8 ways to grow your Messenger subscriber list

8 ways to grow your Messenger subscriber list

Messenger lists vs email lists

Building an email list is one of the most critical marketing activities an e-commerce marketer or business owner can undertake. It enables you to build an ongoing relationship with people who have visited your site or social pages so you can develop them into long-term, loyal customers. 

As important as email marketing is to any business, it does have its limitations. Firstly, you need to entice people to opt-in to receive your emails – email opt-in rates average only 1.95% so there are a lot of people who don’t subscribe. Secondly, you need those people who subscribe to actually open and read your emails. However, email open rates average approximately 22% for retailers. Of course, there’s always the possibility of ending up in the spam folder too. 

With 1.3 billion active users globally (and growing) Facebook Messenger offers you a new way to re-engage with your customers. Currently messages sent in Messenger enjoy around 80-90% open rates, almost four times what you get with email. Furthermore, we have seen Messenger opt-in rates as high as 15% for some of our clients, up to seven times what you might get with email.  

One major advantage of Messenger over email is reduced friction to sign up, which means you could convert a higher proportion of your website visitors into subscribers. 

So why is subscribing in Messenger easier for users than email? Your website visitors don’t have to type in their email address to subscribe, which can be a little painful, especially on mobile devices. Instead, your visitors simply click or press the Messenger button and click another button to authorize the connection. That’s it! The visitor is now a subscriber and you can engage with them on Messenger. 

Another advantage of Messenger over email is that your customers don’t need to log in to your site for you to know who they are. People are usually logged into Facebook 24/7 so you have access to re-engage with Messenger subscribers after they leave your site, for example, to send checkout reminder messages if they have abandoned their shopping cart.

We’re not suggesting that Messenger should replace your email list building and email marketing activities. However, Messenger is an increasingly important channel that you should take full advantage of to boost your customer engagement and sales. 

We share below eight ways to go about growing your Messenger subscriber list. The more of these that you implement in your business the more rapidly you will grow your Messenger subscriber base.

How to grow your Messenger list fast

Before you start make sure you apply to Facebook for permission to send subscription messages to your Messenger subscribers. Follow our step-by-step guide to apply to Facebook.

1. Add the Send to Messenger Plugin to your website popup

One of the quickest ways to grow your Messenger audience is to add a subscribe popup to your website, which triggers either after a certain amount of time your visitors spend on site or upon exit intent. It’s almost identical to an email subscribe popup you would be very familiar with.

subscribe to messenger popup

You also have the option of keeping your existing email popup and adding a Messenger subscribe option to provide your visitors a choice. For example, Maisie integrates with popular providers like Justuno and Privy so that you can grow both your email and Messenger subscriber lists.

2. Insert the Send to Messenger Plugin to your order confirmation page

Adding a Send to Messenger button to your order confirmation / thank you page gives you another opportunity to capture customers who ignored or blocked your popup.

messenger transactional messages

The rationale for customers connecting to you on Messenger will also be different post-purchase – you can offer them the option to receive their order confirmation and shipping status updates directly in Messenger. Platforms like Maisie, which integrate deeply into your ecommerce software, handle all this automatically for you.

messenger order confirmations

You might ask why you should bother adding a Messenger opt-in post-purchase as you would have collected a customer’s email address during the checkout process. The reason is that some of your customers might prefer to engage with you in Messenger rather than via email or are more likely to open and read your message in Messenger than your email. I also believe that the more points of contact you have for a customer the better as people might prefer to engage in different channels at different times or for different use cases.

3. Install the Checkbox Plugin on your product pages

Installing the Messenger Checkbox Plugin to your product pages provides another opportunity for you to get your site visitors to opt-in to Messenger. The plugin can be inserted beneath your Add to Cart button so that it doesn’t interfere with your key product details or prevent people from adding items to their shopping cart. 

You could invite your visitors to subscribe to get product updates or special offers in Messenger or you could incentivize them to subscribe with a discount on their next purchase.

messenger checkbox

Using this plugin is a great way to both build your list and remarket to subscribers who add items to their cart but do not complete purchase. You can send them up to 2 checkout reminder messages in Messenger to get them back to your site to complete their purchase.

abandoned cart reminder message

4. Include your m.me link in your emails & other marketing assets

A m.me link is a URL shortener operated by Facebook that enables you to easily share with anyone the link to your Messenger account. Clicking on the link on a mobile device will open up a person’s Messenger app and start a conversation with your business. On a desktop clicking the link will open a new Messenger browser tab. 

Your link is simply your Facebook Business Page handle added after the m.me URL.

You can use your m.me link anywhere to invite people to connect with your business on Messenger. For example, you could include it anywhere on your website, in your marketing or support emails, in any printed materials, on your packaging, etc.You can find your m.me link by visiting your Facebook Business Page, clicking Settings in the top right navigation then clicking Messenger platform on the left menu.

messenger platform settings screen

Scroll down the page until you see your Messenger m.me link.

m.me link

5. Add the Message Us Plugin to your website

On your website you might prefer to use something nicer looking than the m.me link discussed above. Facebook offers a button called the Message Us Plugin that you can insert onto your website pages. 

Similar to the m.me link clicking on the button on a mobile device will open up a person’s Messenger app and start a conversation with your business. On a desktop clicking the button will open a new Messenger browser tab.

message us buttons

Setting up the Message Us Plugin will require a few small changes to your website html code. You can read Facebook’s setup instructions here.

6. Run Click-to-Messenger Ads

If you’re happy to invest in some advertising Click-to-Messenger ads might be an option worth testing. Click-to-Messenger ads are the same as your typical Facebook or Instagram ads except that instead of people clicking through to your website they click through to your Messenger bot to engage in a conversation.

click-to-messenger ad jaspers market

This can be a cost-effective way to boost brand awareness and capture new subscribers that you can re-engage on Messenger and eventually convert into a sale. Click-to-Messenger ads offer the following advantages over the usual ads where people click through to your website:

  • Most people use Facebook, Instagram and Messenger on their mobile devices so clicking through to your website on a small screen might not be the best way to engage with the customer and generate a sale.
  • Clicking through to your Messenger bot enables the user to easily engage in an automated chat with your bot and because it’s automated you do not need to provide human resources to support your ad campaign.

To create a Click to Messenger ad campaign visit Facebook Ads Manager and create a campaign in the usual way. When creating your ads Facebook offers you the following options for how you would like to have a conversation with people who click on your ad.

click-to-messenger ads bot setup

Select one of the three options above and click the Create chat button. You will see the following screen where you can build your own automated mini-conversational just for this ad campaign.

click-to-messenger ads bot setup convo

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7. List your business in the Messenger Discover tab

Discover is what Facebook calls its Messenger app (bot) store, where people can browse and find Messenger bots, nearby places and businesses to message. People can access the Discover tab by pressing the icon in the bottom right corner of the Messenger app.

messenger discover screen android

Whilst there are lots of bots and businesses already listed in Discover it’s worth your time to list your business as well – it’s reasonably straightforward and you never know what new customers it could bring you. To get listed in Discover visit the Messenger settings screen for your Facebook Business Page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page until you see Discover settings.

messenger discover settings

Click the Set Up button to reveal a form that you must complete.

messenger discover application form

Once you have completed the form click the blue Submit button. Also make sure Discover visibility is set to Show or else you won’t be visible in Messenger discover (although people can still find you through search). Allow at least a couple of weeks for Facebook to review and approve your submission. Once approved you will be listed in Messenger Discover.

8. Send Messenger invitations with Customer Matching

It goes without saying that Facebook has collected a LOT of cell/mobile numbers from its users, either from their use of the Facebook mobile app or as a way of providing an extra layer of validation and security when signing up to or logging into Facebook. 

If you have collected a list of your customers’ cell/mobile numbers, say during the checkout process or as part of your loyalty program, customer matching can be a great way to quickly boost your Messenger subscriber list.

The customer matching feature will enable you to send invitations to your customers to connect in Messenger where you have a cell/mobile number for that customer. The customer can choose to accept, ignore or reject your invitation to  connect. If they accept your invitation they will be subscribed to your Messenger bot so you can re-engage with them.

Note that the invitation message you send must not be promotional in nature. Also not that Messenger invitations will not be sent where the customer has already subscribed to your Messenger bot or where there is no match between the mobile number held by you and that held by Facebook. 

Unfortunately customer matching is in closed beta so unless you have a US-based admin for your Facebook Page and spend quite a bit on Facebook ads you probably won’t be able to use this feature quite yet. If you think you might be eligible for customer matching you will need to contact your Facebook partner manager or representative to learn more. We’ll keep you updated as soon as customer matching is made widely available.

How to get approval for Facebook Subscription Messaging

How to get approval for Facebook Subscription Messaging

What is subscription messaging?

There are three types of messages you can send to people who opt-in to your Facebook Messenger bot:

Subscription messages – Your Messenger bot is permitted to send messages any time but these messages must not be promotional in nature. This type of message is intended for sending news and information (e.g. new blog posts) and reminders.

Standard messages – Your Messenger bot may send one message within 24 hours of a person sending you a message or opting-in to receive messages via a web plug-in on your website (e.g. our Abandoned Cart Rescue plug-in). After the 24-hour time limit has expired you may send only one additional message unless the person messages you back in which case the counter resets. There are exceptions to this rule for notification type messages like order and shipping updates, event reminders, payment & account updates, etc. 

Sponsored messages – A Facebook ad in the form of a standard message (but marked ‘Sponsored’) that can be sent to all, or a segment of, people who have open conversations with your bot. Facebook charges an advertising cost for sending these messages but they can be a very effective investment to re-engage inactive subscribers.

So, what’s changed?

Previously businesses could rely on the subscription messaging permissions already granted to apps like Maisie.

However, Facebook announced a new policy in February 2018 that businesses could no longer rely on the permissions granted to the apps they use for sending messages. Instead businesses would be required to apply directly to Facebook for approval to send subscription messages.

Facebook allowed a transition period until 31 December 2018 for businesses to apply for and receive approval. After this date, businesses without such approval are prevented from sending subscription messages.

How do I apply for approval?

As Messenger is tied to your Facebook Business Page you need to be a Page Admin for the Facebook Page you have connected to Maisie to apply for subscription messaging approval.

To apply simply follow these few steps:

Login to your Facebook account and click Settings in the top right corner.

facebook page settings

Click Messenger platform in left menu.

facebook settings screen

You will now see your Messenger Platform settings screen.

facebook messenger settings screen

Scroll down the page and click the Request link under Subscription messaging in the Advanced messaging features section.

advanced messaging features

A form will pop up for you to complete. First, select the News radio button.

request subscription messaging

Next, in the Provide additional details section, describe the type of information and updates that you would like to send to your subscribers. For example, you might type something like “We will send blog updates and how-to videos on a monthly basis”.

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Next you need to provide 2-3 examples of the type of messages you will send. Remember these are messages – they are meant to be brief and informal. Here are some examples that you can tailor for your category & brand.

  • We have a new blog post you might like to check out.
  • Need to freshen up your look? Check out our tips for making your wardrobe work for you.
  • Watch our latest video on how to service your bike at home. It’s easier than you think!
message examples screen

Once you have completed these example messages check the box at the bottom to agree to Facebook’s policies and agree that you won’t send marketing or promotional messages via subscription messaging. Click the Save Draft button.

You will see your Messenger Platform settings screen again with Ready to submit displayed in the Subscription messaging section.

submit messaging for review

If you would like to review or edit your application form click the Edit link. When you are happy and ready to submit click the Submit for Review button.

You will receive confirmation on screen that your submission was received and you will also receive an email at the email address you use to login to Facebook.

Facebook will review your application and advise you via email as to whether or not they have approved your subscription messaging permissions. As this is a manual process it might take up to 5 business days to receive a response from Facebook.

You can also check back under Page Settings > Messenger Platform to see whether your application is under review, approved or rejected.

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