There are two key components to any successful marketing strategy.

  1. Having an offer people want to purchase
  2. Getting it in front of the people you’re trying to sell to

I can’t help you with the first of these two. Finding the right product for your target audience, one that’s not only desirable but offers genuine value and solves a problem, is something you can only discover by talking to those you’re trying to sell to. 

However, getting your killer offers in front of the right people has never been easier.

Modern marketers are spoiled for choice when it comes to promotion. Between Facebook ads, Google Ads, social media networks, email marketing, and all the other digital channels at our disposal there’s almost too much to choose from.

And yet, it’s anything but easy to grow a successful brand.

Every method has its own set of rules. They each have their own limitations and strengths. You, as an online marketer need to understand how they integrate with one another to create one consistent, profitable customer experience.

The trick to success is to choose a single channel and master it. Become the brand that dominates that channel before experimenting with the next.

And out of all the potential networks and methods to explore, there’s one we’d recommend starting with.

Facebook, and in particular, Facebook Messenger.

Why Facebook Messenger Should be Central to Your Marketing Strategy

Over the last 2 years there’s been a drastic shift to conversational commerce.

Consumers want immediate answers to questions. They want to feel like they’re valued consumers and not just another online target for your money making endeavors.

One of the biggest problems with ecommerce over the last decade has been poor customer service.

Online customer service has been handled almost entirely through email. A potential customer would reach out with a question to then receive an immediate response saying something like the below.

Ecommerce customer service

You basically find out immediately that you have to wait for a resolution. And it’s incredibly annoying for consumers.

I mean, if I wanted a particular product in blue but can’t find it on the site, am I going to wait 24 hours for some basic guidance, or am I going to head straight over to your competitors to see if they have it?

The latter right?

Swift, efficient customer service is becoming the key differentiator in successful ecommerce stores. Brands have seen the value of live chat and conversational commerce. They’ve seen how offering a more personalized, swift response to customers is the easiest way to increase conversions, sales, and brand loyalty. 

There’s plenty of services out there offering chat solutions, but there’s one which is firmly at the top of the pile.

Facebook Messenger.

Much like Facebook’s social network, Messenger has a huge existing user base. At the time of writing, there are 1.3 billion people active on Facebook Messenger.

Facebook Messenger users

That’s 1.3 billion who are carrying the most engaging digital marketing channel around in their pocket. 1.3 billion people who are just waiting to be marketed to.

But hold on.

It’s only the second most active Messenger app right? And tools like Intercom have more features available to you for segmentation and targeted messaging.

Both statements are true. However, both also fail to address the key difference Facebook Messenger provides.

Facebook Messenger is the most open and effective Messenger and chat solution for digital brands.

WhatsApp is primarily closed to marketers. You can’t directly integrate a WhatsApp follow up into your Facebook ad campaigns like you can with Messenger.

Facebook has a specific ad campaign just for driving more Messenger messages. And as one of the most cost effect ad platforms around, that’ss a huge benefit in Messenger’s favor.

But what about customer service? Live chat solutions like Drift and Intercom are better, right?

Well, they might have more features for on-site chats, but as soon as the user abandons their cart or exits your site, they’re almost useless.

You revert back to relying on traditional email.

Now, I’m not saying email is useless – far from it. It’s still one of the highest ROI channels, but it’s getting destroyed in terms of engagement by Messenger.

Messenger vs email

Messenger is the only service that not only integrates with paid ad campaigns directly, but also has the ability to leverage the super high engagement conversational commerce provides whether or not your user is on your site.

You’re able to leverage the platform to make instant sales or re-engage users who left your site but expressed an interest.

However, it might not be as simple in the very near future.

Facebook Messenger’s Changing Rules

Facebook seems to have finally caught on to the massive financial potential of Messenger. 

They may also be a little fed up of people gaming the system which has, up to this point, been very poorly policed.

Whatever the reason, they’re changing the way subscription messages work on the Messenger platform.

Facebook Messenger Subscription Messaging

In short, they’re moving the permission to send subscription messages to you, the page owner. Right now those permissions rest with the service provider, services like Manychat, jumper, Recart, etc are those securing and maintaining those permissions.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Let’s take a quick step back and look at the campaigns they are changing. 

What are Messenger Subscription Messages?

Subscription messages are Messenger correspondence sent outside the initial 24-hour window. They are only permitted if they fall into one of the following three categories; news, productivity, or personal trackers. Anything outside those three categories breaks the rules and could get your permissions revoked. 

Subscription messaging permissions

That leaves no potential for promoting products or driving revenue through the platform, right?

Not quite.

There’s another kind of message allowed; standard messages.

Standard messages can be sent within 24 hours of when the user first interacts with your brand through Messenger. Within those 24 hours you’re pretty much allowed to send anything you want.

It’s commonly referred to 24+1 as you’re also allowed one extra promotional message outside the 24 hour period.

Messenger 24+1 messages

This 24 hour period is all you’ve got to promote your products.

And as Facebook is moving permissions for subscription messages down to the page level, if you break this one cardinal rule you could find your Messenger privileges for your brand being revoked.

That means there’s no opportunity for you to switch services and have your permissions reactivated should you break the rules.

Of course Facebook aren’t just cutting the opportunity for subscription messages for a large portion of their users. You will have the opportunity to pay for sponsored messages through which you can deliver your promotional content outside the 24-hour window. 

Something I’m sure we’re all keen to avoid.

It’s in your best interest to get approved for subscription messages ASAP. I’m going to run your through the exact process I’ve used to get approved and highlight a couple of things I discovered that seem to ensure your request is denied.

How to Apply for Subscription Message Permissions

Step 1 – Go to Your Facebook Page Settings

You can apply for permission to send subscription messages directly through your business’s Facebook page settings.

If you’re not sure where that is, click on settings I the top right

Freelance writing courses Facebook Page

An example from one of my sites that sells courses for freelance writers

Once you’re there, look to the nav bar on theft and find the option for the Messenger Platform.

Facebook messenger subscription request

This will open up the main Messenger options, around two thirds down the page you’ll find the option to request permission.

Request Subscription message permissions

Step 2 – Filling in Your Request Form

When you click on request you’ll be served a form to fill out a couple of details.

There’s no set of keywords to use or ignore and no secret way to game the system. Each request is manually reviewed, which means there’s a real person deciding the fate of your subscription message permissions.

You’ll be asked to fill out three things.

  1. A tick box as to which category of message you’ll be sending
  2. Additional details on that selection
  3. Actual examples of the messages you will be sending to users

Subscription message permissions

And of course the examples of messages you’ll send.

Example Messages for Messenger

To try and figure out what will get you approved or denied I filled in a couple of different requests. This is by no means a conclusive study as it’s personal experience over maybe half a dozen requests.

However, there were a few things I did notice.

The short version is that adding links directly to your site or to a specific blog post, even if it is news, seems to ensure your request will be denied.

I was only ever accepted when I kept the content as close as possible to the templates outlined by the FB Messenger team.

Here’s an example of two example messages I created for them, the first was denied, the second was accepted.

“NY leads the pack! A new act brought into place in New York gives freelancers like you more rights when dealing with clients. You’re more protected within the state when it comes to payments and contracts. Read more about it here [INCLUDE LINK TO BREAKDOWN]”

I’m pretty certain the mention of a direct link to the site is what got that banned. On the other hand, the below was the one that got accepted.

“NY leads the pack! A new act brought into place in New York gives freelancers like you more rights when dealing with clients. You’re more protected within the state when it comes to payments and contracts. Read more on the blog”

As mentioned when starting this piece, this is by no means a definitive study. It’s my experience across a handful of pages and numerous applications on each.

You’ve also got to consider that there’s a real person on the other end. With manual reviews, you’re kind of at the mercy of the person approving your request. Your rejection could be as simple as them having a bad day.

Don’t worry if you are denied, there’s nothing to stop you from resubmitting your request with a slightly amended approach.

What Does this Mean for Facebook Messenger Marketers?

Things are going to change for those of us selling through Facebook and Messenger.

There’s going to be stricter rules and, potentially, harsher punishments for breaking them.

However, they ONLY apply if you’re sending subscription messages. These rules are only going to affect you and your brand if you’re trying to replace email with relationship building value messages that attempt to re-engage.

So here’s what we recommend you do.

First is simple. You don’t want to get caught out and end up having to pay any subscription messages so you want to both work out a strategy that will keep you sending regular messages without breaking the rules, and implement it now so you’re getting into the habit of it come the new rules.

This might also build up some good will with Facebook should you eventually break the rules as you’ve been proactive in trying to play by them.

Second is to double down on your standard message campaigns.

That 24 hour window for promotional content is going to become increasingly important to make sales.

You’re going to want to have the right tools and strategy to fully capitalise on that short window.

The easiest way to leverage Messenger in that 24 hour window is to use tools that automate your follow up and push for the sale.

A couple of key players include Manychat for general chat follow ups and Recart for cart abandonment.

However, some of the best results we’ve seen are those which follow social media updates directly with a checkout through Messenger.

You hit the user with a social media update that builds an insane amount of desire to get them to interact. As soon as they do, they’re sent a message through Messenger that allows them to buy the product directly.

It’s a great way to get users to make their first, low cost purchase with your brand and get them into your upsell, cross-sell, or repeat purchase funnel.

Not only is it a great way for you to make quick and easy sales, it also is well within Facebook’s new rules and adds people to your customer base, Messenger and email subscriptions for future repeat purchase opportunities.

If you get your 24-hour promo strategy sorted and start looking at how you can send subscription messages without breaking the rules now, you’ll be in prime position to make huge amounts of profits come January 2019.