Conversational Marketing: What It Is and How to Do It Right

By Mostafa Dastras

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Conversations are the quickest way to sell to customers. Instead of waiting for customers and wishing they’d find their way to the right products, you take the upper hand and guide them through meaningful conversations. 

Conversational marketing could facilitate customer journeys. So a typical customer journey that involves many steps from awareness to purchase could be cut short. A timely conversation could even lead to an immediate purchase by a first-time website visitor. 

Conversational marketing is effective because your adept human agents are much more efficient in answering customer concerns than your marketing funnels and automation systems. Plus they create a more human image of your company and improve customer loyalty while keeping your marketing expenses low. 

Let’s see what conversational marketing is and how to do it the right way.  

What is conversational marketing?

Conversational marketing is a marketing strategy that allows customers and businesses to interact through conversations. It prioritizes customer concerns rather than marketing funnels and offers solutions through easy conversations with customers. 

Businesses can utilize various conversational tools for this purpose. This can come in the form of chatbots, voice assistants, emails, live chats with agents, or any other tool that could help start a conversation. The focus of conversational marketing is to improve the customer’s experience through the buying journey by providing quick and useful support.

How conversational marketing helps your business

1- Efficient customer support

Conversational marketing can be an efficient customer support strategy for both customers and businesses. Businesses using chatbots can reduce customer service costs by 30%. This helps keep businesses within budget for customer support. 

And at the same time, it reduces the frustration of users who are unable to access useful information easily. 69% of customers prefer conversational chatbots because it is a quick way to get in touch with the business.

For example, customers looking for products within a particular price range can be directed to the right items at any time of the day by a chatbot. This reduces the time the customer spends searching for budget products, and customer support is available even after business hours.

Of course, a truly effective customer support should not rely solely on chatbots. These tools might be able to resolve some common issues, but a human customer support is necessary for more complicated issues. So always consider providing live chat and a customer support call center for quick phone calls. 

2- Live chat support boosts performance of the sales funnel 

According to a survey,  79% of companies say that the use of live chat support has yielded positive results in sales, revenue, and customer loyalty. Customers can easily be led from interest to purchase and loyalty stages in the sales funnel through conversational chatbots. This will shorten the buying journey. 

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47% of customers say they are open to making purchases completely from a chatbot. Also, 52% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand repeatedly if the business offers live chat support. 

Conversational marketing best practices

A poorly executed conversational marketing strategy can adversely affect customer experience. What truly matters in creating a conversational marketing strategy that works is understanding the buyer persona and infusing the buyer’s need into your conversational marketing approach. 

Here are a few conversational marketing best practices you can implement;

1- Choose a conversation channel 

A crucial aspect of using conversation marketing is determining the channel where it will be most effective. This includes websites, social media, or messaging apps such as SMS, Whatsapp, and Signal.

Depending on the chosen platform, the conversation tool may be a chatbot, live chat agent, or voice assistant like Alexa or Google assistant software, etc. Typically, chatbots are great for websites because they are quick and can provide 24/7 support while acting as prompts through pop-ups. On the other hand, conversations with live agents are good for social media platforms.

To make the most out of a conversational tool, it is best to use it on channels that receive the most traffic from your audience. This can be your business website or a specific social media platform like Instagram. On these platforms, it is easy to find customers in the interest stage of their buyer’s journey and convert them to buyers through the chat feature. 

You can also decide to use the chat tool across multiple platforms and structure a complementary conversation plan based on the needs of visitors across each platform. 

For instance, customers who are engaged through emails are more likely to be in the interest stage or the repurchase stage of their buyer’s journey, while customers on the websites are usually in the awareness, interest, or purchase phase of their buyer’s journey. 

Using a comprehensive tool such as Intercom (or Intercom alternatives) you can structure a complementary conversation plan based on the needs of visitors across each platform.

Using social media

Social media platforms usually come with live chat features that can be used for conversational marketing. Also, as a more frequently used channel for accessing brands, 70% of customers expect businesses to use social media to provide customer services. This makes it a good channel to engage more users through conversational marketing.

You can use chatbots or live chat agents on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter,  or Facebook. Chatbots on social media platforms should be humanized by using natural conversation-style sentences. Quick replies and automation can be used to create faster support.

Conversational marketing on social media goes beyond using the chat feature. The audience can also be reached through the comment section by initiating conversations or responding to comments directed at your business. 

2- Structure the conversation flow

Having a plan for how the chat conversation flows makes the chat experience more natural and smooth. It can also lead to reaching the desired marketing outcome quicker. 

A few things to add when structuring your chat conversation flow include;

Greet and Guide

A greeting can be used to draw the attention of users. It also creates a friendly atmosphere for the rest of the conversation to progress. Chat pop-ups can be used to welcome users when they enter the website or navigate through different sections of the website. This is great for prompting a conversation that can lead to conversions and leads. 

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Also, the conversation can be used to guide the users to information or services that are not immediately accessible, as well as help them navigate through the site easily to find different sections they may be interested in.

Common Q&A

Most users who engage with the chat box are looking for quick solutions to pain points and answers to pressing questions they have. In order to be efficient in helping the customer, common questions asked by users should be anticipated and answered. 

For example, questions about how to use particular products can be presented to the customer and resolved by directing the customer to your FAQ section, knowledge base, a simple explainer video, or to any other useful content on the topic. 

Promote services

Consider using the conversation to promote your services. The products and services you offer are solutions to a customer’s pain point. The conversation can be used to market a specific product or service that is a solution to the customer’s needs.

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3- Maintain a casual tone

Maintaining a casual tone is an essential consideration when using chatbots. It is important to keep things simple and casual or risk losing the visitor. This involves using simple and relatable terminologies. Most users will disengage when things become complicated to follow or understand. 

Also, keeping a casual tone creates a relaxing feeling for the user and encourages them to interact further. To do this, chatbots usually start with friendly greeters to draw the attention of the customer and create a human effect. 

It is also important that the rest of the interaction has a natural flow. This can be done by asking questions and making suggestions in a casual tone to guide the customer through the rest of their engagement with your business platform.

4- Personalize your chat 

A common practice of conversational marketing is personalizing the experience of the customer. Statistics say 76% of consumers are influenced by personalization to make purchases while 78% of consumers are more likely to become repeat buyers as a result. 

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Every visitor is different. Therefore, the expectations for using the chat box may vary. Personalization helps you to respond efficiently to the reason why the visitor is interacting. For example, a first-time user can be provided with a line of conversation that guides them through the site and what the business offers. 

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On the other hand, a returning visitor needs to be interacted with differently, based on the information gathered during their previous visits. In this instance, you may ask for feedback on a service they previously used, or offer to help them with similar products they checked out on their last visit. This makes the interaction more helpful to the returning visitor than addressing them in the same way as a first-time visitor.

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Also, depending on the buyer persona, especially in the category of demographics, the tone of the chat may vary to suit the conversational style that is typical to the specific persona. This also involves the synergy between a buyer's persona and the buyer’s journey.

For example, a buyer can go from the awareness stage to the purchase stage without going through the in-betweens. The chatbot can be personalized for such a buyer to prompt fast conversion.

5- Get useful information

Gathering information is useful in improving the overall user experience of the customer. It helps in optimizing the chatbot conversation, as well as creating a more personalized experience for the customer.  Also, it can be used to formulate updates on FAQs and answers which are very important in ensuring a smooth and beneficial engagement for the users.

There are two ways information can be gathered on users for future use;

Data Analytics

Using a data analytics tracking tool is beneficial in gathering and storing the information collected from chat conversations, as well as data from the users' general interaction with the site. 

To do this, you can use the analytics tracking tool of the chat tool or integrations with CRM software and marketing automation systems. This form of data gathering is also useful in measuring the success rate of the chat tool in generating leads and conversions.

In-chat feedbacks

Asking for feedback from the user is a great way for eliciting information that can be useful subsequently. However, it is ideal to make this appear less forced so you can get the most useful and truthful data without disrupting the user’s experience. You can make feedback an optional action at the end of the conversation or present them as suggestions during the chat.

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Customer convenience and trust: 

Effective conversational marketing prioritizes customer convenience and customer trust. A pushy chatbot that keeps showing up on your homepage can’t work wonders. Neither can inefficient chat agents with only general information about your products. 

Customers might prefer different conversation channels, so your conversational marketing strategy should go beyond website chatbots. The goal is to start a simple and convenient conversation whenever needed. 

This could mean a simple conversation through comments under a post, responding to email queries as fast as possible and then following up, showing a simple Whatsapp logo on your website for a quick chat, or offering a quick phone call or video call when resolving a technical issue. You can also use a QR code on your physical products and direct customers to a Whatsapp conversation when you feel there's need for some explanation. 

All of this might seem easy but there’s more to it than just starting conversations. There’s the issue of conversation effectiveness. In many cases, conversations (especially through chatbots) have no end results, and customers have to go through additional conversations with different agents to scrape up a solution. This undermines customer trust in you. 

To make conversations work, you need to have efficient systems and knowledgeable customer support agents. And you need to prioritize conversation effectiveness rather than starting conversations per se. Invest in the right tools and keep your agents educated to improve conversation effectiveness and ace conversational marketing.   

  

 

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