As the Marketing industry becomes increasingly driven by AI tools, customer data and automated processes, the most stand-out, memorable customer experiences are now undoubtedly those that feel the most personal.
And in 2020, there are hundreds of tools on the market that can be used to create personalised customer messaging experiences that feel more ‘human’ than ever before. This is where Conversational Marketing comes into play.
Today, we’ll be exploring what Conversational Marketing really means, the many forms it comes in, and the benefits it can bring to your business.
What Does Conversational Marketing Mean?
Conversational Marketing is a form of Marketing which allows businesses to connect with customers personally; helping them build rapport with buyers, improve customer retention and boost customer loyalty.
At its heart, Conversational Marketing is about talking to a customer one-on-one in a way that feels direct, personal and ‘just for them’, as opposed to speaking to them as if they were part of a larger audience.
According to Nicole Bojic, SVP of strategy at InVision Communications, “Conversational marketing is about leveraging the power of real-time conversations and two-way dialogue to engage customers and seamlessly move them through your marketing and sales funnels.”
“This could be online chats, social media channels, or a live brand experiences,” says Nicole, “but the end goal is the same — engaging with customers one-on-one to stand out from the competition and humanize your brand.”
The Many Forms of Conversational Marketing
As we touched on earlier, chatbots were one of the first kinds of tools to take the world of Conversational Marketing by storm. They’re not without their limitations, but in many ways, chatbots have come as a real gift to both businesses and customers.
They’re cost-effective, much faster than emails, and far more convenient than waiting on hold on the phone. Plus, according to one report by IBM, chatbots can successfully answer up to 80% of your customers’ routine questions!
On top of this, they can be used to create one-on-one conversation, personalise on-site experiences and (when programmed right) can inject a lot of your brand’s personality into a Marketing conversation.
2. Social Media
Where existing customers are concerned, the conversation doesn’t end once they’ve made a purchase. Social media is the ideal platform to add value to your products by providing ongoing service and advice.
And because it’s social by nature, social media is perhaps one of the most natural ways you can start building your Conversational Marketing strategy.
3. SMS and Messaging Apps
More brands than ever are offering customers the opportunity to message them via Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, Instagram messages or even on WhatsApp.
With more and more people spending large chunks of the day on their phones, messaging apps a highly convenient marketing channel, both for consumers and brands.
Customers are likely to check messages frequently, and can choose to respond at their own convenience. There’s no obligation to engage in a full-on conversation then and there.
4. Voice Messaging for Business
It’s no secret that customers are becoming more comfortable with voice tech.
More and more consumers say they’d consider engaging with a brand using voice assistance technology, and according to one study by Perficient, voice search is now the number two choice for mobile search, right after the mobile browser.
This makes sense when you consider that voice is humans’ most powerful relationship-building tool – and has been for millennia. Talking is our fastest, easiest and most natural method of communication – and sometimes typing simply doesn’t cut it. When you bring the subtle nuances of tone, tempo and emotion into your business’ Marketing strategy through voice, you’ll start building stronger relationships with your customers than ever.
What’s more, as exchanging voice notes via a business’ website is a relatively new concept, you’ll build a reputation as a far more innovative (and more human!) brand than the rest.
Why Should You Create a Conversational Marketing Strategy?
1. Build Stronger Customer Relationships
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Conversational Marketing is that it allows you to build better relationships with your customers by delivering them an excellent customer experience.
And in a world where you can buy almost anything at the click of a button, customers today are increasingly driven by high-quality experiences.
In fact, according to Walker, customer experience is so important these days that it’s actually overtaking price and product as the key differentiator between stores.
2. Understand Your Customers
Naturally, conversations allow you to learn more and gain insights into the person you’re talking to, enabling you to gather information honestly and openly. Using a variety of conversational tools – from chatbots to voice messaging software – businesses are also able to monitor users and learn what times of day people prefer to message, as well as what types of questions people prefer to ask.
The insights you gain into how your customers think, what they like (and don’t like!) about your brand and when – and where – they are most active will benefit all of your efforts across Marketing, Customer Support and Sales.
3. It’s Convenient for Both You and Your Customers
Using chatbots, messaging apps and voice messaging platforms allows conversation to happen quickly and easily. This means you can market to your customers effectively – and help them get the most out of your product or service – in the most convenient way for them.
In particular, asynchronous methods of communication (such as exchanging voice notes with customers) allow customers to get back in touch with you, pick up where they left off and continue the conversation whenever is convenient for them. When you offer that kind of convenience – along with a human touch – to your customers, you’re sure to keep them coming back for more.
For all businesses looking to get closer to their customers, Conversational Marketing can be a highly effective way to engage new prospects and existing buyers.
As customer messaging technology continues to evolve, take this opportunity to experiment with the different ways that you can use Conversational Marketing to shorten your sales cycle, learn more about your prospects and build a reputation as a brand that truly cares.
About the Author
Esther Lowde is a Marketing Executive at telbee; the voice recording and messaging platform for business. A lover of writing, travelling and Digital Marketing, she is excited about helping businesses around the world improve their relationships with their customers through the power of voice.