One of the biggest marketing trends of 2020
At the beginning of this new decade, marketing technology is moving fast but seems like the consumer interests and behaviors are changing at a much faster pace. Gone are the days, when the so called marketing “gurus” could use the age old techniques of one sided communication and based on past trends, hope to hit the bulls-eye every time .
The reality of marketing today is that the communication has to flow both ways, rather than just being one sided.The consumer today is well informed, has no dearth of options and wants to be heard. Everything needs to be more conversational, that’s how people want it, they want immediate response and not wait for a day to get an answer to their email or a phone call that would answer their queries.
Conversational marketing is a feedback-oriented approach to marketing used by companies to drive engagement, develop customer loyalty, grow the customer base, and, ultimately, grow revenue.
A marketing practice of conversing with your potential buyers or people who have shown interest in your services.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), the driving force behind conversational marketing, has already taken over a number of simple jobs, and this maybe the year when even small businesses will wake and smell the coffee! AI can analyze consumer behavior and search patterns, and use data from social media platforms and blog posts to help businesses understand how customers find their products and services.
The concept of conversational marketing has been around, in the form of feedback forms, emails but with the rise of social media and other automated chat tools or bots, new lines of communication have opened up, allowing businesses to have a personalized customer relationship. And so, the revised, technology driven concept of conversational marketing has opened a new chapter not only for customers but for businesses as well.
Key Components of Conversational Marketing
The components are of conversational marketing are similar to the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece is equally important to ensure long term engagement with customers, and any conversational marketing plan without all these components together will be an incomplete one, and will not carry any meaning in isolation.
Which is the best way to receive any kind of message? Will you pay attention to any message which is very generic in nature and doesn't adhere to your needs? That is why personalized messages and emails have a higher probability of being opened up and read.
94% of customer insights and marketing professionals across multiple industries said personalization is “important,” “very important,” or “extremely important” for meeting their current marketing objectives. (Source: instapage.com)
Context is the most important part of any conversation. You do not want to repeat yourself every time you speak to any customer service executive explaining your requirements. All conversations and interactions with the customers have to be well organized and accessible so that the customers receive the best possible service.
79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions the consumer has had with the brand.(Source: instapage.com)
Real time Bond
The concept of conversational marketing revolves around the fact that brands connect with customers in real time, pay attention to their needs and incorporate feedback. This way the customers feel valued, and ensures higher probability of continued future interactions.
63% of respondents are highly annoyed by the way brands continue to rely on the old-fashioned strategy of blasting generic ad messages repeatedly.(Source: instapage.com)
Tools for Conversational Marketing
When we talk about conversational marketing, the first thing that comes to the mind is live chats or bots, that aren’t new, they have been around.Then what is the whole hula hoo behind it? Well, conversational marketing is much more than that. It isn’t about a single tool anymore, there are a number of tools and apps available depending on what your business is all about and where are your customers, where do they want to connect with you. With the rise of AI, marketeers will have more apps and tools to play around with in the coming decade.
A chatbot is an AI program that simulates a conversation (or a chat) with a user in natural language through messaging applications, websites, mobile apps or through the telephone.
In today’s time, businesses need to make sure that the response time to customer’s queries should be as short as possible. When a user reaches a webpage and is welcomed by a chatbot, usually it begins with a predefined text and then based on the user’s queries or request, it analyzes and provides adequate response in no time. The way chatbots are designed, the chats are designed to replicate actual human conversations.
2. Social Media
Social media is a very powerful tool and has brought the brands much closer to the customers and vice versa.
When a consumer comes to a brand’s social media channel with a query or looking for support and you’re there to answer those, the consumer is likely to remain loyal to your brand. Your immediate response goes a long way in building a much stronger relationship since all the customer needs is to be heard and helped without waiting endlessly for an email or a customer service executive on the phone.
3. Email Marketing
Did you know???
The first email marketing blast was sent in 1978! (Source: smartinsights.com)
Probably one of the oldest and the most misused tools for conversational marketing, email marketing is still going strong. A personalized and well targeted email marketing campaign with the right message, ensures better engagement with the customers.
Brands that personalize promotional marketing emails experience 27% higher unique click-through rates. (Source:instapage.com)
4. Facebook Messenger bot
According to Hootsuite- a leading social media dashboard, Facebook Messenger is the third most used app in the world, used by 68 percent of app users. And this is not just for personal group chats . A recent Nielsen survey found that people think messaging is the second best way to talk to a business. Atleast 2 billion messages are exchanged with businesses over Facebook Messenger every month.
Considering Facebook’s reach and popularity, there is immense scope for Facebook Messenger. While Facebook has 6 million advertisers, there are only 300,000 chatbots. This wide gap represents a huge opportunity for businesses to connect with their customers via Facebook Messenger and acts as a cheaper tool for conversational marketing.
5. Live customer support
Often, not considered a part of marketing, customer support or customer service is indeed a very integral part of conversational marketing. A good customer experience ensures long term loyalty by the customer. 24 hour helplines, price matching or a designated “help” account through social media offers a high level of support to customers, increasing their trust in your brand.
6. Messaging Apps
Messaging apps such as Whatsapp, WeChat, Telegram and others facilitate conversational marketing in a great way.
Since WhatsApp Business was introduced, more than 3 million companies have joined the network. Most of them use it for direct communication with consumers. Similarly, WeChat Work has over 1.5 million enterprises registered and actively using the tool for better communication with its customers.
Benefits of Conversational Marketing
We have conversations everyday, every moment. It is the crux of our existence then why not use this along with technology to scale businesses.
- Ensures a healthy customer relationship
Personalized communication makes the customer feel heard and valued. Conversational marketing ensures a two way communication, the customer has easy and convenient access to businesses and in turn creates a better understanding between the two.
2. 24x7 availability
Chatsbots and social media have made sure that customers have 24x7 access to businesses at a time more convenient to them, ensuring better customer interaction.
3. The most reliable source of data for businesses
Chatbots and other messaging services record data that can then be used to for better customer interactions, product improvements, more helpful content, and more.
Apart from solving technical issues and queries, giving feedback about users experience, it also can identify opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell. So, the next time you see certain recommendations based on the product you are trying to buy, you know where it is coming from.
4. A new source of leads
Conversational marketing bridges the gap between businesses and future customers. With the right conversational marketing strategy, businesses can generate better leads, customers who are genuinely interested in the brand.
5. Higher efficiency
Conversational marketing is a strategy that makes sure that not only the customers are on the winning side, but businesses benefit too. No doubt, the use of technology reduces human interactions and the number of errors, and it also increases efficiency.
Conversational Marketing & Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing is the process of attracting the attention of prospects, via content creation, before they are even ready to buy. It is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to convert strangers into customers.
Conversational marketing takes this relationship a little further making the customer comfortable by answering their queries, building trust which not only increases the probability of conversion but ensures brand loyalty. Hence, conversational marketing becomes an integral part of inbound marketing.
Conversational Marketing is not only restricted to sales. It is necessary to integrate a conversational marketing plan in multiple channels. Be it sales, customer support, technical support and for the matter even finance, there is scope in every department. It is for the business to recognize the need of the customers and plan accordingly.
Conversations are here to stay for as long as humanity will exist and with technology being upgraded by the hour, consumers are getting even more impatient and seek attention from the businesses. So, it is imperative that brands consider a conversational marketing strategy, and increase their engagement with existing as well as potential customers.