Conversational marketing is an important trend sweeping the digital and online marketing space. It is the best way to streamline an online company’s marketing and sales funnels by utilising the power of real-time conversations and recommendations. By engaging with potential customers directly, you are able to build real relationships and create genuine experiences.
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing is about communicating with customers directly, online. The in-store experience still holds some conveniences over the online and digital sales system. The primary benefit of shopping in person is the ability to ask questions of, find out more information from and make requests to a shop assistant.
Rather than forcing your potential customers to jump through the usual hoops of lead capture forms, online requests and automated emails to find out more information – conversational marketing uses targeted messaging and intelligent chat bots to engage those customers in a fast, real and significant way.
Businesses around the world are trying to have one-on-one conversations with their customers. Yet, many are still asking customers to enter landing page after landing page and respond to this email, but not to that one. The impersonality of traditional digital marketing and sales practices have created a cold, slow and disconnected communication line.
Instant messaging and live chats have exploded in popularity over recent years for their convenience, accessibility and interfacing. Conversational marketing uses these functions and intelligent chat bots to create real-time conversations that are converting potential buyers into returning ones.
What are the benefits are having real-time conversations?
- Conversations happen in customer-time.
- Conversations are scalable.
- Conversations have context.
- Conversations meet customers where they are.
“Businesses should strive to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right person, with the right information, on the right channel, every single time.”, as stated by HubSpot’s chat bot expert.
How does it work?
In the few decades since online sales have become ubiquitous, they have garnered the reputation of making their customers wait to have their requests responded to. You would ask if something is in stock or if it is available in another colour and then you would receive an auto-response confirming your message has been received. Then days of waiting for someone to find that message and reply via email would ensue.
Targeted messaging, intelligent chat bots and live chat functionalities are making this a relic of the past. Companies are communicating with customers through a variety of channels and seamlessly transitioning between different useful social platforms.
But, how does it actually work?
Conversational marketing is not as complicated as it might seem, initially. We have access to software, apps and tools that are focused making real conversations possible between online buyers and sellers. But how it works so effectively relates to three simple conversational practices that we already use in our daily lives:
Engage more leads, more effectively with live chats rather than forms and emails. Live chat services and intelligent chat bots offer customers a way to instantly start a conversation on a business’s website without the inconvenience of forms to fill out.
For most of the day, capable and knowledgeable sales reps can answer questions, field requests and engage in real conversations in real time. However, online sales means being available for the whole day and intelligent chat bots help start a conversation – automatically – that can be continued afterwards by a human sales rep when they were unavailable.
Conversational marketing helps businesses understand their leads, what information they need and what they want, in a matter of minutes instead of days. It is common sense that a potential buyer is more persuadable at the time of their information request than hours or days later.
The odds of turning that person into a customer increases fourfold when they are communicated with instantly. Whether it is a customer-service representative or an intelligent chat bot, asking a lead follow-up questions and providing more product information will, inevitably, enhance the understanding you have of your customers.
Chats bots are a terrific tool for engaging and understanding leads, but human-to-human conversation is still the most effective way to make recommendations and funnel leads through to the right next steps.
In order to facilitate more person-to-person contact, chat bots use intelligent routing to help connect potential buyers with your sales team and even book meetings between them, automatically. Leads can be assigned reps on a rotating or service-specific basis and will allow an online business to make more informed recommendations, more regularly.
The benefits of Conversational Marketing
The benefits of conversational marketing are hard to qualify because we are learning new and better benefits every technological year. You can create more human-to-human buying experiences and recreate the benefits of in-store sales. You are able to learn a huge amount about your buyers and potential customers that help improve your sales processes and online systems.
Conversational marketing helps convert more and better leads into appreciative customers that are excited to do business with you. You are also able to shorten your sales cycle and streamline your lead retention by utilising insights gained through these live chats and chat bots. Generally, you are able to grow, as well as refine, your sales pipelines. Sales pipelines that feed into your business will be easier for your potential buyers to find themselves in.
From Hello Fresh to Taxify and Sephora to Domino’s AnyWare app, businesses are transforming the way they do online business. Hello Fresh use live chats to determine what food preferences and cooking demands their customers have and deliver the right meal plans to the right person.
Taxify use live chats to inform customers and drivers of needed, real-time information as well as options on drivers, cars and routes for their users. Sephora used a kik messenger-based ‘social quiz’ to determine make-up, style and ingredient preferences of their customers and Domino’s AnyWare app uses intelligent chat bots to help them deliver pizza, well, anywhere.
The new normal
Conversational marketing is not a trend, it is the new normal for any company that wants to improve their digital sales and online customer service. Through conversational marketing techniques, customers are able to engage with online businesses in way that puts the power in their hands while helping the business convert more leads, with better information, in a shorter time.