As today’s digital world becomes increasingly fast-paced, businesses must establish instantaneous communication channels to connect with their target market. Gone are the days when company representatives would sell to clients through traditional platforms such as mailing and landline services. Today, engaging in conversational marketing through live chats, chatbots, and other technologies have become the most conducive way for businesses to market their brand, increase sales, and even deliver the best customer experience.
Why Start the Conversation?
Today, conversational marketing platforms are most popular for their ability to enhance a business’ customer support systems. They also prove to be instrumental when brands pursue other marketing efforts. Although it is not really successful in attracting customers, conversational marketing is still particularly important in inbound marketing because it serves as a way for the business to spark lead generation through conversations initiated by customers.
Aside from bringing in potential customers, conversational marketing also has the capacity to build customer relationships, offer valuable content to customers, and establish the company’s brand. Through various strategies, businesses can conveniently access useful insights directly from company clients without having to deduce how their customers view the company. These applications also make it easier for brands to generate and record data that can help them develop their products, create relevant social media content, update their website interface, and improve other aspects of their business. Some conversational marketing platforms also push relevant purchase suggestions whenever customers decide to buy an item.
Similarly, conversational marketing can help customers in a more unique and streamlined way. In fact, according to HubSpot, it provides a medium for company representatives to organically assist customers who need help. HubSpot is a reliable source of insights for conversational marketing, given that it’s one of the main providers of chatbot software in the market today. It also employed conversational marketing for its own daily operations; Back in 2019, more than 30% of HubSpot's total revenue came from its conversational marketing efforts while its customer satisfaction scores went up by more than 50% for the same reason. These numbers go to show that conversational marketing is an effective strategy that businesses must take advantage of today.
Recent technological advancements have made it possible for businesses to easily converse with their customers. Interestingly enough, live chats, chatbots, and instant messaging softwares prove to be some of the most popular ways to engage in conversational marketing strategies, with each method having their own respective perks.
According to Forbes, investing in live chat services allow businesses to respond to customer inquiries in a quick and concise manner. In turn, this kind of platform also prevents the friction a customer experiences when deciding whether or not to make a purchase. Most importantly, live chats also serve as a more efficient and affordable alternative to call-center services as it allows company representatives to respond to keep up with multiple inquiries sent their way.
To supplement live chat services, businesses can also install chatbots into their messaging platforms to address customer inquiries and concerns sent after office hours. Because chatbots are software programmed to understand and reply in “natural language,” it is able to hold certain conversations with customers. Aside from these platforms, companies have also been using text messaging as a way to push promotions and advertisements on their new offers, especially since it has a significantly higher open and response rate than emails.
Maximize your Conversations
While setting up live chat, chatbots, and text messaging services is a good first step, businesses need to take note of four elements that Hubspot believes are important when establishing new conversational marketing efforts.
First, conversations with customers should take place whenever it is most convenient for them. Even if the conversations occur asynchronously or in real-time, it is still important for brands to serve customers in their time. It is also important to ensure that conversations and strategies employed by the company are scalable. As the business grows, it is likely to receive more inquiries and start more conversations with different people from all over the world.
In order to achieve these two elements, it is important for businesses to invest in chatbots that can be programmed to answer questions that are frequently asked by their customers. Businesses can also draft pre-written responses to common questions in order to maximize their live chat features. This way, customers will be able to interact with the company from anywhere and at any time.
Additionally, conversations should be contextualized based on the needs of every customer and the information given in their previous correspondence with the business. Customers don’t like to keep repeating their personal information or concerns to different representatives. Whether they may be interacting with chatbots or live chat employees, clients expect to experience convenient, real-life conversations with whoever is on the other side. One way to implement this is to personalize messages for customers based on their names and previous correspondence. Brands can also assign a name to their chatbot to improve brand recognition while making customers feel like they are having a normal conversation with another person.
Businesses can also build customer relationship management systems that gather and store customer data efficiently and make this information accessible to company employees. Setting this up would help companies push their products and services to the right people. At the same time, the information gathered from customer responses can also be used by the company to identify and address specific pain points in their operations.
Finally, it’s important for brands to take advantage of channels that are most popular with their customers and center their conversational strategies around those platforms. A study done by Gartner states that text messages have a 98% open rate and 48% response rate, showing that instant messaging is a vital tool that must be incorporated in every conversational marketing strategy. In addition, as more and more people begin using social media sites as a means to shop, companies can use these channels to generate leads and pursue inbound marketing strategies by making valuable company information available specifically on their customers’ favorite communication channels.
Aside from these key elements, Hubspot also lists several characteristics that every brand should consider when creating conversational marketing strategies. One of these characteristics is the fact that conversations between the business and the customers should be both personalized and standardized at the same time. There are certain aspects of conversations that can be personalized according to a customer’s personal information and preceding messages. However, responses to similar concerns by other customers should be consistent in order to ensure professionalism and avoid confusion.
Furthermore, company representatives should also practice empathy when dealing with customers who have encountered issues with the company. Instead of immediately offering a solution, it is vital that representatives show compassion and understanding to customers by acknowledging how aggravating it may be for customers to deal with those problems. Finally, it is also crucial for companies to make use of their conversations as a means to improve future conversational strategies and other aspects of the business.
In the end, the recent demand for convenience in communication has really shown the need for conversational marketing in this digital age. It is therefore incredibly important for companies to invest in technology to attract more customers and build rapport between them and their customers.
-Written by Angela Acorda