Conversational marketing isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a game-changing strategy that breaks free from the confines of traditional messaging. Imagine sales not as static transactions but as dynamic interactions occurring in the moment – like the charismatic door-to-door salespeople of yesteryears, but turbocharged by today’s technology.
The beauty lies in its opt-in approach – your customers are right there with you, eager to be part of the experience. Forget one-sided text or email marketing; conversational messaging is a living, breathing dialogue that pulls customers into your world. Get ready to dive into the heart of this potent tool for customer engagement and discover why an omnichannel strategy is your golden ticket to seamlessly integrating it into your SMS campaigns.
What is Conversational Marketing?
This technique transforms marketing into a two-way conversation instead of a one-way interaction that only involves pushing a sales message to a potential buyer. Your customers can ask questions, get recommendations, change their order, or do anything else they need to accomplish. At the same time, your conversation serves as a marketing tool, not just a customer service interaction. For example, a conversational marketing campaign may focus on asking previous customers if they have any family members who love a certain product. If they answer affirmatively, they might receive a follow-up message prompting them to give more details in exchange for a personalized gift recommendation. This becomes an interaction that could lead to a sale that might otherwise be lost if only a simple static ad was sent out.
According to research from Mitto, around 75 percent of consumers who are personally engaged by a brand are more willing to buy from it. This means that conversational marketing is one of the most powerful tools you have today for building your brand. No matter what industry you’re involved in or who you sell to, this kind of marketing can grow and adapt to your business to keep delivering that personal touch.
AI and Human-Powered Solutions
These conversations don’t always have to involve human sales representatives. Today’s AI-powered chatbots can engage in comfortable, realistic conversations with practically anyone. These bots pull data from existing customer information to address someone by name, mention their previous purchases, or create a list of products to accessorize an item they already own. As bots become more useful in everyday conversational settings, they also move from being customer service tools to providing powerful marketing services. Imagine leveraging chatbots that engage customers when they’re discussing products on a separate website or social media platform and begin conversations about your brand with little to no human labor needed. If a conversation does mature to the point where a live representative is needed, it’s seamless for them to enter the discussion without disrupting the flow. Your customer doesn’t have to know exactly when a virtual assistant showing them products is a chatbot or a live person.
Nearly 90 percent of surveyed consumers responded that they expect a fast response from a brand when they experience an issue. You’ll need an automated system to be able to keep up with demand, and using a system that handles both marketing and customer service will provide a more supportive overall experience for your customers.
Five Steps to a Successful Campaign
This kind of interactive marketing takes a slightly different approach than other forms of text messaging. Make sure you’re following the right steps as you set up your first conversational marketing campaign.
1. Segment Your Users
For a customized approach to messaging that provides a truly conversational experience, you’ll need to separate your users into segments. Dividing people into groups based on demographics will allow for targeted campaigns that focus on the interests of different customers. Aside from general categories like age and gender, you can segment your list members by the amount of time since their last purchase, the volume they purchase per year, or any other factors you prefer. A well-segmented SMS list is ready for a conversational campaign.
2. Decide Where to Implement Conversational Services
Not every marketing effort lends itself to a conversation. Your website is the prime place to start adding chat boxes and other interactive features, but don’t forget other inbound marketing efforts. Almost anywhere that customers interact with your brand presents an opportunity to collect their phone numbers and ask them to opt in to text messaging. Using a range of chat solutions on various platforms and services will result in the best coverage to ensure that you’re not missing out on marketing opportunities.
3. Embrace an Omnichannel Approach
Conversational campaigns can take many forms, including on-site chat boxes, SMS and MMS texts, other messaging apps on social media platforms, and good old-fashioned email. But what if a customer starts on text and wants to switch to another communication method? Don’t let the conversation drop or start over. Seamlessly transfer relevant information between all of your channels of marketing communication with an omnichannel messaging solution like Mitto.
4. Connect to Customer Service Reps
Make sure you have a plan for transferring customers from chatbots or other AI solutions to live human representatives. Some brands choose to move customers from text to voice calls at that point, but there’s no reason why you can’t continue SMS or chat interactions with a human rep. Identify what role you want your workers to play and when they’ll step in to complete a transaction or verify that a chat with a bot went well.
5. Build on Data
While automated text marketing can easily tap into existing customer data, conversational messaging can also gather data by asking questions of your customers. When you find out something like a personal preference or clothing size, storing that data and using it later can further increase the value of your marketing efforts. Make sure you’re following all data-handling laws relevant to your location if you plan to add this strategy to your chat campaigns.
Replacing the In-Store Experience
One of the benefits of implementing conversation-oriented marketing is the opportunity to mimic the experience that a customer might have in a physical store. Customers don’t visit travel agents in person or even stop by their bank as much as they choose to use an online platform for the same services. By creating the experience of a conversation with a real expert, you’re connecting to nostalgia for the sales experience of the past while still embracing cutting-edge technology. Even automated chatbots can easily create the feeling of a caring salesperson offering personal recommendations to your customers.
Personalizing and Automating Text Marketing
Good conversations don’t take place between a faceless sales representative and a randomly numbered customer. The use of personalization is what makes conversational messaging so powerful. Using a customer’s name is just the beginning. Marketing messages should also address preferences, adjust to settings selected by the customer, and recommend specific promotions based on their profile. As noted above, conversational tools provide that level of customization while also serving as a way to gather more information to further personalize the experience. It just takes the right set of tools to create text marketing campaigns that feel like they are individually written for each customer.
What Services Can Utilize Conversational Marketing?
There are many ways to handle conversation-based marketing, hence the need for an omnichannel approach. For the best results, you’ll have to develop multiple channels for connecting with a wide range of customers without leaving anyone out. Some of the platforms and services most widely used for this kind of marketing include:
- WhatsApp Business, which enables businesses to connect with their customers through a phone app
- Facebook Messenger, which facilitates chats on both mobile and desktop platforms
- Integrated chatbot services that are delivered via your website or a dedicated app of your choice
- Live chat apps designed specifically for marketing and customer service
- Voice assistant software like Cortana or Alexa
- SMS and MMS platforms, which allow for seamless texting to thousands or even millions of customers at once
Conversational marketing is a proactive approach to reaching out to your customers. There’s no need for people to grow frustrated or struggle to find a product when they are easily guided through a realistic natural-language chat that solves their problems. Make the most of your marketing efforts with today’s top solutions for customized text messaging and SMS marketing.