What Is Conversational Marketing and How Can It Help You?
Marketing has changed a lot in recent times, and it will probably continue to do so. The clever techniques that work the best for conversions and sales are constantly evolving, with social media driving a lot of these changes. Right now, conversational marketing is an enormously important trick that a lot of businesses are missing out on.
The draw of conversational marketing is that it makes customers feel more important and valued. As a result, they connect with your business. Don’t worry, though; it doesn’t involve being available 24/7 to converse with every single one of your customers. Instead, conversational marketing uses intelligent chatbots and targeted messaging to make the customer feel as though there is a conversation.
This guide covers some of the conversational marketing basics to explain why it’s essential and how to do it right.
What Is Conversational Marketing? Why Do I Need to Do It?
Conversational marketing, at its most basic level, entails engaging with customers on a deeper level. When a consumer wants to reach out to your brand with questions or complaints, they don’t want to spend time filling out a form, only to have to wait a few days to hear a response.
The solution is to use chatbots that converse with customers in real-time, giving them instant responses. Since most people communicate nowadays via messaging apps, it’s a way to connect with customers in a comfortable and familiar way.
It’s not just for them, though. Conversational marketing can also be an excellent way to harvest customer insights. The quick nature of messaging apps means that people are likely to respond to your business questions, especially when it is mid-conversation about something else.
To date, conversational marketing has been proven as a successful way to drive customer engagement. It creates a stable customer base with loyal clients who will develop a positive image of your brand. As a result, you become better situated to grow your income and your business.
Now that you have a brief overview of what conversational marketing is, let’s go into detail.
Conversational Marketing: A Breakdown
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re already doing conversational marketing and executing it flawlessly. The chances are that customer-focused brands will already be part of the way there, but the following sections break down precisely what you need to be doing for conversational marketing. Here are four essential factors that make up this marketing strategy.
Real-Time Conversations on Customer Time
Although the emphasis here is on conversations, it’s still asynchronous. Conversational marketing is not about telephone conversations but messaging services. As a result, there is often a slight delay between responses, especially on the part of the customer.
One of the significant advantages of this kind of marketing is that the customer gets to talk on their own terms. They can reply when they have a spare moment, either after work, on their lunch break, or whenever they feel like it. In some cases, they may strike up a conversation in the morning but don’t finish it until the evening.
Conversational marketing, therefore, focuses on the needs of the customer rather than the business. Having chatbots means that someone (rather, something) is always on hand to help out the client when they need it most and when it’s convenient for them.
Bots are a vital tool in conversational marketing because they require less manpower. It’s virtually impossible to offer conversational marketing to hundreds or thousands of customers, but bots can host that many conversations with ease.
Plus, they’re better for 24/7 conversations because they’re always available. Bots are perfect for scaling customer conversations without sacrificing human interaction.
There’s no sense having bots that can’t situate the conversation in context. It makes it more frustrating for the customer if they need to keep repeating themselves or if they feel like their query is not being answered. Of course, this is not a problem unique to chatbots. We all know the feeling of repeating information to helplines as the call gets passed around various departments.
It’s vital to have conversations that fit into the context. This also means harvesting some data about the customer and using it to help them with their query. It’s also best to store this data for future inquiries. It not only makes the conversation more personal and better for the client, but it’s also more efficient if you can help them with the problem more quickly.
Treating the Customer as Valuable
This probably goes without saying, but improving customer experience is an essential part of conversational marketing. The customer will feel valued if there is a personal, contextual, rapid conversation that takes place on their own terms.
Another way to achieve this is by making chatbots accessible, having them on multiple channels. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, and other channels are all great. Some customers, of course, prefer human contact and will desire to chat with someone on the phone. However, messenger marketing is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s a good idea to let customers come to you on their favorite platforms.
What You Get out of Conversational Marketing
Although the use of chatbots and personalized marketing isn’t new, it’s surprising how few businesses are using it and doing it well. Here are the two major benefits of conversational marketing.
Better Customer Relations
For the customer, conversational marketing is a much better way to shop. They get to interact with content that’s tailored to them, and it’s easily accessible from their own mobile device. These days, consumers spend multiple hours per day looking at their phones, which is why it’s beneficial to have these marketing channels lined up.
What’s more, customers will start to see your brand in a positive light. By helping them with what they need, you can also encourage customers to see your business as helpful, practical, and really easy to use. This will drive sales.
A great example is the Domino’s AnyWare initiative. Customers can use any messaging app they want – Facebook, Twitter, etc. – and send a pizza emoji to Domino’s. This lets them place an order from literally anywhere. The pure simplicity of this, combined with the fact that other pizza places aren’t doing it, makes Domino’s a really appealing brand for hungry customers who want pizzas.
Traditional marketing, like advertising, is very one-sided, but conversational marketing brings the customer into the discussion. When the customer starts the interaction, they are already telling you what they want from your business, starting with their preferred method of communication.
It makes it easy to gather tailored audience data on a considerable scale. You can then use this data to improve your business and strategies, appealing to your target audience in their preferred way.
A fantastic example of this is the bot on the CNN website. All you need to do is enter a keyword you are interested in, and CNN will send back related news articles. They are collecting valuable data at the same time as being helpful.
Some Conversational Marketing Statistics
If anything is going to convince you of the benefits of conversational marketing, it’s the statistics. Here are some astounding stats to show the value behind this strategy:
- 46% of US adults use voice assistants on their mobile devices.
- 79% of top-performing businesses have been using marketing automation for 3+ years. Quiz-like forms can triple the conversion rate for some brands
- After 6-9 months, brands that automate their lead management see a 10% increase in revenue
- As of 2020, 58% of B2B business had not adapted to new sales techniques
The last statistic is very important, as it shows that there is still time to get ahead of the curve. Either way, it’s best not to be left behind by conversational marketing techniques because they really are the future of sales.
How to Do Conversational Marketing the Right Way
So, with all that in mind, what’s the best way to execute conversational marketing? The essential steps to bear in mind are:
- Be available to your audience, at convenient times and on the right platforms
- Understand customer needs so that you can anticipate what they want, but also be willing to listen to feedback
- Help the customer by providing what they need, making recommendations where relevant
Luckily, it’s not rocket science. You might need to perform some research to work out where to invest time and funds when setting up your conversational marketing strategy, but it will all pay off in the long run.
Conversational marketing tactics are definitely the future, as more and more people turn to their phones rather than laptops for shopping and browsing. It’s also vital to connect with customers in a way that feels more personal; when consumers are inundated with marketing, brands making a little extra effort will stand out. For humans, sociality is an essential part of our nature. So don’t hesitate; start making better connections with your audience and improving your business with conversational marketing today.