We’ve come a long way with regards to increasing communication efficiency; whether you’re a B2B or B2C-focused business, your ability to understand and articulate the answers clients’ and/or customers’ questions sets a reputation benchmark that should be maintained. Do you have a conversational marketing strategy to address, and satisfy consumer needs?

What is conversational marketing?

Customer experience and revenue acceleration platform, Drift, coined the term “conversational marketing” and described it as “a one-to-one approach to marketing that companies use to shorten their sales cycle, learn about their customers, and create a more human buying experience.”

You may be thinking that ‘I have a conversational marketing strategy; my business communicates through numerous channels such as Messenger.’ This is a piece of the puzzle, but this conversation can only happen during business hours.

An asynchronous relationship between and business and consumers is an essential element of an advanced conversational marketing strategy. At a basic level, this means that conversations should take place, or continue, at the customers’ convenience.

HubSpot Co-Founder Dharmesh Shah says, “Customers should be able to pick up things right where they left off whenever it is convenient for them to continue. The key is to remember that conversational marketing should be designed around the needs of the customer — not the needs of the business.”

The scalability of conversations?

The scalability of conversations is dependent on continually broadening your customer base and should be integrated into your revenue-growing business model. Start-ups and SMEs should look at incorporating chatbot functionality into their website; it serves as a 24/7 communication tool that answers FAQs based on collected real audience data.

Shah comments, “businesses shouldn’t sacrifice human interaction for scale. Rather, bots offer quick access to information or a human.” Conversations need to carry on seamlessly to ensure it follows a linear path so that miscommunication is avoided.

Conversations need to have context

One of the most frustrating and time-wasting issues for customers is to explain the nature of their query numerous times. For example, a customer phones and spends five minutes reporting a defect in a product, gets transferred to the repairs department and must repeat the process. They’re going to become aggravated and possibly never purchase from your company again; this is precisely why context should be unified, accessible to whoever is dealing with the customer. Context means knowing everything about your customer base so that the conversation is more personal and helpful to them.

The benefits of conversational marketing

Customers are looking for instant answers

More businesses are turning to chatbots as the conversational ‘face’ due to the increase in frequency as well as the inherent nature of people using mobile devices to purchase products and/or services. The advancements in technology have created new expectations of a structured flow of information from brand-to-customer which speeds up the path to purchase; this is why messaging-based interactions (with a bot or human) are a significant segment of a sound marketing strategy in 2020.

Gain sincere insights into your customers

Connor Cirillo, Hubspot’s Conversational Marketing Manager, says that the  “conversational marketing audience is much more insightful than your other channels. They’ll tell you in their own words how they want to interact with your business. There’s no inferring or guessing, like with web traffic.” Insights from your target audience should always be treated as relevant, valuable data and depending on its significance to your bottom line, implemented in a way that benefits the customer base.

Entrench loyalty and trust to build life-long partnerships with customers

One of the golden rules in marketing is always to be in the same place as your customers; if trends change, you need to change. The importance of proactivity in a dynamic crowded marketplace must be a primary tenet of your methodology to engage with your audience.

By having the willingness to adapt, you open an opportunity to gather trusting, loyal customers who are likely to assist in broadening your reach through what they say about your product/service. This is a powerful tool called user-generated content (UGC), which is free reputation-centric promotion of your brand.

You can find the locations of your customers

Even though there is a plethora of platforms and media to initiate a conversation, certain ones will provide you with more value; the trick is to find out which best suits the conversation. Your success hinges on sending the right message to the right people at the right time.

NB: Live chat and conversational marketing are NOT the same things

Communication platforms facilitate the chat. Conversational marketing concentrates on the understanding and implementation of agile strategies that allow for transitions according to the conversation’s path.

Earlier, we touched on data. The only way effective strategies can be developed is through the gathering, analysis and interpretation of data from conversations with your customers. Furthermore, the consequent competitor investigation may need to take place. Once you’ve established where your competitions’ customers are talking, devise a strategy that communicates your brand messaging better than they do, using the channels available to you.

The reality is that even though you may be using multiple platforms to converse, you need to have resources in place that ensure the conversation can continue across all channels. The marrying of tactical conversation with the correct channels will give you a distinctive edge through which quality leads may be generated, enhancing the potential for more sales.