Messenger marketing — it sounds like something we’ll hear more of in the next few years. I have personally experienced the boom of Facebook ads as a platform to capture leads and nurture them into customers. Now it seems we’re on to something with Facebook Messenger.
ManyChat is currently leading the way to a new kind of marketing using bots solely within Facebook’s messaging application. As the “#1 bot platform for Facebook Messenger”, it’s the best bet right now for creating automated message sequences and replies to people’s common inquiries.
Though it’s only had a few years to evolve so far, ManyChat is already making notable ripples as far as marketing campaigns go. With Messenger’s accessibility to billions of people, it’s becoming an easy gateway to a lot of functions that used to be exclusive to email campaigns and social media ads.
The best thing about it is that it’s a bot platform for those who are new to using bots. No experience is not a problem because ManyChat makes setting it up as easy as writing and designing your newsletter. Plus, it caters to a lot of different industries and business needs.
What’s the Purpose of ManyChat?
If all of its features were to be collated into three categories or functions, it would be:
All your marketing efforts from increasing brand awareness by asserting your social media presence to promoting your own content can be automated with Messenger bots.
As you do so, you can qualify leads by gathering more information about them. Then, decode where they are in the customer journey based on their responses to improve your other marketing efforts and campaigns.
Yes, you can complete an order all within Facebook Messenger! ManyChat can be integrated with Shopify, Paypal, and Stripe, so you could offer an item and accept payment without requiring the customer to leave the application.
Best customer service wins over any other aspect of business. All the time, without fail, it makes your product or professional service 10 times better. In this case, Messenger bots, which can be considered part of your customer service, foster good customer relations.
It grows your audience exponentially more than you would if you’re manually reaching out to people. More so, it also captures those who are coming from your website or people who searched for certain keywords. Then, through automated follow-up sequences, guide them through all your available material from content to campaigns, leading them further down the customer journey.
What can you do with ManyChat?
From select templates or your own customized design, you can create an automated message to be sent out to your subscribers. You provide some answers that they can choose from. They’re only required to click on their answer, then it triggers another specific response based on what they want to know more or do next.
The questions and answers are different all the time, but message sequences generally aim for one of the following:
- Sell products - Items that are shown to each customer can be edited or automatically curated based on what they’re interested in or what they’re looking at. The customer is guided through the buying process until the payment is settled — all of which can be done within the Messenger app.
- Give quotes - Provide the services that you offer and let the person choose what they want to get a quote for. Throughout this automated message, you’ll know a bit of information about them and have a conversation history to warrant a follow-up.
- Set up appointments - Stop wasting time with back and forth conversations. Book appointments with potential customers if you’re offering a professional service.
- Take reservations - For restaurants, this takes away the tedious work of answering calls to accept table reservations.
- Share published content - Promoting your own content through ads is like shouting into the void. Messenger bots target individuals, which can elicit an action more effectively.
- Give out discount codes - It’s hard to resist discounts, especially when it’s personally sent to you. Even if it comes from a Messenger bot, discount codes still feels more personalized this way than if they’re sent through email.
- Get contact information - If nothing else, you can request for your audience’s contact information. This is one way to qualify leads, and not the least powerful. You can do a lot with a person’s information — nothing beyond leading them further into the customer journey and nurturing them towards making a purchase.
Unlimited Subscribers + A Few Selected Limited Features
Pricing Depends on Number of Subscribers + Extensive Features
ManyChat is generous with their plans. The Free plan comes with basic features, enough for businesses that are trying it out for the first time. You can have unlimited subscribers and a few selected limited features.
The Pro isn’t required to earn good results, but it stands as an option for businesses aiming to boost their marketing using only Facebook Messenger. The pricing depends on the number of subscribers, but it includes all the features in the free plan — all unlimited too — plus more extensive features and setups to maximize the information gathered from sequences and further optimize for growth.
Free vs. Pro Plan: What to Expect
The Free plan provides the bare minimum of what you need to make Messenger bots and automated messages. It doesn’t have the advanced and sophisticated features that make ManyChat useful to businesses for boosting growth. Here’s a list of the limitations and the rest of what you don’t get from the free plan:
- All the Quick Start templates
- Unlimited drip sequences — only 2 on the free plan
- Facebook ad creation
- Promoted messages
- Smarter automation
- Subscriber data gathering
- Free monthly emails
- Free SMS
Meanwhile, the Pro is optimized to get the most out of every sequence sent. Every action and inaction your subscriber makes is recorded as customer behavior. This includes which messages do people respond to and what answers they choose, and on the opposite end, which messages are not opened or ignored.
Pro Plan Pricing Based on Number of Subscribers
The pricing on the Pro plan is pricier compared to the typical pricing of email marketing platforms. The maximum number displayed on the site goes up to 25,000 subscribers.
$10 per month
$15 per month
$25 per month
$45 per month
$65 per month
$95 per month
$125 per month
$145 per month
You can contact ManyChat’s support to work out the price if you surpass 25,000 subscribers.
Available Features and Ranking
Before we get into the features, there are two terms that you should get familiar with in ManyChat: flow and sequence. Flow is the actual chain of messages that you set up for every interaction with a subscriber. It consists of the initial message that they respond to, the set of answers they can choose from, and the corresponding responses after that.
Sequence is a series of messages that a subscriber gets over a period of time with intervals that range from minutes to weeks. Similar to any kind of marketing campaign, it consists of several flows that have different goals.
The first one is usually to build awareness of your company or brand to the new subscriber. After that, messages are sent as a follow up or a marketing tactic to make people be acquainted with your name or products more.
Some people get confused with flow and sequence, so I thought it’s necessary to distinguish them. Almost all the features in ManyChat pertain to those two.
Quick Start Templates
There are available templates for different kinds of businesses and that fulfills different purposes for the messenger bot.
A visual editor of Messenger flows, you can customize the template you chose in the Flow Builder. This feature also offers the option to create your own customized flow from scratch. It’s highly dependent on icons, doesn’t require any coding, and has a drag and drop feature. The ease of use and convenience matches newsletter editors in email marketing platforms.
Time delays of one message after another can be set to nurture subscribers. Most effective to be used for consistent content distribution over time.
Broadcasts are messages that you send to all your subscribers at once. It works the same way as email blasts, but ManyChat takes pride in that it has a higher open rate and click-through rate. It also encourages immediate response or interaction, which is not readily available with email.
Up to 10 tags in the free plan and unlimited in the pro plan. Tags track every action by the subscriber from their opt-in information to ever action they take within the Messenger bot conversation.
Available only in the pro plan, buying options allow you to sell and finish the buying process with a customer inside the Messenger app.
One of the most innovative aspects of ManyChat. Place Growth Tools on your website, Facebook ads, and even physical items, then ManyChat will convert people that interact with those into Messenger bot subscribers. Facebook comments and website visits are qualify people as subscribers.
You can also create smarter Facebook ads using ManyChat. With the Growth Tools integrated with ads, you can get an influx of Messenger subscribers from the people that interact with your ads.
Randomizer step was added. It’s your option to set it up in your flow, so that a percentage of your subscribers will get different tested variants of messages and response options. You can test everything within your flow messages and optimize its content to improve your chatbots’ effectivity over time.
ManyChat integrates with Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and ActiveCampaign. It’s easy to merge subscriber information between the chatbot and email marketing platforms to improve your overall marketing efforts. ManyChat can also send emails in the pro plan. You have as many free emails as the number of your subscribers. Every extra email is only $0.003.
There are also 50 free SMS every month. The same rate as the emails applies for every SMS after the limit.
ManyChat can be integrated with a few common applications: ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, Google Sheets, Shopify, Paypal, Mailchimp, Zapier, HubSpot, Stripe, Integromat (for integration with other applications not included here). Enough to cover the basics but not enough for businesses that use more applications and SaaS than these.
Ability to Reply Using Personal Account
One of the best aspects of ManyChat that I’ll surely use is the ability to switch to my personal account when replying to subscribers after the messenger bot sends a message. This would be handy when people start asking specific questions that isn’t set up in ManyChat.
Having this will also alert you if a subscriber has a big potential to be a customer, then you can take it from there and do your own tactics to drive to a sale.
I advocate for automating as much of your life and business as you can. Automating messages to be sent on Facebook messenger is a less tedious extension of Facebook ads to maximize leads that come in through the forms in your ads.
Inclusive of Different Industries and Business Needs
ManyChat’s templates cater to 12 industries, so far. These include:
- Local small businesses
- Spas and salons
- Professional services
- Real estate
- Public figures
- Bloggers or influencers
The applications that are available for integration doesn’t include much. It specifically lacks in CRM integration. Businesses that would naturally opt for the pro plan would probably need an in-depth API knowledge to integrate other applications and SaaS that aren’t included in ManyChat’s list.
No Natural Language Processing
One problem some businesses encounter is that ManyChat freezes when subscribers add something to their reply. If the chatbot question requires only a phone number but people include an additional note like, “Pls contact me asap”, the chatbot won’t be able to interpret what that means. For a chatbot platform, NLP should be a top priority.
Lacking in Artificial Intelligence
ManyChat’s artificial intelligence only responds to exact keyword matches. Even if you include lists of keywords that can match similar phrases and words or a sample of questions that subscribers might ask, ManyChat won’t be able to decode them if they’re not exactly as the keywords and questions you input.
Should you use ManyChat?
With almost all of ManyChat’s features, advantages and disadvantages considered,
ManyChat would be best recommended for:
- Small businesses and chatbot beginners
The platform has an easy interface that those with not experience at all can play around with. The features are pretty generous and the free plan is perfect if you’re just testing if chatbots could work for you. It’s less risk for small business owners but the rewards and gains could be big if it does work.
It’s not recommended if:
- You have a large number of subscribers or are expecting to have more in the near future
Even the pro plan can be lacking in some features. You can probably find other chatbot platforms with cheaper pricing for more advanced features, though it might not have the ease and convenience of using ManyChat.
I’m a little invested in messenger marketing at the moment. It’s really looking promising as the next big thing in the coming years like Facebook ads is for a few years now. I would suggest getting into it before it becomes mainstream. It’s better to try it now, so that you have room to make mistakes. By the time new trends emerge, you’ll have a handle on how messenger marketing works, how to make it work for your business, and apply growth hacks.