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Conversational Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide

Posted on: 16 Oct 2018

Is traditional marketing on its last legs?

We blast emails to faceless entities on a list asking them to sign up for our offerings.

We receive enquiries for sales to follow-up days later.

We do this in spite of a better approach. Tactics that employ technology to automate lead qualification and obliterate the need for form filling.

Traditional marketing is effective. But when you discover the perks and uses of conversational marketing methods, you’ll never look back.

What Exactly is Conversational Marketing?

Intelligent chatbots. Live messaging. Email marketing. Phone calls. These are all mediums of conversational marketing.

It’s a one-on-one approach to engaging with customers; user targeting at its finest executed through real-time messaging.

Let’s dive into the benefits of conversational marketing and explore why so many top-shelf brands are using it.

What Customers Want

People can contact their families and friends instantly, so why not businesses they want to buy from too?

“Customers expect conversations to happen how, when, and where they want.” – Alicia Collins, HubSpot

We have the technology required to make this happen easily and on a large scale. By enabling conversational marketing via chatbots, for example, we can attend to our customers’ needs without human intervention.

With instant access to help, customers get what they want: superfast answers to their enquiries. Subsequently, chatbots increase sales: the typical click-through rate of a chatbot ranges between 15 – 60%. Whereas an ordinary marketing email CTR is between 5 – 10%.

Emotional Connections

Conversational marketing is all about getting cosy with your customers. It makes business personal again through one-on-one online encounters.

“Personalisation can lift revenues by 5 to 15%, and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by 10 to 30%.” – Matt Ariker, Harvard Business Review

Personal, real-time conversations enable customer support or sales personnel to shape solutions around individuals flawlessly. And critically, connecting with people on a personal level injects your brand with humanity helping you build trust and bolster sales.

A Scalable Strategy

When you’re running a small business that’s booming, it can be tricky to keep up with enquiries. The consequence? Customers sometimes wait days for a response which can lead them to lose interest.

Live chat can bulldoze this problem. Even small teams can have one-on-one conversations at scale since it’s so easy to offer real-time advice. Plus, bots will do night shifts without complaint; you can qualify leads 24/7 as bots answer customer questions based on data that already exists.

Feedback-Orientated

The feedback you gain from phone calls or live chat will be much more in-depth than the answers you receive on a generic survey. Because you’re giving people more time to talk about what they need and want on a personal level.

With powerful insights from customer feedback, marketing can use these golden nuggets of wisdom to improve customer experiences and develop brand loyalty.

“Personalisation is not a trend, it’s a marketing tsunami.” – Avi Dan

Injecting humanity into your customer interactions is the ultimate recipe for success. After all, we are social beings by nature and crave emotional connection. Conversational marketing enables us to give leads our undivided attention on a personal level at every stage in the buyer journey.

There are tons of industry leaders leveraging conversational marketing tools to treat every customer like a VIP. Here are some brilliant examples including cutting-edge technology to bookmark.

The Trailblazer – eBay

eBay is at the front of technological innovation in conversational marketing. Its advanced eCommerce chatbot harnesses voice search to deliver loyalty-boosting customer experiences.

Users can interact with the chatbot through Google Assistant (accessed via Google Home or on an android phone using voice). All they have to do is say: “Hey Google, I want to talk with eBay.”

The magic occurs when a customer asks the bot to find a specific product. It hunts for deals across eBay’s various product categories and delivers the best options based on a customer’s request.

It also sends relevant links to the user for easy purchasing. In just a few minutes, a customer can find and purchase exactly what they’re looking for all thanks to this intelligent bot.

The Charmer – Hipmunk

Hipmunk is a smart platform that allows people to search for the best travel deals. Like eBay, the company uses chatbots to drive customer service.

Its Hello Hipmunk feature can be integrated with Facebook, Slack or Skype and acts as a virtual travel planning assistant for customers. It uses a visitor’s location to send relevant deals and suggest the easiest or cheapest travel options.

Customers can also ask for specific travel plans, such as: “Find me cheap flights to Paris from Manchester from 4/11 to 12/11”.

Imagine if you were trying to organise a holiday with friends. You can chat with them about your travel plans in one window and search for flights in another using the bot.

These personal conversations between customer and Hipmunk are designed to be fun and engaging. This is where the brand shines: it uses informal language, emojis and GIFs to humanise the bot and create an enjoyable experience strengthening customer relationships.

The Time Saver – RapidMiner

Data science software platform, RapidMiner, bravely abandoned lead generation forms, turning to conversational marketing tactics instead.

And, boy, was this a smart move. In three months, the business gained a staggering 4,000 new leads and approx. £8 million in the sales pipeline by using Drift – a conversational marketing platform – to focus on conversations with high-value leads.

Drift is one of the best tools going for conversational marketing. It automates lead qualification by asking the same questions a salesperson would ask to determine a lead’s value. It can also connect with sales teams’ calendars to schedule meetings and calls with prospects.

The beauty of this is that RapidMiner doesn’t need manpower to evaluate every visitor on its site at scale. This is achieved automatically, speeding up the lead qualification process and freeing up sales teams’ time so they can concentrate on nurturing customers.

Chatting Your Way to Success

“In a conversational world, marketers can no longer rely on the “yell & sell” approach and hope for the best. They need to “chat & listen”. They need to be more thoughtful, more careful, more resourceful, and thus more humble.” – Étienne Mérineau, head of conversation design, Heyday

We’ve determined how conversational marketing is king and the awesome benefits this strategy delivers.

We’d now love to hear your thoughts and experiences surrounding this subject. Connect with us on Twitter to get in touch!

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