Conversational marketing, as the name suggests, is a marketing approach that seeks to leverage one-to-one conversations with prospects and customers in order to maximize conversions and improve the customer experience. It includes the use of chatbots, live chat and social monitoring to offer guidance and support throughout the entire customer journey.
But it’s much more than chatbots and live chat customer support. The key principle behind conversational marketing is meeting customers whenever they want and via whichever channel is most convenient for them, be that email, text-messaging, phone calls, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.
In other words, it’s about listening to how customers would prefer to interact with your business and adapting to their needs to ensure maximum engagement. For a startup in today’s overcrowded market, this type of approach is crucial to gaining competitive advantage. Here’s how you can put it to use smartly to grow your business.
Know where your target audience is
The biggest rule of marketing is simple: know your audience. You need to be where your target market is and meet them where it is most convenient for them. For starters, it’s best to do a thorough analysis and by building customer personas.
Answer the following questions to develop a more targeted approach to your strategy:
- Where on the web does your target customer hang out?
- Do they prefer communicating with chatbots?
- Do they mostly use their mobile phone when interacting with brands?
Follow the customer’s pace
Conversational marketing implies a customer-centric strategy. Remember, it’s not only about communicating with your customer through their channel(s) of choice, but also about giving them complete control over when you will be communicating.
This, of course, will vary, but it’s a great way to ensure a smooth sales cycle. That’s why having the necessary technology and staff to meet their demands is essential. A chatbot will be able to provide 24/7 support and pass on inquiries to agents, who should then be able to continue the conversation in real time.
Context is important
With customer relationship management technology and organizational structures becoming increasingly sophisticated, customers expect agents to have all the information on previous interactions readily available when they facilitate a conversation once again, without any pieces of information being lost along the way.
There’s no patience for waiting on hold, then repeating order numbers and background info to customer support every time. Thanks to conversational marketing, that era is behind us. And by utilizing a CRM system to ensure smooth and well-informed conversations, you’ll be more equipped to boost sales effectiveness.
Boost your branding efforts
With so much daily interaction with technology, we’ve entered an era where most consumers are comfortable communicating with chatbots. But when you add a touch of personality to them, you get a brand mascot, which is something you’ll often see savvy companies using creatively to boost their brand image.
HelloFresh, one of the biggest meal-kit delivery companies, launched its chatbot, Freddy Freshbot, in 2017. Freddy is stationed at Facebook Messenger, where he’s available to interact with users and guide customers through their meal prep experience. He has become a chef assistant and the face of HelloFresh. What’s worth noting about the company’s strategy behind Freddy is that they have utilized conversational marketing to show their customers that they care about their experience above and beyond just the delivery of the product.
Regardless of how small your business is, your startup can leverage conversational marketing to strengthen your brand identity, too.
Make forms engaging
It’s no secret that forms can be a major conversion-killer, which is why marketers are out for creative solutions to minimize the strain that filling out forms presents to consumers. Sometimes, however, you can’t get around it and the amount of information required of customers is long, serious and boring.
Again, this is when conversational marketing comes in to save the day! A chatbot can take your customers step-by-step through the process of filling out information fields, making the experience feel more interactive, as customers respond to the chatbot’s questions and get feedback as the conversation progresses. In the end, you have all the information you need, and your customer wasn’t instantly turned off by a lengthy form.
Encourage customer feedback
Customer feedback is especially important for a business that’s just starting out, but we all know how difficult it can be to obtain. When you encourage a consumer to share his or her opinion within a conversation, rather than through a cold email or form, you’ll have a much better chance at getting valuable and honest feedback.
Similar to utilizing conversational marketing to overcome the obstacle of forms, it’s the power of dialogue that engages and encourages your customers to participate.
Manage the complexity of customer relationships
As your startup grows, the complexity of managing customer relationships will also grow at an overwhelming pace. Relying on technology will help you keep everything under control. From automation to CRM systems to chatbots, technology will help you meet growing customer demands with limited staff. This pertains to customer support especially, where chatbots (along with a good CRM tool) can help you resolve issues 24/7, saving both your customers’ and your employees’ time.
It’s likely that you’ve experienced conversational marketing as a consumer, and hopefully this article provided you with some valuable insight into how you can leverage it for your own business.
Start small, plan your strategy and watch your business grow.