If I could sum up this article in a line, it’ll be this: By incorporating conversational marketing into your strategy, this customer-centric approach will ultimately set you apart and bring you better customers.
Gone are the days when you had to generate leads through online forms and wait for a long time to hear back from your potential customers. Today, we live in a world where people are looking for quick, accurate answers to their questions.
Salesforce reports that 71% of customers expect companies to have a real-time communication mechanism – and this is where conversational marketing comes in.
In this read, I will walk you through the various aspects, benefits, and examples of conversational marketing.
Let’s get started.
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing is a customer-focused mechanism that is based on interaction with your customers across multiple digital outlets of your business.
The eventual goal is to make your customers’ online or digital experience more personalized through one-on-one conversations and dialogue-driven marketing strategies.
If done the right way, conversational marketing can help businesses ‘speak’ to their potential or existing customers, learn their buying trends, and predict future sales or other important business decisions. More importantly, better customer interactions can build better customer relationships in the long run.
Main Highlights of Conversational Marketing
Here are some key aspects of conversational marketing:
Conversational marketing is largely based on the ‘talk to your customers when they want to, not when you want to’ model. With those traditional online forms, your website visitors would have to wait for hours or days to hear back from your sales team about an inquiry that shouldn’t have taken a few seconds to answer.
However, conversational marketing creates an environment where your visitors get responses through a meaningful conversation with the help of a smart chatbot such as the Facebook messenger bot, or any other tool that you use to interact with them.
Qualifying Leads within Minutes
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, if a company doesn’t respond to a lead within the first 5 minutes since the first contact was made, the odds of qualifying the lead go down by 400%.
So, what does this mean for marketing and sales teams?
Well – if you aren’t able to qualify leads as quickly as you can, then you may as well say goodbye to that business. This is where conversational marketing assists marketers and sales representatives to convert leads more efficiently and effectively.
Troubleshoot in Real-time
When I say troubleshoot, I don’t necessarily mean resolving customers’ technical queries while they’re on your website.
Keeping the marketing and sales perspective into consideration, troubleshooting covers a lot more than that – relevant content, targeted messages, lead generation, conversion rate, and customer journey being some of the key troubleshooting elements of conversational marketing.
Once you are able to implement an effective conversational marketing strategy, you will start troubleshooting your marketing or sales obstacles simultaneously – a goal that is or should be common for the entire organization.
Taking away the ‘frustration’ of your customers is what you need to focus on as a marketer. Here is a survey result that shows various online customer frustration reasons:
It is clearly evident from these numbers that people still can’t get the answers to basic queries, followed by difficulty in website navigation and so on.
Where Can You Use Conversational Marketing?
Here are some areas where you can apply your conversational marketing strategies:
1. Live Chat
Live chat has been one of the major support tools that companies have opted for in recent years.
A report suggests that the likelihood of a customer making a repeat purchase goes up by 52% if the company has a live chat tool on one of their digital platforms.
Brands that offer live chat can make effective use of conversational marketing, and how it can benefit the organization’s goals in all its entirety.
2. Customer Success and Loyalty Programs
Abandoning your new customers once they have purchased your product is not a smart thing to do. Instead, what you would want is to ensure your product has delivered the purpose to your customer the way it was meant to.
For this, a lot of brands hire designated customer success managers that make sure that your product or service has been fully understood by the customer after their purchase.
In the service sector, such as software development, this helps a lot with product renewals or repeat purchases. In addition to this, you can introduce various customer loyalty programs using the right conversational strategy to build long-term relationships with your customers.
3. Email Marketing
You might have heard or read about email marketing going obsolete or relevant news about this marketing tool, however, when I see the stats, they tell a different story.
According to Statista in 2019, it was estimated that marketers in the US will be spending more than $350million on email advertising by the end of that year.
Email marketing, and more importantly email outreach, was, is, and will always remain a strong marketing tool across the globe. To make it even stronger, marketers can use conversational marketing strategies and outreach tools to sell their products in a more personalized manner.
For example, keeping a more direct, informal, and personalized tone in the email body will give you better results as compared to the old, traditional email templates that talk about the product or the brand in a generic way.
How Conversational Marketing Can Benefit Your Business
Now that you’re aware of the basic principles of conversational marketing and the various channels where it can be implemented, let’s talk about the benefits:
Improved Customer Journey
One of the most desirable outcomes of conversational marketing is the overall buying experience of your new or existing customers.
Whether through a live chat agent or using various AI methods, interaction usually leads to more information about your customers that includes buying trends, product preferences, demographical factors, and much more.
With these meaningful conversations, your sales reps can target specific segments according to the features or characteristics of a certain product that you want to sell to them – eventually improving the overall buying experience of your customers.
Conversational marketing results in more qualified leads as compared to the traditional methods of reaching out to your customers.
Due to an improved customer experience resulting from the right questions at the right time, your website will have much better conversion rates. Pair this with list building software and strategies, and you’ll be able to get more email sign ups too.
Expedites Your Sales Funnel
Using the right conversational marketing strategy, you can expedite your brand’s overall marketing and sales funnels. This, in return, allows a quicker completion of your entire sales cycle for one product, or multiple products.
Regardless of a product being new in the market or not, the duration of sales process can be a real pain for your sales team, as it directly affects business revenue. Conversational marketing provides huge assistance by sending qualified leads to your sales team and they can start doing their job right away.
This is one of the biggest benefits of conversational marketing. Depending on what communication channel serves your needs best, you can be available to your customers 24/7/365. In the current fast-paced, highly competitive business environment, this is certainly a must-have.
You can do this through marketing automation that can be achieved with various chatbots and other ‘non-human’ tools and techniques.
How to Choose the Right Conversational Marketing Strategy for Your Business
‘Conversation marketing’ means that you have the ideal conversational marketing strategy implemented throughout your business. Why is that? Let’s have a look…
Keeping into consideration your business model, business sector or the industry that you’re part of, it is imperative that you identify core areas where you can make in-roads to improve the overall customer experience.
For example, the marketing strategy for a shoe manufacturer will be a whole lot different from that of a live chat service provider.
Yes, businesses do need a more buyer-centric approach to survive in the highly competitive market today, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean implementing strategies that might not work for a certain brand, even if it did for one of its competitors. Each product, each market, and each segment have different factors that contribute towards the overall success or failure of a product.
Here are the three major parts of a successful conversational marketing strategy:
- Define Your Marketing Channels
- Humanize and Personalize Your AI
- Get Customer Feedback
1. Define Your Marketing Channels
Having multiple marketing touchpoints or channels doesn’t imply that you can use it for conversational marketing. For example, implementing a chatbot on a short-term rental website might make more sense than sending emails to potential guests who have same-day check-ins and may not check their emails right away.
2. Humanize and Personalize Your AI
When it comes to chatbots or whatever mode of communication you are using with your customers, you need to ensure that they get a personalized and a ‘real-human’ like experience. Yes, having bots chatting with them is not a new thing anymore and your customers wouldn’t be too annoyed by automated service.
However, they wouldn’t be too responsive in chats or emails if you are sending or asking generic questions from them. For better leads, your AI needs to be relevant, precise, and personalized.
3. Get Customer Feedback
Ever seen those thumbs up and thumbs down icons on a website’s live chatbox? That is real-time feedback that you need to collect from your digital touchpoints. Whether chat, email, social media posts, or any other form of communication channel, you need constant feedback for successful conversational marketing.
The Role of Chatbots in Conversational Marketing
Chatbots play a vital role in the grand scheme of things for conversational marketing. Aumcore reported that 80% of businesses were expected to have some form of chatbot automation by the end of 2020.
The major elements that play a role in chatbot development are:
- Business Requirement
- Development Architecture
- Bot-only VS Hybrid Model (bot + chat agent)
After finalizing your business requirement and development architecture, you need to identify whether you need a bot-only chat automation or a hybrid model where a bot can take care of the initial part of the conversation and later escalate the chat to one of your sales reps.
Once you have decided on the right conversational marketing strategy for your product or your entire business, the right chatbot can help you get the results that you are looking for.
Click here to read about some of the best AI chatbots in the business that could further strengthen your conversational marketing framework.
Some Key Conversational Marketing Stats
Here are some interesting stats about conversational marketing:
– According to Kayako, 79% of businesses have witnessed positive live chat results in terms of customer loyalty, sales, and revenue.
– According to a Twilio study, 9 out of 10 consumers would want to use messaging to contact a business.
– Business Insider found that conversations via Facebook Messenger platform between businesses and customers have a 30% better ROI as compared to retargeting ads.
– IBM suggests that 80% of routine questions can be taken care of by chatbots
– Chatbots can reduce customer service costs by 30%
– Another study reports that 40% of millennials say they interact with chatbots every day.
– According to HubSpot, 47% of consumers would be open to buying a product or a service completely from a chatbot.
Conversational Marketing Examples
DNA is a telecom service provider that introduced a button-based conversational AI chatbot to their live chat channel. It was a huge success and decreased live chat conversations with chat agents by 58%.
Sun50 is an online store that sells sun protection products. Their automated chatbot is very basic and simple, yet brings in a lot of leads for the business on a constant basis.
If you thought emojis were only made for fun, well, think again. Domino’s came up with the idea of using the pizza emoji and asking their customers from various digital channels to only use that.
Ordering a pizza couldn’t get any simpler than that, could it?
What Conversational Marketing is Not
While I’m at it, I can’t let you leave without letting you know all that conversational marketing is NOT about.
As a marketer, business owner or entrepreneur, you should know that conversational marketing is not a way to increase the traffic on your digital channel. Yes, it could have a positive impact on your overall traffic, but that should never be the goal.
If you’re expecting that a chatbot can completely take over everything from your sales team, you’re wrong. Yes, it is a tool to assist your sales team in more than one way, however, you cannot solely rely on your conversational marketing channel, platform, or tool.
My Final Word on Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing, particularly chatbot development, is still in its early stages and has a long way to go. Since most of the conversational AI covers certain scenarios, and not ‘all’ possible cases, being a business owner or a marketer, this is not the only tool you should be using.
Having said that, conversational marketing has evolved to new horizons in the past couple of years, with more and more online businesses opting for business automation – marketing being one of them. Conversational marketing is, without a doubt, the future of marketing in the coming years.