The growth of mobile as a platform is significant and has been well documented as its usage for accessing the internet now outperforms the desktop.

To say that the times are changing is an understatement. The pace of change in all areas of digital media usage is rapid and unrelenting.  

One such area of unrelenting change is the usage of apps. Apps took off originally because interacting with the web on a mobile was near impossible – apps were designed to make the Internet and mobile experience more accessible and intuitive. The dominant apps back in 2011 were gaming and social networking apps. Fast-forward to 2018 and the dominant apps are now messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat! In fact, global research from BI Intelligence now shows that active usage of messaging apps has overtaken the active use of social networks.

Comparison of most downloaded apps 2011 to 2018

Implications for you, as a business owner, looking to grow your business

Firstly, chat or messaging conversations are now at the centre of your customer’s mobile universe, with HubSpot research showing that messaging conversations are rapidly growing between business and their customers. In addition to this, your customers are actively seeking this form of communication with businesses they interact with. In fact, HubSpot research shows that 56% of people would rather message than call and 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business that they can message directly.

5 ways messaging apps can be used to help grow your business

  1. Using messaging to lead generate

    More and more people are now researching and ultimately shopping on their mobile and within social platforms like Facebook Messenger. Using Messenger for example, you could help your customers avoid a painstaking research process via a conversational form. In the process you would be providing greater convenience and engagement - because no one enjoys digging for information through a website to ultimately end up filling out a form.

  2. Boosting your reach at your events

    Most companies spend a lot of money on events. From trade shows to consumer events, the challenge for marketing and sales people is to network with the right people at the right time. With limited human resources this makes it very hard to generate effective reach. Using a messaging app is a potential solution to this problem. You can generate real time communications at scale, allowing delegates to interact with you on their terms, learning about products, booking time with sales people, participating in Q&A panels or simply providing feedback and asking questions. A messaging app designed for an event can potentially amplify your reach and still retain the intimacy of one-to-one communications.

  3. Providing customer service on your customer’s terms

    Your customers love social media. So why not ‘fish where the fish’ are? Connecting your customer service to a messaging app will enable instant connection and the potential for live information transferring between both parties, saving time and money. By providing customer service in a messaging application that they are most familiar with, you can delight your customers and build repeat and ongoing purchase.

  4. Reducing the barriers for eCommerce transactions

    Being easy to do business with should be a key objective of any business. Facebook Messenger allows you to take this sentiment to the next level by easily facilitating In-Messenger payments. A bonus is that there is no need for specific app development, plus you will have a highly conversational interface and a personalised experience as outcomes - exactly what today’s customers are looking for. In-Messenger payments will soon be available in Australia and will work similarly to Apple Pay or Google Pay, and likely to be modelled on the US version.

  5. Connecting messaging to your CRM

    Messaging apps can provide your business with significant benefits such as saving time, communicating in native environments and providing remarkable experiences. However best of all, now you can connect these conversations to your CRM. Your customers will automatically choose the platform to connect with you on, and messaging apps are likely to be a common choice. In addition, adding these important records into your CRM will help you holistically manage your marketing and sales funnel regardless of platform.

So, there you have it. The capabilities of messaging apps are significantly more powerful than simply social chitchat. They potentially offer a tactical competitive advantage in the short term and longer term as the lines blur between social channels and messaging. Messaging apps should be on your radar right now as an emerging but major business communications platform in the near future.

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