No Checkbox, No Problem.

The ShopMessage team is proud to announce our new suite of Growth Tools for building your list of Facebook Messenger contacts!

Throughout this blog, we use Growth Tools, Growth Plugins, and Promotions pretty loosely.

They all refer to the same thing, and they all help you launch your Messenger Marketing strategy.

Who is this guide for?

We believe e-commerce merchants everywhere should have a strong Messenger marketing strategy. We wrote this guide for businesses that are in various stages of formulating their Messenger strategy:

  • Businesses that need help deciding which Facebook Messenger Marketing platform to install.
  • Marketers trying to collect Messenger opt-ins on their site and landing pages.
  • Brands that are even thinking about getting their feet wet with Conversational Commerce.

Also! We integrate with almost all platforms including Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Prestashop, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud to name a few.

If you’re already sold on Messenger and you just want the meat and potatoes, click here.

Why Every Business Needs a Messenger Marketing Strategy Now

Email is declining

We built these growth tools for e-commerce merchants big and small because now is the time for businesses to get started building up your list of Messenger contacts.

Email engagement is declining as inboxes saturate and recipients are afflicted with email fatigue.

Typing in an email address is a high-friction experience for today’s modern shoppers. It just takes too much time.

The email collection experts at Sumo benchmark the average email opt-in rate at 1.95%. Then out of that ~2% that have opted in, e-commerce stores can expect 15.66% open rates. That’s barely a drop in the bucket!

So where are they going if they’re not opening their emails? 

Messenger. It’s exploding!

More than 1.4 billion people are actively checking their Facebook Messenger inboxes every month. Mark Zuckerburg himself reported at Facebook for Developers’ F8 Conference that over 20 billion monthly messages were sent between people and businesses as of 2019, which is 2.5 times more YoY (as compared to Q2 2018).

Not only are people online, but they’re engaged! ShopMessage clients have seen ~81% open-rates and 34% click-thru rates. Email just can’t compare—take a look at Mailchimp’s benchmarks!

Messenger vs email engagement rates show that Messenger is more than 10x more effective than email. Messenger gets 81% open-rates and 34% click-through rates, while email has only 16% open rates and 2% click-through rates.
Infographic comparing Facebook Messenger and email engagement rates.

However, if you want to engage with your (potential) customers via Messenger, you’ll need their consent to be messaged. You’ll need them to opt-in to receive messages from your page.

Some brands who are veterans in the Messenger space may have been lucky enough to have their checkboxes pre-checked but…

Facebook’s pre-checked checkbox widgets went away — Here’s what you should know

Facebook recently made an announcement on its Developers page. As of April 9, 2019, Facebook has completely disabled the Messenger Check-box plugin’s pre-checked state. For some, this was a sad day, indeed.

When this happened, any brands that were lucky enough to get their stores onto an approved pre-check list lost their whitelisted status.

There is a silver lining though.

In the end, Facebook’s checkbox widget was just one of many points in your customers’ journey to engage with them and offer the opt-in promotion.

With Growth Plugins like the ones on ShopMessage, no checkbox is no problem!

An abstraction of an e-commerce website experience on a mobile phone is shown on the left. On the right is a close-up of that same screen, zoomed in to focus on a checked checkbox with the words "Send to Messenger" along with the Facebook Messenger icon next to it. Below the checkbox is a Facebook profile photo and name, Caroline Connors. A "Not you?" link is greyed out next to it. A female emoji wearing a purple longsleeve shirt forms an X with her arms above the close-up. Below the close-up is an alarm clock emoji with the text, "April 9" beside it.
Facebook will be deprecating the checkbox widget on April 9, 2019.

How ShopMessage’s Growth Tools Will Help Make You a Messenger Marketing Pro

The challenge: how to start a conversation with customers.

Our solution: create a growth tool for building your Messenger Marketing list. We gave a nod to email capture modals, with a small but major difference: one-click opt-in.

No more typing! But there’s a little more to it than that.

A GIF of an example store. A modal pops up with a Messenger opt-in button. The user clicks the button. The modal changes to the completed state, including a discount code. The user continues shopping.
Choose from a range of strategies for promoting to your visitors and collecting their Messenger opt-ins.

Our tools make every effort to respect the tenets of human-centered design by creating a frictionless experience for your customers.

Here’s what you can do to make that a reality for your customers.

Leverage ShopMessage’s Smart Logic to create a pleasant customer experience

We spent hundreds of hours thinking through what would make a Messenger opt-in experience an awesome one for your customers.

Optimize Opt-Ins by Only Displaying to the Visitors That Are Likely to Opt-In

Increase your success rate, and avoid wasting impressions on people that have a low probability of converting.

Logged In To Facebook

Your promotions will only show if we have detected that your site visitor is already logged into Facebook on their browser.

Users shouldn’t have to exit their purchase flow to log into Facebook Messenger. This would risk them abandoning your site and their cart.

Not Yet A Messenger Contact

We also don’t want to spam your existing contacts. We’ll only show your promotions to visitors that are not already in your list of contacts.

Once you’ve collected your customers opt-in, we won’t bother them with future pop-ups so they can focus on browsing your store.

ShopMessage smart logic only targets visitors that are: 1. logged into Facebook, 2. Not on an existing contact yet and 3. Not at the same time as an existing modal on the site. A guy with glasses and a hat smiles widely at his phone.
ShopMessage will only display plugins to visitors that are most likely to opt-in.

Works in Harmony with Existing Email Capture Modals 

A Messenger boom doesn’t have to cost you your existing email strategy. In fact, ShopMessage is proud to call several of your favorite email capture tools our partners.

We’ve built smart logic into your promotion’s display rules that prevent our plugin from competing with any of our partner’s plugins. No need to worry about flooding your customers with too many offers all at once.

A well-rounded marketing strategy will need multiple customer touch points to build a lasting relationship. ShopMessage wants to help you get there.

Device & Page Display Awareness For Advanced Visitor Segmentation

We’ve built in the ability to target customer browsers, UTM sources, and specific pages using string matching.

This allows you to create alternate experiences depending on which advertising channel they came from.

You can also target broad categories of pages across your site, such as your /collections/ or /product/ pages.

A bullet list of advanced targeting behaviors. The three lines read: Page & source targeting, frequency throttling, and Choose mobile, desktop & tablet. A photo of a man leaning on a bar in a café smiling at his smartphone.
ShopMessage allows you to target people based on the device they are using, the page they are on and the traffic source they came from. You can specify what frequency you want to display your overlays to the same user.

Create Beautiful Opt-In Capture Modals in 3 Clicks With The Flexibility to Fit Your Brand

We looked at hundreds of modal experiences used by the biggest brands in e-commerce to figure out what makes for a great experience. Here are a few things we learned:

4 Tips for Creating Beautiful Overlays

  1. Tailor your message to the particular point in your customer’s journey that you are engaging them.
  2. Branded Flyouts, Modals, and Full Page Takeovers are great ways to catch your customer’s attention.
  3. Keep things short and sweet. Use 2-3 lines to avoid a cluttered looking promotion.
  4. A simple background can add a lot of life and texture, without distracting from your main message.

We took these learnings and worked with a team of designers to create hundreds of professionally designed templates. Our goal was to help brands get started collecting opt-ins right away.

Instead of a clunky, freeform email input field waiting for a typo, brands can use one-click Send-to-Messenger buttons to follow-up seamlessly.

A grid of flyout overlays is layed on a warm, gradient background. They are all designed with different backgrounds and typeface choices, but they all say "Welcome! Take 10% Off Your Order". One overlay is twice as large as the rest, but it does not disrupt the grid.
We’ve created hundreds of preset overlays to help businesses hit the ground running.

All of our presets are plug and play—easy to use. We wanted you to be able to get started with Messenger Marketing without getting bogged down on design. The only thing you need to upload is your logo!

However, we also know that customization is important. We gave you the ability to customize just about anything in your overlay.

You can edit the background imagery, upload a logo, change the colors, edit your copy, and include a promotional offering to fit the needs of your brand.

An abstract representation of UI elements from the ShopMessage product that shows the overlay design interface. A preview of the existing overlay settings shows on the right side, while the left side has a column of settings. The background is a warm gradient of orange to yellow to pink.
ShopMessage’s overlay design tool allows you to customize layout, fonts, backgrounds, call-to-action text and more. The preview updates in real time.

Different Strategies To Grow Your Contact List

Every customer is unique, and every store experience is unique. We put together multiple Growth Tools strategies to make sure there’s a tool for everyone that can cover their bases.

Each strategy determines a set of rules governing the behavior of your Growth Tool. The strategy chosen will pre-populate specific messaging into your preset that is appropriate for the timing of your promotion.

Growth Plugin Customizations

  • overlay type e.g. modals, flyouts, and full-page takeovers
  • background image
  • messaging
  • typography
  • colors e.g. buttons, text
  • discount
  • your own logo

The Arrival Promo

Maximize your impressions by presenting all eligible visitors an offer moments upon arriving at your store.

You can set this to display immediately upon arrival, although we would recommend a few seconds of delay.

This way, your promotion benefits from the added surprise/delight of popping-up.

A turquoise and grey Facebook Messenger opt-in capture modal on a minimalist website mockup. The modal says "Welcome!"
A promotion that displays immediately, or very shortly after, a visitor arrives on your site.

The Purchase-Intent Promo

Use this strategy to strike a balance between your customer’s ability to browse the site and maximizing your opt-in rate.

Purchase-Intent is defined as viewing the page for X-seconds, scrolling down Y% of the page, or adding an item to their cart.

You can customize the timing and percentage delays based on your typical customer’s behavior.

A pink Facebook Messenger opt-in capture modal on a minimalist website mockup. The modal says "Unlocked!"
A promotion that displays when a visitor exhibits purchase intent. This can be defined as time spent on a page, the percentage of the page scrolled or adding an item to their cart.

The Exit-Intent Promo

Wait to display your promotion until your customer appears to be navigating away from your store. Catch your on their way out could mean the difference between an abandoned cart and closing the sale.

A yellow and grey Facebook Messenger opt-in capture modal on a minimalist website mockup. The modal says "Wait!"
A promotion that displays when a visitor appears to be navigating away from your site.

The Persistent Promo

This is a subtle, yet visible, way to build your Contact list. Best of all, it doesn’t take up a lot of space.

This hybrid promotion will render as a pill in the bottom corner of your page until the visitor engages with it, or an Intent rule is triggered.

When this happens, the pill will expand into a modal, a flyout, or a full page takeover depending on what design you chose.

A blue Facebook Messenger opt-in pill on a minimalist website mockup. The pill says "Unlock 10% Off"
A subtle, yet persistently accessible pill in the bottom corner of your site that visitors can engage with at will. A great way for your growth tool to co-exist with an email capture modal that may already be in place.

The Post-Purchase Promo

This strategy is different because it targets the customer after they have completed their purchase. Use this to ensure opt-in collection by celebrating your customer with an offer they can save for their next visit.

It’s important to lay the foundation for building a repeat customer while your customer is feeling peak joy about their purchase.

A blue and grey Facebook Messenger opt-in capture modal on a minimalist website mockup. The modal says "Thanks!"
A promotion that displays after a visitor has completed a purchase. A great way to celebrate your customers and re-engage them for repeat purchasing.

How to Choose the Right Growth Plugin Strategy for Your Brand, or What To Do If You Have an Email Modal On Your Site Already

Messenger opt-in growth tools and email capture modals appear and behave similarly.  Take care to avoid creating a conflicting, confusing experience for your customers. The last thing you want is to create a poor experience with both channels.

The good news is, we thought a lot about this problem. While we were debating our solutions three things kept coming up:

  1. The customer journey on your site comprises of multiple touch points.
  2. You want to avoid annoying or over-saturating your customers.
  3. You want to maximize your Messenger opt-ins.

Understanding The Steps of Your Customer’s Journey

To choose the right growth strategy, you need to take a look at the various points in your customer’s journey with your brand. Some common events include:

  • Discovering your brand
  • Landing on your website
  • Browsing your site
  • Adding an item to their cart
  • Completing their purchase
  • Becoming a happy customer.
A diagram outlining the steps along that a store owner can offer a promotion: upon arrival, after demonstrating purchase or exit intent, or post-purchase for next time. A merchant can also use a persistent promotion pill that displays during the entire session.
ShopMessage’s team has identified the most common scenarios that a merchant would want to offer their visitors a promotion. The best part is a merchant can use more than one!

It’s important to understand the scope of possible customer engagement points. This will enable you to identify where your existing email capture strategies fit into the larger puzzle.

You’ll be able to spot the gaps where you are not engaging with your customers. These are the opportunities where you’ll want to deploy your Messenger growth plugins.

What to Consider When Choosing a Strategy

First, you’ll need to determine whether there are any existing modals on your site that you need to take into account.

If you don’t have an existing email capture modal, then this choice is easy. Display your promotional plugin upon arrival with a slight delay.

We also recommend using the exit intent and post-purchase promo strategies for good measure.

A diagram of how ShopMessage's recommended growth tool strategy if your store has no email modals. Use the welcome, the purchase intent, and the exit intent promos. Vary the text and possibly even your discount offer between promotions.
In general, you want to maximize your opportunities to capture opt-ins by using multiple strategies that hit the visitor at various steps in their customer journey.

What to Do If You Already Use Email Modals

Do you already have email capture modals? If so, they will likely display upon arrival and/or when exit intent is displayed.

You should decide if you want to replace any of your existing email modals with one of ShopMessage’s Messenger growth plugins.

The alternative is to find a new step in the journey to prompt your visitors.

A diagram of where brands that use email capture modals tend to display them: upon arrival, and when exit intent is displayed.
Along the customer journey, a majority of brands that are using email capture modals have them deploy upon arrival, or when the visitor has displayed exit intent.

Choose the Persistent Offer strategy if you want your growth plugin to coexist with an email modal. This subtle pill keeps your opt-in promotion visible. It won’t compete with the arrival or exit-intent modals for attention.

Our Post-Purchase Promotion is unique. It displays to visitors that have already converted into paying customers. Use this time to celebrate your customers and encourage them to turn into repeat buyers.

A diagram that shows email capture modals being deployed upon visitor arrival and upon the exhibition of exit intent. A ShopMessage overlay is recommended at the post-purchase stage while also recommending a persistent promotion display in tandem with the email capture modals.
You can balance your email and messenger plugin displays by targeting your visitors at different sections of their customer journey.
Grow With Messenger

What to Do with Your New Growth Tool & The Contacts You Collect

So if you’ve gotten this far, then you’ve successfully created your first of many Growth Tools.

The contact opt-ins are rolling in! Awesome! But, we promised you this would feed into your larger Messenger Marketing strategy!

Just follow these steps.

Create a Welcome Series Message Flow to Greet Your New Contacts

It would be rude not to welcome the new additions to your brand family. We recommend connecting your Growth Tool to a Welcome Series flow.

It doesn’t have to be long-winded or complex. Even a simple “Hello! Thanks for stopping by!” goes a long way. It’s easy to make sure your customers know you care about creating a relationship with them.

A brunette woman wearing red and black looks down at her rose gold cell phone. Next to her is a floating conversation from Messenger. The first message is an image of five hands holding five pink balloons that spell out "Hello". The second message says "Welcome!! (Hand-waving emoji) This is where we make new product announcements and offer special sales to insiders like you. Sound good?" The messages are from a brand named Brooklyn.
The first step to building a lasting relationship is to start! Enroll your growing list of contacts into a welcome series flow that greets them as soon as they’ve accepted your promotion.

To create a flow for your promotion, navigate to the Follow-Up tab of your Growth Tools editor. Then, click the Create Flow button.

Next, you will be taken to the familiar flows message editor. You’ve most likely already encountered this while setting up your abandoned cart flow.

An abstract representation of UI elements from the ShopMessage product that shows the flow creation button. The background is a warm gradient of orange to yellow to pink.
Once you’ve set up your tool, the next step is to get a flow set up to start engaging with your new contacts.

To make things easier, we’ve created a nice, warm default that you can get started with.

The welcome flow comes with all the customizability you’ve come to expect from our product. After all, branding is important!

An abstract representation of UI elements from the ShopMessage product that describes the message flow rules and messages. A minimalist cellphone illustration shows a welcome conversation. The first message is a photo of five hands, each holding up a pink balloon letter that collectively spells out the word "Hello". The second message reads, "Welcome!! (hand wave emoji in yellow) This is where we make new product announcements and offer special sales to insiders like you. Sound good?" The message sender is a brand called Brooklyn.
ShopMessage has created a default flow that you can use to hit the ground running with engaging your new contacts.

Advanced Scenario — Visitor Properties

We also allow you to set unique visitor properties for contacts collected via your Growth Plugin.

You can use these visitor properties to identify this specific segment of your contacts list for specific campaign targeting.

Are you running a special Warehouse Sale promotion? You may want to send follow-up content to these users about similar deals.

You would need to specify the visitor property associated with this promotion as your inclusion rule in your campaign targeting set-up.

Bottom Line

Building a customer relationship that generates a high LTV for your business is hard.

You’ll need to meet them where they are, and that’s in multiple places. Some customers prefer email, others prefer Messenger, and some like a little bit of both.

Facebook Messenger offers a rich, interactive space to engage with your customers and prospects. ShopMessage’s Growth Tools was designed with the end customer, your customers, in mind.

We placed an emphasis on creating a great experience for everyone.

Are you ready to get started?

This article was updated on May 6th, 2019 to reflect new statistics from Facebook about Messenger adoption.


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