There was a time when you could disappear off the face of the earth. Nobody could track you down without a private investigator under their hire.

Today is quite different. Everyone has a miniature communicator in their pocket replete with discrete recording devices and a GPS tracker.

Anyone can contact you anywhere at any time. If you look at the Verizon coverage map, you’ll see there is virtually nowhere to hide.

And that’s great news for internet marketers!

It means your ability to market directly to a consumer anywhere at almost any time has grown exponentially over the past ten to fifteen years. And tools like Facebook Messenger have accelerated the process.

No other online personal messaging service is as invasive as Messenger. Any other app wouldn’t get away with an overlay bubble that takes up one tenth of your screen.

But we are all so addicted to everything Facebook that we don’t seem to mind the messenger bubble floating there (until it actually gets in the way and we fling it off into the ether space).

But how does a business take advantage of this oddly welcome invasion into the lives of future leads and customers? Can you really use Messenger for marketing without driving away your leads due to spam?

I’m here to tell you it’s absolutely possible. And over the next few paragraphs, I’m going to show you exactly how to take advantage of this unusual marketing tool.

1. Facebook Messenger Ads: Better Than Billboards

Ok, that title was a bit of a red herring. Of course, you’re not going to use billboards as an internet marketing technique.

But the creepy predictions about billboard-like advertising in the 2002 film Minority Report haven’t come true in the real world (nope, Captain Crunch still isn’t waving at me from my cereal box). But they have in the online world.

While physical billboards peel and remain neglected, digital ads such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are booming. The world has embraced invasive advertising wholesale. And it’s an incredible thing!

Facebook Messenger is the newest internet marketing service on the playing field. Yes, the Messenger app has been around since 2011. But just last year (2016), Facebook began testing ads in Messenger.

So, if you’re the kind of person who hates seeing ads at the bottom of every mobile game and app you’re using, don’t worry, it’s not like that yet.

But if you’re an internet marketer, this news means internet marketing gold. Why? Because people spend years of their lives on Facebook Messenger!

WhatsApp and Messenger users send 60 billion messages a day. Nobody has really calculated how much time that would take. But even if it took only two seconds to write and send each message, that would equal almost 4000 years spent messaging people.

And even if WhatsApp took up half of those messages, that’s at least 2000 years of time people are looking at the Messenger interface. And I can guarantee just by looking at my own messaging habits that it’s way longer than 2000 years.

But this era of Facebook Messenger ads hasn’t arrived yet. However, you can still use messenger right now as a means of winning sales and garnering leads.

2. What Do Facebook Messenger Ads Look Like?

While you might be envisioning some weird version of spammy pop-up ads, Facebook Messenger ads don’t really work like that (yet). They are actually more like regular Facebook ads than you might imagine.

The Messenger app interface is still ad free. An ad for Christian Singles Dating doesn’t pop up when you’re messaging a potential date.

But a couple of new marketing features involving Facebook Messenger currently exist. And they’ll bring you big returns especially if you’re already using Facebook Ads for marketing.

Two Kinds of Ads for Messenger

Most ads online including Google AdWords and Facebook Ads will send you to a website landing page or a Facebook page. This is the traditional method of funneling customers onto a sales page.

And tradition is awesome! It’s what gave us apple pie a la mode and horribly-croaked Christmas carols in blinding blizzards.

But tradition isn’t always the most effective or expedient method to funnel customers. Sometimes you need a way to quickly answer a lead’s questions and get them closer to buying.

Destination Ads

This is where the destination ad comes in. A destination ad will send your leads to the Messenger App instead of a website or Facebook page.

Why is this valuable? It gives the customer a direct line to your business. And it encourages a conversation.

If someone clicks on the link, they most likely already have questions and want to ask them. It takes out the frustrating few steps of going to a site, finding the “Contact Us” link and filling out all the requisite info a site wants before they let you answer the question.

And while you may not be able to answer the person right away, your lead or customer will feel like they quickly contacted you. But be sure to promptly reply.

Within the next 12-24 hours is a preferable response time. If you don’t answer, your opportunity will fizzle like a spent 4th of July sparkler and your lead will wander off somewhere else.

Sponsored Messages

This is an opt-in only method meaning customers need to have already messaged you through Facebook Messenger before you can use this option. If they have already messaged you, Facebook allows you to send them a certain number of sponsored messages.

The limited number is a good thing. It means nobody will be tempted to spam the heck out of their customers and ruin this rare gem of a marketing opportunity for everyone.

And it’s really a great opportunity because your customers already began the dialogue, all you have to do is guide them toward a sale. And you need to guide them gently, oh so gently, because people can unsubscribe from your sponsored messages if they think these messages are too obtrusive.

I’m thinking this method might even completely replace e-mail newsletters someday. (Actually, I’d predict quite soon because how many e-mail newsletters do you actually open on a daily basis? I’d bet a kidney it’s not very many.)

3. How to Use Facebook Messenger Ads

Now that you know what I mean when I say Facebook Messenger ads, let’s examine how to use them to make loads of sales without driving away customers.

As I said before, you have to be gentle with your customers. But you also have to offer something of worth or get people engaged in an actual conversation.

The two types of ads that use Messenger play hand-in-hand. Destination ads start the conversation and sponsored messages continue the conversation.

It’s akin to building an e-mail subscriber list but slightly more personal and direct. Contact and instant connection are some of the worth you’re providing with destination ads.

Unfortunately, you can’t send a direct message to a particular customer with sponsored messages. Facebook keeps track of who messaged you and you send a blanket sponsored message to the whole list.

But you can see the messages that already came across to help you tailor a blanket sponsored message that will either answer common questions or offer solutions.

Take remodeling company, for example. You could run a destination ad asking people to sound off on what part of their home they would remodel right now if they had the money.

If you get answers, you don’t have to even aggregate the answers, each one will be different. But you could send a sponsored message saying something like “Hey! That’s a great idea! How about we come out on Wednesday and do a free estimate?!”

Sudden sales potential right there! You already know the pain point of a very specific audience. And you’re getting the solution literally right in front of their noses.

4. How to Stay Prompt

If you’re a one man show or you have a small team, you might be wondering how do you stay prompt when responding to customers.

You might not be able to afford a large customer service team, but you can afford a chat bot. Meet ManyChat, a Messenger chat bot you can try out for free.

It’s a really easy interface. You essentially give permission to ManyChat to chat for your page and you’re off to the races.

You can quickly program a chatbot that will respond just like a customer representative would for your company. And it will save you the headache of having to respond to every one of your leads in a timely manner.

While ManyChat is free, you might not want everybody knowing you’re using a particular bot. You can upgrade for $10 a month. You’ll see all ManyChat branding disappear and gain a bunch of extra tools as well.

Start Hitting Those Sweet Sales

Once you become an expert at balancing the two kinds of Facebook Messenger ads, you’ll be raking in the cash. I guarantee this is a more effective method of marketing than email subscriber lists.

And it’s easier! Do you have any experience with ads using messenger? Have you seen great returns? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.