The Definitive Guide to Conversational Marketing

conversational marketingAs with most business functions, technology is drastically changing the way we market our products and services. We’ve long since understood the power of one-to-one marketing, but without modern technology, it wasn’t always feasible, scalable, or affordable. So, instead of one-to-one interactions, marketers relied on one-to-many marketing tactics– i.e. email, social media, direct mail, billboards, etc.

But, as more and more companies adopted the same tactics, consumers were inundated with marketing messages– some meant for them, some inapplicable. Instead of sifting through the noise to find the messaging meant for them, consumers now ignore most marketing materials they encounter. Think about it– people pay for ad-free services, skip through commercials, and change the station when ads invade their personal space.

In fact, research suggests mass marketing engagement rates are at an all-time low. Consider these statistics (source):

  • 43% of people answer cold calls.
  • The average email open rate is around 20%.
  • The average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%.

There’s no way around it, our customers are tuning us out in favor of more personalized brand experiences. So, how can we market to customers who are sick and tired of marketing? Enter conversational marketing.

What is Conversational Marketing?

Conversational marketing is a tactic that facilitates affordable, one-to-one marketing experiences at scale– something that, up until recently, was relatively difficult to do. Consumers and marketers are most familiar with conversational marketing in the form of intelligent chatbots.

Conversational marketing forgoes traditional spray-and-pray tactics in favor of more targeted, personalized conversations. Thus providing an experience that requires listening, understanding, and feedback to be successful.

Although conversational marketing happens most commonly on an organization’s business website, itcan take many different forms. As artificial intelligence and predictive learning become increasingly universal, there will undoubtedly be more opportunities to leverage conversational marketing across a variety of channels– including social media, text message marketing, email campaigns, and many more.

So how can you leverage conversational marketing to achieve your most pressing business goals? We’re so glad you asked! Let’s get into it!

Why use Conversational Marketing as Part of Your Enterprise Marketing Strategy?

As a concept, conversational marketing is relatively straightforward. In practice, however, it can become a bit more convoluted as you rely on new technology to learn about and interact with your customer base.

Although a learning curve can be expected with any new marketing channel or tactic, there are a few best practices and key considerations to keep in mind as you delve into the world of conversational marketing. In this section, we explain why conversational marketing is so effective and how you can implement this tactic to see results instantly.

So, keep reading for our top ten reasons to implement some form of conversational marketing today!

1. Customers want immediate answers.

We live in a time where consumers have access to almost anything they can imagine within the click of a button. Amazon Prime, Uber, Postmates, you name it– there’s an on-demand service for just about everything. And while this is great for the customer, it sets the bar high for businesses.

Think about it, when everything is available instantly, consumers begin to expect immediate service from every company they do business with. In fact, 73% of consumers say valuing their time is the most important thing a business can do to provide good, online customer service (source).

Therefore, if a company takes more than a few minutes to respond, get in touch, or provide a service, prospects and customers will move on to the next thing before you even realize they need something.

Fortunately, conversational marketing solves this dilemma and requires little effort on the part of the marketer or business.  When implemented correctly, an intelligent chatbot is available 24/7 to respond to customer inquiries, point consumers in the right direction, and so much more.

2. Make feedback more accessible.

There’s only so much information the average person is willing to provide through an online form. But, a chatbot, on the other hand, can facilitate a much more human experience that reads like a real conversation between a consumer and a business.

Unlike a form, a chatbot can learn from the information a customer provides and tailor its responses accordingly. This cuts out unnecessary form fields and gets to the issue at hand much quicker. The question and response format allows a business to collect a much broader range of customer feedback.  

With conversational marketing, the days of one-size-fits-all lead capture forms are over. Instead of the same predetermined set of form fields, you now have the ability to ask and receive the most pertinent data points which often vary from person to person.

3. Qualify leads quicker with context.

In a similar vein as the previous point, a standard contact form offers little in the way of context. But a chatbot offers more room to provide context as to what a prospect is looking for, how they plan to use a given product, why their current solution isn’t working, and so much more.

Instead of waiting for a sales rep to follow up with each lead and ask a standard set of qualifying questions, a chatbot can bypass that step by asking the necessary questions before the lead even gets to a sales rep. That way, there is little manual effort involved in the lead qualification process and your sales team can do what it does best– sales.

4. Provide a mobile-friendly experience.

As cell phones and personal devices continue to advance, consumers will increasingly turn to these devices to conduct business. In fact, in 2018, 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3% in the previous year (source).

When you consider the convenience of filling out the standard lead capture form versus engaging in a quick exchange with a chatbot, it’s easy to see why the latter would be more mobile-friendly. Think about it, rather than navigating a page from form field to form field, most chatbots leverage an interface similar to that of a text message.  

Not only is the format easier to navigate, but a question and answer interaction lends itself to less typing than the standard form– ultimately making it more convenient for the visitor to communicate with.

5. Hand leads off to sales in real time.

With a standard contact or free trial form, a customer or prospect must wait for a sales rep to reach out to them. With a chatbot, there is much less wait time. A prospect or customer can indicate that they wish to speak to a human and your chatbot can pass them through to the appropriate team immediately or schedule a live demo to take place later on.

6. Integrate conversational marketing seamlessly into your current inbound marketing strategy.

A successful inbound marketing strategy revolves around an organization’s ability to provide value at exactly the right time and place. When compared to traditional lead collection methods, a chatbot is able to provide more immediate value.

Whether a customer is seeking product information or educational marketing content,  your chatbot can point them in the right direction at the exact moment they need it.

7. Allow customers to control their own buying journey.

We often talk about how the modern customer enters the buying journey having done their research. As a result, customers know what they want before ever talking to a sales rep. So, why force them to?

Through conversational marketing, a prospect or customer can guide their own buying journey, conduct their own research, and look into your products and services on their own.

8. Save time and money.

Although artificial intelligence and predictive learning may sound expensive and complicated, the average chatbot is relatively cost and time-effective. In fact, conversational marketing strategies save over four minutes per inquiry, an average cost saving of $0.50-$0.70 per interaction (source).

By using conversational marketing to handle basic questions, you free up members of your team to handle more complex issues. As a result, your company can handle a large number of inquiries with the same amount of staff.

9. Facilitate more personal and trusting relationships with customers and prospects.

Most modern chatbots take on a personal appearance, language, and tone- similar to that of a human. As far as the customer or prospect is concerned, they’re having a conversion with an actual employee.

This one-on-one interaction facilitates more trusting relationships where customers feel comfortable providing the information you need to truly offer assistance.

10. Every interaction is hyper-personalized.

If you’re a regular reader of the ZoomInfo blog, you’ll know we often stress the importance of personalized marketing. And, for obvious reasons, there’s no better example of personalization in marketing than conversational marketing.  

In most instances, personalized marketing hinges on a marketer’s ability to analyze input and respond with value. Yet, more traditional marketing methods like email, social media, or advertising don’t often generate an instant response. Thus, the moment of interest is likely to have passed by the time you reach out.

A chatbot, on the other hand, can interpret and respond to feedback instantaneously. Thus, providing one-on-one personalization when the buyer is most interested.

Key Considerations About Lead Generation with Conversational Marketing

As the business landscape changes, your prospects and customers will also change and evolve. Even the most effective marketing initiatives lose momentum over time. As your customers’ interests change, they begin to respond to different tactics. Because of this, marketers must remain flexible and adapt quickly.

Conversational marketing is innately engaging, responsive, and up-to-date with buyer and consumer preferences. If you haven’t already invested in a chatbot service or platform, we recommend you do so. Both your customers and your bottom line will thank you.

Contact ZoomInfo today to learn more about our data intelligence platform. We have the solutions you need to identify, target, and convert your prospects into paying customers.