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In New York City, Octane AI CEO Matt Schlicht and Octane AI President Ben Parr hosted Mandi Moshay (Tinuiti), Danny Taing (Bokksu), Kevin Simonson (Metric Digital), and Rich Gardner (Klaviyo) to give their expertise on how to supercharge Messenger and email. Check out the video of our discussion or the answers written out below!


Here are the insights each panelist shared:

Question: Why is it important to communicate with customers across multiple channels?

Matt Schlicht (Octane AI): I think one thing that people ask is "can you reach out to somebody too many times?" or "can you reach them through too many channels?" I think the way it's best to think about it is to imagine if you were talking to a friend or coworker and you sent them an important email that you wanted their feedback on. If you hadn't heard back from them yet, it wouldn't be crazy for you to then send them a message on Facebook or text them through SMS saying "hey did you see the email?" As people, its very easy to track who got back to you and not to message them on all channels. If you're going to reach your customers on multiple channels, its equally as important to track if they responded to the first message or not. If they did, stop messaging them. If they didn't, reach them through another channel.

Mandi Moshay (Tinuiti): Competition is incredibly fierce as we all know. Email is a mature channel and as much as email has grown, open rates will go down over the holidays. With a ton of competition, it's tough to stand out. If you can add Facebook Messenger or SMS to your marketing mix where you're getting open rates in the 90% range as opposed to 12-18% with email, you're going to get your message in front of more people and it's really going to open that audience for you.

Rich Gardner (Klaviyo): This might be too simple, but it comes up over and over again. You want to be where your customers are. A lot of successful brands, like Bokksu, understand that they need to be in the different places that their customers are. If customers are on Facebook, you should be there. If customers are in their email inbox, you should be there. The way I think about it is you're trying to build a relationship. If your friend or family calls you and says "Hey, meet me at the coffee shop!", "Hey, text me!", or "Hey, email me!", don't you want to do all of these things to build a relationship with that person? It's conceptually similar.

Danny Taing (Bokksu): Using multiple channels is incredibly important because we have to not be so reliant on one channel. Especially if that channel is volatile or eventually gets more expensive, like Facebook or Instagram ads. You have to be able to communicate to customers within multiple touch points. We've also talked to and done a lot of surveys with our customers. They've actually said the big decision point for them is if they see our ads on Facebook they'll think "that's kind of cool!", but if they hear an amplified affect of Bokksu across channels, they think "let me give it a try!" There are a lot of good reasons why you should have touch points on Messenger and other channels.

Kevin Simonson (Metric Digital): The way our company thinks about this strategy is, we want to increase customer lifetime value as much as possible. Our job is to win our clients more customers at a better cost per acquisition, and a company can’t do that unless they’re showing up to the party. Being where the customers are. And that means diversifying away from risky strategies that they can’t predict. That’s why a multichannel approach is so critical. It mitigates your downside.

What’s one tactic with messenger or email you recommend to merchants and ecommerce brands?

Matt Schlicht (Octane AI): If you're running Facebook ads, especially with the holidays coming up, everybody should set some percentage of their budget for ads that click to Messenger. The reason for that is leading into the holidays if you can have 20% of your budget towards people clicking the ads, you're generating at least the same revenue you're generating normally maybe more. The difference is everyone who clicks these ads is subscribing to a channel where you can reach back out to them when you have a holiday sale. This way you can build a really great subscriber list, while making the same or more revenue. There's basically no downside. Run ads that click to Messenger.

Mandi Moshay (Tinuiti): You probably already have an idea of a segment that you're targeting for email but I can't stress enough the importance of doing some sort of data scape for each channel, like email or across Messenger or any other channel. This upcoming Cyber Week is the latest cyber week we're having, it's six full days later than last year. We know 60% of consumers start shopping in early November or even before. It's absolutely clutch to look at your audiences and open up early access to major sales or take advantage of those early opportunities so that you can capture that early share prior to Cyber Week.

Rich Gardner (Klaviyo): We did some research over the last couple of years into our merchants' Black Friday experience and one of the interesting stats that I'll share suggest that if you're not preparing for Black Friday already, you should be doing so yesterday. Only 10% of Black Friday buyers a year ago had made their first purchase in the previous 6 months. In other words, 90% of those customers have already been customers of that brand by the time Black Friday hit. I think one tactic is the power of integrations. Many of you are already working with tools like Octane AI or Klaviyo, but I'm constantly surprised by how frequently merchants aren't thinking about how their tools fit together. There are times where just a one point solution is great, but when you think about how a reviews platform feeds into emails that you send through Klaviyo and then send out through Facebook Messenger, you probably already have those tools and you're paying for them. Are you getting the most out of how apps work together to help you drive growth for Black Friday?

Danny Taing (Bokksu): I'm going to riff off of integrations. We talk about email, Messenger, and SMS but there are ways for them to work together really well. We're about to launch an abandoned cart and browse abandonment flow, where the first thing a customer gets is an SMS message, then Messenger, and then email after that. They all integrate and work with each other. I would definitely recommend that for Black Friday since people will be shopping around and thinking about what they want. People are also getting used to receiving these messages now. They aren't going to be that irate especially during Black Friday. Their inboxes are going to be exploding, so don't be afraid with setting these flows up and getting aggressive during that week. If you don't do it, others will and you'll be missing out. Get that money on the table.

Kevin Simonson (Metric Digital)Lots of brands are going to get destroyed during the holiday season on Facebook because of the recent shift to the campaign budget optimizations, bidding strategies, and other platform updates. The curve of how fast you can spend is starting earlier than ever. Our recommendation is, launch early with your deals, otherwise you won’t scale your budget. For messenger, if you’re doing that early, make sure it matches across all channels. If you launch early enough, you can get earned customers as many as possible, before you have to ramp up ad spend. Just know, you won’t be able to ramp up on launch day.

Can you share a case study of a retailer using Messenger effectively?

Matt Schlicht (Octane AI): One thing that's been super successful is we work with a brand called Manscaped. What they do with Messenger is they will send a new promotion for a product and when you get this message, in your Messenger inbox, you can actually go push buy instead of Messenger. It then takes you directly to checkout. The reason that this is super awesome is because it creates a cart for you. I get the message, get the code, push the buy button, get sent to the checkout and a lot of people will buy. If you don't buy, you're actually now dropped into a cart abandonment flow over Messenger just with one click. That's been super successful for them.

Mandi Moshay (Tinuiti): I won't say the brand but we have a retailer that we work with and they've been crushing it this year because they've gotten hyper focused on segmentation. Their business goals are focused on turning more prospects into new customers and then existing customers into loyal purchasers of 2 or 3 more times. Starting to segment, analyze every piece of communication both on social and in email to those different audiences to see whats resonating with those different groups. We're finding completely different products and incentives are motivating purchases across those different audiences. Going into holidays and following that standard approach, make sure you're taking every opportunity to increase shopping and drive customers earlier on, especially loyal customers, that we know will drive revenue for us in the holiday.

Rich Gardner (Klaviyo): Within Bokksu's display of their Japanese snack boxes, there is a pamphlet describing the box of food. Reading the pamphlet is an experience. The pamphlet didn't just tell me what was in the box, but told me the Japanese terms for each snack, it told me where they were from, highlighted a member from the community associated with it. It's a pamphlet, it's not an email, but to me thats about an experience and relationships - it's very cool.

Danny Taing (Bokksu): We focus on online community, specifically how to connect their experience with the product to the offline and online. Online our focus is building community. We started a facebook group a few months ago and I highly recommend starting one. Anything that's posted gets to the top of everyone's newsfeed. We have almost 2000 members and we haven't tried to build it. We post everyday on Japanese culture, and even answer support questions which saves us tickets. Right now online community is what we're focusing on and we engage with them through the variety of channels like Messenger and email. 

Kevin Simonson (Metric Digital): A common consumer experience is to see brands hosting seven or ten days of deals, whereby the brand tests different deals each day. This can cause a big problem with paid. During the holiday season, your company may want to try this. But in our experience working with direct to consumer brands, it’s difficult to execute. What we’ve tried and had significant success with is a two pronged approach. Your brand can have one solid deal that’s consistent throughout all seven or ten days. Then, to supplement that consistent message on paid, you offer your specific daily deals on messenger without getting hammered on delivery. With this specific strategy, you still can make it work and keep volume.

What’s one ecommerce trend that we should be paying attention to?

Matt Schlicht (Octane AI): For a while you used a lot of different apps for a lot of different reasons and made no qualms to use them together. This can create an inconsistent customer experience. You could ask for someones email and they go to a different page, then you're using a different app and the customer gets asked again. Your customers are thinking "do you even know this is happening?" If you had this as an in person experience, it would be awkward and you'd probably leave the store. Moving forward, I've talked about it here, but hopefully apps will work better together and you'll have a more consistent experience for the customer. You can't act on it, but take advantage of the connections that exist.

For example, Octane AI with Klaviyo. We spent a lot of time making sure our two platforms work well together for a seamless customer experience.

Mandi Moshay (Tinuiti): I would say the brands interacting with customers off of their ecommerce site. Certainly, Octane AI powers that through recommendations, conversations, and chatbots. Next year, Klaviyo is taking the lead on email functionality, so we're going to have landing page functionality within the inbox. We've also seen this on social as well. Think about how you're interacting with consumers off-site and how that is driving them to convert back to your site. I think this is going to change the definition of what success looks like online.

Rich Gardner (Klaviyo): This is going to be controversial, I'm fascinated by the dynamic with Amazon, Google and other tech giants. This came up in our pre-conversation and I certainly don't have any answers on this. I'm new to marketing technology so I'm serving this dynamic in a fresh way. I see some real tradeoffs for brands. With Amazon you get reach and revenue bumps, which is great! As businesses we love reach and revenue. However, you do have to tradeoff some ownership over your own brand and over the customer experience. There's a documentary of stats on your Amazon experience and the data that's feeding decision making, which then feeds into your budget. Business to business there are ways to make that choice, but watching that dynamic play out is the trend to watch.

Danny Taing (Bokksu): People already know that content is king in the ecommerce and advertising world, but its even more important than ever. Content is driving SEO (search engine optimization) and can be helpful to create an experience for customers. In our case, we're going deep into magazines and articles about our traditional 100+ year old family snack makers in Japan. We're flying to Japan with a documentary film crew, going for two weeks and creating a documentary using five of our snack makers throughout Japan to create a web series for YouTube and Facebook. Everybody is fighting in this game so we're creating real content we can put out there to make us the thought leader for snacks in Japan. Content like that is really important. 

Kevin Simonson (Metric Digital): In short, go where customers are and communicate with them how they want to be communicated to. On the paid side, Instagram has been moving towards a point of sale system directly through their platform. This feature takes the power away from influencers and increases the importance of whitelisting, which is the service where influencers do something. Our early numbers in working with one of our clients on this new program are straightforward in that brands have a powerful scaling opportunity. If you’re spending 200k/mo and you want to ramp up to 500k/mo, while keeping your cost per acquisition flat, this is the type of strategy that can take you there. Just remember this. Facebook changes how everything works all the time, and the most exciting digital marketing innovation that’s happening twelve months from now doesn’t even exist yet. Stay on top of it.

At this event, Octane AI launched the 250+ page Klaviyo edition of Octane AI’s Complete Playbook to Supercharging Shopify with Facebook Messenger, SMS & Conversational Ads. The playbook is available free for download now.


The 250+ Page Playbook on Facebook Messenger & SMS Marketing for Ecommerce

Fast-growing DTC brands implementing this playbook have connected with 18x more customers, doubled their 7-day ROAS, recovered 5x more abandoned cart revenue & increased AOV 25%.


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