If you are not a dedicated marketing professional, you may not be aware that the effectiveness of “mass marketing” is on the decline. Effective marketing is becoming increasingly targeted and personalized. It sounds expensive, right? It doesn’t have to be.

Facebook Messenger marketing offers an inexpensive, effective, and trackable way to reach your target customers and keep them engaged with your brand. It is an excellent platform for many businesses – especially those in the hospitality industry, like restaurants.

You can increase the number of visitors, order size, or sales volume of your restaurant simply by sending a quick message through the Messenger platform. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?

This article will walk you through what Messenger campaigns are, the benefits of Messenger campaigns, and the step-by-step guide for getting started.

What is Facebook Messenger Marketing?

You are likely aware of and have probably used Facebook Messenger if you use the popular social media platform. If you aren’t familiar with it, Facebook Messenger is the means of private communication between individuals on Facebook. It can also be used for video calling and group messages as well.

Facebook began allowing advertisements on Facebook Messenger in November of 2016. The ads were referred to as an “unprecedented opportunity” for businesses to use outstanding targeting capabilities and leverage the reach of Facebook’s newsfeed. Despite this, many businesses are still struggling to incorporate Messenger ads into their digital marketing mix. In fact, only about 30% of businesses say that they use Facebook Messenger. Compare that to 94% of businesses that run traditional types of Facebook ads.

Facebook has 3 types of Messenger ads to choose from including Messenger ads, Sponsored Messages ads, and Click-to-Messenger ads.

Facebook Messenger Ads are More Than Ads

Successful Facebook Messenger ads have the ability to become more than ads – they can become conversations between your brand and your customers. They have the power to strengthen your relationship with every customer, or potential customer, who sees them. Not too many other forms of marketing can claim to be as powerful when it comes to providing personalized attention, support, and loyalty-building customer service like Facebook Messenger Ads.

Types of Facebook Messenger Ads

The type of Messenger Ad that will best work for your business will depend on a variety of factors. You might even consider running two or all three types to test and see which gives the best results for your business. To start considering the ads you might run, here is a bit more information on each type of ad:

Messenger Ads

Messenger ads appear directly on the home screen of the Messenger app. This means they will show alongside the other messages in your target audience’s inbox. These ads are a good choice if you want to expand the reach of your advertising campaigns, and try to get your business in front of new people from your target audience.

Sponsored Messages

Sponsored messages allow you to deliver a message directly into the inbox of a potential customer. However – the caveat is that you can only send these to people you already have an existing conversation with. This can be a great option once you start building a customer base in Facebook and reach out to them via Messenger, or encourage them to reach out to you. Think of this like “remarketing” or “retargeting.” You can also think of it as a loyalty-building mechanism. Use this ad type to connect with those who are already aware of your brand.

Click-to-Messenger ads

Instead of showing in the Messenger app itself, these ads show in the newsfeeds of your potential customers. Unlike a typical News Feed ad, the call-to-action is to “Send Message” and will open a Messenger chat with your brand if a customer clicks. This is a great ad type to run in tandem with Sponsored Messages because you can create a system that gets them to engage with you through Messenger via a Click-to-Messenger ad, and then follow up with them or encourage them to visit if they haven’t already with a Sponsored Message directly to their inbox.

Why should I consider Facebook Messenger Marketing?

The truth is that you should consider (and test) any marketing platform that makes sense for your business. But if you’re wondering why Facebook Messenger Ads are particularly special, consider the fact that the platform has:

Less Competition

If you’ve considered advertising on the native Facebook platform, Messenger might be a better option. Facebook claims to be running out of places to show people ads in their newsfeeds, and competition for those spaces is incredibly high. In Messenger, the market is mostly untapped, meaning you have a better chance of getting your ads seen for less cost than you would pay for a newsfeed ad.

A Huge Audience

Messenger has 1.3 billion monthly active users. In fact, messaging apps like Facebook Messenger have actually surpassed social networks in terms of usage. This means you are more likely to get in front of your target audience via a messenger platform than a social media platform.

Deeper Engagement

You don’t have to be a marketing expert to know that the key to developing loyal customers who refer your business to their friends and family is to have deep engagement with them. Fifty-three percent of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly.

More Ways to Target Customers

Facebook Messenger Ads allow you to get very specific on who you target with the ads. You can build audiences based on customer matching, interests, location, or demographics. For a restaurant, the targeting capabilities are excellent. You can choose to target people who live in the same city or surrounding cities or people who are near your restaurant (even if they do not live nearby).

Awesome Reporting Features

As a business owner, you may only be worried about reporting to yourself. That being said, it is always wise to be able to correlate a return with any marketing efforts you make. With traditional marketing and even most other digital channels, there is not a great way to track what efforts are actually relating to sales. With Facebook Messenger ads, you can track offline conversions (like store visits) and build those sales directly into your ROI analysis for your marketing efforts. This can be a bit tricky to set up on your own, but a well-built Messenger marketing campaign, like the ones we offer at Promotable, have monthly reports where you can see the results you’re getting.

Trackable Results

Facebook Messenger ads work for restaurants. Restaurants who successfully implement Facebook Messenger ads are getting a ton of new business, new customers, higher average check sizes, and creating better brand loyalty.

Strategies to Try with Facebook Messenger Marketing

There are numerous strategies for getting started with Messenger ads. We’ve included a few here that have had the best results for restaurants and are also fairly straightforward to set up.

Customer retargeting

One common way to get started with the platform is to use your own customer lists. While these people are already customers, they may not be visiting as frequently as you’d like. You might also not have developed a deep relationship with them yet.

You could just continue emailing these people, but the average open rate for emails in the restaurant industry is a little more than 19%. The average open rate for Messenger is 98%. You’re far more likely to get in front of a larger portion of your audience with Messenger ads than you would with email – all for about the same effort.

You can send out promotions, new menu items, and anything else that would bring a former customer back to your restaurant through the Messenger platform.

Campaigns with Chatbots

Another strategy to test on Facebook Messenger is to utilize a Chatbot. Some restaurants serve newsfeed ads offering a free product or discount. In order to redeem the offer, the ad asks potential customers to comment on the ad so that the company can send the discount code via Facebook Messenger. Then, the chatbot tool is set to launch when anyone comments on that ad. It requires an opt-in message from potential customers (so that there is a record of communication for Sponsored Messages later), and then the offer is sent.

There is also an automated step put in place to remind those who have not redeemed the offer to do so within a certain time period. The restaurant can then track that unique code to figure out the exact return on the campaign. The Chatbot is an important component because it would be very time-consuming for a person to manually send out all of the codes.

You can also use Chatbots to answer frequently asked questions from your guests. This can free up your time to do other, more important work.

Bring in the birthdays

Birthdays and anniversaries are some of the most common occurrences that bring people out to restaurants to celebrate. What if you could send a special message to people in your area who have an upcoming birthday about a special offer just for them like a free dessert, or appetizer, or even a free entrée?

With Facebook Messenger Ads, you can. First, decide what you want to offer your birthday crowd. Then, using audience targeting options, you can select people who live in your city whose birthday is within a week. It is a dynamic audience, so the audience will change weekly.

An offer like this helps your restaurant on many levels. It can entice new customers to come in and give your restaurant a try, it can encourage previous customers to come back, and it builds a sense of loyalty and personalized attention from your brand.

You can use Facebook Messenger Ads to help make a campaign like this more trackable and increase the ability to remarket to those who interact with your offer. For example, if you create the birthday ad as a Click-to-Messenger ad and then respond with something like “enter your email address to confirm this offer,” then not only are you collecting their email address, but you are creating a conversation with them so that you can follow up with Sponsored Messages later.

Another great thing about a campaign like this one is that it does not require updating creative very often (which can get expensive.) Since you are only targeting people whose birthday is close, they will only be shown your ad once per year.

Automate Facebook Giveaways

Facebook giveaways can be an excellent way to expand your reach to new audiences. However, they can be difficult to track and manage. You can create a Facebook Messenger component of the giveaway, more easily track entries, and then notify a winner through this system. Again, by including Messenger, you can also build up your audience for Sponsored Messages, which is one of the most valuable types of ads you can run.

Be Supportive

As a restaurant, you know that one of the biggest brand builders is to provide customer support when someone has a bad experience. If you can sincerely apologize and work to make things right, customers are much more likely to forgive you and try again. Facebook Messenger is a powerful tool for this. Customers love providing feedback, and you can solicit it with Facebook Messenger ads. Then once they provide their feedback, you can also follow-up in order to provide speedy customer support.

You can also send Sponsored Messages to this group down the line as well. Offering regular incentives and introducing new menu items can entice them to give you another try, even if they had a negative experience.

Getting Started with Facebook Messenger Marketing

Facebook has made its advertising platform fairly straightforward. They walk you through the steps to creating ads and getting them in front of the right people. The more complex part is making sure your objectives and overall campaign budget will get you the types of results you want. It can also be difficult to implement more complex strategies when you’re first getting started.

If you are struggling with Facebook Messenger Marketing, consider reaching out to our team at Promotable to help you get started and make sure your ads are set up as efficiently as possible. When setting up properly, Facebook Messenger marketing can become a powerhouse for restaurants and other local businesses. By leveraging the power of this tool, you can increase sales and fill your tables all with a few simple clicks.