Best Practices

How We Increased Our Newsletter Open Rates by 613%

By January 30, 2019 May 8th, 2019 No Comments
How We Increased Our Newsletter Open Rates by 613%

Since we started Rocketbots, we've had a hard time achieving the kind of open rates we have seen written about on the internet. Hubspot states that the average open rate for software companies is 28%. Although, we've improved our open rates we haven't reached those heights yet. Along the way, we've learned about DKIM, DMARC & SPF. However, at the end of the day to radically increase open rates and increase click rates we needed to do something radical. Send our newsletter to Facebook Messenger.

In this article we're going to discuss:

To make sure this effort was successful we set up a test between an email newsletter and a Facebook Messenger newsletter. Because our newsletters are generally about new features and platform improvements we wanted to make sure that people were clicking through and reading about it on our blog. So the key metric for us was email click rate vs Facebook Messenger click rate.

The Results: Email Newsletter vs Facebook Messenger Newsletter

We won't sugercoat it too much but our results were rather stunning. Not only did we drastically increase out open rates & click rates, we also spent a lot less time setting up the Facebook Messenger newsletter than we did setting up the our newsletter in MailChimp.

This is shows that Facebook Messenger open rates beat email open rates by 613% & Facebook messenger click rates beat email click rates by 805%.
Emails Newsletter vs Facebook Messenger Newsletter Results

The experiment had a straightforward setup. We created a newsletter about our recent platform release with three sections, our new automation module, our new web chat & a section about small improvements. The three links we created went to three different areas in the same blog.

The only real difference between the two was content. Due to the nature of email, we were able to add pictures and small blurbs in each section. In the Facebook Messenger version of our newsletter, we were only able to use titles emojis and links. Below we discuss how we formatted out Facebook Messenger newsletter.

We sent the newsletters at the same time on March 12th, 2019 at 9:15 am. The email newsletter was sent to 3,411 emails, and our Facebook Messenger newsletter was sent to 863 contacts. After 24 hours, our email newsletter received 528 opens and 47 clicks, while our Facebook Messenger newsletter received 794 opens and 95 clicks.

That means by using Facebook Messenger to send our newsletter we saw a 613% increase in open rates and an 805% increase in click rates!

How did we do it? Here are X tips that will ensure you have the highest Facebook Messenger open rates and Facebook Messenger click rates possible.

How To Set Up a Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp Broadcast For High Open Rates & Click Rates

Since we started about two years ago we've sent dozens of broadcasts across several messaging apps. Through this process we've come up with the following tips to make sure you get it right each and every time.

1. Give Users A Delivery Choice To Increase Newsletter Open Rates

This post is about Facebook Messenger, but there are people out there who prefer to communicate over WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat or yes even email. Now we don't want to get all cynical, but the reality is, you're going to get a better result if you give people the illusion of choice.

This image shows how Rocketbots allows users to sign up for a blog newsletter using a Facebook Messenger Broadcast, WhatsApp Broadcast or email marketing.
Lead Magnet With A Choice

Yes, that's right, by giving your users a choice you're giving them power and the feeling of agency. By allowing them to choose, you're making them part of the process rather than just the recipient of it.

So when that notification or that email comes in, they've had one extra point of engagement with your brand. That small adjustment will win you a few percentage points on your open rates & on your sign ups.

2. Get Consent To Increase Facebook Messenger Open Rates

Seems like a no brainer & it's on everyone's list even for email newsletters. Half of you are probably kicking yourself for reading this article. However, making sure you get consent from every contact across several messaging apps is harder than you think.

In the example, we have above it was easy. Everyone that's signed up for updates has given consent right? True. But not everyone who talks to Rocketbots on Facebook Messenger joined us by asking for updates. The vast majority of our contacts have come through the Facebook Customer Chat Plugin.

So how do we make sure they can consent?

We've experimented with several methods of consent:

  1. Ask every user for consent to broadcast to them when they first join the chat
  2. Ask every user for consent 24 hours after they join the chat
  3. Ask users for consent after you've sent them the first notification

Option 1 resulted in low sign up rates and hindered user interaction. Users who just wanted to ask us a question were dissatisfied that they had to take this extra step. They let us know with some nasty messages.

Option 2 was an idea we thought had promise, but it too resulted in a lower sign up rate than we had hoped.

Have you ever heard the phrase it's better to apologize than to ask for permission? Well, it's true.

Option 3 worked like a charm. At the end of each Facebook Messenger broadcast, we give users the opportunity to opt-out.

Using Rocketbots Surveys to give users the option to opt-out at the end of each broadcast results in higher Facebook messenger open rates.
Platform Update Broadcast With Opt-Out Survey

We thought this might annoy users. But it doesn't seem to. Since it is sent with the rest of the broadcast it doesn't cause any extra notifications. In reality, our contacts rarely every click yes. Some click no, but that's for the best. Better that than getting blocked.

3. Increase Facebook Messenger Open Rates With The Right Frequency

Take due consideration with the relationship you have with your audience and the value that you are providing them. At Rocketbots we provide value in two ways. Using our blog we teach people about instant messenger marketing & customer service. Using our platform we enable companies to engage in instant messenger marketing and customer service.

Thus we provide two types of updates: blog updates & platform updates. We typically send a blog update once per week & we send a platform update around once every one or two months, depending on how much we release.

How to set up an opt in survey that increases Facebook Messenger Open Rates.
Platform Update Opt-In Survey Set Up

Unfortunately, we cannot send updates at the intervals to suit each individual contact. But here's the trick. With every Opt-in survey that we send, we also give an indication of how often we're going to send that kind of update.

4. Spend Some Time Formatting To Increase Facebook Messenger Click Rate

Messaging is one of the most difficult channels to package content for. Having the right email template can wow and dazzle your audience but this option simply doesn't exist in most messaging apps. In this medium words wear almost no clothes.

Getting Higher Facebook Messenger Open Rates means formatting your content in short lines of text with emojis.

Condense that email newsletter into 3 to 5 key points. We usually use the titles of our newsletter sections.

Familiarise yourself with emojipedia. When it comes to messenger newsletters, emojis are your only friends.

Don't forget about aesthetics. Make sure you're 3 to 5 points are about equal length and use your emojis like bullet points and make sure you send one point per line instead of all in one big block.

And don't forget to send it to yourself before you send it out to the word, it may not seem like much but doing a little optimization on your end will pay off in the end.

5. Use Links That Are Fit For Purpose To Increase Your Facebook Messenger Click Rates

Make sure you're links make it easy to do what you'd like your user to do. In this case our newsletter is about education, but guess what all three links you see above go to a the same blog post. So why do we send three?

Simple, to get the contact where they need to go more quickly. Each link will send the user directly to the heading of the blog that it is next to.

6. Make Sure To Track Your Facebook Messenger Click Rates

It may seem like a no brainer, but you'll be surprised with how many people don't do it. The very nature of Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp means you won't be able to add hyperlinks to your content as you do with email. However, that doesn't mean you should do nothing.

Use Campaign URL Builder in order to track the link clicks or your Facebook Messenger Broadcasts.
Sample Campaign for a WhatsApp Broadcast

Use the Google URL Campaign Builder to add UTM parameters to your links. This will allow you to track everyone who clicks your links with Google Analytics. This will give you a better picture of how your messenger marketing efforts are performing compared to your other initiatives.

Image shows how to use bit.ly to track Facebook Messenger Click Rates
Sample Bit.ly Analytics for a Broadcast

We also use bit.ly to shorten the URL before we send it out. Although you'll get a better picture of your results in Google Analytics. Bit.ly does provide a nice set of analytics to see how your broadcast is performing as well.

7. Keep It Information-Based Or Your Click Through Rates Will Suffer

With high click through rates it's very tempting to send promotional content. But you have to remember one key thing, the power relationship in messaging apps is completely the opposite to that of email. Emails are relatively easy to get from a user or your customer, you can scrape them from the internet, hell you can even buy them and once you have someones email you can blast em.

But that is not true with messaging apps. Most any messaging app out there will make it so that users have to message your business account first before you can send them back anything. In addition, blocking you completely is only maximum two clicks away. With that in mind, be careful the content you put out there, because if may be your last.

Now by all means that doesn't mean never send promotional content at all. If you've got an exciting new product or service that you want your users to know about be my guest. But if 80% of the newsletters you send is promotional content you are definitely doing the wrong thing.

Further Reading

If you're interested in implementing chat marketing at your business here are some good examples of how others have done it already:

Iaroslav Kudritskiy

Iaroslav Kudritskiy

Iaroslav is the Chief Operating Officer at Rocketbots overseeing growth and operations. He is a graduate of the MBA program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his previous roles include positions at Kodak Alaris, Xaxis & Light Reaction.

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