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Top 5 cost-effective alternatives to email marketing

5 cost effective alternatives to email marketing

In most businesses’ marketing efforts, email marketing is an essential communication tool to engage and convert customers. 

Ever since that first email was sent back in 1971, email campaigns have been the go-to method among businesses everywhere to send promotional messages, holiday discounts, special offers, and the latest product updates. 

And it’s a perfectly sound strategy - if you look at the numbers below, email marketing has a massive reach compared to social media users. In 2022, there were over 4.2 billion email users worldwide whereas the aggregated social media user volume was 4.26 billion. 

The number of email users worldwide by Statista

Table showing the Number of e-mail users worldwide (Source: Statista)

Clearly, email marketing isn’t dead but are there alternatives that can give you more bang for your buck?

Consider this: internet users spend an average of 144 minutes per day on social networking platforms. And with Gen Z’s high level of activity on social apps, we know that this time is only going to increase in the coming years. 

So the question for you is - as a business, how can you allocate your budget between email campaigns vs. social media marketing strategy to maximize profit? 

If you’re also wondering about that, check out this article where we’ll talk about how you can leverage all these available tools and manage everything easily in one place. Hassle-free. 

How effective are email marketing campaigns?  

By purely looking at ROI as the metric, email marketing has the highest ROI of all marketing channels. 

I’m talking about $42 back for every dollar you spend

That’s the reason why many marketers still swear by email marketing campaigns to engage customers. 

While social media definitely cannot compete against email in terms of ROI, they can beat email in terms of open rates and response times. 

80% of WhatsApp messages are read 5 minutes after they are sent, and research has shown that most reply to WhatsApp messages within 60 seconds. On the contrary, the average open rate for emails is only 20%, and email recipients generally take 10 hours to reply.

The advantage of social messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram Messenger, etc. is that they are instant. People habitually respond to messages immediately, or at least faster than email.

During a sales cycle, this responsiveness is key to converting customers. From the moment your customer discovers your product or service, you want to guide them as quickly and smoothly as possible to check out, without losing any opportunity that causes delays or even conversion loss. 

While it is necessary to utilize email for marketing outreach, social apps open up more opportunities for you to know your customers’ shopping preferences and qualify leads within a shorter period. 

These conversations can be collected and consolidated into a centralized database, such as SleekFlow’s social commerce omnichannel platform, where you can gather actionable insights for strengthening your marketing strategy. 

5 cost-effective email marketing alternatives to reach customers

Let’s take a look at other marketing platforms as alternatives to email for marketing campaigns. 


SleekFlow solution for Chatbot API with WhatsApp for websites

What better way to promote to customers than through the most popular social messaging app in the world?

WhatsApp Business API (WABA) enables WhatsApp-verified businesses to include interactive messages, i.e. quick reply or call-to-action buttons, for enhanced interactions.

Types of interactive messagesWhat does this feature offer? Ways to market your brand using Interactive messages
Lists messagesA menu of up to 10 optionsSend nearby stores or locations, customer care or FAQ menu, available reservation times, previous order history items
Reply buttonsPre-set responses of up to 3 optionsChanging personal details, reordering, requesting a return, payment method options
Single-product messageInclude a link to one product from the business’ inventorySend the latest products for customers to view, add to cart, and send cart to the business for delivery follow-up
Multi-product messageInclude a link to product catalogue (up to 30 products) from the business’ inventorySend the latest products for customers to view, add to cart, and send cart to the business for delivery follow-up

Through these conversations, you can track conversation data with a robust WhatsApp marketing software, and tailor marketing strategies that appeal to them more effectively. 

In fact, the conversion rates of e-mail and SMS are only 2-5%, while WhatsApp’s conversion rate is 45-60%. 

Like the sound of that? Head to our step-by-step guide for building your own WhatsApp chatbot and find out how you can level up your digital marketing strategy now! 

Discover what WhatsApp Business API can do for your business.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger Guide- All You Need To Know for Business

If you’re running a business in 2022, you’re going to have to build a digital presence. 

Whether people visit your physical store or hear your brand through word of mouth, there’s a high chance that they look you up online. 

Many businesses have Facebook Business pages to keep customers connected with their latest updates. Well, Facebook Messenger just adds to the customer experience by providing a space for personalized interactions. 

Furthermore, when connected to social CRM like SleekFlow, you can guarantee timely and customized responses, send abandoned cart reminders, and broadcast relevant seasonal promotions to the right audience. 

Here’s a recap of how Facebook with SleekFlow helps smoothen the customer shopping experience: 

SleekFlow Facebook e-commerce

Without having to spend a large amount of your marketing budget, you can qualify leads through FAQs and get to know your customers’ demographics and behavior, which will provide more valuable insights than your series of bulk marketing emails ever could. Additionally, leverage the power of unlimited email marketing to enhance customer engagement and nurture leads effectively.

Further reading: Avoid these 6 mistakes and succeed at Facebook marketing! 

Instagram Direct Messages

Manage Instagram inbox on SleekFlow

Credit: SleekFlow Giphy

Among Fashion, Food, Lifestyle, and Beauty industries, Instagram is the favorite way to build their brand. As many businesses invest in influencer marketing, organic and paid content, Instagram has also catered their product to the needs of consumers in the social commerce era. 

In the past two years, Instagram has been rolling out shopping tools nonstop and businesses have been quickly adopting advanced features including the Shop explore page, integrating Facebook and IG ads, IG checkout, product tags, catalogs, etc. 

And if you choose to integrate Instagram Business API with SleekFlow, you can use the comment automation features, which allows you to set up response triggers under specific scenarios. 

Comment auto reply on Instagram

Caption: Brands can boost engagement and start conversations with a social CRM tool such as automated comment replies. Once the customer decides to purchase, a payment link can be sent in the chat for them to pay instantly.

The major advantage of these interactions on Instagram DMs and through posts is to boost engagement. 

And in the eyes of Instagram’s algorithm, the more organic engagement you can achieve, the more likely you are to show up on your target audiences’ Explore page and news feed. 

Want to take it further? Read the Instagram Marketing starter kit for more IG marketing tips. 


Telegram as email campaign marketing alternative

Telegram’s user base has been growing at over a 40% rate every year. Under the social networking category in the iOS App Store, Telegram holds the top position in Brazil, Germany, Malaysia, and Russia. 

SleekFlow’s integration with Telegram means that you can apply SleekFlow’s automation rules in Telegram, just as you can across other channels. This includes creating a workflow to auto-assign conversations to the relevant personnel within your team, thus reducing response time and ensuring that customer inquiries are resolved ASAP. 

In addition, you can also use the Telegram bot and SleekFlow’s chatbot at the same time without any additional messaging fees charged. 


WeChat function

WeChat is China’s super-app that combines WhatsApp, Facebook, Uber, and many widely used applications into one. 

If your business needs to market products or services in China, this would be the ultimate way to reach the local audience. There’s no other app that can even compete in China. 

SleekFlow makes it easier for you to manage your WeChat account by assisting you through the WeChat setup and verification process.

The best part? Everything across channels will be in one place for your access, so you don’t have to waste time combining or managing data separately. 

How are household brands like Burberry, Coca-cola, and Helena Rubinstein, marketing through WeChat in China? Head to our article to find out. 

Looking for an email marketing alternative? An all-in-one marketing software that integrates with Salesforce

When it comes to running a business efficiently, streamlining communication is the top priority. Consumers expect promptness in customer service and social messaging apps, rather than email, to best suit their evolving needs.  

We aren’t saying that you need to ditch email. Rather, in addition to your typical mass email marketing campaigns, it’s worth considering allocating more of your marketing efforts to creating interpersonal connections with your customers through one-on-one conversations. 

Combined efforts for quicker results. 

SleekFlow merges whichever app you use, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook messenger, Telegram, Wechat, etc., into a unified inbox. 

Tutor Circle, an HKD 8M internet-based tutoring agency, manages 30,000 contacts on SleekFlow across WhatsApp Business API, Instagram, and Facebook. 

As a result, they experienced:  

  • 60% increase in customer support efficiency

  • 75% decrease in response time

And here’s exactly how we did it: 

Here’s the final kick: as a Salesforce user, you can sync your entire customer database from SleekFlow to Salesforce, or vice versa, to expand your CRM database. You can even customize membership statuses for advanced segmentation, i.e. ‘VIP’ category, and launch retargeting campaigns for maximized conversions. 

Everything you need to know about SleekFlow’s September 2022 product update right here: SleekFlow Salesforce contact sync

Generate real results with marketing on SleekFlow.

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