The new business-world buzzword is conversational marketing. This innovative approach to customer engagement is rapidly becoming a must-have for companies looking to stay ahead of the competition, and we’re about to show you how it works.
Let’s see why it works so well for sparking conversation, how to easily implement it in your business, and why companies that started using it are getting ahead of their competition.
What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing is a means of facilitating human-like conversations with the use of chatbots, voice assistants, and messaging apps to interact with customers and prospects in real-time.
The personalized communications you can generate using conversational marketing help build deeper relationships with consumers and provide a seamless customer experience.
It is a quick and convenient way to interact with customers and offers a number of benefits for businesses, including increased engagement, improved customer satisfaction, higher conversion rates, and reduced operational costs.
It’s time to dive in and discover how this innovative approach to marketing can help you take your business to the next level.
Conversational marketing’s benefits for your business
Here are only some of the benefits conversational marketing can bring to your business:
- Increased customer engagement
- Real-time interactions and problem resolution
- Reduced operational costs
- Higher conversion rates
- A better understanding of customer needs and preferences
- Ability to scale customer interactions effectively
- Increased customer loyalty and retention
- Personalized customer experiences
- Improved customer satisfaction
How to create and implement a conversational marketing strategy
Creating a conversational marketing strategy is an iterative process. As your clients’ preferences shift, so will your strategy. But we have devised a fixed structure you can work on and make the necessary modifications as you go:
1. Understand customer behavior
Customer behavior is your entry gate to successful conversational marketing. This is where you’ll find all the info you need on your target audience, what pushes them along the sales funnel, and what ultimately closes the sale. To get a complete grasp on customer behavior, you need to look into:
- Customer personas: Understand the demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and problems customers face. You can do that using surveys, focus groups, analytics (Google Analytics), and social media listening.
- The customer journey: Identify and analyze the different touchpoints and stages in the customer journey to provide tailored, relevant messaging at every step. Use customer journey mapping, user testing, questionnaires, and analytics.
- Pain points: Identify the challenges faced by customers during their journey and offer solutions to increase the likelihood of customer loyalty and repeat purchases. Customer support interactions are great for identifying pain points and work best when combined with sentiment analysis tools like Hootsuite and Brand24.
- Preferences: Know the customers’ preferred channels of communication, desired outcomes, and preferred tone of messaging to create more effective and appealing interactions. Use A/B testing and customer data from previous interactions (purchase history, communication preferences) to see their likes/dislikes.
2. Choose the right channels
Choosing the right channels for conversational marketing involves considering various factors such as target audience, budget, company goals, and customer behavior. Here are some of the most effective channels we’ve come across:
- Chatbots: Chatbots can automate answers to simple and frequently asked questions, freeing up customer service agents to handle more complex inquiries. H&M uses chatbots on its website to assist customers with product recommendations and orders.
- SMS/Texting: SMS is great for conversational marketing because it is a personal and direct channel that allows immediate two-way communication. This is ideal for businesses looking to reach customers on the go or in real time. Sephora uses SMS to send personalized beauty recommendations and promotions to its customers.
- Social media: Social media is a simple and effective way to connect with customers where they are spending a lot of their time. By using platforms like Facebook Messenger or Twitter, businesses can engage with clients on the spot and respond to inquiries, complaints, and feedback. Uber uses Twitter to handle customer support inquiries and resolve issues seconds after they’ve been signaled.
- Voice assistants: Voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant allow customers to interact with a brand using natural language. This is ideal for businesses looking to reach customers who want hands-free and voice-activated experiences. For instance, Starbucks allows customers to order their favorite drinks using Alexa.
- Video calls: Video calls can be used to provide personalized customer service and support. This works best for businesses looking to build trust and establish a human connection with their customers. Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company, uses video calls to provide technical support and troubleshoot customer issues.
3. Combine with other marketing efforts
To create a comprehensive and cohesive customer experience, you need to sync conversational marketing with other marketing strategies. Here are some examples of how companies have successfully achieved that:
- Content marketing: Companies can provide a more interactive and engaging experience for customers when they integrate chatbots into their content. For example, American Express uses this technique to provide financial advice and recommendations within its educational content.
- Event marketing: By integrating chatbots and live chat into events, companies can provide a personalized experience for event participants and respond to their questions and concerns on the spot. Nike uses chatbots and live chat at sporting events to answer questions about products and provide customer support.
- Influencer marketing: L’Oreal uses chatbots and live chat in its influencer marketing campaigns to provide skin-care advice and recommendations to customers. This leads to increased customer loyalty and brand awareness.
4. Personalize conversations and create human-like experiences
Personalization is a key aspect of conversational marketing and can be achieved by implementing the following strategies:
- Segmentation: Divide your target audience into smaller groups based on demographics, behavior, or other relevant criteria. This allows you to tailor conversations to each group’s specific needs and preferences.
- Dynamic content: Use AI technology to dynamically generate personalized responses based on the customer’s current situation, location, or other attributes. This makes the conversation feel more natural and human-like.
- Contextual awareness: Ensure that your chatbot can understand and track the context of each conversation so that it can respond in a way that is relevant to the customer’s current situation. You might consider implementing unique identifiers for each conversation to help the chatbot keep track of which conversation is associated with each message.
- Predictive analytics: Use data and machine learning algorithms to predict what the customer might need or want next and provide personalized recommendations or solutions.
- Human override: Offer the option for a human representative to take over the conversation if the customer needs further assistance or more in-depth explanations.
According to a study by Epsilon, personalized email campaigns have an open rate 29% higher than non-personalized campaigns. This shows that customers are more likely to engage with messages that are tailored to their specific needs and interests.
5. Access the right tools
A company needs the following tools to successfully create and implement a conversational marketing strategy:
- Chatbot platform: A chatbot platform, such as MobileMonkey, Tars, or Manychat, allows companies to build, launch, and manage chatbots for various channels, such as websites, messaging apps, and social media.
- Natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) technology: AI and NLP technology — for instance, IBM Watson, Dialogflow, or Microsoft Bot Framework — allows companies to build intelligent chatbots that can understand and respond to customer inquiries in a conversational manner.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) system: CRM software like Salesforce, HubSpot, or Zoho CRM helps companies manage customer interactions and data and provides insights into customer behavior and preferences.
- Analytics tools: Analytics and reporting tools, such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel, or Kissmetrics, allow companies to track and analyze the performance and effectiveness of their conversational marketing efforts and make data-driven decisions.
- Live chat software: Live chat software (Zendesk Chat, Intercom, or Freshchat), enables companies to provide real-time customer support and engagement through their websites, social media, and messaging apps.
- Integrations and APIs: Integrations and APIs (Zapier, IFTTT, or Integromat) allow companies to integrate their conversational marketing tools with other marketing and sales technology, such as email marketing, social media management, and e-commerce platforms.
Examples of conversational marketing to get inspired by
Sephora successfully implemented conversational marketing through its chatbot, named “Beauty Assistant.” The chatbot enables customers to find and purchase products, get recommendations, and access tutorials and tips through messaging apps and the Sephora website.
By providing personalized and relevant experiences, Sephora has improved customer engagement, increased conversion rates, and generated business growth.
H&M is another example of how well conversational marketing works, especially for retail companies. Their “HM Service Bot” provides customers with real-time support, including product recommendations, order tracking, and customer service.
A less-known example of conversational marketing done right is brought to you by Framebridge. The online custom framing company enabled a live chat feature that allows customers to chat with a company rep in real time. This type of support is personalized and offers quick response times, which the clients appreciated because it led to a standout customer experience.
The three examples we listed above are just a small proof of what conversational marketing can do for any business, regardless of profile, size, or years on the market. It is, by far, the easiest way to provide excellent customer support in any situation, with reduced costs.Source: framebridge.com
Challenges and limitations in conversational marketing
Businesses face several technical challenges when implementing conversational marketing, some of which are:
- Natural language processing (NLP) and understanding: Automated conversational interfaces need to be able to understand and interpret language in real time, which can be tricky because language is complex and nuanced.
- Intent recognition: Chatbots must be able to accurately identify the user’s intention, which can be difficult given the diverse and sometimes ambiguous nature of language.
- Context management: To provide a seamless and coherent user experience, chatbots must be able to maintain context and track previous interactions in a conversation.
- Personalization: Conversational interfaces should tailor their responses to individual users, taking into account dynamic factors such as the user’s history, preferences, etc.
- Integration with back-end systems: Chatbots need to be integrated with back-end systems, such as databases, CRMs, and e-commerce platforms, to access and exchange data and perform actions on behalf of the user.
- Scalability: Conversational interfaces must be able to handle increased volumes of traffic and requests, which can pose a problem because the number of users and interactions grows.
- User experience (UX) design: Chatbots must be designed in a way that is intuitive and user-friendly, which can be challenging given the complexity of many conversational interactions and the need to account for various user needs and preferences.
Privacy and security concerns
While conversational marketing has numerous benefits, there are also privacy and security concerns to consider.
Companies must make sure they are transparent about their data collection practices and comply with relevant privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Additionally, it is crucial to implement robust security measures to protect sensitive customer data, such as encryption and secure storage.
Finding the right balance between automation and human interaction
Automation can improve efficiency and scalability, but too much automation can lead to a lack of personalization and a poor customer experience. On the other hand, human interaction provides a more personalized experience, but it can be time-consuming and expensive.
To find the right balance, companies can use a combination of AI-powered chatbots and human customer service agents. For instance, chatbots can handle simple queries, such as product information or order status updates, while human agents can handle more complex or sensitive issues that require empathy and problem-solving skills.
Additionally, companies can use tools like AI-powered sentiment analysis to determine when a customer interaction should be handed over to a human agent, ensuring a seamless and personalized experience for the customer.
Conversational marketing is a game-changer for companies looking to boost their customer engagement and build a more personal relationship with their audience.
Not only does it provide a more personalized experience, but it also offers extensive data on how to improve customer satisfaction and drive business results. In an era when competition is fierce and attention is hard to come by, companies that adopt conversational marketing hold the competitive edge.