Marketing moves on in leaps and bounds all the time, and the events of the last two years have truly reshaped the way brands interact with customers – and the expectations that customers hold. The current term being bandied about in the marketing and customer support industries is ‘conversational marketing’.
A fantastic way to build strategic relationships, gather service feedback and convert leads, Conversational marketing is gaining huge traction already. But what does it mean, and how does this form of marketing work? Let’s cover off the basics.
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing helps brands engage with visitors to their website through dialogue-driven activities to convert them as leads. A form of inbound marketing, it looks at consumer interactions and two-way conversations rather than monologue activity, as is traditionally found to boost your sales and marketing.
Some examples of conversational marketing include:
- Facebook direct messages
- Text messages
- LiveChat features on a webpage
- Voice-activated exchanges with Alexa or Siri
Considered a more personalised method of digital marketing that focuses on the customer rather than a simple sales patter, Forbes sum it up well by saying, “it’s arrogant to believe that we can compel, persuade or influence a consumer by speaking at them – they might want to say something back!”
Conversational marketing tools are fairly new and can now be implemented using clever marketing tactics and AI. Until recently, the closest thing to conversational marketing tools online was the chatbot – but these are too often easily recognisable as automated and may not be popular with consumers if their programming is too rigid.
What are the benefits of conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing connects marketing activities directly with sales and support teams, allowing for a joined-up, collaborative approach across departments.
Considered an additional marketing approach that is more convenient for customers, conversational marketing happens whenever the consumer chooses to make contact with the brand, which is usually on their favourite platforms, such as Twitter or Instagram. This offers the business an additional chance to convert a potential customer with what otherwise might have been a simple support dialogue. It also gives the opportunity for the consumer to feel as though they’re tangibly inputting into the brand and the service they receive, as well as getting the information they need.
With 87% of companies now well aware that traditional buying experiences are no longer enough to satisfy customer experience and demand, conversational marketing provides a premium opportunity to enhance customer service while also nudging customers in a positive direction.
How does conversational marketing work in practice?
Conversational marketing may look slightly different for every organization, but there are some great examples already in use by big-name brands.
Domino’s Pizza uses conversational marketing via text messages to provide their customers with the chance to order again simply by sending a pizza emoji to their mobile number. From here, an automated text service kicks in and allows an order to be placed, with the customer making changes or updates as they go along. This super simple ordering mechanism, combined with intelligent automation, provides the opportunity for an easy sale.
Financial savings brand Plum has AI bots in their app and social media profiles programmed with chatty and informal language to answer questions and nudge users to take specific actions. When a customer types a question the bot can’t understand, service is quickly (and most importantly, seamlessly) switched to a human to discuss.
Where should I start with conversational marketing?
Start researching! There are lots of agencies and companies around that use conversational marketing techniques and tools. When done correctly, conversational marketing can nurture meaningful customer relationships as well as cross-sales, new sales, and other desired actions – so take your time to get it right, and you’ll reap the benefits.