The complete guide to Conversational Marketing

The definition of Conversational Marketing

Conversational Marketing is a method of engaging with website visitors and converting leads via dialogue-driven activities. This style of inbound marketing puts a focus on interactions with the consumer, not simply one-way transmission by the brand. Conversational Marketing aims to create relationships with the consumer by building trust through conversations and by making the buying experience as smooth and easy as possible.

This approach doesn’t mean stopping your PPC and converting everything – this is just a new tool available to marketers and a slightly different way of thinking about the objectives. Essentially, it is all about connecting your marketing activities directly with the sales team, ideally through one platform, so the user has a smooth journey down the funnel.

Conversational Marketing is a method of engaging with website visitors and converting leads via dialogue-driven activities. This style of inbound marketing puts a focus on interactions with the consumer, not simply one-way transmission by the brand. Conversational Marketing aims to create relationships with the consumer by building trust through meaningful conversations and by making the buying experience as smooth and easy as possible.

Conversational Marketing is a method of engaging with web visitors and converting leads via dialogue-driven activities.

This smooth journey is achieved by using tools to understand and communicate with the user in the way they want. This can be done by using tools that integrate options like messaging apps such as WhatsApp, SMS, phone calls, and social media into one platform. This holistic approach means that the user and the sales team are seamlessly linked up, allowing for Conversational Marketing to take place.

What does a Conversational Marketing solution look like?

A conversational marketing strategy is usually built around either one or multiple solutions that allow you to reach out to your website visitors and engage them. A typical solution is built up of the following elements:

Conversation starter

This is the message that usually appears at the bottom right-hand corner of the website to encourage website visitors to click and engage. The button appears together with a message that can be personalized to fit the exact action, landing page, or product.

Lead capture tools to qualify

After clicking the conversation starter, users then enter a short conversation with a lead capture tool, like a chatbot. This process is where the chatbot will ask a series of simple questions in real-time to understand if the user needs customer support, sales assistance or looking to make a transaction. This is a good opportunity to inject some personalization and make the potential customer feel like they’re in a real, meaningful conversation with the brand.

The chatbot (often tied to a social media account) qualifies the leads and either completes the sales process (in the event of a simple purchase intent) or gets the user to the right person to deal with more complex questions and requests. The concept is to segment assisted and unassisted sales as quickly as possible, providing value for the user as they are able to either complete transactions quickly or they can reach an expert on the sales team without changing their device or channel.

Live messenger

Qualified leads are then put in contact with a member of the sales team. The conversational marketing platform should provide the staff with notes on the user’s qualification and answers to questions. This is where the real value is added. Sales reps or call center agents should be able to guide users through the options, with a view to creating a customer through a sales conversation.

Live streaming video

Arguably the most challenging aspect of a Conversational Marketing solution is capturing visitors and engaging them. Sophisticated solutions let your sales team broadcast live product demos or conduct Q&As in real-time. This means the conversation starter offers users the chance to join the broadcast and engage with the presenters in real-time, which offers real added value. If you would like to know more about Live Broadcasting, read our dedicated guide.

This can be shared through social media and other marketing channels, maximizing attendance.

Why do you need Conversational Marketing?

There are many issues with current marketing activities that have led to this new development but in short, people are demanding more. Most companies would agree that their customer base wants more from their service and product, and more from the buying experience. A study by Forrester suggested that 87% of companies know that a traditional buying experience is no longer enough to satisfy their customers. Conversational Marketing is a response to this demand for a better experience in the digital age.

Conversational Marketing is more than just a buzzword

A recent report by Gartner into digital marketing and advertising highlights that Conversational Marketing is currently just entering the vocabulary of many marketers and will soon pique the interest of managers. The below graph shows that only early adopters are focusing on conversational marketing approaches at the moment. There will soon be a lot of hype and expectations around this concept. Companies who are seen as early adopters stand to benefit from this.

Conversational Marketing is particularly powerful for complex or high-involvement purchases, such as financial products, telecoms, cars, and even luxury travel.

Customer experience is as important as the product

The world of commerce has never been so competitive. The growth of the internet has brought with it a wave of cheaper alternative products and services to claw market share away from more established brands. This means that the consumer now has more choice and also that many products and services appear extremely similar, meaning buying experience now has a huge role in the purchase decision. From Netflix to Uber to Amazon, these are businesses that sell convenience and great customer experience as well as their product.

Whisbi’s own research shows that 67% of car buyers consumers would consider an alternative brand if the online buying experience was difficult, showing that ease of purchase is a major factor when deciding what product to buy. This means users will pick services and products where the process is easier, more fluid, and quicker. Conversational Marketing helps produce this as it allows the consumer to do what they want when they want.

Consumers want to message you

Blaming social media for a lot of issues is popular at the moment, however, we all as cellphone users have become accustomed to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other types of social media. This habit change means we expect to be able to send a message and receive a response, in real-time. Traditional web forms stand in direct contrast to this, hence why their abandonment rates are so high and the industry average is 2.3%. A lead capture form alone is like Netflix’s DVD delivery service compared to its current online streaming – now it just feels out of date. In fact, a recent study found that most consumers actually want to message companies.

Customer interaction means opportunity

When deciding on a new cellphone bundle, a new car or financial product, despite having all the information online, how many potential customers still like going to the store and chatting face-to-face? Granted, this footfall is decreasing over time but it is this gap between what people miss about face-to-face experiences and what’s currently available to them on websites where Conversation Marketing steps in. Using this approach provides companies with a huge opportunity to make the most out of their new store-front, their website.

Conversational Marketing is particularly powerful for complex or high-involvement purchases, such as financial products, telecoms, cars, and even luxury travel. While it is unlikely to be appropriate for smaller purchases like earphones, it has a lot of potential for bigger investments – like cars and smartphones.

Conversation Marketing leads to Conversational Sales

Conversational Marketing is the platform and technology used to engage, qualify and convert leads that want unassisted sales. It is basically the way in which you can work out exactly what users want, understand their pain points, and offer them the appropriate service or marketing in real-time. For those potential customers that need more assistance or have queries, they are put in touch with a member of staff. In order for a Conversational Marketing strategy to work, the concept of dialogue must not stop after qualification, it must be implemented also in the sales team and across relevant stakeholders.

Conversational Sales is what happens within the platform between the lead and the member of staff and is a crucial part of the customer journey.

Hybrid conversational sales platform

In many ways, a conversational approach comes more naturally to sales staff than it does to marketers. This means getting your sales team on board and trained upon presenting and video calls. This will prevent a disconnect between the online marketing experience and that which a lead may have while in the and of the sales team. If linked up well, this will create a smooth buying experience and help you create customers, faster and at a lower lead-gen cost.