8 expert tips to get started with conversational marketing

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).

Personalization matters

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.

Find your voice: 8 tips for reflecting your brand’s personality

You may hear it often these days. Your “brand voice” is everything online. 

It helps people connect with you, engage with you and (hopefully) come to trust you.

As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

But a brand voice is nothing more than the personality of your brand, and while we largely view this as an online requirement, it transcends to any other medium (print and broadcast included) where your brand may express itself.

See our nine tips to help build a new brand from scratch.

Here are eight tips on how to find your brand voice so that you can be consistent and engaging.

Start with your company’s mission statement

The purpose of your brand should drive the type of tone and voice you create. In other words, your personality should reflect what you care about. 

For instance, self-esteem is a big part of Dove’s mission statement, making its voice empowering and uplifting to connect with its customers and potential customers. Themes of self-empowerment and body positivity can be seen in a lot of Dove’s messaging, but Dove also delivers it in a soothing, inspirational and friendly tone.

Review your current messaging

If you’re not starting from scratch and already have content created, it’s a good idea to perform an audit. You’ll want to look over your website, any blog posts, social media posts, videos, etc. 

Is there consistency among the tone and messaging? Or, is it a bit all over the place? Take note of the best-performing pieces because they could be a signal of what is already connecting with your audience.

Deep dive into your audience

Begin with the tools already available to you, such as Google Analytics (or any other website performance tool), social media analytics from the platforms you’re using and any customer database information you already have in-house.

How old are there? Mostly one gender or evenly split? Where do they live? Education? Occupations? How did they hear of your business? And whatever other data you have is helpful.

While not all of those questions might be answerable, you’ll want to gather as much as you can to understand who you are reaching. Once you do, you should compare this to who you want to reach, your target audience. This will help you decide whether what you’re currently doing is on track with what you should be doing in regard to brand voice. 

If you’re looking to reach more middle-aged women, this voice looks a lot different than if you want to reach more college-aged men.

See our seven tips to help you determine your target audience.

Play the ‘We’re this, not that’ game

Okay, it’s not exactly a game. But it’s a great exercise to narrow down what your brand is about.

Simply fill in the blanks: “We’re ________, but we’re not __________.”

You’ll want to do this at least a half dozen times to drill down to the essence of how you want to sound. For example: “We’re laidback, but not lazy.”

You can and should take your audience research and most successful content into consideration while working through this.

Choose three words to describe your voice

If you let yourself go on the “We’re this, not that” exercise, there hopefully are a few keywords that now stick out to you. 

If your brand was a person, ask yourself which three words you would use to describe this person’s personality. And how do these traits make you different?

Make a ‘brand voice chart’

Once you decide on the three traits that best represent your brand’s personality, you can build a chart so that you can flush out how each one should be used in your messaging moving forward.

Create a table with four columns. The first column is the list of brand characteristics you’ve already decided on. The next column is a description of how that trait relates to your company or brand. The third column are all the “Do’s” related to accomplishing that (such as using strong verbs if you’re passionate or being playful if you’re irrelevant, for example), whatever actions will reflect that trait. Then, the last column should have all the “Don’ts.” These are the actions you’ll want to avoid in the pursuit of reflecting that trait (such as using too much slang if you’re quirky or over-promising if you’re authentic, for example).

You’ll want to work through that chart for each personality trait, essentially creating your road map for your brand’s voice and tone that can be referenced moving forward.

Translate your ‘brand voice chart’ into guidelines

While a “brand voice chart” is incredibly helpful and definitely an asset you can present to your team, consider taking it a step further. You can create clearly documented guidelines to help enforce consistency well into the future.

Because as we all know, it’s one thing if it’s just you communicating as your brand. It’s a whole other world when bringing a team together to share and express a single brand voice.

It’s great if your guidelines can be boiled down into a one-pager (or have a Cliff Notes version that’s accessible on the fly), but it doesn’t have to be. This is especially true if you’re including:

  • A deep dive into your brand’s core personality
  • A reflection on tone (how you’re communicating that personality, especially on different platforms)
  • A look at the specifics (that can be formatted as a “do this, not that” and even include recommended spelling, grammar and jargon use)
  • A description on multimedia use (ranging from videos to emojis)

The power of your guidelines does come from the time you invest in it to make it the “holy grail” of communication for your team.

Be ready to evolve as your brand does

Just like people, brands can grow and change over time. Be nimble about what this could look like for your brand and ready to adjust your ‘brand voice chart’ and guidelines as needed.

On the flip side, you don’t want to change too many things too quickly. It could confuse your team and your audience.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration from brands doing it right, take a look at Wendy’s, MailChimp and Red Bull. Check out their websites and social media pages. They’re all very different brands but extremely consistent, as well as creative, in how they project their individual brand voices. 

And above all, know that discovering and conveying your brand voice will be filled with some trials and errors no matter how much planning you do. Just keep an eye on your content’s performance across platforms and pivot as needed.

While you’re examining your brand voice, consider these seven tips to be more conversational and relatable in your marketing. In addition, see our 10 tips to build up your personal brand and grow your business.

Plus, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners to get inspired about your own brand’s marketing efforts and focus.

As you begin to find your brand voice, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.