Imagine a customer has a question about your products or services and heads over to your website. A chat window pops up, and once they put in their information, they can type in their question. Within a few seconds, they are able to connect to a real person from your company. There's no need to call a helpline and wait on hold to connect to a call center. The chat isn't powered by a bot that never answers the questions. You can give your customers a personalized experience (while collecting essential customer data) through chat, which is conversational marketing. While this may seem intimidating to implement into your marketing strategy, many tools, such as Facebook Messenger, make it easy.

How Can Conversational Marketing Help Your Business?

Every interaction a customer has with your brand adds to how they feel about you. Almost 90% of consumers say they'll spend more with companies that deliver a strong customer experience. Marketing is becoming more customer-centric, focusing on giving a personalized experience that anticipates the customer's needs and builds relationships.

Think about it: if you had a question, would you rather call the "help desk" and wait on hold or get your question quickly answered with an online chat or DM? Implementing conversational marketing helps customers get the answers they want fast, thus improving their brand perception and helping you gain important customer insights and data.

Implementing a Conversational Marketing Strategy

Consumers spend 5 hours a day on their phones, making it the easiest and quickest way for brands to reach them. It's important for brands to be mobile-friendly, not only in content but also in being easily reached through text or chat. For example, Domino's Anywhere campaign lets customers text the "Pizza Emoji" to quickly order their favorite pizza. Instead of going through the hassle of placing an online order and choosing where to order from, all you have to do is type a single emoji.

The first part of implementing a conversational marketing strategy is offering quick ways for customers to contact your brand. For example, consider implementing chatbots on your website or social media, which can communicate with consumers in real-time. Do you want your customers to message you on Facebook or have a pop-up chat on your website? The responses should be instant, so you need to have designated employees monitoring the chats. Services like Live Chat allow you to outsource agents if you don’t have employees available.

The second part of the conversational marketing strategy is being responsive and intuitive. Regardless of whether you use a text message, social media messenger, or website live chat, you need to think about the information you want to collect from your customers (name, email, phone number, order number, resolution number) and what type of funnel you’re building for sales or marketing. What is the purpose of these chats? Do you want to market and sell products or provide customer support? Most chat services have automated questions to get the agent up to speed and collect data. An important part of conversational marketing is offering a personalized experience - the interaction needs to feel like a conversation. The chats should quickly connect to a real person after the initial prompts.

Related: Social Media Interactions - Engaging Your Audience Online

Freshly, a meal delivery service saw a huge increase in traffic during the pandemic, and the number of incoming questions quickly overwhelmed their customer service agents. The company implemented a conversational marketing strategy that had a self-service option for easy requests and filtered out the more complex requests for real agents. 50% of conversations were resolved in-channel with no need for human intervention.

Quickly Answer Customer Questions

When implementing a conversational marketing strategy, a chatbot should be able to help with common questions and issues. When customers have their questions answered quickly and their problems resolved swiftly, it improves brand trust. If there's a deeper issue, connecting to a customer service representative should not have to take long. How long would you spend on a chatbot that isn't helpful? How long would you wait for a response on social media from a brand? Typically, not very long.

Hubspot implemented conversational marketing and found that 80% of conversations got a response in under 20 seconds — a 10x boost from the start of 2019 (when only 8% of conversations saw this response time), and increased customer satisfaction scores by more than 50%.

Connection Is Key

The other important component of conversational marketing is connecting the different platforms and sharing customer information. If a customer has an issue with an order and shares this on Facebook Messenger, but then has a follow-up question the next day on the website's chatbot, the customer's order number and the problem should be saved. Customers don't want to keep asking the same question or explain an issue over and over again. Where one conversation ends, another begins, with the representative being completely up-to-date.

The most popular conversational marketing platforms are SMS, email, website chatbots, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. If you want to add a chatbot to your website, you will need a chat service like LiveChat, LiveAgent, HubSpot Live Chat, or Zendesk Chat. You can collect and use your customer data for email, surveys, ticketing, and CRM with software like Intercom, Active Campaign, and Birdeye.

Conversational marketing is the key to maintaining customer relationships and can be a big boost to your brand image. For help with implementing conversational marketing, contact Ironmark’s digital marketing experts. We can help you connect with your customers and boost your brand.

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Written by Chris McCready

Chris McCready directs strategy and implementation for Ironmark’s digital marketing clients. Her 15 years of experience within a variety of agencies across the country has provided a wealth of knowledge and expertise within market research, branding, digital strategy, social media, marketing automation and web development. Under her direction, strategic marketing plans for Ironmark clients result in increased brand awareness, visibility, lead generation and revenue.

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