As marketers, we’re endlessly aiming to find that competitive advantage, that extra something that gives us the ability to perform better than our competitors. To do this requires a level of innovativeness, the ability to be creative but not overdo it. Could Conversational Marketing be the answer?
In a B2B context, creativity could be regarded as even more challenging as the ability to be playful can be restricted. Furthermore, consumer preferences differ from B2C. As well as this, customer buying cycles are also more intricate with an average of 7-8 decision-makers having involvement in a purchase.
Nevertheless, at the heart of every strategy is communication. Whether we pursue this directly or indirectly, we seek to interact with our audience on a personal level and build deeper relationships.
Not only do we want to communicate with our customers. Our customers want to talk with us, quickly and efficiently. In the era of instant messaging, this has become essential to equal customer preferences and maintaining engagement rates.
WHERE DOES CONVERSATIONAL MARKETING FIT?
I’d forgive you for thinking that conversational marketing was a new term. In reality, it’s been around for just over a decade. However, it has been somewhat forgotten over the years. Nevertheless, as a result of the current hyperconnected world marketers are ensuring its revival.
The early days of conversational marketing piggybacked off the concept of relationship marketing.
In the beginning, conversational marketing was about participating in conversations that surround your product or services. Engaging with your audience across multiple channels such as blogs, forums, review sites and wikis.
The inception of social media also played a pivotal role in the early success of conversational marketing. It brought a new dynamic into play. As we know, it completely changed the way people interact and found information.
Unlocking Conversational Marketing in The New Age
While sticking to its roots, today, conversational marketing has had further advancements added into the mix.
Live chat uses a mixture of social participation coupled with intelligent bots that produce targeted, personalised messaging to visitors landing on your website.
You may have begun to see this technology when landing on websites.
Currently, the process in which leads go through before dialogue begins is somewhat redundant. For example, visitors land on a web page, fill out a form, get placed in a CRM, get scored, assigned and then receive a call.
What’s critical to understand is that your leads can quickly become lost if too much time has passed since registering their interest. A study from Harvard Business Review, suggests companies need to respond within five minutes of initial contact to have the best chance of qualifying a lead. Wait any longer and your odds of qualifying the lead decrease by 400%.
New age conversational marketing has the potential to cut the processing time dramatically, keeping your leads hot.
THREE BENEFITS OF CONVERSATIONAL MARKETING
While real-time, instant conversations could be extremely useful. It’s not the only benefit of conversational marketing.
Firstly, encompassing all the aspects of conversational marketing is a more pleasing way for customers to get answers.
Positioning yourself in spaces where your customers reside will not only increase your visibility amongst your target audience. It will allow you to provide answers to questions exactly when they are most needed.
Think about it? How often do you pull out your phone, or quickly open a new tab in your browser to search a question?
Within milliseconds the search engine returns you a wealth of results leading to forums, blogs, or wiki pages. Instead of endlessly surfing through an obscure company website, solutions are easy to find. Moreover, supplementing this with the ability to chat in real-time with LiveChat technology can provide customers with answer instantaneously.
Secondly, build a comprehensive picture of your customer’s needs and wants with valuable insights.
Consider this, have we ever lived in such a time where our customers can express themselves so openly?
Before, we had to reach out and ask customers for feedback, which was tricky and time-consuming. Currently, customers have the opportunity and ability to voice their praise, dismay or problems across a range of mediums.
Not only can we participate in these conversations, but we can also analyse what our audience is saying, distinguish common issues, discover any changes they would make and find out what they want to do.
Having access to such a wealth of information enables improvements to be made to many aspects of our businesses. From developing products or services to building more sophisticated content. Listening to and engaging with your customers will provide you with real actionable insights.
Thirdly, you will build deeper relationships.
In our own lives, we have been able to communicate with one another more regularly and in larger volumes due to the changes in technology.
As a result, we feel more connected and closer to each other. Applying the techniques from the new age of conversational marketing to your business can do the same.
Live chat and chatbots can give your business a more personal feel. Interacting with customers when they land on a web page gives you the capacity to open dialogue and ask questions which would otherwise come across awkward from a brand.
As well as this, you can also give your brand more personality. Through copywriting, images, emojis and videos you can provide your messaging conversations with a character – one that reinforces your brand.
HOW CAN B2B MARKETERS LEVERAGE CONVERSATIONAL MARKETING?
Evidentally this all sounds great for B2C marketers. I can imagine your pondering whether or not this technique is transferrable to the B2B realm?
The good news is, it can be.
The power of Forums for Lead generation
What makes these forums such a powerful tool for marketers is not merely the opportunity to place well-targeted ads. They provide a real chance to interact with prospects and present and answer questions.
From beginner marketers to experienced software developers. Users are posting suggestions, issues and questions across a vast range of topics. In return, there are thousands of replies from like-minded individuals offering guidance, experience and valuable solutions.
Whether you’re posting a question or an answer, you’re inviting interaction. You’re essentially entering a space where you can communicate with your audience effectively.
Starting conversations and building relationships is at the heart of Lead Generation.
Exploiting these places presents you with a real opportunity to acquire new customers.
Chatbots will increase your traffic into leads.
When you provide visitors to your web site means to instantly start conversations instead of forcing them to fill out forms. You will see an increase in your conversion rates, create more opportunities and add a more personal experience.
Furthermore, you will be able to engage with site visitors 24/7.
Of course, you can’t have someone operating the chat on your website for that amount of time. Which is why intelligent chatbots embedded with AI technology will be able to interact with visitors when you can’t.
What you will find extremely useful is the ability to start a conversation if a visitor clicks to download a whitepaper or contact sales. Instead of them waiting to hear back from you, you can take action immediately.
There is something even more encouraging.
When a visitor is browsing your website you can set a time limit that once expired will prompt the chatbot to ask whether the visitor needs some assistance. Again, it can identify if this is a returning visitor and try to engage with them immediately.
Substantially cutting the process in which you deal with leads will ensure you increase your conversion rate.
Providing solutions which deal with our target audience pains is at the very crux of marketing. Being able to do this in real-time precisely when it’s needed is exceptionally persuasive.
CONVERSATIONAL MARKETING IS HERE TO STAY
Whether you wish to embrace this approach or not. It’s here to stay.
Chatbots and live chat technology are poised to change the way we interact with businesses. One study suggests that in 2023 2.3bn hours will be saved by businesses and consumers combined. By 2024 $1.3 billion will be the overall market size for chatbots globally (chatbotslife).
Furthermore, as of 2017 Quora has a monthly user base of 170 million. Which was up a 100million from 2016. As well as this, from March 2019, Reddit had 542 million monthly visitors (234 million unique users), ranking as the No. 6 most visited website in U.S. and No. 21 in the world.
As more and more individuals use these spaces to have discussions. There is no doubt your product or services will be covered. In addition, as experts, you have the capability to provide assistance and provide insights to queries surrounding your specialist field.
It’s time to get involved in the conversations.