Every year, technology continues to grow at breakneck speeds — with it, new digital marketing opportunities also present themselves.
One strategy that is quickly becoming a crucial part of any business marketing plan is conversational marketing. With the growing needs of consumers, more and more businesses are utilizing chatbots for marketing to bolster their digital presence.
But what exactly is conversational marketing? And why is it so important for the future? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing is the method of engaging with customers in one-on-one interactions. This occurs with dialogue-driven activities. It helps nurture customer relationships and improve their online experience by instantly communicating with them through customized interactions.
Any two-way communication between a customer and the business is conversational marketing. This can include phone and email. However, messaging has become the most popular choice amongst consumers to reach businesses. Modern conversational marketing is made possible by chatbots, live chat, and messaging apps.
The growth of artificial intelligence and chatbots, in particular, have made conversational marketing much more accessible for businesses today.
The Key Elements of Conversational Marketing
Your business may already be doing something similar to conversational marketing. If you're having conversations with customers across different channels, you're on the right track.
Let's take a look at some of the key elements of conversational marketing.
Conversations Happen in Real-Time
One of the key elements of conversational marketing is that it happens whenever the customer wants it to happen. This can be in the morning during breakfast, during their break at work, or later at night while cuddled up on the couch.
This doesn't just include when the conversation begins — it should also end when the customer wants it to. That can mean beginning a conversation after their early coffee at 11 am and finishing at 9 pm after putting the kids to bed.
It's important that conversational marketing happens whenever is most convenient for the customer. According to research, 89% of customers have switched brands for a better customer experience.
Conversations Are Scalable
Because interactions need to happen on customer time, these conversations need to be scalable. For example, imagine if a customer is waiting for customer service to reply to a question they have about your product or service. They don't care how many people are in line — they just want the answer to the question.
In the past, this has been an issue for smaller businesses that lack resources or manpower. But nowadays, chatbots have become crucial tools for digital marketing.
They're available 24/7 to answer any questions that a customer might have with quick access to information.
Conversations Have Context
The key to building a solid conversational marketing strategy is to understand your customers and their preferred communication channels. This allows chatbots to mimic a casual conversation between two people in an authentic way.
It's important not only for your conversational marketing to have context when it begins conversations but to get smarter as it collects more information.
Let's look at an example. Say a customer calls a business to report a problem with their product. The next day, they chat with them, asking for information on how to get it replaced. The customer would expect the person to understand the context from the day before.
This makes it more important for businesses to gather, store, and access customer data quickly and efficiently.
Conversations Happen Where Customers Want Them To Happen
In the "old days," there might be only one or two options to reach a company. You'd have to look up the customer service number for the company, give them a call, and wait for hours until a rep was ready to speak with you.
Now, conversations happen across many different platforms. It could be on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, on the phone, or in a chatbox on your website.
Related article: 5 Benefits of Using Chatbots for Customer Experience
AI-Powered Chatbots for Marketing: The Future of Conversational Marketing
In the past, people have equated conversational marketing to live chat. Live chat has been around for quite a while (since 2002, to be exact). But conversational marketing has evolved into something much bigger than just a single tool.
With the advent of artificially intelligent chatbots, conversational marketing has entered a new game-changing phase.
Chatbots allow companies to approach different communication channels with a conversational approach. Here, they can simulate face-to-face interactions. They can be used to:
- Automate the process of gathering data about the customer
- Provide basic information about products and services
- Qualify leads further
These AI-powered chatbots can integrate into multiple platforms. They can learn and execute transactional actions and provide information to customers. For example, you could send a chatbot your purchase number and learn exactly when it will arrive at your home.
When looking at the important elements of conversational marketing that we covered earlier, intelligent chatbots tick all of the boxes:
- They allow conversations to happen whenever a customer needs it
- They are easily scalable to allow thousands of conversations to happen at the same time
- They learn, gather, store, and access information
- Chatbots can be used across a variety of platforms
Intelligent technology has become accessible for small businesses everywhere. It's no wonder why more and more companies are beginning to utilize chatbots in their conversational marketing options.
Benefits of Conversational Marketing
There are several reasons why you should be adding conversational marketing to your business strategy. Let's take a look at a few.
Create a Better Experience for Your Customers
More and more people are turning to mobile devices to shop online. This trend means they are also looking to interact with content in a mobile way as well. With conversational marketing, your customers can get the answers they need in the most convenient way possible.
Gain Valuable Insights About Your Customers
Starting a conversation with your customers allows you to get unique insights in the frankest way possible. You can hear exactly what is on their mind — no guessing or inferring involved. Businesses can use this information to provide better service to their customers.
A barrier usually exists between a business and its customers. Conversational marketing is a great way to lower that barrier and speak directly with our customers. Companies can create intimate relationships this way.
Companies can also drive lead generation and reach new audiences across different channels. By keeping message threads active, continuous communication can take place and build a more natural and seamless interaction.
Move Buyers Through the Sales Funnel Faster
Automated chatbots are a great way to give information to your prospects in the fastest and most efficient manner possible. This can help scale and grow your lead generation process.
Bots can also be programmed to send qualified leads directly to sales agents through live chat or even book meetings in real-time.
How to Build a Conversational Marketing Strategy
Your conversational marketing strategy depends on the goals of your company. A good place to start is to understand what kind of conversations you want to have with your customers and the problems that you are trying to solve.
Here are a few basic steps you can follow.
1. Choose Your Channels and Define Q&As
Researching your audience is the first step that you should take on your conversational marketing journey. This will help you choose what channels you want to use. It will also help you understand what the purpose will be. Some examples include:
- Answering generic frequently asked questions
- Providing info about your products and services
- Assisting in finalizing purchases
- Promoting content or demos
This information can be gleaned from the info your sales team needs to qualify leads.
2. Personalize and Optimize
Learning your customers' behavior can help you personalize their experience. This allows you to show them the right content on the right channels at the right time.
Customers appreciate being shown relevant information. It creates a better sense of authenticity, which leads to a better customer relationship.
To do this, it's important to test your chatbot interactions continually. This includes:
- Data from conversations
- Info about the customer's journey
- Their level of engagement
With this, you can tinker with your conversation flows to make them more effective.
3. Ask for Feedback
The best way to understand what your customers are thinking? Just ask them!
Collecting feedback from them can help you reveal weaknesses and areas for improvement. This will lead to more meaningful conversations and a better customer experience.
Ready to Add Conversational Marketing to Your Strategy?
Conversational marketing is the future of how interactions will happen between businesses and their customers. Building a better and more efficient customer experience will always be a priority.
Today, chatbots for marketing are the next step toward that reality. If you're ready to build a conversational AI platform that can transform strangers into happy customers, take Aivo’s product tour now to take a look inside an AI-powered chatbot!