levels, right from your messaging app.
Multimedia and data capabilities. Agents and bots can send product videos and photos. They can also send shoppers location specific specials or promos based on their zip code.
24/7 chatbots. Send potential customers quick answers and links to helpful resources with chatbots. Some can even pull up existing customer profiles to make personalized recommendations and complete purchases for shoppers.
Interactive buttons. These buttons let shoppers send quick replies (like “I’m looking for a product recommendation”) and can also be calls to action that take users to web pages or apps outside of the chat.
In-chat checkout. By connecting your messaging platform to your point-of-sale system, you can complete customer purchases through chats.
Use these elements together to create a valuable, convenient messaging experience that boosts potential customers’ confidence in your brand.
Close the sales loop by allowing people to purchase directly from chat
It doesn’t matter if your product is high-end or low-priced—business messaging platforms can help you seal the deal.
The bigger a purchase, the bigger a decision it is for customers. Shoppers may have questions or even concerns they want to address before they make that decision.
Messaging platforms give your brand a chance to reassure potential customers. Bots and agents can quickly provide whatever information shoppers need so they feel comfortable making a purchase. And when they do feel ready, buyers can conveniently complete the order over the messaging platform.
For everyday items, your customers probably don’t want to discuss the item at length. They may have just had one simple question before tapping that buy button.
Messaging fills their need for convenience. Consumers can complete their order in just a few chat responses within one messaging app—no need to switch to other websites or platforms.
The Turkish apparel company Modanisa lets customers shop right from messaging chats. The brand’s ecommerce chatbot encourages sales by:
Providing personalized product recommendations based on images that customers submit of items they like
Creating new customer profiles or pulling up existing profiles to access payment and shipping information
Completing purchases through the chat based on shoppers’ profile details
This messaging experience led to a jump in sales. Modanisa reported that 10% of customers who used the messaging platform went on to purchase at least one item, and 55% of customers using it placed their first-ever orders through the channel.
Business messaging isn’t just a “nice-to-have” marketing channel — it’s a revenue driver.
Build business messaging into your marketing strategy
You know why business messaging is valuable for marketers. But you might be wondering, how do I actually incorporate this channel into my marketing strategy?