Being a marketer in these digital times means you have to keep up with all the latest trends and buzzwords that are constantly dominating the industry. Influencer Marketing, Content Marketing, Affiliate Marketing… the list goes on.
Of course, you would already be familiar with the terms I’ve listed above but every couple of years (or even months), a relatively new catchphrase to describe a marketing methodology is being coined. One of these is what is now being referred to as Conversational Marketing.
What is Conversational Marketing?
Unlike other marketing buzzwords, Conversational Marketing is really quite self-explanatory. As the term suggests, it revolves around one simple activity – conversations. The main idea is to make use of real-time, one to one conversations to market products to potential customers and drive them faster or closer to making a purchase, which will, therefore, boost your sales.
Using conversations to increase sales is not something new. This is how salespeople in brick and mortar stores push products every single day. For example, if you go to the mall to buy a pair of sneakers, a salesperson will most likely be there to welcome you, ask you what you need, and guide you through the process of fitting and choosing a pair.
If you’re a bit hesitant about your options, that salesperson might also recommend other brands that suit your preferences and budget. If that salesperson is any good, you’d probably walk out of the store with a few pairs of stylish socks plus an extra pair of sneakers you did not plan on buying.
When applied in the digital sphere, Conversational Marketing tries to replicate this customer experience through the use of technology like chatbots. It attempts to add a personal touch to what was once a cold, impersonal digital storefront.
How Do Chatbots Make Conversational Marketing Possible?
Chatbots allow businesses to facilitate Conversational Marketing even with limited budgets and resources. In the past, it was physically impossible for SMEs to compete with bigwig businesses and make themselves available to their customers on-demand. Of course, there’s always the office phone number but this is not usually being handed out unless you have the manpower to answer an endless stream of phone calls 24/7 or employ a call center just like the major companies do.
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Before chatbots, smaller companies had to rely on ‘Contact Us’ pages, web forms, and their info@yourcompanyname email address to interact with their potential customers. By the time someone gets the chance to sift through the spam messages and answer a legit inquiry, that customer is already gone.
Now, even if you’re just a one-man startup operating from inside your home office, you can answer thousands of inquiries and talk to customers simultaneously by using a chatbot. So, if you have 100 customers visiting your website, they will all get instant chat replies in real-time.
If you’re doing this manually, the other customers would have to wait until you or your employees finish answering the inquiries one by one, making the other potential customers wait for you. If you don’t have someone manning your messaging platform at all times, you’re making the customers wait more. This becomes a problem because according to multiple studies, modern customers expect immediate if not instant replies, otherwise they will switch to another provider. Chatbots allow you to meet these demands without sacrificing your response time.
With chatbots, you can proactively interact with website visitors by asking questions and offering additional support instead of letting your visitors scrutinize your website by themselves or find the FAQ page on their own. Engaging with your visitors this way can also help you qualify real leads and pursue sales opportunities. Doing this will help ensure that all the efforts you’ve exerted to acquire all of these new visitors will not go to waste.
In implementing Conversational Marketing, chatbots can also be used to ask customers about their preferences, give product recommendations, and guide them through the purchase process, without looking too pushy or intrusive. This is because chatbots lend a friendly voice to your brand, making the customer experience more personalized.
Why is this important? According to one survey, 80% of people will stop doing business with a company if they get poor customer experience. By using a chatbot, you can level up your Conversational Marketing efforts, nurture your leads, and convert them to sales.
Looking to incorporate conversational marketing tacts into your strategy? But don’t know where to start.