Conversational marketing has been a hot topic in the digital marketing arena for the past few years. It is about the enablement of one on one communication between the company and the customer to foster a strong engagement level and communication that has numerous benefits to consider.
Yet, many brands tend to ignore it. They insist on knowing their customer “best” without any actual realization that they are wrong. How many times have we heard “ Oh, I know my customers really well. I know what they want.”? In reality, do you really know? This type of brand just annoys customers and, frankly speaking, is on a highway to self-destruction.
I’ve been doing a lot of work within the field of conversational marketing. It’s when instead of assuming to know what customers want, brands actually engage and hear out what their customers want and need. It’s pretty cool!
And I wish more brands did this in the coming year.
In hope, I decided to write a short article about it and answer why brands should adopt conversational marketing in 2023.
When looking towards 2023 and beyond, conversational marketing will only expand and be necessary for companies to adopt if they plan to maintain and grow their user base.
What is conversational marketing?
To begin, let’s understand what conversational marketing is. In the most straightforward way, it’s a way of engaging with your customer via dialogue-driven activities on your website, app, social media, or even physical retail. It’s about giving opportunities to your customer to interact with you in a conversational manner, where a customer can get the answers about your product, delivery, support, and anything else.
Frequently, it’s done through dialogue automation, also known as chatbots.
However, to me, conversational marketing is much more than its technical parameter. It’s a powerful marketing strategy that requires a ton of planning, optimization, and continuous analysis.
For example, through dialogue automation, you can build powerful consumer profiles, you can ask relevant questions, and provide only the options that you deem are the most relevant to your customer. You can also power your chatbots with AI and assist in more complex customer support inquiries.
Conversational marketing brings your personalization game to a new level
I’ve written extensively about personalization and why it’s important. I truly believe that brands have to work on personalizing their approach and strive to know what consumers need.
Imagine a time, when your favorite store shows you what you need to buy. How much time of endless browsing would you save? You came in for a new summer outfit shopping, bam! Upon answering some questions, based on your previous purchasing experience, and other information that the brand knows about you, you’re given a selection of clothing that you’d like. You then add them to your shopping cart, make the payment online, and wait for delivery.
Isn’t it simple? Isn’t it perfect? I know I’d love it so much!
I love online shopping, but the worst part about online shopping is browsing. It’s so time-consuming and frustrating, that I often end up buying nothing.
So, how can conversational marketing come to help?
Easily. Brands could establish strategies that would help them learn more about their customers. (Often that knowledge ends with the history of previous purchases and some basic personal questions.) For example, asking personality questions, and learning about their hobbies, favorite holiday destinations, and favorite food – all this can create a character.
By knowing the character, and having access to the previous purchases, brands then could propose what they deem the customer would like.
It doesn’t take much time to build a robust consumer profile and it certainly doesn’t require a customer to fill in an extensive questionnaire at once. It should be done gradually. One question at a time.
Conversational marketing leads to a better customer experience
By giving you the ability to offer conversational marketing, whether directly on your website or through other means such as social media channels, you’re able to support your customers in the way they choose to receive that communication.
There’s no longer the requirement to call a phone number and wait to see if the right person is available. Instead, you’re now able to have a frontline team that handles all initial communication requests and that can be funneled to appropriate departments, whether tech support or sales generation.
All of this can be done in the comfort of the customer’s home, at their own convenience, and leads to a better relationship between the consumer and the company, as they feel they are being heard and actioned appropriately.
By having the ability to integrate your communication channels with the most popular messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, or even SMS, you’ll also give your customers the freedom to respond whenever is convenient to them.
Isn’t it annoying to wait for the customer support agent to reply to your questions in a live chat? It can be very time-consuming as these agents don’t deal with one customer at a time, they have multiple chats open. However, you, as a consumer, are made to wait for them to respond. Worse, if you have follow-up questions or your query wasn’t answered on the first attempt. The interaction can be very lengthy.
But imagine having the opportunity to communicate with your favorite brand via WhatsApp. It means that you don’t need to be glued to the live chat page and wait for the agent to respond. You can go about with your daily activities, receive responses on the go, and respond whenever convenient to you.
If you’re a brand that can offer this, the satisfaction with your customer experience will skyrocket.
Conversational marketing is much more effective than traditional sales funnels
In the past, the online sales funnel looked something like this. First, a visitor would come to the site from some source or channel. They would end up filling out a form for more information, and then that would be put into some type of CRM. Then it would head into a callback or email back. The back and forth continues until a sales call can be made.
Conversational marketing skips that and enables direct communication without any type of follow-up right then and there. It allows for every type of chat interaction to be converted into a sale, without the long process common in the past. This leads to a much faster turnaround and lead time and ultimately more closed deals and revenue.
Conversational marketing also gives you an opportunity to sell your product directly in the chat. Reassuring and speeding up the purchasing decision. One of the major reasons for shopping cart abandonment is indecisiveness. Consumers need reassurance that they’ve made a great choice selecting the products that they added to their shopping cart.
In physical retail, the reassurer is the salesperson. Whenever you need advice if the top you’re trying on fits you, the salesperson will come to the rescue reassuring you that you’ve made a good choice. There is no such reassuring figure when it comes to online shopping. And it’s a shame which maybe results your brand hundreds or thousands of abandoned shopping carts.
In the end
Conversational marketing is gaining a lot of momentum. It’ll be one of the hottest topics in 2023 and you should start planning how to implement it as soon as possible. Chances are high that your competitors are already doing it and it will help them have a stronger competitive advantage.
With the growing competition and declining customer loyalty, it’s in your business’s interest to build strong, lasting relationships with your customers. Conversational marketing is exactly what will help you achieve that.
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