We live in a world of ‘live chat’ where consumers expect quick responses. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing those three little dots which mean a reply is on the way to you. Conversations are always happening and businesses need to react to this new trend in customer service.
However, even though the technology we use to communicate has changed, the core elements of communication have stayed the same. Consumers still expect conversations to be helpful and personal – they just want it when it is convenient to them and with fast responses. Which brings us to conversational marketing.
What do we mean by conversational marketing
Today conversational marketing is the fastest way to move buyers through your marketing and sales funnels with real-time interactions. It builds relationships and creates authentic experiences with customers and buyers.
Instead of forcing people to go through the usual contact forms on a website and potentially wait days for a response, conversational marketing uses targeted messaging and intelligent chatbots to engage with people when they’re on your website – in real-time.
Making it easier for people to engage with your business will help convert more of the right leads faster. Live chat is an incredibly powerful communication channel that has the power to break down the barriers between support, sales, and marketing.
4 key elements in conversational marketing
- Conversations happen in customer-time – conversations should ideally occur whenever the customer prefers. That could be in real-time or later in the evening when they have a spare moment, depending on the type of business and industry you are working in.
- Conversations are scalable – A customer doesn’t see if you are one person talking to 10 different customers – they only see their interactions and their conversation. As a business, especially a small business, you don’t want to be left behind due to lack of resources or manpower. Enter chatbots! Bots make 24/7 support possible by providing answers to common questions based on data that already exists. Businesses shouldn’t sacrifice human interaction for scale. Rather, bots offer quick access to information or a human.
- Conversations have context – If you called a company yesterday to report a defect in something you ordered, and then you use the live chat the next day asking for return instructions, you’d expect the person you’re talking with to have access to previous interactions and know which product you’re sending back. Context is what makes messaging convenient and without it, bots or the support team would need to ask customers the same questions every time they interacted with them.
- Conversations meet customers where they are – conversations need to happen on the channel that best suits your customer — that might be over the phone or on Facebook Messenger, with a human or a bot. People don’t want to be forced to call a number if they could easily send a quick chat message and grab a link to a knowledge base article.
How do you do conversational marketing?
Think of it as turning on a new lead-generation channel that complements your existing marketing efforts.
- Engage more leads with chat instead of forms – this is likely to result in higher conversion rates, more opportunities and a personalised experience for the customer. When website visitors interact with a download now button, contact sales or book a demo, businesses can use a bot to start that conversation. It is also possible to keep the conversation going and continue moving potential buyers through the journey instead of forcing them to wait for a follow-up email or phone call.
- Understand potential leads faster – gone are the days where a business takes on a long process to qualify leads. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, companies need to respond within five minutes of initial contact to have the best chance of qualifying a lead. With conversational marketing, bots create a 24/7 availability to engage with new leads instantly. Chatbot platforms can understand who those leads are and what they want by qualifying them in real-time. It is possible to build your bot using your existing qualifying questions. The bot will then have a conversation with the lead to understand them better and recommend the next steps for the potential buyer.
- Recommend the right next step to move leads through the journey – nothing beats human interaction once it’s time to close a sale. That’s why bots use intelligent routing to connect leads to your sales team and even book meetings for them automatically.
So, how do you move forward with conversational marketing
When you have a conversation with a friend, you don’t expect to have to remind them of your name or where you live. The same holds true when customers have conversations with a business. That’s where using a CRM linked with effective conversational marketing. A CRM is like a digital memory that allows you to have conversations with customers like you know them.
An effective and successful conversational marketing strategy depends on fast and reliable access to a shared knowledge base. Businesses who want to do conversational marketing will need a way to store and organise that data in order to have more seamless interactions with customers.
The most important things to focus on are the channel, the conversation, and how the strategy fits in with your overall marketing strategy. Channels should be simple for both businesses and consumers to use, conversations should follow a clear process and serve a purpose, and your overall strategy should inform your conversational marketing efforts.
Success with this type of marketing will look different depending on the business and the industry. Need some help understanding how it can all fit around your business? Feel free to give us a call on 01282 792568 – or why not message us on Facebook @24marketing