One of the challenges every business faces today is converting customers. Conversational marketing targets specific customer segments and engages in hyper-relevant conversations. Thus, you can drive business growth. But how can you use conversational marketing in your brand?
In this article, we go through the essential elements of successful digital marketing strategies for conversational marketing. So let’s take a deeper look at what’s involved in conversational marketing.
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing facilitates interaction between a brand and its customers. It revolves around customer engagement through social media, blogs, forums, and other channels.
The idea is to allow customers to connect with the brand. They will share their experiences, ask questions, and provide feedback.
Conversation marketing delivers real-time communication with prospects in a two-way dialogue process. Marketers can then talk straight to customers and start building a relationship. But as we’ll discover later on, it doesn’t need to be a human behind the words on the screen.
It touches on almost all aspects of digital marketing. These include content development, distribution, and client retention. It results in the potential to drive website traffic, boost leads and increase sales.
What Are The Benefits Of Conversational Marketing?
Marketing has changed at such a rapid pace that it’s difficult for brands to keep up. The market landscape has thousands of different voices. Thus, many brands behind the curve are blending into the background. Successful digital marketing strategies for conversational marketing need to address this issue headfirst.
Here are three reasons conversational marketing is more important than ever.
Customers love to feel heard, listened to, and valued. Conversational marketing addresses the challenge of reaching out to your audience. It does so by engaging with them in real-time through social media and other channels. The emphasis is on interaction, inquiry, and participation to build trust and develop credibility over time.
Personalization is the key to trust-building. As you trust-build with your loved ones, take time to show the customer you’re listening. In turn, they provide you with more information. In turn, this information leads to a higher chance that the result will be the right one for their needs.
Conversational marketing is perfect for any business looking to add value. Adding value often, but not always, justifies a higher price. If you want to maximize your profits, consider working on conversational marketing—that way, you can increase your conversion rates while offering a higher price.
Conversational marketing provides an opportunity to engage in a higher-quality customer journey. As discussed above, people open up more when they feel trusted, valued, and respected. They’re more willing to share their opinions. They’re also more likely to get involved with your brand, wanting to recommend or spread the word.
With conversational marketing, you’re likely to build up an audience that trusts you. Not only that, but you’re providing your audience with strong brand expectations. They’re interested in what you offer and will go out of their way to help spread the good word.
The conversation is especially important for businesses in the B2B niche. That’s because it can lead to a higher likelihood of landing a new client. Conversational marketing builds trust over time. Customers know the brand is listening to them and responding on time. All this results in a more loyal audience, who are more inclined to share their opinion.
Makes Conversational Sales a Breeze
Not every industry will use conversational sales. That said, many of the benefits still apply in the marketing stage. But for those who can use it, it provides better qualifications in the lead generation stage. It also takes most of the hard work out of the sales process.
There are plenty of reasons for customers wanting a product or service. But there’s going to be one common reason, and that’s what you can offer them. They’re willing to spend time engaging with your brand or what you’re offering. That means there’s a higher chance they’re reaching the deal-ready stage.
At this point, it’s a matter of optimizing the forms of digital communications. The optimization makes sure good communication happens at the right time. That way, you’ll have the best chance to close the deal once and for all.
Types of Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing describes the need for communication. Yet, this can apply to several settings and optimize for best performance. Below are some examples:
Front-Page Social Media
The best example of this is Twitter. With Twitter, businesses can converse with customers almost straight away. By using hashtags, businesses can ask questions or post links for engagement. This kind of interaction is great as it engages in meaningful conversation.
Twitter is an excellent way to get instant feedback from customers to assess which path to take. It can also help drive traffic to blog posts or other content that would otherwise go unnoticed. Engaging in such a conversation helps establish a connection with the customer. In turn, the engagement encourages them to seek more information from your brand.
It is also a good way to build awareness for influencers. By spending time interacting with influencers, you can make yourself more memorable. When you do this often, it not only takes the focus off your product or service. But it also establishes your brand as one that cares and is willing to listen.
Live video streaming has been around for many years, but it’s only in recent times it’s taken on a whole new dynamic. The traditional live stream, one you may know as a video call or a webinar, has taken off again. That’s thanks to global restrictions around COVID-19 and the popularity of social media.
The meteoric rise of video shorts in social media in recent times isn’t killing the webinar yet. It is, yet, making the live stream more relevant again. If you’re a business owner and you’re planning on conducting a live broadcast soon, make sure you are ready.
Each has its purpose and benefits, as well as its disadvantages. In both cases, brands and influencers can talk to their fanbases and clients in real-time. They can do this by inviting their viewers to leave comments on a live stream. In turn, the host can either reply in the comments box or discuss the comment live on the video more often.
In the traditional setup, a live stream is a pre-planned event with guest invitations. Think of this as a networking event, a showcase, or an open house for those in real estate. Here a set time gets booked, slots allocated, and users are welcome to watch a discussion or engage in a Q and A session.
Today, these work best in a formal setting, often business-to-business. It allows for a planned structure at the host end.
Further, it allows guests to plan any questions they may have in advance. This becomes the topic and ice-breakers from which conversational marketing can occur.
The ability to control the themes and flow of the meeting can make it feel a little fake if used in the wrong setting. And this is where businesses are embracing a new wave of live streams via social media.
Live streaming used to have a reputation for bored teenagers on webcam streams. But in recent years, there’s been a wave of entrepreneurs becoming their influencers and advocates.
Thanks to the real-time nature of live streams, these business owners give their viewers an insight into the life and the process of honing their craft. Graphic designers, for example, may choose to live stream the drawing and design process of a logo while answering questions from the comments section of the feed.
This Q and A in real-time can provide new levels of intimacy and personalization unseen on the internet before. As society becomes more isolated, people look to new, innovative ways to engage in conversation and bring back the personal elements of yesteryear. And live streams take this to the next level, giving an insight into the life of someone otherwise enigmatic.
Special Mention: TikTok
There have been many attempts over the years to kick-start live-stream social media. But the first to grow exponential and hit the masses is TikTok. TikTok is a video platform that allows users to create engaging shorts that viewers can either like, follow, comment, or do their duets with the video.
What makes TikTok so special is its algorithm for showing content. And, more importantly, relevant content. It does this by encouraging user engagement and conversation. In summary, the more comments people post on your videos (as well as other engagement factors), the more people who see your video.
Many people have life-changing revelations as they can relate to the videos shown on their page. You can use this to your advantage as it’s this exact curiosity that encourages engagement in the first place.
For example, if you run a virtual assistant agency, you may find a surge in demand that correlates with vast numbers of people self-diagnosing with ADHD later in life. These individuals become willing to accept they need support in their careers, so they may want to hire your services as a virtual assistant.
Chat is a great way to promote immediate engagement with your customers. Talk with them about the product or service and ask them what they think.
The ability to start a conversation from the convenience of your smartphone is invaluable. Most people have their choice of messaging app on their phone and are thus more likely to engage in a chat than having to access your website.
You can also use this medium to find out where their pain points are in their workflow and how you can make it easier for them to achieve their goals. It is a great way to get initial feedback, build relationships and make them loyal to your brand.
Of course, not every business owner will be spending their lunch break sharing TikToks. So it’s vital never to underestimate the power of traditional methods such as direct messaging. Whatever platform you use for direct messaging, there’s still a lot to say for it.
Direct messaging is a great way to get instant responses from your customers. Find out what questions they have or what their concerns are. This approach isn’t as responsive as one-to-one live chat but is still a great way to start conversational marketing.
In fact, in recent times, online chats have evolved into a hybrid system of real-time chat, direct messaging, and more formal email chains. These so-called hybrid setups allow both the user and the owner flexibility with responding. It is most popular in small-medium global businesses, where a small team may only be available at certain times of the day thanks to different time zones.
Using Hybrid Platforms for Conversational Marketing
We’ve broken down some of the most important methods of conversational marketing above, but if you’re looking for a more profound and pleasant way to bring your customers back into your life, consider using one of the various hybrid platforms.
As discussed, a hybrid platform allows you to use your channels, like email and live chat, alongside more traditional social media platforms. It allows your social media feed to be a mosaic of things native to it and things from other channels like email or live chat.
Hybrid platforms work best when there isn’t a particular platform that stands out as beneficial without sacrificing others for one reason or another. For example, a B2B retailer may only need to engage in conversation with warm leads on a one-to-one basis. For them, a live stream or social media presence takes low priority.
But if you’re a B2C retailer, you may need to engage with customers through social media more often. The hybrid platform allows you to have all these channels on one channel.
Automated Conversational Marketing
If you’re not a fan of the time and resources needed for 24/7 conversational marketing, you may be more inclined to take an automated approach. This tactic will rely on a system of rules that respond to your data and activity.
Automated conversations are a great way to have customers come back and engage with your brand often. Here are some examples of how they work.
Using a chatbot is a great way to engage with customers, schedule appointments, book flights, or make purchases. You can even use it as a virtual assistant to take care of everything that isn’t an emergency for your customers.
While there is no denying that there are many opportunities to use chatbots to engage with your customers, you should be aware that they have their limitations. For instance, while they are great for scheduling appointments, they aren’t very good at telling stories or carrying out long conversations.
Also, they don’t have the emotional intelligence to understand specific requirements and help you provide the best customer service. Thus, it would be best to only use them in cases like getting hold of the right live chat team or leaving out of hours details.
Autoresponders are a little different in that they’re not all automated. They are a good way to schedule emails to customers at set intervals or leave a generic icebreaker to start a conversation, but they also write out the text ahead of time. It’s often not very flexible and doesn’t allow for live engagement.
Machine learning applies to both examples above. You can use APIs and machine learning to make your automated marketing interactions even more efficient and customized. If you find that customers respond well to certain phrases or topics, you can program your website to track and adapt to these trends.
Industry Use Cases of Conversational Marketing
The vast majority of businesses can enjoy conversational marketing, particularly from customer service and lead generation. But to get a better idea of how it is useful, let’s look at some industry use cases and examples and think about how this can apply to your own business.
Many luxury retailers have turned to interactive technologies to engage with their customers. Whether customer service is via live chat, social media, or email, interactive tools offer many benefits over traditional methods.
Unless you’re an anomaly such as Tesla, all luxury brands generate their customer base by focusing on human-to-human conversational marketing. When you’re spending $1mil on your dream family home, you’re going to want a personal touch from your realtor.
Conversational marketing allows you to provide a personalized experience to your customers, especially when you know their names or previous interactions. You can greet them by name and ensure they don’t have to spend unnecessary time filling in the same information each time.
These experiences are great for custom orders such as artwork or personalized memorabilia. Conversational marketing can act as an FAQ to put any uncertainties the customer has at ease and provide a more customized experience.
In a similar vein to personalized retail, the vast majority of services need elements of customization and personalization. And it’s especially true for local businesses.
If you’re a local business that’s on the ball and has a Google My Business account, various social media pages, and a website, conversational marketing is going to be your go-to for getting in there before your competitors give a better quote.
Business-to-business marketing is one of the most intensive examples of conversational marketing today. As businesses move towards a more customer-centric way of thinking, they embrace the need to engage with customers more naturally and approachable.
A conversational marketing strategy for business-to-business will likely maintain a degree of professionalism. But in today’s remote working environment, more and more business workers are letting the unimportant formalities slip and instead embracing a more personal approach.
Conversational marketing for the most professional businesses works best on LinkedIn. The pioneers of this strategy in B2B, LinkedIn provides the perfect balance between professionalism and personality. As they say, people buy from people, and in the case of B2B goods and services, this has never been more true to the word.
Other Factors to Consider With Conversational Marketing
Of course, despite all these exciting ways, you can use conversational marketing, some drawbacks and considerations to consider when choosing a strategy.
The first thing to note is that picking the wrong strategy for your business can prove detrimental. All it takes is a broken chatbot in the wrong place or an untrained customer service representative, and you could lose key leads.
Further, factor in costs and time spent with resources. Traditional conversational marketing is still the go-to for high-value businesses and B2B. Still, if your dealing with retail customers on a large scale with a lower ATV, you may find saving money and investing in quality automation software is the best way forward for your needs.
Plan Your Conversational Marketing Strategy Today
Conversational marketing can seem complicated, but it only comes down to a few simple rules. Given that there are such a plethora of tools available, it’s daunting to know where to begin. The truth is that the best way to succeed at conversational marketing is to find what works for your business and make changes from there.
Focus on your customer. Strategies like social media and customer service are all about the customer’s needs and want. Provide value at every opportunity you get. People buy from people, after all!
If you’re looking for someone to engage your business and collaborate on a conversational marketing strategy, then contact us today or reach our via our live chat, and let’s converse!