What is Conversational Marketing? The Ultimate Guide 2022

  ●   August 23, 2022 | Content Marketing
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August 23, 2022 | Content Marketing

Digital marketing has changed dramatically in recent years, so much so that marketers have been forced to reevaluate their strategies altogether. The evolution of consumer trends and technology has positioned conversational marketing at the forefront of marketing strategies across multiple industries. 

Although a multi-channel marketing strategy enables you to connect with your audience across multiple channels, ask yourself, is your strategy truly customer-focused? Conversational marketing plays a significant role in connecting with your audience in an organic way and can impact every part of your business, from delivering a better customer experience to expanding your product or service offerings.

At Semetrical, we believe that customer centricity is vital to any successful and result-driven marketing strategy. Let’s explore conversational marketing in more detail and how it could benefit your business in 2022.

What’s in this guide?

What is conversational marketing?

Conversational marketing is a dialogue-first approach to marketing that focuses on customer centricity. It allows marketers to drive customer engagement, improve customer experience and increase revenue. So, how can it be factored into your long-term marketing strategy?

Conversations take place between brands and customers every day, and yet these conversations are not always used effectively. One-to-one interactions in real-time across multiple channels allow you to foster relationships that are invaluable to improving customer experiences online. Nowadays, customers want instant responses to their queries; chatbots, live chat and messaging apps are perfect for exactly that! 

Understanding your customers’ preferred channel of communication is essential to the success of your conversational marketing strategy. For instance, chatbots and live chat provide an informal dialogue that mimics a casual conversation, whereas messaging apps like WhatsApp allow for more substantial conversations, especially if you’re trying to find out more information about a product or service.  

Traditional marketing vs conversational marketing

What are the key components of conversational marketing?

If you’re a customer-focused marketer, a robust conversational marketing strategy can transform your customer relationships by identifying the best ways to connect with your customers. Here are the key components of conversational marketing to consider when refining your strategy:

  1. Customer-time –  Conversations should occur when the customer wants to engage with your brand, whether that’s when they have a spare moment before they go to bed, or once they’ve dropped the kids off at school. It’s an asynchronous relationship that requires businesses to chat in real-time, with the added flexibility of starting a conversation at 8 am and finishing it at 1o pm to cater for busy lifestyles. Focus on the needs of the customer, not the needs of your business. 
  1. Scalable – As conversations happen on the customer’s time, they need to be scalable, which can often be problematic for small SMEs with little resources. Chatbots can provide support 24/7 by answering common questions that already have the information readily available. They offer customers a more personalised way of accessing information and can formulate accurate responses based on the context of the conversation through machine learning.
  1. Context – Without context, messaging wouldn’t be convenient as you risk wasting your customers’ time and patience. Customers want to get to the answer as quickly as possible, so it’s important to leverage CRM as a key part of your conversational marketing strategy. The more data you have on your customers, the more value you’ll provide – but make sure you are in compliance with GDPR!
  1. Channels –  Conversations should always take place in the channel that the customer prefers to use, whether that’s over the phone, WhatsApp, or via a chatbot. Conversational marketing is about providing value to your customers and engaging with them on their terms, just like inbound marketing. 

What’s the difference between conversational marketing and inbound marketing?

Conversational marketing is often considered as one component of a wider inbound marketing strategy. Think of inbound marketing as the “pull” tactic where you attract customers through specific channels, whereas, conversational marketing is the part where the actual conversing takes place in said channels. 

The ways in which you interact with your customers depend on when, where and how they communicate with your business. Conversational and inbound marketing should be used hand-in-hand if you want to concentrate on customer centricity.

5 benefits of conversational marketing

Implement a successful conversational marketing strategy, and you could gain an advantage over your competitors. After all, conversations aren’t a new concept. We have conversations every day and will continue to do so. Why wouldn’t you optimise your conversations for business? 

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of conversational marketing.

1. Move customers through your sales funnel more efficiently

Did you know that bots can send qualified leads straight to your sales team through live chat? When your marketing strategy is aligned with your sales activities, conversational marketing allows your customers to move through your marketing and sales funnel more effectively. 

This ultimately speeds up the time it takes for your customers to complete the funnel, while also providing a smoother user experience (UX). These two factors are a sure-fire way to ensure your customers become returning visitors and refer your brand to friends and family. 

Conversational marketing sales funnel

2. Improve lead generation quality

Conversations are an interactive way for your customers to engage with your company, which gives you the opportunity to optimise the customer experience. If you make sure the experience is as fluid as possible, there will be fewer roadblocks and more visitors will convert into paying customers. 

Conversational marketing is a great way to drive lead generation, as it reaches new audiences through different channels and provides customers with a convenient way of getting in touch for support.

It’s an effective way to learn from your customers! When you ask the right questions, you can find out what will make them convert and qualify them for your sales once they have completed the funnel.

3. Provide a better customer experience

Learning more about your customers’ needs and pain points can help you gather enough valuable information to turn your website visitors into qualified leads. Find out what they are interested in and what stage of the buyer journey they are in, as this will allow you to adjust how you communicate with them. 

Make sure to interact with your customers in a meaningful way and send them targeted messages that will assist them in their journey. Having meaningful conversations will help build trust in your brand and strengthen the relationships with your customers. 

4. Gain valuable insights into your customers

It’s not very often that customers get to tell you in their own words what they want. With conversational marketing, your audience can tell you exactly how they want to interact with your business, removing the need for interpreting website data. 

Chat interfaces gather data at scale, which can be used to optimise customer interactions, products or services, and provide clarity around the content your audience expects to see. By collecting consumer data, trends can be identified more easily and more informed marketing decisions can be made. 

Live chat is an effective way to keep your customers on-site and address their concerns in real-time. For example, if it’s unclear as to how to apply the discount or part of the website’s UX isn’t working, then your customers can inform you immediately through live chat. Identifying customer pain points as and when they occur can save your business a lot of money.

5. Build relationships with your customers

Providing a continuous line of open communication between your brand and your customers allows for natural conversations to form. Instead of customers having to share their feedback via a long, and sometimes intimidating form, they can share a little amount of information over multiple conversations. This can often lead to opportunities that other channels don’t necessarily provide, such as cross-sells and the sharing of experiences.

Not only is it more convenient for your customers, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for your brand’s personality to shine through. Use images, videos and emojis in your messages to demonstrate your brand’s personality and reassure your customers that there is a human being at the other end. If your customers are made to feel comfortable and they find the experience enjoyable, then they are more likely to keep engaging with your brand. 

Create a trusting relationship with your customers and connect with them on an authentic level. Avoid using conversational marketing to continuously push sales, especially towards the top of the funnel, as this will create tension between your brand and your audience. Instead, use it as an opportunity to deliver value via their preferred channel – it will establish a level of trust that is hard to recreate anywhere else. 

Conversational marketing examples

1. Lucy & Yak

The ethical clothing brand, Lucy & Yak, is well known for its quirky vintage-inspired dungarees and its customer-first experience. The ‘Yakbot’ is a great example of how to provide a customer-centric user experience, which allows its customers to get answers about their orders instantly. Customers are also given the opportunity to write their own questions into the chatbot if they feel that their query does not relate to the options provided. 

2. Lego

Lego is the perfect example of how brands can allow customers to ask their own questions and direct them to the right page. Using Facebook Messenger to connect with customers, Lego demonstrates how to use conversational marketing effectively by opening the line of communication and enabling customers to express their needs in their own way.

3. Group 1 Automotive

A survey released by CDK Global found that 90% of car buyers prefer a dealership where they can begin the buying process online. When it comes to narrowing down which dealership to visit, 70% of millennials use dealership websites to help them choose their preferred retailer. It’s never been more important for automotive dealerships to provide an exceptional customer experience and Group 1 Automotive is a prime example of a dealership that puts its customers’ needs first.

Group 1 Automotive uses the Gubagoo live chat software, which allows its customers to communicate easily with the dealership, supporting them from online to in-dealership. Not only does it provide a more engaging and memorable experience for its customers, but it also helps its dealerships convert more conversations into sales.

Conversational marketing software

Implementing a conversational marketing strategy can be difficult, especially with so many tools and software available. To achieve your marketing goals, you must think about the needs of your business before deciding which platform is best for you. Each tool has its own unique features and functionalities that may benefit your brand, but it’s important to consider the usability from the customers’ perspective, too.

Here are some examples of conversational marketing tools that are suitable for businesses across a range of industries. 

1. Facebook Messenger

If you’re looking for an effective customer service tool and your brand is in the e-commerce space, then Facebook Messenger can help improve your ROI. According to research conducted by Accenture, 57% of businesses agree that chatbots deliver higher ROI with minimal effort required. 

Facebook Messenger enables brands to provide customer service support, order tracking and shopping facilities all within one simple tool. Customers don’t even have to visit your website! Instead, they can shop within the app if you have added a “Buy Now” button, which reduces the buyer journey and increases the number of conversions more quickly. 

2. Instagram Direct Messenger

Instagram helps encourage more meaningful conversations by allowing brands to integrate their Instagram messaging bot with their technology stack. Messenger API supports Instagram messaging, giving brands the ability to manage customer conversations at scale. If you’re looking to provide an exclusive experience for your customers, then you can use Instagram DMs to make specific product recommendations and send personalised discounts that direct them to your website.

3. WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp is one of the most used apps in the world, with over 2 billion active users worldwide. The UK has over 30.1 million active users alone! According to Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp at Meta, over 175 million people message a business account on WhatsApp every day, which demonstrates the importance of having it as one of your key marketing channels. 

If you want your brand to be accessible to your customers, then WhatsApp Business provides the tools to do just that. Not only does it enable you to speak to your customers, but it also allows you to promote new products or collections as well. Here’s a great example of how to use WhatsApp Business effectively from F45 Training:

4. HubSpot Live Chat

With HubSpot Live Chat, you can connect directly with your customers and prospects in real-time and collect data at scale, which can then be passed on to your customer service and sales teams. Conversational marketing tools like HubSpot can help provide more insights into your customers than any other marketing channel. In fact, chatbots and live chat can convert three-to-four times more customers than a traditional landing page

HubSpot provides free live chat software, which enables you to create targeted messaging that connects with different segments of your audience. 

Is conversational marketing the future?

In short, yes. Conversational marketing is changing the way businesses interact with their customers – and fast! Customers expect a seamless line of communication and never more so than since the COVID-19 pandemic because we lacked human interaction for so long. It’s vital that brands consider how conversations fit in with their overall inbound strategy.

Technology is making it easier for businesses and customers to connect, so why not use this to your advantage? Focus on ensuring the channel is easy to use and the conversation serves a clear purpose, and you will soon find that your inbound marketing strategy informs your conversational marketing strategy. Remember, it can really help you and your customers if you apply the insights and refine the customer journey accordingly. 

Want to find out more about how you can improve your inbound marketing strategy? Get in touch with us today!

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