What is Conversational Marketing?

What is conversational marketing
  • The ability to have 1:1 personal conversations across multiple channels – meeting customers how, when, and where they want.
  • Is more than just live chat
  • Extends to phone calls, text, Facebook Messenger, email, Slack and more.
  • Extends to any channel in which the customer wants to communicate with your brand

Your conversational marketing audience is much more insightful than your other channels.

They’ll tell you in their own words how they want to interact with your business.

There’s no inferring or guessing, like with web traffic.

Key Elements of Conversational Marketing

time

Conversations Happen in Customer Time - conversational marketing is asynchronous. Meaning conversations should occur whenever the customer prefers whether that’s in real-time, after finishing their meeting, or later that night when they have a spare moment. While it’s important for businesses to be able to chat in real-time, it’s just as important for them to be able to finish a conversation at whatever pace the customer wants. 

 

scalableConversations are Scalable - because conversations happen on customer time, all conversations need to be scalable. A customer doesn’t care if you’re talking with 50, 500, or 5,000 other people — they only care about the issue they need to be solved. This is where chatbots come in. Bots make 24/7 support possible by providing answers to common questions based on data that already exists. 

 

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Conversations have Context - Conversations can’t exist in a vacuum; they need context and should get smarter as you collect more information. It’s what customers expect. Additionally, context is what makes messaging convenient. Without it, bots or a support rep would need to ask people the same qualifying questions every time they interacted with them.

 

ResponsiveConversations Meet Customer Where They Are - Conversational marketing is part of Inbound Marketing — thanks to the mass adoption of messaging and new tools and technology....and that means conversations should happen on the channel that best suits your custome. People don’t want to be forced to call a 1-800 number if they could easily send a quick chat message and grab a link to a knowledge base article.

Conversational Marketing is More than Live Chat

Some people equate conversational marketing with live chat — something that’s been around for a while. But it’s much more than that. Conversational marketing isn’t about a single tool. While Facebook Messenger, Slack, SMS, email, and others allow conversations to happen, this is about the changing communication preferences of consumers that in turn, should change how you view one-to-one conversations.

 

conversationWith access to new technology, businesses can use these emerging platforms to easily meet consumers where they are already spending their time

 

responsive2But remember, businesses should not only be communicating on a variety of channels, but they should also be prepared to continue those conversations across all channels without missing a beat.

 

There are over 65 million business pages on Facebook, and over 2 billion messages are exchanged with these businesses each month on Facebook Messenger.

The Benefits of Conversational Marketing

 Conversational marketing is a more delightful way for customers to get answers.

People are increasingly turning to mobile to shop and make purchases. As a result, more people are interacting with content that is more mobile friendly. Consumers that use their phone as their primary internet device have grown to prefer video content, social content, and messaging-based interactions.

Conversational marketing channels are innately mobile friendly. It’s a lot easier to chat with a rep or even a bot to get an answer than spend time scrolling and clicking through a company’s website. 

Conversational marketing is a great way to gain new, valuable insights about your customers.

You can gather that data at scale. This especially holds true for messaging channels. Chat interfaces can record data that can then be used to optimize for better customer interactions, product improvements, more helpful content, and more. A chatbot makes it easier for customers to find and purchase products they like and frees up human employees for other tasks.

A great example is CNN which uses a bot to provide their audience with tailored content based on keywords. Users simply send the bot a message with a topic they’re interested in, and it will send back related news stories. Not only is it a quick, easy way for readers to get the news they care about most, CNN is collecting valuable consumer data with every chat. 

Conversational marketing is a great way to build relationships

With messaging apps and social media, we’ve found a way to talk with more friends, more frequently. Conversational marketing can drive lead generation by reaching new audiences on different channels or by giving people a more convenient way to get in touch with support. According to Harvard Business Review, messaging apps “provide a continuous thread between customers and brands. 

Questions that are awkward or annoying coming from a brand are socially acceptable and even welcome in chatbot interactions.

 

- TopBots

Conversational Marketing and Inbound Marketing

There are definite similarities between the core ideas behind conversational marketing and inbound marketing. That’s because conversational marketing is a piece of inbound marketing, just like email marketing or blogging. Inbound Marketing is all about creating value where your target customer is spending their time — that could mean writing a blog, interacting on social media, or sharing a video on YouTube. Now that technology has made conversational marketing a possibility, it’s a key part of inbound marketing.

Although conversations are nothing new, our ability to have 1:1 conversations at this scale and across multiple channels is. With inbound marketing, you can first attract potential customers to your brand. You can then use conversational marketing to allow people to initiate conversations when they want, where they want, and how they want – giving your audience the control.

Conversations taking place throughout the entire customer lifecycle

Conversational Marketing and Inbound Marketing

How Conversational Marketing will Grow your Business

Your CRM and Conversational Marketing

When you have a conversation with a friend, you don’t expect to have to remind them of things like your name or where you live — the same holds true when customers have conversations with a business. That’s why using a CRM is so important. A CRM is like a digital memory that allows you to have conversations with customers like you know them.

A successful conversational marketing strategy is dependent on fast and reliable access to a shared knowledge base that includes data such as communication history and necessary customer information. Companies who want to do conversational marketing will need a way to store and organize that data in order to have more seamless interactions with customers. With the help of a CRM, you can organically promote events and products, distribute content, and provide support all through chat.

Adding Automation with Chatbots

Once your CRM is set up, it’s time to think to think about how you can scale your conversations. This is where chatbots can help.

Business isn’t just happening in one city, in one state, or in one timezone — it’s happening all around the world, every minute of every day. Customers expect to be able to connect with businesses whenever they need to. According to research from Aspect Software, 65% of consumers feel good about themselves and the company when they can handle an issue without talking to a live person, and 61% think that chatbots allow for faster answers.

A few ways Bots can help : FAQs or customer specific questions, qualify leads, Promote events, products, and content, schedule meetings, Get feedback from customers and prospects. 

While chatbots can do many things, they should never be used as a barrier between customers and a human.

86% of consumers want the option to transfer to a representative if their request is too complicated for a bot to handle

 

- Adweek.com

An Inbound Approach to Conversations

 

Developing a conversational marketing strategy can take time – it’s not easy to think about process when you’re trying to keep up with the day-to-day demands of running a business. here are some some tips for building a conversational marketing strategy.

    • Personalise

When speaking with a customer or prospect, conversations should be personalized with relevant shared knowledge. Personalized details make the conversation feel more natural and help you to get to the root of the issue as quickly as possible.

    • Contextualise

Conversations that have context not only improve the end-user experience, they also help minimize misunderstandings and get straight to the heart of the issue. Context is necessary to help answer the right question, at the right time, in the best way possible.

    • Standardise

It’s important not to get too caught up in personalizing your messages. While personalization and contextualization are important, standardizing elements of conversations helps bring a level of professionalism and consistency to your business. Figure out your customer’s most frequently asked questions and draft approved answers for bots and marketers to use.

    • Empathise

Ensure that you emphasise with your customers issue before moving forward with providing a solution Emphasizing helps customers feel valued and heard.

    • Optimise

Optimize for the strengths of the channel and for the answer – aim to provide answers that people would receive in a real, one-to-one conversation.

Moving Forward - Why Conversations are the Future

ChatBot2We’ve come a long way from letters and telegrams. For the first time, people are having meaningful conversations with businesses on a massive scale thanks to automation with bots, a CRM, and new channels. Conversational marketing is changing the way companies talk with their customers by making interactions seamless and faster than ever before. Your customers are having conversations.

Why not join in? The most important things to focus on are the channel, the conversation, and how the strategy fits in with your overall inbound marketing strategy. Channels should be simple for businesses and consumers to use, conversations should follow a clear process and serve a purpose, and your inbound marketing strategy should inform your conversational marketing strategy.

Remember, humans have been having conversations since the beginning of time. Technology is only making it easier and more productive for businesses and their customers to connect. While the days of communicating by the Pony Express may be over, thoughtful, friendly conversations (and gossip) will continue to stand the test of time and technology.

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