Conversational marketing is a fantastic way to engage with consumers and nurture them into paying customers.
Too many businesses rely on posted website information to address potential questions, but putting the responsibility on the consumer to figure everything out on his or her own is becoming an increasingly archaic methodology.
About 34 percent of consumers say they have not been able to get answers to simple questions on a website in the past month.
Conversational marketing meets consumers where they are. It is the strategic use of chatbots, live chat and social media listening to help you better connect with potential and existing customers. The strategy naturally guides and supports consumers through the sales funnel and ultimately creates a better user experience.
Learn more about the nature of conversational marketing and the three benefits it offers for your business.
If you’re just getting started with conversational marketing, we have eight tips to help you and your business.
Examine your customer’s journey
Before anything, it’s critical to assess your customer’s typical journey as her or she learns about your business and ultimately makes a purchase.
Where are the gaps? Where can conversations help close the deal? What platforms are involved? What tasks could be better served by automation with a chatbot or conversational approach?
Identifying your needs (where and when) along that customer journey will help focus your launch of conversational marketing components.
Start small and specific
When it comes to conversational marketing, it’s tempting to immediately launch an automatic chatbot that can handle all possible questions for your website visitors.
But be careful here. Going with that generic bot may not be as helpful as you assume. Generic answers or even the “I can’t find an answer to that question” answer can do more harm than good.
More than anything, you want to ensure an easy win as you’re starting out.
Consider the potential of having individual bots on different pages that are specific and really good at answering particular types of questions (that would be common for the page(s) they’re installed on). Start small and very specific.
For example, a bot on your homepage can help visitors better navigate your website, and a bot on your product or service page(s) can offer additional details about those products or services.
But keep asking yourself:
- Are you trying to generate qualified leads?
- Do you need to help website visitors make an appointment or reservation?
- Would a bot that can answer frequently asked questions in real-time and at scale be helpful for your business?
The needs you want to serve should help guide you in the best bot solution (or whether a chatbot is right for you to use at all).
While this might be obvious, we still need to say it: The more personal the conversation, the better the conversation is.
But how can you make a chatbot, for example, personal?
Think about its tone and messaging. Whether it’s chatting on Facebook Messenger or on your website, you want the feel of conversing with your chatbot to be approachable and, dare we say, natural.
Even if you’re going for a more business-like tone on your website and ease up a little on messaging apps, you still want your bots to feel consistent across platforms. A consumer could very easily interact with your bots on different platforms, so consistency (and your branding behind that) is important.
If you can, look for chatbots that can integrate with your existing CRM and even marketing software so that you can create data-enhanced conversations. This means that when available, data from past orders, invoice tracking, first names and more can all be used to create that more personalized conversation experience for the consumer.
For example, “Welcome back, John!” is a great way for your chatbot to start a conversation with your customer.
Also consider the incorporation of visuals and humor where appropriate, such as GIFs, memes and even videos. This can help with the authentic feel of the conversation as well.
Keep messaging short and sweet
Considered one of the top currencies of the internet, time matters. And likely, your potential customer doesn’t have a ton of time to spend finding answers to his or her questions.
While you want to be personal and approachable, make sure that any automated messaging is short and to the point.
Find out more about how you can make your messaging more conversational.
Consider the conversational funnel framework
Because conversational marketing is intended to meet consumers where they are and nurture them as they move through your sales funnel, it’s important to know that there is a natural framework all conversations should have:
- Engage. This is your opportunity to pull your lead or customer into a conversation. Saying hello and using his or her first name is a solid method, but feel free to insert a question as well, even something as simple as “How can I help you today?”
- Understand. Success with knowing what your lead or customer needs and wants can depend on the series of qualifying questions you program into your chatbot. But doing so means you better understand how to serve them (even if that means kicking the conversation up to a real person).
- Recommend. Getting to the recommendation stage requires successful engagement and understanding, but this is all about recommending the right next step that moves the consumer along in your sales funnel. And that next step could be as simple as helping the consumer schedule a call with a human representative to pick up where the initial automated conversation left off.
Keeping this framework in mind won’t just help your chatbot(s) build relationships, but your human customer service representatives as well.
Include triggers for person-to-person conversations
No matter how great your chatbot is, there is no real substitute for talking with a human. Think of your chatbot(s) as being able to handle all the low-hanging fruit (frequently asked questions, qualifying leads and so on), but there should be a trigger to kick the conversation up to a real person when appropriate.
Consumers can be routed by the chatbot to a live chat operator (if available). Or, chatbots can help consumers schedule an appointment for a phone call or in-person meeting. They even can guide consumers into an email exchange with a real person at your company.
It’s your decision, but these triggers are important to consider and incorporate. Bots can’t do everything.
Be prepared for incoming customer insights
Conversational marketing is a fantastic way to learn more about what your potential and existing customers care about and want to know.
Depending on the chatbot(s) you’re using, decide in advance who these insights will be collected and evaluated.
The more listening you can do, the better your business will become over time.
Of course, don’t forgo your regular methods of gathering feedback. Conversations should be a complement to what you’re already learning.
Find the right chatbot for you
You definitely have choices when it comes to the AI (artificial intelligence) chatbot that could represent you and your brand.
Remember, even though a chatbot typically costs money, it definitely costs less than hiring 24/7 customer service associates to handle these conversations themselves.
Some chatbot tools you can consider:
If your website exists on WordPress, you also have several different chatbots that can integrate into your site. The following are just a few that offer WordPress plug-ins:
When choosing your chatbot, refer back to the gaps you’re looking to fill along your customer journey. Also, consider your goals with conversational marketing for your brand. Make sure that your choice not only helps you reach your goals but also matches your resources (i.e. budget).
Remember, the overall goal for your conversational marketing is to make everything easier on your lead or customer. Doing so improves their user experience and increases the likelihood that their journey results in a purchase with you.
Looking to level up your digital marketing process as you get into conversational marketing? Consider DailyStory, which features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.