Don't Get Left Behind: How Early Adoption of Business Messaging Solutions Can Supercharge Your Lead Generation Against The Competition
May 15, 2023
In a landscape rife with competition, increasing customer sophistication, and shifting technological/consumer trends, keeping ahead of your competitors when it comes to lead generation is among the biggest challenges facing brands today.
Good marketers know that brands need to adapt to these, and all kinds of other ever-changing external factors in order to stay ahead. Which raises the question: Which upcoming advancement in consumer or business technology will be the next “game changer” in your industry – or potentially every industry?
One clear shift is the rapidly growing popularity of business messaging, with both vendors and customers alike.
Why do business messaging solutions bring such value to brands – and what kind of disadvantages will you face if your competitors embrace it first? Below, we’ll discuss the ways early adoption can supercharge your team’s lead generation, all while helpfully delighting your customers.
A Lead Generation Engine: What Makes Business Messaging So Effective?
If you’ve watched in puzzlement as a competitor, or multiple competitors, integrate chatbots, a texting platform, and other messaging capabilities into their marketing strategy, you’re probably not alone. So, let’s explore the advantages business messaging can provide for your business’s lead generation efforts by diving into a few real-world examples of its capabilities.
A recent poll found 67% of respondents believed being able to text with a business would increase the overall convenience of their shopping experience.1 And many attentive brands, for their part, seem to be taking notice: another study found 42% of surveyed marketers reported using a text messaging service to interact with customers; the following year, that number jumped to 55% – a 27% increase.2
While delighting their text-happy customers, brands can also reap some valuable benefits from business message platforms: In fact, one 2022 Meta-commissioned study found that 58% of marketers reported an increase in lead generation after incorporating business messaging.3
Improved Response Times Coupled With “Real-Time” Support
In our increasingly digitally connected world, customers aren’t particularly keen about waiting on hold, drafting an email, or navigating cumbersome online forms or call menus. Instead, they’d rather engage brands in the same, familiar, and instantaneous way they engage with their friends and family: via text.
Messaging offers customers some slick convenience when it comes to engaging your business: 24-hour support (whether through staffing or automated responses), as well as an asynchronous conversational nature that allows your customer to leave and return to your conversation when it is most convenient for them. This not only helps remove several barriers to positive interactions with your customers, but allows you to develop closer connections, help improve their overall satisfaction, and ultimately drive lead generation and growth.
For example, imagine a clothing store with an e-commerce presence and brick-and-mortar location. Your customer could find your website, search for a particular product, search sizes, and go through several menus to determine whether or not a color, size, or particular garment was in stock.
With a robust messaging platform, however, a customer could quickly text, “is X available in large?” and receive an immediate answer – with the speed and accuracy of a personal concierge. The shopper’s needs are quickly addressed, and you’ve identified a new potential lead.
The Opt-In: A “Golden Ticket” To Customer Attention
Directly asking shoppers to opt into receiving helpful messages and content from your company can be a great way to improve your campaign’s success and get closer to your customers.
Seem counterintuitive? Consider this: Those who opt-in to your marketing campaigns are self-identifying as interested in your brand and its offerings. In other words, the opt-in acts as a filter to ensure only engaged customers are receiving your messages – a simple, but powerful lead generation engine.
Pair that with non-spammy messaging campaigns that provide real, tangible value to your most excited customers, and you’ll have a built-in audience of enthusiastic prospects eager to be nurtured.
High Open Rates
If you’re worried about your messaging reaching the right audience, you’re in good company. It’s a common fear among marketers, and it’s easy to understand why – all of your creative, analytical, collaborative work will be for naught if no one ends actually up seeing it!
Luckily, one of the platform’s greatest strengths again lies in its ability to seamlessly integrate itself into your prospect’s normal messaging habits. One study found that 1-in-3 customers check their text notifications within one minute of receiving a message.4 That level of hyperfocus on our personal devices leads to an astonishing 98% open rate for all SMS messages – far higher than the engagement rates seen on other channels.5
In other words, your messages can be seen by your chosen audience – and seen quickly. If even a small portion of those 98% of customers become leads for your business, you’ll likely see them turn into customers – and possibly repeat customers – in no time.
Assuming you’ve obtained their consent at the beginning of your interaction, business messaging platforms allow you to collect relevant information about your customers like purchase history, product type preferences (e.g. clothing size), their shopping schedule, and more.
Properly employed, these data points can be used to develop personalized campaigns for your shoppers – a powerful tool for generating leads and sales. Not only do we know that customers tend to reward brands that go the extra mile to personalize their shopping experience,6 personalization can also simplify the path to purchase for your customers. Who wants to click through a bunch of extraneous, irrelevant pages to find the products you actually need?
For example, consider how a major telecom provider might personalize their customer’s experience via texting channels: the business could send an automated text when it’s time for the customer to upgrade their device, when a new plan better suited to their budget or data needs is made available, or perhaps to promote a cross-promotional discount on a streaming sports service.
While the customer themself might not be so vigilant about keeping up with their cell phone provider’s offerings, they’ll certainly be checking their phone – and marketers can use that responsiveness to their advantage.
The Power of Automation
While some may be reluctant to incorporate automation into their marketing campaigns – perhaps due to some negative associations with earlier iterations of the technology – it’s worth noting that the technology has seen some significant advancements in recent years. In fact, a 2022 study found that up to 70% of customer inquiries on Meta business messaging platforms are successfully answered via automation alone.7
Particularly when combined with the channel’s high open rate, the use of chatbots and event-triggered messages serve as another hidden strength of business messaging platforms. Little nudges like “abandoned cart” or “loyalty discount” will be a lot more effective as a direct text message, rather than an email that might get lost in filters.
In terms of lead generation specifically, automation can also take a great deal of the groundwork out of the qualifying process, identifying a shopper’s needs and the extent of their readiness to purchase through pre-determined questions posed to anyone contacting your brand on the platform – quickly, and with no effort from the human members of your marketing team.
Letting The Future Pass Your Business By?
Unlike some tech trends once slated to be revolutionary gamechangers, there’s a lot of data and sound reasoning underlying the increased embrace of business messaging tools.
You’ll not only delight customers – 67% of whom express a preference to texting channels8 – but unleash a formidable tool for your lead generation, customer retention, and sales alike. It’s just one of the reasons why early adoption of this emerging technology can give your brand a substantial competitive edge against other players in the marketplace.