Conversational marketing has become a relatively new buzzword. And it can be a really powerful strategy when used correctly.
But what does it mean and why does it matter so much? Don’t worry, I’m going to answer all of that in this blog post. And I’ll cover some great examples of how conversational marketing is being used to grow companies.
Let’s get started with the definition of conversational marketing:
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing is a customized approach to serving your customers online. It uses a series of questions to move visitors through your sales or marketing funnel — emulating a real conversation.
A conversational marketing process typically uses an automated tool like chatbots, live chat, or SMS texting. Let’s explore each of these approaches:
Chatbots are simply software programs that use AI and natural language processing to provide relevant questions and responses during an automated conversation. These chatbots use conditional logic, which luckily you can create internally.
Live Chat is software that you can integrate with your company’s website. It lets sales or service reps chat with visitors in real time.
Conversational marketing via text messages is the same as other platforms. The only difference is the medium through which it’s delivered. With that said, conversational marketing can take place via other methods as well such as:
- Landing Pages
- Social Media
The Benefits of Conversational Marketing
Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of conversational marketing:
Conversational marketing helps you deliver your products and services without talking directly with customers. This means you don’t have to pay as many customer support reps, or any at all, to grow revenue.
Provide a Better Experience
Ultimately, we live in a day and age where the customer experience is vital. People are willing to do business with companies that provide easier, faster service.
Conversational marketing helps create personalized experiences that guide the customer to the exact solution or information they were looking for, with less hassle.
That way, you get the exact information you need from your website visitors. And it happens at the same time that they engage with your business.
Better Relationship Building
You can craft meaningful relationships with your target market via conversational marketing strategies. You can ask great questions to understand their deepest wants, needs, and problems. This also leads to better lead qualification.
Engage visitors right away, ensuring they take the next step in your sales funnel. The ability to ask direct questions means you can present visitors with the right landing page, article, email list, or product to further their buying journey.
As you can see, there are some great advantages to using conversational marketing in your business. But, there are some things to keep in mind:
Best Practices for Conversational Marketing
So you know you want to explore conversational marketing for your brand thanks to its automation, time savings, and budget-friendly nature, among others. First, keep these best practices in mind:
Implement in the Right Spots
It’s better to introduce conversational marketing where it will have the most effect on your business. For instance, putting a chatbot at the top of your funnel will touch many more visitors than at the bottom of the funnel.
Don’t Abandon Other Marketing Efforts
You shouldn’t just replace your other inbound marketing channels or agents yet. In fact, you can keep operating business as usual until you see significant differences in ROI with conversational marketing versus your traditional approach.
Keep Your Buyer Journey in Mind
Map out the process you want customers to take, step by step. Then, you can essentially translate these steps into scripts and questions that guide them along that path most efficiently.
Keep it Simple
There are a ton of ways you can program your conversational marketing tools to help customers. But ultimately, start with the basics. Avoid confusion for yourself and for your prospects.
Test, Test, Test
Understand that no marketing strategy has a 100% success rate on the first try. Setting up conversational marketing in your business is a process, not a one-time lottery event.
Just because you can now use robots to field basic inquiries and replace some human input, doesn’t mean you don’t need real reps. At some point, whether the customer bought or didn’t buy your product, you need real people reaching out to them.
Examples of Conversational Marketing
1. Barista Warrior
This ecommerce brand sells coffee products. The brand was built with conversational marketing in mind from the start.
Their secret weapon? — Segmentation. They only use conversational marketing for people who are likely to convert.
Using an app called Dovetale, they identify highly engaged customers and offer them special discounts. With Automation doing the heavy lifting upfront, they can employ resources for real-time conversations on the backend.
2. Nola Mattress
This mattress company had a problem with visitors leaving and not purchasing. After researching the problem, they realized that prospects were presented with too many options, resulting in confusion.
They launched a live chat marketing option, which allowed sales reps to help prospects make better decisions. The result? A boost of 27% in their sales.
The event staffing and corporate food service brand had too many inquiries to handle with their human staff.
They implemented a chatbot for conversational marketing, connecting it to their CRM. By pulling data from Salesforce, they were able to engage customers at scale while personalizing the experience, all in an automated fashion.
The HR software company utilized a blend of live chat and AI to achieve conversational marketing. They wanted a personal, human touch, but needed to automate most of the conversation to filter questions to the right person.
This hybrid approach allowed the company to reach its customers instantly for a better experience speed-wise, while still customizing their recommendations from live reps.
5. HANG TN
This sports apparel retailer decided to avoid chatbots. Instead, they use Google Voice and its texting feature to communicate with customers in their brand voice.
The company was able to increase conversion rates from text conversations by 26%, without any fancy tools. This goes to show that conversational marketing is a strategy that doesn’t depend on any particular software.
How to Implement an Conversational Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve seen real examples of conversational marketing, it’s time to create your own strategy. Follow these steps to start personalizing your customer buying journey with conversational tools:
1. Map Out the Conversation Stages
The first step in implementing your conversational marketing is to understand the different stages of the process. In order of priority, they are:
You need to make the customer aware of the ability to have the conversation in the first place. And you need to start the conversation in a way that encourages engagement.
For instance, having a popup that says “Welcome to ABC, how can we help?” Is a great start since it creates visual engagement and draws them into the conversation.
Ask questions based on the answers that you receive at first. You’re relying on automation and speed, so you need to identify what the customer wants right away.
For instance, if someone types “what kind of service packages do you have” then your chatbot needs to recognize the “service packages” part of their query, and direct them to the appropriate page or person.
The entire idea of conversational marketing is to give your customers what they want. So provide them with targeted options, but give them more than one. For example, someone looking for “pricing” should be able to see your most popular packages and exact costs.
Using this simple model will help you create the right scripts, whether automated or live, to guide customers from the moment they hit your website until they purchase from you.
2. Tie Your Conversational Marketing Stages to the Buyer Journey
Now that you know your script for various stages of the engagement process, it’s time to look at your buyer’s journey.
At which stage should you introduce conversational marketing? Do you want every visitor to be engaged? Or, do you want to save your real-time, human rep resources for highly qualified people?
3. Select Your Tools
With the knowledge of what stage of the sales funnel you will start conversing with customers, select your tools.
For instance, email or text might be best if you want to reach current customers. However, social media or live chat could be ideal for creating more detailed engagement with people who aren’t as familiar with our brand.
4. Follow Up and Tweak
One of the great aspects of conversational marketing is that it can be achieved with purely digital tools. No matter what platform you use, you can analyze your conversations and identify opportunities to improve.
For instance, do you get more conversions by providing customers with transparent pricing on your website via a link in the chatbot? Or, is it better to filter pricing questions to live sales reps? Only time, plus data, will tell you the answer.
There’s been a whole lot of talk about conversational marketing in the past few years. That’s because more than ever, there are tools available to make it a reality.
Companies that introduce conversational marketing tools into their overall strategy can gain a huge advantage in their industry. These tools might change over time, but the concept of providing real time questions and answers to customers will never go out of style.