Traditionally, most direct marketing is done through one way communication: email blasts, ads, targeted messaging. The flow of information only goes one way — from companies towards their target customers. Much like lecturers of old who would talk at you rather than with you, that barrage of information leaves a lot of chances to actually generate and convert leads untaken.
You can’t always compel people to buy what you are selling. Unless you are selling something that they specifically want or need. Customers now have more choices than ever before and most of those are at their fingertips. So instead of talking at them, why not hold a conversation where customers’ needs and wants, their opinions, are heard? This is where conversational marketing comes in.
What is Conversational Marketing?
From the term itself, it is a marketing approach that is driven by conversation and centered around the customer. This is a strategy that companies are now using to give their customers a more personalized customer experience. They hold one-on-one interactions with their customers through whatever messaging app they have on their platform and actually gain insight on what their customers actually want to see or are interested in.
Customer engagement is key in converting leads to actual returns. Giving them a personalized experience will drive customer engagement and make the customers feel heard. And in return, they can offer companies insight into the kind of content or product that would generate sales. This is a way of getting to know their customers at a human level, and not just as numbers on their marketing ROI dashboard.
The benefits of conversational AI integration into direct marketing are undeniable. This is why companies use different AI tools for their conversational marketing strategy. Some of them are listed below:
Chatbots are cost effective. They provide automated answers to general questions that customers might have. This will give customers who need instant answers what they need without having to wait for a live agent. Depending on the chatbot’s functionality, they can do a myriad of things from answering FAQs to booking appointments.
- Messaging apps
Think Facebook and WhatsApp. Many businesses now use messaging apps to hold conversations with their customers to directly address their needs. In fact, more than 2 billion messages have been exchanged between businesses and their customers on the Facebook messaging app alone. Some companies also integrate chatbots into these messaging apps.
- Voice messaging tools
Voice messages provide a more human touch to B2C interactions. Texts can be misconstrued, but voices, with their inflection and tone, can bring a message across clearer with little room for misinterpretation. This can help companies build stronger relationships with their customers.
The Benefits of Conversational Marketing
1. Provide a better customer experience
When companies interact with their customers at a more personal level, customers tend to view this as a positive experience. This makes them feel valued as customers. It shows them that their opinions matter to the company and that their suggestions are being taken into consideration. A one-on-one conversation can do wonders for a company’s customer satisfaction rating.
2. Lead generation and conversion
Holding a conversation with customers will allow companies to cater to the individual needs of their clients. When customers are satisfied, they will make a purchase. And if both the experience and the product are good, customers tend to tell other potential customers about the business. This gets more customers through the metaphorical doors (lead generation) and would also increase the amount of sales (conversion).
3. Shorten sales cycle
Conversation qualified leads (CQLs) have a better chance of closing faster than traditional method qualified leads. This is because holding conversations allows businesses to directly respond and address whatever questions their customers have. It cuts down the sales cycle by more than half in some cases.
4. Provide personalized solutions
No two people are exactly the same. This translates to no two customers having exactly the same taste. So why offer something that is one-size-fits-all? With conversational marketing, companies can offer personalized solutions to customer problems. This means that the business and the customers can reach a middle ground, a solution that works for both the customers and the business.
5. Conversation marketing is scalable
Whether companies employ hundreds or thousands of people, there are times when manpower is scarce. Times when there are too many customers waiting to be entertained. Customers who sometimes get tired of the long wait just to have their general questions answered. Chatbots are a great help when it comes to this. These AI-powered applications can entertain hundreds of people at the same time and filter the customer questions that need actual human interaction from ones that can be answered by the automated responses programmed into the bots.
6. Customer feedback
Feedback is a good thing. This tells companies what their customers want and expect from them. When customers give feedback and their feedback is addressed immediately or at least acknowledged immediately by the company, it fosters a better relationship between the business and their customers. Especially when companies actively ask customers for their feedback (what can we do better?). Feedback can help businesses improve the quality of their products or services.
Conversational marketing uses conversation as a tool to build better customer relationships, generate more qualified leads, and sales. It differs from traditional direct marketing methods because this adds a more human touch. Conversational marketing can benefit not just businesses but also their customers.
Chatty is a freelance writer from Manila. She finds joy in inspiring and educating others through writing. That’s why aside from her job as a language evaluator for local and international students, she spends her leisure time writing about various topics such as lifestyle, technology, and business.