What Is Conversational Marketing?
With the growth of online digital marketing and ecommerce, there has been a drop in the number of face-to-face conversations people have.
Instead of going into a store and asking questions, most consumers today will spend time online researching products and services before buying.
Of course, the less person-to-person interaction there is the less brand loyalty. This change is one of the reasons that Apple decided to open retail stores back in 2001. Although the brand was focused on online sales, they realized that the personal interactions with customers were what created loyalty.
When it comes to engaging customers, a personalized, two-way conversation is a much more effective way to understand and serve their needs.
But of course, like everything in digital marketing, the innovations continue to find new ways to push things forward.
Most savvy business owners today are getting more proactive in their lead generation and sales efforts. And a big piece of being proactive is to offer virtual conversational marketing to their prospects and customers.
By using automated conversational chat software – commonly known as chatbots – businesses can greet online prospects and have initial conversations even before they decide to buy.
Conversational marketing via social media and chatbots of websites has many benefits, including higher lead generation numbers and improved conversion rate optimization (CRO).
In this article, we’ll take a look at how conversational marketing is evolving and how it can be used to enhance your customer experience.
Focusing On Customer Engagement
Customer engagement sounds like one of those terms you find in a college textbook. In reality, the act of customer engagement is anything that creates an interaction between a customer and a business.
Customer engagement can be in person, over the phone, in printed media, or via websites, apps, and social media.
As a rule, the more personal the experience feels for the person, the higher their level of customer engagement. It helps to build brand trust and brand loyalty.
Businesses can also use customer engagement to gather valuable customer feedback and to improve their products and services.
When it comes to automating customer engagement, there are many tools available today that can help. One of these tools is conversational marketing.
What Is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing enables businesses to have real-time conversations with their prospects and customers via a website, social media, or an app.
Conversational marketing via social media has boomed over the past few years, with apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp leading the way. In 2021, more than 20 billion messages are exchanged between businesses and Facebook users each month through Facebook Messenger.
Conversational marketing mostly happens using two approaches:
This approach uses human customer service representatives who can communicate in real-time with customers through chat software.
This approach uses messaging software (i.e., chatbots) to provide automated, real-time conversations with customers using artificial intelligence (AI). Pre-set answers are given to customers based on their questions.
Companies such as Drift are a great example of how conversational marketing can be implemented into a business. According to Drift:
“Instead of forcing people to go through lead capture forms and wait days for a response, conversational marketing uses targeted messaging and intelligent chatbots to engage with people when they’re on your website.”
Chatbots are becoming an increasingly popular way to use conversational marketing. The appeal of chatbots to business owners is that they don’t require a team member to be responding to the user, and yet they are getting questions answered. In this way, using a Chatbot can be a budget-friendly way to scale up customer service for your business.
Automated chat and chatbots appeal to businesses who want to provide scalable customer service solutions.
Why Conversational Marketing Is Important
Conversational marketing is becoming an essential aspect of any digital marketing plan because customers demand instant answers to their questions. Most people can access information easily online, and if they can’t source it from a company directly, they may choose to buy elsewhere.
Add to this fact that most consumers no longer have the time (or patience) to wait on a phone call or a response via email.
In contrast, a marketing automation chatbot can provide real-time support to customers and prospects. Here are some of the key benefits of using chatbots and conversational marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy.
• Building customer trust through quick service
• Improving customer experience and solving customer problems
• Eliminating wait times via phone or email
• Acquiring real-time customer feedback
• Moving prospects through the sales funnel
With the many benefits of conversational marketing, it’s only sensible for a business to incorporate this tactic into its digital marketing initiatives.
When your customers can connect with you at any time and at their own pace, they feel more satisfied and cared for.
On the business side, it allows you to generate more sales. When customers hesitate to click that “Buy” button, it’s because they have doubts. With conversational marketing, you can instantly clear up any questions the customer might have and convince them to go through with the sale.
The Keys To Successful Conversational Marketing
Gone are the days of having ‘opening hours’ for online shopping. The key to a successful Conversational marketing plan is that conversations happen whenever the customer prefers.
For some people, that means starting a conversation at 7 am and finishing at midnight after they finish their day.
Remember that conversational marketing should always be designed around the customer’s needs rather than the needs of the business.
This situation is where chatbots come in handy. Chatbots make 24/7 support possible and scalable by providing answers to common questions. In many cases, a chatbot can help answer basic questions and get a purchase started for customers who want to buy online.
Another huge benefit is that you can gather and store customer data for future interactions. The more you know about your prospects and customers, the better you can customize future conversations with them.
If you have used a chatbot before buying or making an inquiry, you already understand the significant impact that conversation marketing can have.
Any business focused on improving customer service and offering online support should add conversational marketing as part of their marketing strategy.