Conversational marketing is the practice of interacting with prospects and customers in real-time and on-demand through one-on-one conversations. This strategy enables companies to shorten their sales cycles and engage potential customers immediately, usually through chat apps, websites, social media, and other communication platforms. What makes conversational marketing different from other approaches is its power to connect with customers at a level that traditional marketing is unable to achieve. Conversational marketing is about personalizing the sales process and focusing on the customer’s needs--one customer at a time, but at a large scale.
How does conversational marketing work
The game changer in the field of marketing that allows for more sophisticated methods in reaching customers is artificial intelligence. Various applications of AI have been implemented and Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute reports that enterprise spending on AI is expected to grow to $52.2 billion by 2021.
The ability of machines to analyze data, learn, and make decisions enables businesses to gain insight into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends. This is what makes conversational marketing possible. Using large amounts of data from online interactions, marketing tools can now anticipate customer needs and simulate relevant conversations using programmed messaging, such as chatbots, that respond to customers in real-time. Each response or question from the chatbot leads the customer closer to what they need, and eventually to a successful purchase.
Here are some examples of how AI powers conversations with customers:
Scripted and flow-based chatbots - This chat function is typically used when there is a clear path that you want users to undergo in the interaction--for example, for general information gathering, the conversation could be based on a questionnaire. In most cases, these chatbots are designed with questions and a fixed set of answers that users can choose from.
Voice-enabled chatbots and virtual assistants - Popular examples of this include Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. User input through voice or text is processed and analyzed for appropriate responses and recommendations.
Context-based chatbots and natural language processing - This is the most sophisticated implementation of AI in conversational marketing. This utilizes huge volumes of data analyzing user intent, also taking previous interactions into account. Conversations with this technology feel more genuine as it simulates natural human communication.
Where to use conversational marketing
Thought leader Neil Patel states that “Mobile isn’t just the future; it has revolutionized business.” A SurveyMonkey study indicates that 70 percent of searches on mobile trigger an action on the concerned website in just 60 minutes. This is an incredible advantage for marketers who can now strategically channel all efforts directly to consumers.
Here are some platforms that can effectively be used as conversational marketing tools:
- Instant Messaging - Various instant messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Whatsapp can now be used as marketing tools to engage users at a personal level. By integrating automated messages and chatbots, you can provide users with easy access to information through these frequently used apps.
- Social Media - An easy way to start with conversational marketing is to use engaging messages on social media posts and interact with users on the platform.
- Websites - This is a common and effective way to implement conversational marketing. Adding a chatbot or live chat feature on your website gives users support 24/7. This is especially strategic because most site visitors are likely to be prospects who are looking for specific solutions.
Personalize your customer experience
Customers today are constantly connected and have access to multiple channels to find the information they need on products and services. They’re likely to seek out this information on their own, and the businesses that are ready to engage and guide their prospects will win them first, and win them faster. Personalization, convenience, and accessibility enhance the customer experience---and when it comes to marketing efforts, a conversational approach is the way to go.