Conversational marketing is the ability to have 1:1 interactions in real time across multiple channels with prospects and customers. It allows for businesses to generate and nurture relationships, improve the online customer experience, and support consumers through the funnel from awareness to long-term supporter.
Chat bots, messaging apps, and live chat are just a few examples of ways you can support your prospects and consumers via conversational marketing, all changing the way brands interact and provide support. This article outlines what you need to know about conversational marketing, the benefits of integrating it into your marketing strategy, and tips to help get you started.
Conversational Marketing Defined
Conversational marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on two-way consumer dialogue, 1:1 personalized experiences, and gaining unique customer insights while also providing value. Tools that help brands engage in conversational marketing include messenger chatbots, SMS, IMs, email, even phone calls.
This is not a new concept, but conversational marketing tools can help break down barriers between customers and your brand, from support to sales and marketing, so it should be an important part of your overall marketing and retention strategy.
Ultimately, it builds a better experience from awareness to long-term customer, allowing you to connect with customers and prospects in a more meaningful way.
Benefits of Conversational Marketing
There are a number of benefits of conversational marketing, including:
- Better Customer Experience
Conversational marketing makes it easier for customers to get answers. For example, many conversational marketing tools, like messaging apps, SMS, and email, are mobile friendly. Since research shows people spend up to five hours on their phones each day, this makes it convenient to provide information specific to consumer problems, available right at their fingertips.
You can also adjust communications to meet consumers where they are in their journey, making conversations more relevant, targeted, and personalized in meaningful ways. This makes for an overall stronger and more positive experience with your brand. You can also collect more information in a natural way, which can lead to more personalized experiences.
- Gain Insights About Prospects and Customers
Conversational marketing makes it easy to understand directly from consumers what they want to do, learn, purchase, or change. You can then gather data at scale and use it to optimize future interactions, products/services, and content.
You can also define trends and make more informed decisions when it comes to marketing, advertising, and/or retention efforts. This includes learning about customer pain points, identifying cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and driving lead generation through new audiences or allowing prospects to get in touch with you easier.
- Build Relationships
It’s a huge benefit to be able to talk to prospects and consumers 1:1, when and where they want. These tactics allow for continuous communication and natural conversations to take place, connecting with and creating authentic, trusting relationships while also distributing value.
Use these interactions to showcase your brand’s personality and help enforce why consumers should choose your business over other options.
- Move from Prospect to Customer Faster
Using consumer marketing tactics correctly can effectively move consumers through marketing and sales funnels faster and easier. Qualified leads can automatically be sent directly to sales agents, and the information provided can help the agent close the sale faster and easier.
Why Conversational Marketing is Important
Conversational marketing is more than just live chat – it’s quickly and drastically changing the way prospects and customers engage with businesses. Not only can brands deliver content, which assists throughout the customer journey, but it also allows for shopping and purchasing, accessing customer support, and more.
Creating a seamless experience for prospects and customers can help generate more leads, close more sales, and develop lasting, trusting relationships that will increase customer retention and keep them coming back to your company over competitors.
How to Integrate Conversational Marketing in Your Strategy
Integrating conversational marketing in your brand’s strategy can be easy or it can be complex, depending on your goals. Generally, the steps to take include:
- Choose the channels. Know where your audience is and where they want to be able to get in touch with you. This can include via email, social media, your website, by phone, or others. Decide where you want conversations to be able to take place.
- Develop FAQs. Outline a list of questions and answers focused on your products or services. Answers to questions can also help qualify leads or close sales, or promote content, products/services, etc. Determine questions the bots should be able to answer, as well as how to best get the information that you need from the consumer.
- Plan the conversation flow. Based on stages of the customer journey, define what information you need to ask and gather. This can help you make a plan and flow for the questions and answers you brainstormed in #2.
- Use CRM to capture and analyze data. Using a CRM allows you to store and access information easily and across teams within your company. This way, you won’t have to repeatedly ask for information like name, address, purchase history, question/concern/etc. Communication history and customer information is stored and can be accessed each time the customer is interacted with. This provides seamless interactions.
- Collect feedback from customers and prospects. Don’t be afraid to ask those interacting with you how their experience was. This can be a pop up after the conversation is over asking them to rate it on a scale from 1-10, or a survey email or SMS sent after completing the interaction asking for feedback.
- Analyze and optimize. You’ll never be able to improve and provide even better experiences for your consumers without analyzing the data you collect and optimizing your strategy over time. For example, perhaps you need to include more information in answers, ask different questions, or distribute different types of content.
Tips for a Successful Conversational Marketing Strategy
When it comes to having a successful strategy, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Know the key components of a conversational marketing strategy. Conversations should happen whenever and wherever the customer wants, including real time, and be designed around needs of the customer. This could mean 24/7 access on whatever channel suits the customer. Conversations should also have context and get smarter as you collect more information – not only is it what customers expect, but it’s also more convenient. It shows you know about the customer, avoids wasting their or your time by having to repeat information, and provides information or answers to customers as quickly as possible
- Collect data. Know what you want your customers to be able to accomplish through the conversational marketing tactics and build out the process for gathering that information. Track performance, drop-off, and questions asked.
- Add automation. Many aspects of conversational marketing tactics, like chatbots, can be automated to eliminate human intervention while still encouraging interactions and gathering data. For example, they can answer basic FAQs, qualify leads, promote information, events, products, etc., and get feedback.
- Channels and tools should be simple. Both your employees and consumers should be able to use them. Otherwise, they won’t, which defeats the purpose.
- All conversations should have a process and purpose that supports your overall marketing and brand strategy. Without knowing your overall goals, it will be difficult to use conversational marketing to its best advantage.
For help developing your conversational marketing strategy and building a digital presence overall, contact Dragonfly Digital Marketing. We work with businesses from all industries to identify and implement the best marketing methods to achieve your specific goals.