Conversational Marketing | 15 min read
Conversational Marketing – A Comprehensive Guide
Published by Bhumish Sheth on 08-Apr-2021
Conversational Marketing | 15 min read
Published by Bhumish Sheth on 08-Apr-2021
To be successful, every business requires a constant flow of leads coming into their sales funnel, along with a way to efficiently qualify those leads without any wastage of time.
Unlike the traditional marketing tactics adopted by B2B companies earlier, such as lead capture forms, emails, and more, marketing personalization has become industry-standard in 2021.
Research also suggests that over 77% of customers would only recommend a brand after having a single positive experience. The chances of prospect conversion can increase by 8% when marketers include personalized consumer experiences in their marketing campaigns.
This is where conversational marketing comes into the picture!
Over the last few years, the concept of marketing has transformed completely (going from simple forms to highly personalized online targeting), and conversational marketing seems to be the next big step in this evolution chain, changing the way brands plan and execute their sales strategies.
In this blog, we explore what conversational marketing is and how it can help your business achieve success and thrive in the years to come.
Conversational Marketing is a well-known marketing strategy built around the premise of engaging visitors and converting leads through real-time conversations. Instead of one-way communication, the critical focus of this type of inbound marketing strategy is on personalized interactions with the customers.
Conversational marketing can either take the form of real-time messaging using live chat/conversational landing pages or can be an automated process of connecting with your website’s visitors using AI chatbots.
An excellent example of this type of conversational marketing is 1-800-Flowers. One of the first companies to use chatbots on Facebook Messenger to start a conversation with the user – the flower retailer giant gave its users the option to choose among several flower arrangements.
Once done, users were prompted for their delivery address, and then finally taken to the payment page for a smooth buying experience. Further, the company also used bots to walk its customers through the entire sales cycle from start to finish.
Wondering if there is a difference between inbound and conversational marketing?
The answer is both yes and no.
Conversational marketing is typically a part of inbound marketing strategy. While inbound marketing is all about pulling or attracting customers through the channels they prefer, conversational marketing is more about actually conversing with customers in these channels.
It is a strategic way to interact with your customers by offering them the power of when, how, and where they communicate with your brand.
HealthTap is an excellent example of this kind of conversational marketing strategy. The company is primarily designed around the idea of making healthcare more accessible. To do this, they’ve taken targeted steps to ensure that their services are directly available to the user by leveraging a HealthTap chatbot.
As soon as users install HealthTap, it prompts them to ask any health-related question. Once they do, the bot analyzes their request and shows them other popular answers to similar questions. If the answer isn’t quite what users were looking for, they can have their question sent out and answered by an actual doctor, if required.
A powerful conversational marketing strategy is typically built around one or many solutions. In general, a conversational marketing platform has the following elements –
A conversation starter is a message that appears on the website to greet and encourage website visitors to click and engage meaningfully. This button usually appears along with a message tailored to fit the product, exact action, or landing page.
As soon as a website visitor clicks on the conversation starter, they enter a short conversation with a lead capture tool, like a chatbot. Here the chatbot will ask simple questions in real-time with the intent of understanding if the user needs customer support, sales assistance, or help with making a transaction.
This offers an excellent opportunity for personalization, makes the potential customer feel valued, and engages them in meaningful conversation.
All the qualified leads are then connected with the sales team members for further conversation. A good conversational marketing platform allows instantaneous responses without the need to wait for weeks to hear from someone.
Sophisticated conversation marketing solutions let your teams broadcast either live product demos or conduct Q&As in real-time. This typically means that the conversation starter offers users the chance to join the broadcast and engage with the brand real-time.
The key objective of conversational marketing is to move buyers faster through the marketing and sales funnel.
And to enable this, the conversational marketing framework can be broken down into three main steps –
1. Seize The Opportunity
Having a website visitor engage with a chatbot or live chat rather than asking them to fill out a form can lead to much higher conversion rates for any business. Britt Chester, Director of Marketing Success at Tribus– a firm providing technological solutions to realtors, brings about a consumer perspective to conversational marketing. When users are on a website, they are immediately engaged with chatbots. This not only in general allows the visitor to have a more personalized experience with the brand, but it also increases the time spent by the visitor on the website, thereby enhancing website SEO.
Chatbots and other such conversational marketing techniques allow you to engage with the website visitors 24/7 instead of having them wait for follow-up emails which can take much longer than usual.
Data also suggests that when asked about the next big marketing trend, people answered with consumer personalization (29%), AI (26%), and voice search (21.23%) as their top choices.
By setting such an engaging interface with a chatbot or live chats, you can qualify your leads much faster.
Matthew Bonestro, the owner of Phoenix Mobile Homes, mentions that the best way to understand the visitor’s needs is to speak in their language or, as he calls it, “the eighth-grade lingo.” More than being sophisticated in customer interactions, conversational marketing is all about providing an authentic experience to the user and speaking their language; their dialect is a part of this experience. Matthew successfully qualifies leads using conversational marketing by asking the website visitors relevant questions such as their credit score, location preference, price range, and preferred date of moving in.
The conversational marketing platform in the form of bots or live chat can then take the process forward by seamlessly connecting the sales rep’s calendar and booking prospect meetings to shorten the sales cycle.
Conversational marketing has allowed businesses to go beyond the norms of conventional marketing. According to Peter Dayot, Managing Director of Real Living Productions, Conversational Marketing tools facilitate businesses to have easy two-way conversations on the websites and facilitate building buyer-seller relationships online. Chatbots’ primary benefit is that they are “responsive at all times.” They fulfill the need to quickly address the user once they’re on the site, enhancing the chances of lead generation. In real estate businesses, Peter has witnessed how chatbots can show the exact properties the buyer wants, based on their price ranges and their location preferences. Conversational Marketing has a lot of scope in the future. Let’s explore their benefits in detail and why your business should adopt a conversational marketing strategy.
Chatbots can help gather important information about the website visitor which couldn’t be gathered otherwise.
Sephora, a French multinational chain of cosmetics and beauty care products is an excellent example of this. The company has three bots –
Sephora Reservation Assistant (Facebook)
Sephora Virtual Assist (Facebook)
Sephora’s Kik bot
Together, all three bots handle a range of queries and requests from customers ranging from make-up tips, reservations for a makeover at stores, to how-to videos, reviews, and more to get to know their customers personally.
An effective marketing campaign is all about reaching the right people at the right time and with the right information. Conversational marketing channels such as chatbots enable this by removing the hurdle of business hours and time spent waiting for a sales rep for assistance.
Conversational marketing strategies help you in pre-qualifying your leads so that you can assess straight away which users are the right fit for your business.
For instance, Databox is a company that uses a sidebar Chatbot on its homepage to get the advantage of all the qualified leads. Further, they also start building the relationship with their users right away in the chat.
London & Country, a UK-based company that helps consumers in finding mortgages, is another example of an organization leveraging conversational marketing for pre-qualifying leads.
The company uses a well-designed, find UK-based, and visually pleasing bot to qualify leads. The bot intelligently asks certain questions to the leads and qualifies them for their buyer’s journey. This results in a shorter sales funnel and much lesser time wasted.
Conversational marketing software reduces friction by creating an intuitive and smooth communication experience. It eases website visitors into the process with the bot or live chat by asking them their contact information one detail at a time instead of bombarding them with questions.
Conversational marketing works by engaging your customer first and then understanding what they need specifically based on where they’re at in their buyer journey.
Once you have clarity on what your customer needs, you can then make specific recommendations based on that knowledge. This also makes your buyer’s journey feel more personal and authentic.
Conversational marketing gives you the chance to instantly establish a connection with the customer and earn their trust in your brand. Using an omnichannel approach to converse with your users allows you to distribute value (instead of just pushing a sale) and build an authentic, trusting relationship, on their preferred channel.
Here are some of the best conversational marketing examples of how brands successfully implemented conversational marketing programs –
Ride-sharing giant Lyft is among the early adopters of conversational marketing. The company hosts its customer service chatbots on multiple channels, including Slack, Facebook Messenger, and even Amazon Echo.
Once the customer requests a ride through the Lyft app, a chatbot on the channel of their choice will notify them about the current status of the ride, the license plate number of the driver, and the kind of car they’re driving.
Lyft primarily uses conversational marketing in an attempt to make it easier for its customers to order a ride. And they achieve their objective by reducing the number of steps required to find a ride, as well as by offering a more engaging experience to customers when placing an order.
A well-known data science platform RapidMiner moved from conventional lead capture forms to chatbots, which allowed them to scale their conversations and filter out the best leads.
RapidMiner chose to automate the lead qualification process instead of talking to every visitor on their website in person. This was achieved by having the bot ask multiple qualifying questions followed by funneling the most qualified candidates to a real sales rep. This has allowed them to capture over 4000 new leads and add more than $1 million to their sales pipeline.
eBay’s Google Assistant App is a great example of conversational marketing that facilitates browsing through the brand’s massive online shopping inventory and allows customers to start their search by simple voice searches.
This smart app then asks customers additional questions in an attempt to narrow down their search and provides them with the most relevant results. Once it finds the best option, the chatbot will then ask the customer whether or not to send the results to their smartphone to help them complete their purchase.
According to Dr. Adam Gower, owner at GowerCrowd, conversational marketing has a higher chance of success if you aim to replicate a verbal pattern in a text-based conversation. It is essential to convey passion through words and rather than plain text, it is important to integrate a personalized script with emoticons. He mentions that since the whole point of conversational marketing is two-way communication, your script should facilitate more listening than just conveying. Ask your questions one by one, rather than putting every information out there at once. Allow a natural flow, just like how you experience while talking.
In this section, we are sharing some tips to help you succeed at conversational marketing –
Since your customers get hundreds of emails in their inboxes every day, simply sending them cold emails and generalized sales pitches won’t serve the purpose.
Instead, you need to go personal to hold their attention so that your email won’t end up being deleted. Personalized messaging won’t only help you get to know your customers well but it will also demonstrate that you are willing to reply to them with an exclusive message to solve their specific problem rather than a general or mass message.
To implement a successful conversational marketing campaign, it is crucial to be present where your customers are. It means the channel they like and also the time and medium they prefer.
For instance, if your target customers are mostly available on social media at lunch hour, make your presence felt there too. Similarly, if they prefer a survey to answer your questions instead of phone or email, make sure that a survey link is available to them.
When you engage with customers in meaningful conversation, keep the focus on solving the specific problem for which the customer is conversing – shortly and concisely. Unless the customer continues the conversation, make sure not to drag it longer than it needs to be.
Spend more time listening to the customer and less time drafting the next campaign to ensure that your marketing remains significantly relevant to the consumer. Reach out to them on social media, read reviews of your service, field customer support calls to start learning from your customers right away.
Introduce loyalty programs that reward your customers for repeat purchases and engagement. Also, make sure to offer a more practical reward when you’re asking for customers to commit their time and attention.
An excellent example of this is brands like DSW that reward their customers with a dollar-per-point system that allows them to earn higher discounts for shopping more.
Break the chain of traditional analytics and take targeted efforts to learn when, where, and how your customers prefer to converse. HOW? Measure various metrics such as social media, user rates, bounce rates, and more to help you determine if you’re being effective.
WotNot’s conversation marketing platform can be an excellent alternative to what’s already working for your business regarding lead generation, sales, marketing, and customer service.
Here are some of the primary benefits of implementing WotNot’s conversational marketing software –
Automate your lead generation process with bots that qualify prospects and create leads in your CRMs
Allows you to build stronger relationships with customers thanks to personalization
An omnichannel and multilingual platform that helps improve customer satisfaction.
Cost-effective and saves time (shorter sales cycle)
Allows you to scale your customer support with a bot that does everything – answers mundane queries, creates tickets, and fetches ticket status
It helps you eliminate manual and mundane tasks of answering repetitive customer queries with FAQ bots
Available 24/7 and can be fully automated
Allows you to get more appointments booked by an intelligent that gets all your qualifying questions answered
Serves as your personal HR and finance wizard capable of answering queries about HR-related tasks as well as company finances and accounting with a quick turnaround time
Conversational marketing is completely changing the way brands talk with their customers by making their interactions friction-less and faster than ever before.
Having the potential to establish long-lasting customer relations and gather valuable insights about customers, it is quickly becoming one of the most valuable and successful marketing streams. Further, it is also a great tool for organizations with remote teams of support agents as automated customer support makes it much easier to manage their marketing efforts.
The need for businesses today is to leverage a robust conversational marketing platform that can turbocharge their marketing strategy without the need to modify their existing processes.