What is Conversational Marketing and Why is it Trending?
You’ve probably noticed that more and more websites are talking to you when you land on them. After a few seconds on a site, a little message pops up in the corner of your screen asking you how you are and what you’re looking for.
All of a sudden you’ve got company and your experience changes. You have options that you didn’t have before. You can ask questions and get an answer right away.
Conversational marketing isn’t new; we’ve just recognised its importance and given it an official name. People have been having conversations about brands since brands became a thing, but since the rise of social media, conversations between customers and brands have been easier to have and learn from than ever before.
These conversations have become a key tool in understanding consumers and gaining insight into how they use products.
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing is simply using conversation to connect with buyers, answer their questions, and understand them better.
Now, this all sounds obvious, you’re already creating content and sharing it to create conversations with your audience. What we’re talking about is conversations happening in real-time and using conversational language.
A direct conversation with a lead can take so much of the heavy lifting out of the customer journey that the journey itself is redefined.
What Are the Benefits?
79% of consumers say they are prepared to use messenger apps for customer service. Let’s look at why this is such an appealing channel for customers.
It’s common knowledge that customers are looking for the fastest answers to their questions, it’s the reason why Google has featured snippets and the “people also ask” box. Having a direct conversation in real-time with a customer is the best way to instantly provide them with the exact answer they are looking for.
Take the Guesswork Out of Understanding Your Customers
You will never get a more accurate description of what a customer wants than the description they will give you in their own words. The more you can have real-time conversations with your audience the less you have to rely on guesswork.
These days we can collect all sorts of information from Google, email, and social media analytics. Analysing this data takes a lot of time, all to understand why a customer has made the decision they have.
Direct conversations allow you to get straight to the point and start answering questions instead of trying to figure out what the questions actually are.
Build a Genuine Relationship with Customers
Think about all the times you’ve had to call a business only to get stuck talking to a machine. A wave of relief washes over you when an actual human answers the phone.
Human conversations are infinitely easier than “follow the prompts” type interactions, but conversational marketing takes it further. Having a human interaction with someone from the business proves several things:
1. The business is genuine and trustworthy
2. Problems will be easier to solve
3. Purchasing is not such a big risk
4. The business is serious about providing customer service
A human, real-time interaction does more than just answer a customer’s question, it creates trust and builds a meaningful person-to-person relationship.
Conversational Marketing Tools
So, how do you implement conversational marketing into your digital marketing strategy? The truth is that conversational marketing isn’t defined by a particular set of channels, it is defined by using natural conversation to solve problems for consumers and marketers.
Several key tools are being used to aid conversational marketing.
Live chat allows users to do just that; chat with a business representative to get help. Users can either start these conversations themselves or have the option to engage with a live chat session that is instigated by the website.
Here’s an example of Bluehost’s live chat option on their website.
Chatbots are the bridge between human and computer interaction. They operate similarly to live chat except the conversation is not held with a real human.
Chatbots use natural language processing to determine a user’s query and return an appropriate response. They make it possible to give real-time customer service on your webpage outside of normal working hours. Chatbots can be used in conjunction with live chat to give round the clock customer support and minimise the cost of customer service.
Social Media Messaging and Comments
Customers are turning to social media for customer service. On top of that, 42% expect a response within an hour. Social media messages and comments sections are rich places for conversational marketing to take place.
Customers will engage with your content and other user’s comments in a way that can’t be captured on any other channel. You can reply to comments publicly so that other customers can see answers without even asking. Showing up in comment threads also shows that your business is tuning in to what your audience wants to talk about.
How Does Conversational Marketing Affect SEO?
Businesses are being forced to move away from the traditional one-way conversations they used to have with consumers. Conversational and two-way marketing is now what consumers expect, and Google knows it.
Not only does conversational marketing translate to increased engagement, but it’s also on Google’s radar because of voice search.
Google says that 27% of online searchers are using mobile voice search. That’s a lot of search traffic using conversational language.
Because people speak voice searches differently to how they type them, companies are now optimising for voice search by using conversational language in their written content.
Voice search isn’t showing any signs of slowing down which indicates that conversational marketing isn’t going to either.
Conversational marketing should be thought of as the direction that online marketing is heading instead of its own separate channel. While there are key tools to help you leverage real-time conversations with your audience, conversational language can be used in all of your business’s online interactions.
Live chat and chatbots help businesses to foster genuine relationships with their audience by answering questions quickly and easily. This is what consumers expect in 2020 which makes it key in staying relevant in the online space.