Conversational marketing is a method of marketing based on an old idea – that human beings enjoy conversations. Speaking to someone else and transmitting information through our words is one of the most basic of social activities. The internet has offered content marketers a new way to get in contact with potential buyers and speak to them directly. Business Wire mentions that only 43% of people answer calls from unknown numbers, meaning that older methods of cold calling don’t work anymore. Luckily, we no longer have to depend on cold-calling to generate leads or garner feedback from customers.
Defining Conversational Marketing
Forbes defines conversational marketing as a method of communicating with the consumer that builds the bottom line and is based on consumer feedback to improve itself. Live chat systems are the most effective methods of conversational marketing. They allow a consumer to communicate directly with someone (whether human or AI) that can answer their questions in real-time and deal with any problems they may have with the product.
Benefits that Conversational Marketing Offers
Psychologically, people like talking to other people. The core concept of conversational marketing focuses on this idea. Sharing an opinion about something or answering the questions about a product honestly is what conversational marketing exists to do. There are several critical benefits that companies that engage in conversational marketing can look forward to realizing including:
- Building Customer Relationships: People who speak to each other tend to form relationships because of their conversation. Harvard Business Review mentions that messaging apps create a continuous dialogue between company brands and their consumers. The constant communication allows the brand to keep marketing to the consumer, increasing the chances of a sale.
- Garner Insights into Consumer Behavior: having a conversation is a two-way street. A business must listen as well as respond. The listening part of the discussion can deliver insights into how the consumer wants to be engaged. Live chat offers a lot of data from user responses and can clue a business in to issues it may need to fix with its product or the way consumers interact with its site.
- Offers Flexibility to Clients: Conversational marketing channels, including messaging apps and email-based clients, are extremely friendly to users who already understand the interface. TechCrunch notes that US consumers spent up to five hours per day on mobile phones in 2017, a number that is probably much higher today. These channels engage with clients in a common space, giving them more flexibility in how they can interact with a business.
Critical Factors in Conversational Marketing
Most businesses already have systems in place where they consult consumers and interact with them directly. Social media pages and official brand accounts are two of the most common methods of interacting with clients online. However, conversational marketing requires more refinement than merely offering a way for consumers to give feedback. There are a handful of crucial elements that make up the core of conversational marketing that businesses can use to boost their success in the coming year:
Getting the Message To The Right Location
Consumers have particular media channels that they prefer. As Digital Marketing Institute states, different users tend to gravitate towards social media channels that their peers utilize most often. Conversations should focus on the channel that makes the customer feel most assured. Consumers would be unhappy having to dial a phone number if they could send a message or email to the company instead and get a quick response back.
Dealing with Context
All messages need context to work correctly. Consumers expect the company to derive meaning from their past responses as a conversation may span multiple consecutive messages. From the business’s perspective, contextual messages can help inform the company what the consumer wants. From the customer’s perspective, responses in context show that the enterprise is being professional about their complaint or request. People live busy lives, and getting their answers in the most efficient way possible gives them confidence in a company. Without context, messages are not very helpful, and all information should be related to the meaning of the discussion before the customer receives it.
Conversational interaction can happen with an entire support department, and the consumer might be none the wiser. There are severe repercussions to poor consumer service, however. If a client has to be handed over to several different representatives and needs to repeat the same information to them each time, it can get tedious and lead to an unhappy customer. Conversational marketing is scalable because information only needs to be given once, and each representative that deals with the consumer would have all that information readily available to them. This expandable system can ease the level of anger that the consumer may feel having to deal with a business.
Consider the Customer’s Time
Conversations happen in the customer’s time. They shouldn’t be kept waiting for a response. Because the consumer comes first (as with most marketing methods), it means that the discussion may span several hours. The customer may need to answer when they can, meaning that the representative needs to be aware of how the customer uses his or her available time for the conversation. With AI bots taking an active part in conversational marketing, this isn’t too much of an issue with many conversational marketing implementations.
More than Just Live Chat
While live chat does form a significant part of conversational marketing, it is so much more than that. It’s an entire marketing experience, including the incorporation of app development specific to the business. Utilizing social media to create channels for consumer interaction through live chat is also an essential facet of conversational marketing. Vox notes that Facebook managed 2.15 billion users in February of 2018, a number that is far larger today. With such a large userbase, it’s a logical conclusion that a business should seriously consider conversational marketing if it is to maintain its edge in 2020 and beyond.