Conversational Marketing in 4 Simple Steps
But what is conversational marketing? Why does your business need to implement it into your daily practices, and why are chatbots the linchpins that can enhance your marketing strategy as a whole? We’ll address all of these questions, and more, in this comprehensive guide to conversational marketing.
Conversational Marketing Defined
Drift was the entity that coined the term “conversational marketing,” and it stuck. Their definition is as follows:
"a one-to-one approach to marketing that companies use to shorten their sales cycle, learn about their customers, and create a more human buying experience."
To put it simply, businesses use conversational marketing when they are engaging their customers and prospective customers, with as much personalization as possible, in real-time. This type of marketing moves whoever you interact with through your sales funnels by asking questions one at a time. Engage leads with different questions based on their prior answers, and this allows them to give you specific details. The interaction flows in a conversational manner.
Some social media platforms could loosely meet this definition already, because they allow businesses to communicate with people on an individual level in almost real time. Twitter is a great example of one such platform.
This marketing style is very effective because it allows businesses to build relationships with their customers by having a conversation, instead of pushing people through lead capture forms and waiting on their responses. Done correctly, this can grow your income, help your business develop loyal customers, and expand your existing customer base.
By making it easier for people to engage with your brand or company, you’ll start converting more leads at a quicker pace. This style of marketing is unique because it doesn’t just bring in more customers. Instead, it brings you relevant customers in the form of a qualified lead.
Surprising Reasons Why You Need a Conversational Marketing Strategy
Today, there are thousands of businesses that use chatbots as the face of their company or brand. You can program your chatbot to have human-like qualities, and a personality that serves your online visitors without the need for a human agent to intervene. This allows businesses to provide more personalized and enjoyable experiences to anyone they interact with. Additionally, you can provide these experiences at scale with a much smaller team.
This marketing style creates buyer-centric interactions that allow people to find the information they need more quickly, and this pushes them through the various sales cycles much faster. The shorter your sales cycle is, the faster you can lock in sales and direct your customers to upselling opportunities or retention strategies.
Another reason you need conversational marketing is that it helps you to gain more information about anyone who interacts with your chatbot; information that you wouldn’t previously have had access to. Rather than giving your web visitors an unwelcoming, generic, and cold form, you can give them optimized web pages that represent a warmer, more enjoyable route to conversion.
Conversational Marketing in Four Painless Steps
You can use four simple steps to implement conversational marketing in your daily business routines. Breaking it down into actionable steps makes it easier to understand and grasp. These steps are: engage, understand, recommend, and repeat. Sounds straightforward doesn’t it? We’ll expand on each one below, to make them even easier to implement.
Step One - Engage
The traditional way of engaging your web customers involved having them fill out forms and wait for a callback before ever talking to a staff member. But, what happens when you have a chatbot that gives your web visitors a way to start instant conversations on your website? For the majority of businesses, this results in more opportunities, higher conversion rates, and a personalized experience that stands out.
When web visitors book a demo, click your Contact Now button, or download something, a chatbot can open to start the conversation. You can also use your chatbot to guide these visitors along your sales funnel instead of taking their information and having them wait for a follow up.
Since it doesn’t make sense to have a full team available 24 hours a day to answer visitor questions or address issues, a chatbot can do it for you at no cost. Botsurfer provides chatbots that you can program to interact with your visitors any time of the day or night. This brings the added bonus of engaging with people when they’re ready to engage with you, at a time that works best for them.
Step Two - Understand
Typically, fostering qualified leads takes days of sending nurturing emails and staff support. However, the trick is to respond as quickly as possible to the initial contact, achieving the best chance of qualifying a lead. If you don’t, your customer has ample time to go elsewhere. This is where traditional forms fall short and chatbots excel.
When you implement conversational marketing, your chatbot is right there and ready to respond instantly. Chatbots can learn and understand who your business’ prospective leads are and what product or service they want by analyzing them in real-time, seconds after the initial query.
Allow your chatbot to ask all of the qualifying questions. You can accomplish this by incorporating the same questions you’d put in a traditional form or ask in qualifying calls into your bot’s programming. The bot will initiate and carry out the conversation with the person to gain a better understanding of them. The more the bot learns, the better they can tailor the next set of questions or steps to individual needs.
This ensures your human agents interact with the customer at the correct time, and this massively accelerates your response times. The chatbot could even understand which people are not ready to have a sales conversation with a rep, and this saves your staff valuable time and effort that they can then focus elsewhere.
Step Three - Recommend
While it’s true that chatbots are excellent at understanding and engaging leads for your business, they can’t touch the efficiency of a human agent interaction when it’s time to close the sale. This is why businesses set their bots up using intelligent routing to connect your human agents to qualified leads at the right time. They can book meetings as well, and this frees your team up to focus 100% of their efforts on selling your products and services.
Another example of bots being able to recommend services to a web visitor is by guiding them to collateral or pieces of content that will answer any questions. The more the person interacts, the more tailored the bot’s solutions are, and the better content they can deliver.
Step Four - Repeat
The final step of the conversational marketing practice is to repeat. Once you close a sale, you’ll start the process over again with a new perspective web visitor. The great thing about chatbots is that they can easily handle multiple queries and users at one time, without losing track of what questions they ask or where they are in the sales process.
Popular Examples of Companies Using Conversational Marketing
There are several companies that embrace conversational marketing and make it work for them, helping them expand their customer base and increase their revenue. They include:
1 - Sephora
Sephora uses their chatbot on Facebook Messenger to help visitors book appointments with beauty consultants. When you open the app, you'll be asked if you’d like to book a service. If you confirm that you do, the bot will ask for your location via zip code. Input this information, and Sephora’s bot will highlight all of the stores around your area. You pick whichever one you’d like, and it’ll automatically book you in.
2 - 1-800-Flowers
Open 1-800-Flowers’ Facebook Messenger and you'll find a menu that showcases their products. The helpful chatbot guides you through every step of the purchase, from picking out the arrangement to writing the recipient’s name and picking out a card. It’ll ask you for an inscription and where you’d like to send it as well.
3 - Domino’s
Domino’s rolled out their app and chatbot a while back, and it was a huge success. All customers have to do is text the pizza emoji to Dominos to start the chat. You can choose your pizza, pick your toppings, make notes of any allergies or special requests, and pay, all on the app. This encourages customers to come back and order again and again.
4 - London & Company
London & Company has a chic and responsive app with a chatbot installed that will ask a series of questions to determine whether or not you’re a qualifying lead. The Mortgage Finder app will help narrow down your options by asking increasingly specific questions to help you find the best mortgage for your situation.
Conversational Marketing - The Benefits
There are several promising benefits that come with implementing conversational marketing into your business. When you use this marketing tactic to qualify and capture leads, you can benefit by:
- Learning More About Your Customers - Having conversations allows you to learn much more about your customers than you otherwise would. You gain insight into the person you’re having a conversation with, and this enables you to gather information about them openly and honestly. Chatbots can monitor your website visitors and learn when your customer base is most active and which types of questions they prefer to answer.
- Creating a Human-Like Buying Experience - In the digital world, customers often miss the human element of buying products. However, conversational marketing bridges this gap using intelligent routing and programming through chatbots and real-time conversations. It works just like it would if the customer was in a store and talking to a shop assistant - both channels are ready and waiting for user engagement.
- Making the Sales Cycle Shorter - Using conversational marketing will shorten your sales cycle. Using lead capture forms meant that a sales rep had to manually reach out to the leads one by one. If there was a delay for whatever reason, the lead could lose interest, and you would lose the lead. Since conversations are instant with a chatbot, and the app responds in real-time, it hooks your lead in without delay. They can also direct these leads to the most suitable sales rep.
- Continuing Availability - Having someone or something available for you customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is very beneficial. Most customers are very busy during normal business hours, and being able to contact a company on weekends or later in the day is very convenient. It’s incredibly frustrating if they have to wait until normal business hours, and chatbots remove this frustration. Bots make it possible to answer your customers during every hour of the day.
Botsurfer Can Help Create Conversational Marketing With Our Chatbots
At Botsurfer, we have the platform and tools you need to create an intelligent chatbot to help implement conversational marketing into your business strategy. Sign up for free and explore our software suite to see how easy it is to build a customized chatbot for your business.