Capturing your customers’ attention seems to get harder and harder.
Email marketing is still a very effective tool, but users know most of the tricks so you have to put more effort into the subject line to get them to open your emails.
And when it comes to social media, it’s the algorithm that’s the real enemy (or the Cost per Click, if you’re advertising).
For these reasons, more and more online stores are choosing instant messaging apps as alternative options.
In this post, we’re going to focus on Telegram – one of the most popular ones – and we’re going to tell you:
- How it works
- Its advantages for e-commerce
- Some tips to make the most of it within your marketing strategy
Ready? Here we go.
👉 What Telegram is and why you should use it in your e-commerce
In case you’ve never used it, Telegram works similarly to WhatsApp.
Real-time private chats are its main feature, but in terms of business, these are the two most interesting options:
- Groups: In this category, we find normal groups (of up to 200 members) and supergroups (of up to 500 members). Just like WhatsApp, users can speak freely in Telegram groups.
- Channels: Telegram allows you to create unidirectional channels, where only administrators can publish messages. Each new message reaches your users through a push notification.
In terms of number of users, Telegram reached 300 million active users in 2019 (and growing).
This number is still far below WhatsApp, which has over a billion users, but that’s not to say you should write it off. ;)
Let’s see why.
✅ Benefits of Telegram for your marketing strategy
At first glance, all messaging apps are alike, but some of Telegram’s characteristics make it stand out from its competitors:
- High levels of security: Your users can rest assured that any personal details they share with you are safe (like banking information, for example) because of Telegram’s sophisticated encryption system. The company trusts its system so much that it even offered a $300,000 reward to anybody capable of breaking the code.
- Customized bots: Bots are Telegram’s signature offering. Besides the classic chatbot that can hold a basic conversation with your users, it has other bots that carry out automated tasks. You can even create one that suits your needs without much complication. We’ll see how to do it later.
- Contact without a phone number: Many of your users may be reluctant to give you their private numbers to access your channel. Luckily, that’s not a requirement for Telegram since you only need their app nickname to add them, or you can send them a link or QR access code.
- Access from any device: Telegram data is stored in the cloud, which allows you to open the same account on different devices, be it a phone or a computer. This is really useful if you have different administrators in your channel.
- Videos with no limits: unlike WhatsApp, Telegram doesn’t have a size or time limit for the media you include in a message, so you can turn it into a sort of video marketing channel.
If all that’s not enough, the app also has an open API, so a developer can add specific functionality to your e-commerce.
But you can relax – its default features alone are plenty to get started.
Now let’s take a look at how to put this app to work for your e-commerce strategy.
👉 5 tips to use Telegram as a marketing tool
At this point, you might be trying to come up with ways to sell your products through this app, which is quite possible, of course.
But direct sales shouldn’t be your main goal when using Telegram. Before working on sales, you should be sure to create a tightly knit user community willing to receive your offers.
In fact, your objectives for Telegram could be similar to those of your social media marketing strategy:
- Boost your brand image.
- Generate engagement among your followers.
- Get to know your audience better.
The following ideas will help you do just that.
✅ 1. Attract users to your channel
Most users are still unaccustomed to contacting companies through Telegram, so they’re unlikely to reach your channel organically.
Therefore, to get your first followers, you need to look for them yourself.
Here are two ideas for that:
- Promote your account: If you have a solid foundation of followers on social media or on your email marketing list, use it. Let your audience know that you’re going to open a channel on Telegram and tell them the benefits they’ll get if they join in.
- Offer them something in return: If promoting your new channel isn’t enough, you can give your followers a gift in exchange for following you. For example, one of your lead magnets.
A single channel will do if you don’t have many users on Telegram, but may eventually need to create one for each of your buyer personas.
Let’s develop this idea a bit further.
✅ 2. Segment your users into channels and groups
Don’t forget that Telegram is part of your conversion funnel.
And, as you know, the more segmented your users are, the higher your conversion rate will be.
Not sure what we’re on about? Here’s an example.
Imagine you own an electronics e-commerce.
In this case, you could create:
- A general channel where you post miscellaneous content as well as news affecting your store.
- Two or three channels for your most popular product categories (cellphones, laptops, and DSLR cameras, for example). You can use these channels to post offers and subject-specific blog content.
But there’s more.
You could create a group or private channel for your best clients where you share exclusive offers and discounts.
That’d be a good way to foster client loyalty, so they keep on buying. ;)
✅ 3. Use bots to automate your channels
Bots have been an inherent part of Telegram almost since the very moment the app was born.
And experience is a plus.
Telegram bots allow you to automate different actions within your groups and channels, such as:
- Answering FAQs: your shipping charges, opening hours for your physical shop, and more – all the questions you are asked multiple times each day can be dealt with by a chatbot.
- Sharing your posts: imagine having your newest blog post or social media update published automatically on your Telegram channel? The app allows you to set up a bot to deal especially with this sort of thing.
- Accepting payments: something not everyone knows is that, for a few years now, Telegram has allowed users to pay for a product without leaving the app.
The app itself has a wide variety of bots at the users’ disposal. That said, if none of the predefined options suit you, you can resort to a bot specifically designed to help you build your own: BotFather.
It’s quite simple to use and you don’t even need to know anything about programming.
You just need to access the BotFather chat and follow the instructions (if you need help, there’s a full tutorial on MiPosicionamientoWeb’s blog, in Spanish).
Once you’re done setting up your bot, you just need to assign it to a channel or group and make it the administrator.
✅ 4. Use Telegram as a customer service channel
It goes without saying that automation and chatbots are very powerful tools to improve your e-commerce customer experience.
But when your customers have a complex query, they want to be assisted by a human being straightaway.
And, since they allow you to have a real-time conversation, messaging apps like Telegram are an excellent customer service channel.
Also, since Telegram doesn’t have a size limit for the media, you can send a video to answer any queries that are more effectively resolved with visual aids (such as questions about the assembly or functioning of one of your products, perhaps).
That’s quite cool, isn’t it? ;)
✅ 5. Fancy your brand up with stickers
Stickers are a very characteristic feature on Telegram.
Although WhatsApp has also started to implement them, Telegram still remains on top with a larger collection of stickers in their gallery and with better designs.
Stickers aren’t just little smiley faces that portray an emotion the way an emoji does – these are illustrations, photos, and even animated gifs.
Including stickers in your communications is a way of giving your e-commerce a fresher and more relatable appearance (provided they fit your brand image).
Let’s take it a step further.
How about creating a sticker pack related to your business? Try something fun that includes your logo or your corporate colors.
That’d be a very original way to boost your branding.
👉 Ready to unleash the full potential of Telegram for the benefit of your e-commerce?
Marketing through messaging apps like Telegram remains an underexplored market.
If you don’t want to fall behind and let the competition overtake you, download it, sign up and start adding users.
Time to give these channels a shot! ;)