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Customers have never demanded so much from businesses as they do today. You must be available, quick, have rock-solid support, and always be prepared with a solution – regardless of the needs of the customer. We’re talking about a whole new level of marketing here, namely conversational marketing! Direct, personal, helpful, and downright human. We lay the groundwork for conversational marketing and inbound in our latest blog post.
What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing refers to one-on-one conversations that take place in real-time and across various channels. Conversational marketing is all about giving customers a more humane shopping experience and meeting them on their terms – exactly how, where, and when they want. And it’s about much more than just a web-based live chat; it includes everything from phone calls, text messages, and emails to Facebook messenger and Slack. It’s all up to you! Conversational marketing can (and should!) happen anywhere a customer wants to interact with your brand, whether it’s to order something, learn more about your service, or ask a support question.
Today, for example, several startup companies have created Slack user groups that allow existing and potential customers to ask questions and receive tips and advice in a channel that they already use in their daily lives. But before we go any further, how about we talk about conversational marketing? Customer service is a completely different story… or is it? No, not really!
The better customer experience at all levels – from support to strategy
Live chat is a powerful, enigmatic communication channel that has completely blurred the lines between support, sales, and marketing. Conversational marketing is only one piece of a much larger puzzle! Conversations and dialogues take place all the time, at all levels.
We at Advedro believe that in the future, companies will need to develop overall growth strategies – specifically for conversational marketing – to ensure that they provide a better customer experience throughout the customer journey. Dialogue in the sales stage, also known as “conversational sales,” will play a significant role in how salespeople get in touch with leads in an organic and helpful manner – completely in line with the core of inbounds! Chatbots as a support tool have already proven to be extremely beneficial.
Conversational marketing is not an isolated phenomenon
Conversational marketing is exploding, but here’s the catch: it’s frequently done incorrectly! Some consider conversational marketing to be a completely separate communication channel, and they work with it as if it were the world’s straightest downpipe. But that is the most serious mistake you can make! Conversational marketing works best when it is integrated into your overall marketing strategy (and of course the entire business). A chat can result in an email, a chatbot can assist someone with a form, and a message in Facebook messenger can, for example, turn into a crucial blog post.
What is inbound marketing?
Conversational marketing is thus not a new, difficult thing you need to implement. It is simply a crystal clear addition to the marketing you are already doing, especially if you work with inbound! Feels logical, right?
Here are four key factors for conversational marketing
1. The conversation occurs in real-time and on the customer’s terms.
At 7 a.m., directly during the meeting, or in the evening after the children have gone to bed. The best conversations take place at the time and pace that the customer prefers. (Not based on what is best for your company or organization!)
2. The conversation is scalable
Because the conversations take place on the customer’s terms, they must be scalable and manageable regardless of internal resources. The customer doesn’t care how many other people you’re talking to at the same time; what matters is that their needs are met. Chatbots are worth their weight in gold in this case. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
3. The conversation has context
The more you talk to a customer and share information with them, the smarter the conversation will be! That’s what the customer expects, and it’s what keeps the conversation flowing. You’d have to ask for the customer’s number several times without context, and the customer would have to repeat what he’d already gone through in support twice. Creating context necessitates a kickass CRM that continuously collects all data – allowing you to help the customer even faster and more smoothly.
4. The conversation meets the customer where he is
Inbound marketing is all about providing value to customers right where they are. As easy as that! We can take this a step further, thanks to conversational marketing and a plethora of messaging services, by meeting the customer in the channel and manner that is most convenient for him. No one should be forced to make a phone call when a chat is available!
Conversational marketing, like emailing and blogging, is an example of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is primarily concerned with providing value to customers wherever they are – whether that is on Facebook, Instagram, blogs, or YouTube.
Since today’s technology has enabled conversational marketing on all of these platforms, you have all the prerequisites in the world to use this as a seamless, integral part of your inbound marketing!
Read more about inbound marketing in our article Account-based Marketing vs Inbound Marketing
Conclusion: Conversations are nothing new – but the possibilities for conversational marketing are.
Dharmesh Shah, one of the founders of HubSpot, believes that conversational marketing is not a new phenomenon. The term has been around for at least 10 years! Companies have had important dialogues with customers since time immemorial, but the reason why conversational marketing has grown so large today is, precisely, because of the possibilities of technology. At the same time, consumer behavior has changed radically – customers demand to be able to talk directly to companies and get help immediately. BOOM – conversational marketing is trendier than ever!
“We can have direct, one-to-one conversations with individual customers on their timeline – not ours.”
– Dharmesh Shah
Conclusion: Conversations aren’t new, but the possibilities for conversational marketing are. And with the help of inbound marketing, you have the opportunity to achieve even more with your customer dialogues. To begin, you can attract potential customers, and then use conversational marketing to emphasize that they can talk to you whenever, wherever, and however they want. Giving your target audience control and allowing them to interact with your brand on their terms is the key to both inbound and conversational marketing.
How does conversational marketing work with inbound marketing?
B2B – Social media strategy
Although it may not appear so at first glance, a customer journey actually is made up of several different types of dialogues. Conversational marketing is less prominent in the attraction phase, the first step in the buyer’s journey because the barrier to discovering new companies via messaging platforms (and beginning to interact with them directly) is still quite high.
Conversely, when it comes to capturing leads – rather than using standard forms! – conversational marketing is an indispensable channel. The sales team can then chat with your leads to suggest interesting content, link to products they are looking for, explain more about the terms, and generally warm them up. Once they become customers, conversational marketing is the best channel for fast and easy support. Inbound, all the way!
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