Conversations aren’t reserved for customer service alone any more. They’re useful from the very start of the customer journey. Conversational marketing is rising in popularity — so much so that it’s fast becoming a buzzword.
Ever heard the phrase ‘conversation drives conversion’? Well that exactly the thinking behind conversational marketing. Conversations are being linked to lead generation, to customer experience, and crucially, to growth.
But what exactly is conversational marketing, and how can you adopt it into your marketing strategy?
What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing is the practice of using conversation to engage with your audience. It’s about harnessing the power of one-to-one conversations to boost your lead generation.
What it isn’t, is talking to your audience to get them to buy your products. That’s sales. Conversational marketing is far broader than that.
In conversational marketing, it’s important that the conversations happen on the customer’s terms. The idea is that conversations happen in the consumer’s time frame, and you meet that customer where they are to have them. (Be that on Twitter, your website or via email, for example.)
So, if they want a real-time interaction via live chat on your website, that’s what they get. If they need to stretch the conversation out in social media comments over the day, they can.
So, why is it on the rise?
The state of technology is, in part, responsible for the rise of conversational marketing. We’ve gotten used to interacting with each other via messaging, texting and digital conversation.
Smartphones, social media and chat-related apps have fed a need for instant gratification. A need which we increasingly expect businesses to meet.
On top of that, the benefits that conversational marketing offers further contribute to the rise in the strategy.
Benefits of conversational marketing
Conversational marketing creates an incredibly low barrier to service. It’s easy for consumers to get answers. Businesses are more accessible because they’re reachable in our favourite channels. This accessibility and ease of service are also indicative of good customer experience.
Engaging your audience with conversation early means that you start to build a relationship with your customers early on. You add the human touch to your business, and start to earn consumer trust before they even become customers. So, when they are looking for what you’re offering, you’re more likely to come to mind.
Conversational marketing can also speed up the customer onboarding journey. You remove the need for customers to slowly fill out forms, wait for information and finally buy. So, the customers that come to you ready to purchase aren’t forced to jump through hoops.
Adopting the strategy
To adopt a conversational marketing strategy, you need to strive for an omnichannel presence. You need to be ready to meet your audience on their favourite platforms. And you need a method of real-time communication available from anywhere a customer may want to reach you.
For instance, you need to be present and responsive on social media. If a customer reaches out to you, the aim is to engage with them right away. You should also consider inviting conversation as well as responding to comments and questions. Consider popular sites like Slack as well. Join in with conversation there and give your audience a space on those sites to ask questions.
On your website, use a live chat channel to enable visitors to converse in real time. This way, you can address concerns, answer questions and capitalise on the active engagement that your visitors are giving you. You can use a chatbot to keep this function available during busy times or when your agents are asleep.
Also, consider how you can offer conversation in place of slower formats. For example, chatbots can replace your web forms with conversation — which is often far more engaging for visitors.
Conversation is becoming core
Conversations are powerful, and they’re becoming a core tool for business growth. Conversational marketing is the most recent way that conversations are helping businesses grow.
An effective conversational strategy requires a consumer to have three abilities. An ability to find you wherever, reach out whenever, and get real-time engagement.
So, is it time you adopted a conversational marketing strategy?
The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accounting, marketing, technology and more. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted. The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.