What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing is personalised, real time communication with your customers. Much like instant, brand-to-consumer SMS messaging. This unique technique merges marketing, sales and support departments together, with the aim to solve customer queries. When effectively implemented, it is a powerful tool for boosting engagement, building lasting relationships and trust with your customers. It’s easy to narrow it down to nothing more than replying quickly to customer queries via social media DMs or live chat but it goes far beyond that.
Why it matters
In the digital age, customers are empowered to demand more from brands. This includes how they communicate. According to Drift‘s founder, David Cancel;
“Today’s buyers expect to find what they’re looking for now, not later. As we prepare for the future, it will be more important than ever for businesses to be available across a broad spectrum of channels, and to make sure you’re communicating the way people prefer to communicate.”
This means, inefficient communication directly impacts your business. It can be the deciding factor on whether a customer decides to do business with you or not.
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Caring for your customers has always been a great marketing strategy. Customers notice when companies genuinely care and it goes a long way for building long-term trust. According to Hubspot, 90% of customers rate an immediate response to a customer support issue very highly. This means doing away with the endless hurdles it takes to reach the right department. Prioritising customer experience is key.
Conversational marketing and personalisation go hand in hand. In a competitive market, brands with relevant, targeted messages win. In fact, according to research by SmarterHQ, 72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages that are tailored to their interests. Badly programmed, generic chatbots that do very little to help with specific customer queries just won’t cut it.
The rule of thumb here is to communicate with your customers where, when and how they prefer. Be it via live automated chat on your website or on social media, the experience should be seamless.
Top tips when implementing conversational marketing
Here’s a few top tips to keep in mind when implementing conversational marketing:
- Using multiple conversational marketing channels boosts engagement, brand trust and in turn; sales.
- Chatbots can work efficiently and be very cost-effective for businesses. Combining automated and non-automated channels like email can be very effective in solving complex issues and ensuring that customers have the option of speak to a real person.
- Personalisation works. Adding personalisations such as customer name fields will generally encourage engagement.
- User experience matters. It’s important to ensure (particularly for automated systems) that information provided is specific, relevant and timely.
We’ve already established that in order to stand out in a competitive market, personalisation and conversational marketing play a large part. The question is not whether to adopt conversational marketing but when. Consumer needs have shifted over the last few years and businesses that do not adapt their strategy accordingly risk being left behind.
For more on consumer-lead marketing and broader digital strategy you can get a copy of my best-selling book, Digital Marketing Strategy.