Conversational marketing is all about building more authentic relationships with customers.
Much like relationship marketing, it’s a long-term marketing strategy that emphasises customer retention, satisfaction and customer lifetime value - and always puts the customer first.
The key to successful conversational marketing is speaking to customers in ways that feel easy and natural for them. This might mean speaking directly with buyers via their favourite social platforms, choosing to send SMS messages rather than emails - or even taking things a step further by exchanging voice notes with customers.
It’s also important to note that customers have come to see these more conversational, two-way forms of marketing as the new standard for B2C communications. In fact, studies show that consumers now exchange over two billion messages with businesses each month over Facebook Messenger alone!
That’s why, rather than simply relying on chatbots, brands looking to up their conversational marketing strategy and get ahead of the competition should also be looking to offer customers more human communication channels to choose from. Of course, to make this happen, you’re going to need some robust new software in your marketing toolbox.
Here are three tools that are helping to make business feel personal again:
HubSpot’s Sales and Marketing platforms are widely considered to be the best in the business - and with good reason.
We’ve been using HubSpot ourselves for the past year, and have been extremely impressed with the ease of use, functionality and advanced reporting features that both its Sales and Marketing platforms have to offer.
We could talk at length about HubSpot’s ability to help you generate and nurture leads across all stages of the marketing funnel, but the reason we’re including the CRM in this particular article is because of its advanced yet intuitive chatbot builder software:
HubSpot’s chatbot functionality lets you qualify leads, book meetings, provide customer support, and scale your one-to-one conversations with customers — even when your entire support team is offline.
The chatbots you create with HubSpot (or any other chatbot builder) can be used to create one-on-one conversation, personalise on-site experiences and (when programmed right) can inject a lot of your brand’s personality into a marketing conversation.
Chatbots were one of the first kinds of tools to take the world of conversational marketing by storm, and when it comes to conversational marketing, they’ve become something of a staple. This is likely because they’re cost-effective, much faster than emails, and far more convenient than waiting on hold on the phone.
Plus, according to one report by IBM, chatbots can successfully answer up to 80% of your customers’ routine questions!
That said, like most forms of AI technology, chatbots aren’t without their limitations. For example, customers generally prefer to talk to a real person about the problem they’re experiencing. On top of this, chatbots often miss the mark completely when it comes to understanding the gist of a question.
At this point, you might be wondering why we’re dwelling on the negatives at all. Essentially, recognising the limitations of chatbots is important as it will allow you to offset them with other, more personal support solutions, which brings us to our next must-have conversational marketing tool...
Pricing: Free, with paid plans starting at $50 per month.
Often, when we think of personal conversations between customers and businesses, we think of a direct, back-and-forth dialogue that happens in real-time. Chatbots and phone calls, in particular, spring to mind.
But with conversational marketing, it's actually more beneficial to the customer to offer them an asynchronous - but still personal - relationship with your brand.
Basically, conversations should occur whenever the customer prefers — whether that's in real-time, after finishing their meeting, or later that night when they have a spare moment.
SMS messages and social messaging apps can help you achieve this, but if you want to engage your customers both personally and asynchronously, a voice messaging tool might be just what you’re looking for.
Voice is humans’ most powerful relationship-building tool - and has been for millennia. Talking is our fastest, easiest and most natural method of communication - and sometimes typing simply doesn’t cut it. When you bring the subtle nuances of tone, tempo and emotion into your business’ marketing strategy through voice, you’ll start building stronger relationships with your customers than ever.
What’s more, as exchanging voice notes via a business’ website is a relatively new concept, you’ll build a reputation as a far more innovative (and more human!) brand than the rest.
Pricing: Free, with paid plans starting at $18 per month.
Because it’s social by nature, social media is also one of the most natural ways you can start building your conversational marketing strategy. If you want to meet your audience where they’re at and respond organically to their questions, comments and concerns, there really is no better place to look.
We recently interviewed Daniel Clayton, Digital Marketing Manager at Logitech, who highlighted that:
“Responding to and engaging with your followers is hugely important. You’d be surprised how many brands won’t reply to a single comment out of the hundred that they get on their Instagram page. People forget that social media is meant to be social. You wouldn’t start a conversation with someone and then just walk out of the room!”
In other words, you’ve got to focus on having lighthearted conversations with your customers - the kind that they might have with their friends - over social media, and using each platform to offer advice, encouragement and support.
Daniel also advocated getting in on the conversation by frequently commenting on other brands’ and customers’ posts, telling our team:
“You’ve got to engage with others’ posts and be part of the community. That’s how I’ve started growing my LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram pages. I find a discussion or leave my opinion, or join in a conversation that someone else - or a different brand - has started, and you’ll be surprised by how many followers you pick up just by jumping in on a conversation!”
Hootsuite is one example of a great social media tool - not just for scheduling content and reporting on key metrics, but also for continuing the conversation with your customers post-purchase.
Hootsuite’s ‘streams’ are where the power lies, as this functionality allows you to monitor your social channels as a whole; keeping an eye on your DMs and mentions, while simultaneously tracking popular hashtags and monitoring your competitors’ social feeds.
In this way, Hootsuite makes staying in touch with your customers a breeze - and also gives you the leg up you need to become part of the wider conversation.
Pricing: Hootsuite offers a 30 day free trial, and paid plans start at £25.
Ultimately, when crafting a strong conversational marketing strategy, you should ensure that your customers have options, and can speak with you in whichever way feels easiest and most natural for them.
For this reason, we’d recommend getting started with the few tools we’ve outlined above; a chatbot builder, some voice messaging software and a social monitoring tool. This way, you’ve got all your bases covered - and can build your strategy (and your customer relationships!) from there.
When you give your customers the chance to choose how they want to be heard (and spoken to), they’ll come away from every conversation with you feeling satisfied, valued and understood. Before long, we think you’ll join us in championing conversational marketing as the secret to marketing success!
To find out more about how our voice messaging software could supercharge your business’ conversational marketing strategy, get in touch with the team at telbee today. We’d love to hear from you!