Messaging has become the preferred method of communications for the global community. According to a 2018 eMarketer survey, by the year 2022, nearly 36% of the world’s population (approximately 3 billion) will be using mobile phone messaging apps as one of their primary communications channel, including Messenger, WhatsApp, and others.
Consumers crave fast, personalized communications channels to connect with the people and businesses that matter to them. However, there is a disconnect between consumers’ expectations for businesses to communicate with them and how companies communicate with their customers. The truth is that nearly 81% of consumers said it’s difficult to communicate with businesses, but only 34% of companies acknowledge these challenges, according to a 2017 Twilio customer communications global report.
All this is to say that brands have the opportunity to effectively engage with their customers and drive meaningful business outcomes through messaging as a marketing channel. According to a 2017 Twilio report, companies whose customers are delighted with their digital communications are almost three times more likely to have revenue growth over 15 percent and are 3.5 times more likely to exceed their financial goals. Companies have the opportunity to drive positive results because a personalized communications experience directly affects willingness to purchase more products, to recommend the brand to friends and to write positive reviews on sites like Yelp.
Moreover, as our comfort level with messaging apps has risen with the proliferation of smartphones, personal communication increasingly means messages to customers’ phones. Based on a 2016 global messaging research report from Twilio, the average person has at least three messaging apps on their phone, uses them each once a week or more, and sends at least three messages per hour. Unsurprisingly, messaging is ranked as the top channel consumers want to use to engage with businesses.
The data around the percentage of users who opt-in for company notifications confirm the increased engagement that comes with messaging apps. Even though 60 percent of users typically turn off push notifications for social apps, only 6 percent of consumers opt-out of receiving notifications from messaging apps. In Singapore, for example, 95% of WhatsApp users have notifications turned on, meaning your communications are always viewed if not always acknowledged (Source: Twilio, 2016, Understand How Consumers Use Messaging Report).
Brands that embrace messaging as a marketing channel can strengthen their connections with their customers and drive significant business outcomes. Sephora, the renowned global beauty retailer, wanted to entice their customers to visit their locations for beauty services. To achieve this goal, Sephora built an automated experience on Messenger that reduced the number of steps for their customers to book in-store makeover appointments which resulted in an increase of 11% in appointment bookings.
Despite the obvious financial implications and evident success, a recent research report from Twilio found that just 48 percent of businesses are equipped to connect with their customers through messaging. Companies must adapt and evolve because not doing so will have significant negative business implications, as their competitors become digital and agile in their strategies to connect with customers.
Adding messaging to your marketing channel strategy is a seamless process. First, clearly define your business objectives. Second, invest in messaging as a holistic customer engagement channel — lead generation, conversion, customer care. Third, implement your streamlined channels to build relationships with your customers and drive meaningful business outcomes.
Messaging is here, and it provides brands with numerous opportunities to connect with their customers in personalized ways to build life-long relationships. The key to success is for companies to take their cues from customers on how to effectively communicate with them. Marketers can no longer ignore messaging as an active channel to grow their customer base and drive business outcomes.