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Top 5 cost-effective alternatives to email marketing for your business in Singapore

5 cost effective alternatives to email marketing

Email marketing has been one of the top marketing tactics in Singapore since it first launched in the late 1970s. No matter if it’s sourcing for potential customers through outbound emails or connecting with existing clients, email blast marketing has been a popular option for Singapore businesses to engage and convert customers. 

Back in 2019, 72% of the companies in Singapore prioritised email marketing. Despite having a 20% open rate, it was considered one of the most effective marketing channels. However, in face of modern customer expectations, businesses must learn to go beyond a single channel with some email marketing alternatives. Consumers, especially the younger generation, are now choosing social media or messaging apps over emails as the preferred mode of communication. Therefore, instead of sending promotional messages, holiday discounts, special offers, and product updates all through email, businesses in Singapore should equip themselves with email marketing alternatives including social commerce tools to reach out to customers via various channels.

man and woman creating an email marketing strategy for their business in Singapore

Looking for a tool for your omnichannel marketing strategy? 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. 

From 2020 to 2021 alone, the volume of consumers who preferred using social messaging spiked by 110%.

Should your business in Singapore use an email marketing strategy?  

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 in Singapore 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. 

WhatsApp has an open rate of 98% and businesses can decrease the response time the average response time for WhatsApp users is under a minute. 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 best cost-effective email marketing alternatives to reach customers in Singapore

Let’s take a look at other marketing platforms as alternatives to email marketing campaigns that your business can use to reach out to customers in Singapore. 

1. WhatsApp

SleekFlow solution for Chatbot API with WhatsApp for websites

Currently, there are 5.08 million WhatsApp users in Singapore. This means, there is a high possibility that your customers are active on WhatsApp. By using WhatsApp Business API (WABA), you can engage customers with a verified WhatsApp business profile and utilise features such as interactive messages on the WhatsApp Business Platform, 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

Learn more about what you can do on the WhatsApp Business Platform.

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

As a matter of 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.

One of the biggest advantages of using instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp is that businesses and customers can communicate smoothly and get an almost-immediately reply. For example, a tutoring agency managed to reduce their response time by 75% using WhatsApp and automation.

Interested in discovering how they did it? Read the full success story of Tutor Circle.

2. Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger Guide- All You Need To Know for Business

It’s 2023, and you’re running a business in Singapore. To increase revenue and achieve success, 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 personalised interactions. 

Furthermore, when connected to social CRM like SleekFlow, you can guarantee timely and customised 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 behaviour, which will provide more valuable insights than your series of bulk marketing emails ever could. 

Related reading:

3. Instagram Direct Messages

Manage Instagram inbox on SleekFlow

Credit: SleekFlow Giphy

Among Fashion, Food, Lifestyle, and Beauty industries, Instagram is the favourite way to build their brand. As many Singapore 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 non-stop and Singapore businesses have been quickly adopting advanced features including the Instagram Shop explore page, integrating Facebook and IG ads, IG checkout, product tags, catalogues, etc. 

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

Comment auto reply on Instagram

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 benefit 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. 

4. Telegram for Business

Telegram as email campaign marketing alternative

Telegram has over 550 million daily active users, and it is the top WhatsApp alternative for Singaporeans, according to a survey. Under the social networking category in the iOS App Store, Telegram holds the top position in Brazil, Germany, Malaysia, and Russia. 

If you use SleekFlow to integrate Telegram with other messaging channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and more, you will be able to apply the same or similar chatbot flow on Telegram using SleekFlow’s automation rules. This includes creating a workflow to auto-assign conversations to the relevant personnel within your team, thus reducing response time and ensuring that customer enquiries are resolved ASAP. You can even use the Telegram bot and SleekFlow’s chatbot at the same time without any additional messaging fees charged. 

Related reading:

5. WeChat

WeChat function

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

If your business in Singapore 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? All-in-one marketing software that integrates with Salesforce

Messaging Salesforce leads with SleekFlow

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

Don’t get us wrong, we are not saying that you need to ditch email marketing. 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. 

Combine efforts for quicker results. 

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

For instance, 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 customise membership statuses for advanced segmentation, i.e. ‘VIP’ category, and launch retargeting campaigns for maximised conversions. 

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

New to SleekFlow? Check out our free forever plan or consult our local experts in Singapore.

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