Do you want to drive better leads and accelerate revenue? Try implementing conversational marketing techniques into your business marketing strategy.
A quick look at the business landscape in 2022 reveals several changes. Most notably, the pandemic has upended our existing notions of customer relationships. Limited by health and safety protocols, many companies began to deliver their messages, market their catalogue and respond to customer queries online.
Naturally, this has raised customer expectations.
Gone are the days when a client waits forever to receive service. In the digital age, people expect instant, personalized and exceptional service. Not doing so can put your business at a competitive disadvantage.
If you’re a smaller outfit with a limited workforce, you might be asking yourself how you can keep up with this insatiable demand. After all, you can’t be available at all-day hours.
The answer lies in conversational marketing. By incorporating the proper ‘conversation’ techniques and tools into your business marketing strategy, you’ll transform your marketing and sales funnel into a bonafide cornucopia.
So, how do you get started? We have the answers. In this blog, we’ll discuss:
- The importance of online customer conversation
- What is conversational marketing?
- Types of conversational marketing tools
- Building a conversational marketing strategy
- Five benefits of conversational marketing
Why is online customer conversation meaningful?
Customers are the lifeblood of any successful business. To keep them happy and engaged, they need to feel like they’re being listened to, especially online; people crave a two-way experience where they can have meaningful conversations with brands and get their answers.
The problem is that many businesses make it difficult for people to connect with them, creating frustration and turning off potential leads.
No one wants to be treated coldly and indifferently. No one wants to go out of their way to get what they want. Most would prefer to find what they’re looking for on their terms and timelines.
‘Personal’ is the keyword here. To drive more leads and accelerate your revenue, you need to make every customer experience feel tailored and genuine. Enter conversational marketing.
What is conversational marketing?
In a nutshell, conversational marketing is a customer-centric, dialogue-driven approach to marketing across multiple channels that asks the right questions. It’s about building customer relationships and offering the best possible online customer experience – pre-sale and post-sale.
People love to chat, but they don’t necessarily enjoy waiting for a response. To avoid that, you need to assess and understand how your customers like to communicate and use the appropriate tone of voice (usually informal). The goal is to provide your customers with options and to be flexible.
A conversational marketing strategy can be pretty effective. According to a 2021 report, more than 50 percent of conversational marketing companies say it helps them reply faster to visitor questions. And in the 58 percent of companies who adopted a conversational marketing solution in response to Covid-19, nearly half of them saw their engagement rates rise.
Types of conversational marketing tools
What are some tools you can use to facilitate conversational marketing? You can create opportunities for personalized conversations through chatbots, live chat, messaging apps, email and voice searches.
For most people, chatbots are the first thing that comes to mind when they think of conversational marketing. These are software applications of varying complexities that leverage National Language Processing (NLP) to mimic a real-life interaction with customers. They come with question-and-answer programming to interact, remember and follow a predesigned conversation flow. It’s common to find chatbots as interactive prompts on websites and social platforms.
For conversational marketing, chatbots are helpful because they automate gathering data, provide answers to repetitive questions about products/services and can further qualify your leads at any time.
However, unlike human beings, they will struggle with tricky queries.
Did you know that 38 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase from a brand with live chat support than without it? Virtual chat reps make up a majority of customer interactions with businesses. A live chat can handle just about any query, no matter the complexity, compared to chatbots.
Unfortunately, these representatives cannot always be available with lives to live. If your company is thinking about implementing this option into its conversational marketing strategy, make sure you have enough resources at your disposal.
When we aren’t talking in person, we communicate via a messaging app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. These tools can be programmed to understand customer queries, provide answers and handle basic tasks.
The demand is there – 90 percent of consumers want to use a messaging app to communicate with businesses. However, these apps have similar limitations as chatbots, so it is always good to have a human option as a fallback.
The typical marketing email relies on CTAs to drive engagement. However, you can make them much more effective by designing them around conversations instead.
To do this, use an informal tone and reference something personal to the recipient, such as a new development in their business; whatever you do, don’t overwhelm them with details about your offering.
Did you know that 20 percent of Google searches are voice searches? These days, virtual assistants are all the rage; they pull the best information from websites to answer user queries.
This is a perfect opportunity to join the conversation. Ensure that Google chooses your content over the competition by making your site authoritative. Start by creating straightforward, relevant content that answers questions and follows SEO requirements. If you need further guidance, check out our content strategy best practices.
Building a conversational marketing strategy
Now that you have a better sense of what conversational marketing is, how do you implement it into your strategy?
Find the proper engagement channels
Your strategy should be based on your company’s business goals – what are you trying to achieve with your efforts? Take a step back and consider what kinds of conversations you want to have with your customers and what problems you’re trying to address.
Are you providing information on your products and services or simply promoting your gated content? Different purposes require different conversations; this will determine which engagement channels you use.
If you end up using a chatbot, decide on the types of questions and answers your bot should address based on what your sales team needs to qualify a lead; this will vary for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Next, select the pages where you want to implement your conversational bots – pick ones that get the most traffic and show a high desire to buy.
Once you figure out the placement, build the bot conversation flow. Define what kind of information you need to ask and the volume of questions. In our professional opinion, it’s a good idea to keep conversations simple in every conversation flow; people want a smooth and quick interaction with your company.
Tailor and adjust
It would be best to tailor your conversations to show the right content in the proper channels at the right time. Make sure you have a robust system in place to respond to queries. According to a Harvard Business Review study, companies need to respond within five minutes of initial contact to have the best chance of qualifying a lead.
Like any strategy, nothing is set in stone. Your business will need to tweak its marketing conversations to succeed continuously. Analyze your data, level of engagement and the customers’ journey. Collect customer feedback directly from users too to enhance the customer experience. Once you find areas for improvement, adjust your conversation flow accordingly.
5 benefits of conversational marketing
A conversational marketing strategy can give your company a vital boost when done right. Here are five of the most significant benefits of this marketing approach:
- Gain insights into your customers. Incorporating conversational marketing techniques will help you gain information on your leads directly and honestly as if you were speaking to them. Conversational tools such as chatbots allow you to monitor users and their engagement preferences. With this buyer context, you’ll be able to adjust your communication, send relevant, targeted messages and provide meaningful interactions.
- New repository of leads. Having more human-like interactions online lets you ask the right questions and qualify all your leads properly. You’ll find many fresh leads who wouldn’t have shown up in your database because they don’t fill out lead capture forms. You can select your best ones and direct them to your sales representatives for conversion.
- Adding that human touch. We can all agree that buying online is convenient. However, it lacks the human interaction that we get with in-person shopping. Conversational marketing helps to bridge that gap. A chatbot can mimic a real-time conversation and resolve any inquiries at all-day hours through intelligent programming and routing.
- Compress the sales cycle. Traditionally, sales reps reach out to leads using lead capture forms. The problem with that is that there’s a contact delay, resulting in the potential customer losing interest. On the other hand, a conversation is instant and lets you respond to them then and there. Once you figure out their intent, you can direct leads to the correct representative and schedule a demo all in one go.
- More availability. Conversational tools provide near-constant availability. Most customers are busy during typical business hours, so having the option to reach out in the evening or on the weekend is something they appreciate. It sure beats leaving them frustrated over not getting through to someone when they need it.
Start the conversation
If you want to succeed as a business, you need to keep up with customer expectations. Today, one of the most significant expectations is having human-like, real-time conversations online – implementing conversational marketing into your strategy makes this possible.
But to level up your digital marketing strategy this year, you’ll need more than just conversational marketing to stand out from the crowd. Check out all of the digital marketing trends in 2022 you should monitor.
Are you ready to create better customer experiences and relationships with your customers? As conversational marketing experts, the team at the Mike Agency knows what it takes to engage and push your audience through the sales cycle faster. Contact the Mike Agency today to speak to one of our representatives and schedule a free consultation!