Think about the last conversation you had. Was it a deep discussion at dinner? A quick catch-up over the phone? An awkward icebreaker on Tinder?
Each of these interactions feels very different, but they all meet the criteria for a conversation. Thoughts, feelings, and ideas are expressed, questions are asked and answered, or news and information is exchanged.
When we talk about conversational marketing, we mean a two-way interaction between businesses and buyers. The customer expresses their needs, and the brand responds with information that helps them move forward - whether that’s researching a product, getting the most out of a purchase, or giving feedback.
Discussion of conversational marketing tends to focus around live chatbots, but that’s not the only option. In fact, conversational marketing works best when customers can choose from a range of channels - some of them automated, and some providing a more human touch.
Here we’ll explore three more ways to have valuable conversations with your customers. Done well, each of these tactics has the potential to accelerate sales, retain more customers, and encourage brand advocacy.
#1 Social listening
It’s no surprise that social media has become a key customer service channel. The high visibility of social media content gives brands no option but to respond to queries, requests and feedback.
Social listening is when you pay attention to social media mentions of your business and products, in order to proactively respond.
In the immediate term, this allows you to identify potential customers and move them through the buying journey. Take Nike as a good example. The company consistently replies to queries on Twitter, and provides customers with an easy way to follow up.
Where existing customers are concerned, the conversation doesn’t end once they’ve made a purchase. Social media is the ideal platform to add value to your products by providing ongoing service and advice.
In the B2B space, communication platform Slack takes time to carefully respond to customers’ questions on social media. Negative feedback is quickly turned into a learning opportunity, and users are able to get more value out of the software.
In the longer term, listening to customers can enrich your product and service roadmap, resulting in more satisfied customers overall.
#2 SMS and messaging apps
Conversational marketing is all about delivering the right information, at the right time, on the right channel. So it makes sense to meet customers where they spend the most time: their phones.
If you’re as glued to your screen as I am, you won’t be surprised by the results of RescueTime's recent study. When they looked at the data from 11,000 users who actively used their app, they found that the majority of people, on average, spent a whopping 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones every day!
This makes messaging a highly convenient marketing channel, both for consumers and brands. Customers are likely to check messages frequently, and can choose to respond at their own convenience. There’s no obligation to engage in a full-on conversation then and there.
With this in mind, Domino’s Pizza launched its AnyWare initiative, which allows you to order a pizza through a range of messaging channels - including SMS and Facebook Messenger. Once you set up your default order, you can send the company a pizza emoji at any time to quickly order your favourite meal.
While this doesn’t look much like a conventional conversation, it allows Domino’s and its customers to quickly exchange information that gets the job done.
#3 Voice messaging
In a spoken conversation, we listen out for verbal cues, tone of voice, and emotion. These subtleties have long been absent from online marketing.
But now internet users are finding their voice. Literally.
Voice assistants are rapidly catching up with browsers as the starting point for mobile search. Voice notes are becoming a staple of messaging apps. And social media giants from Twitter to LinkedIn are giving users more options to ‘speak’ their mind.
So why not use the voices of customers and prospects to enhance your brand’s marketing conversations?
Voice messaging couples the convenience of text messaging with the personal touch of a phone call. With Vox, your audience can record voice messages online through their browser. Your team hears what they have to say, understands them through listening, and then replies in the most appropriate format.
Speaking tends to be much faster than typing, but that’s not the only benefit. For much of the population, speech is the first and most intuitive way we learn to communicate. With emphasis, tone, and spontaneous choice of words, customers can let you know what’s really on their mind.
Voice technology doesn’t just improve your customer listening capabilities: It also opens up new ways for your business to respond. Team members are empowered to speak to customers using their own voice, combining helpful insights with human empathy.
As with the other conversational tactics we’ve mentioned, you can use voice messaging to drive growth at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
A voice inbox on your website lets you nudge leads towards conversion, or sympathetically tackle customer queries. Post-purchase, you can also collect spoken feedback as powerful social proof for your brand.
The power of conversation
Of course, voice technology isn’t intended to replace typing. Rather, it’s an additional channel that helps your audience communicate in whichever way feels natural.
When you let your prospects express themselves, you can more easily work out what they need from you in order to make a purchase. The end result is a satisfied marketing team, more sales, and more happy customers.
To find out how our voice messaging platform can supercharge your conversational marketing strategy, get in touch with Telbee today!