Today’s consumers are both more demanding than ever and empowered with options. Imagine, for example, that a prospective customer has a question about your product outside of customer service hours, but your competitor has a 24/7 chatbot. Who is more likely to gain that prospect’s business?
In today’s digital world, everything –including your marketing – moves in real time. Customers want to have conversations continuously and expect answers to their questions now. For marketers, this can pose a challenge, or an opportunity to meet prospects where they are using conversational marketing.
What Is Conversational Marketing?
Many people (erroneously) assume that conversational marketing is using chatbots and automated messengers to reach customers when and where they are at a given moment, but this definition is only partly true. We can think of conversational marketing as the most efficient way to move prospects through sales and marketing funnels by leveraging the power of real-time conversation. It can and often does involve using automated chat functions, but other facets, such as targeted messaging, help build relationships with customers quickly.
The Benefits of Conversational Marketing
Why should you care about conversational marketing? For starters, conversational marketing leads are five times more likely to convert than those from traditional sources. Additionally, marketing experts link it to other positives, such as:
- Learn more about your target customers. Obviously, conversations give us the opportunity to gain insight into a person’s motivations, but combined with the use of automation tools, your organization has the ability to monitor user habits and preferences for the purposes of targeted marketing.
- Create more authentic buying experiences. Customers, particularly younger ones, want to have shopping experiences, not simply make purchases. One 2018 retail CX trends survey found that younger consumers (millennials and gen Z, close to commanding the lion’s share of buying power) want to have enjoyable buying experiences, even in the digital realm.
- Shorten your sales cycle. Implementing conversational marketing strategies into your sales cycle will naturally shorten it as you swap time-consuming lead capture forms for instantaneous conversation and connection.
How to Engage in Conversational Marketing
To successfully apply conversational marketing to your initiatives, keep some basic best practices in mind:
- Timing is everything. Proper implementation of conversational marketing requires communication that is both swift and timely. Remember that everything occurs in real time, so make sure that your channels are prepared for the challenge, paying special attention to automation.
- Personalization is the watchword. Today’s customers expect personalized, relevant experiences with each brand interaction. Forgo your cookie-cutter messaging for tailored marketing that relates to each customer’s needs.
- Analytics drive business insight. Your organization generates data about your customers daily – are you putting it to good use? Leverage data mining tools to gain a complete picture of your customer, so you can start meaningful conversations.
If you are going to put your marketing dollars into one new strategy in 2020, make it conversational marketing. Communicate with your customers in real time, so you can shorten your sales cycles while providing relevant, engaging experiences for your prospects. Automation tools help facilitate the process, making your brand accessible whenever and wherever your prospects want engagement.
How will you apply conversational marketing to your strategy this year?
The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.
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