Could conversational marketing speak to your business?

Businesses have long been advised to engage in active dialogues with their customers and prospects. The problem was, historically, these interactions tended to take a long time. Maybe you sent out a customer survey and waited weeks or months to gather the data. Or perhaps you launched a product or service and then waited anxiously for the online reviews to start popping up.


There’s now a much faster way of dialoguing with customers and prospects called “conversational marketing.” Although the approach isn’t something to undertake lightly, it could help you raise awareness of your brand and drive sales.


Concept and goal

The basic concept behind conversational marketing is to strike up real-time discussions with customers and prospects as soon as they contact you. You’re not looking to give them canned sales pitches. Instead, you want to establish authentic social connections — whether with individuals or with representatives of other organizations in a business-to-business context.


The overriding goal of conversational marketing is to accelerate and enhance engagement. Your aim is to interact with customers and prospects in a deeper, more meaningful way than, say, simply giving them a price list or rattling off the specifications of products or services.


In accomplishing this goal, you’ll increase the likelihood of gaining loyal customers who will generate steady or, better yet, increasing revenue for your business.


Commonly used channels

The nuts and bolts of conversational marketing lies in technology. If you decide to implement it, you’ll need to choose tech-based channels where your customers and prospects most actively contact you. Generally, these tend to be:


Your website. The two basic options you might deploy here are chatbots and live chat. Chatbots are computer programs, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), that can simulate conversations with visitors. They can either appear immediately or pop up after someone has spent a certain amount of time on a webpage. Today’s chatbots can answer simple questions, gather information about customers and prospects, and even qualify leads.


With live chat, you set up an instant messaging system staffed by actual humans. These reps need to be thoroughly trained on the principles and best practices of conversational marketing. Their initial goal isn’t necessarily to sell. They should first focus on getting to know visitors, learning about their interests and needs, and recommending suitable products or services.


Social media. More and more businesses are actively engaging followers in comments and direct messages on popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok. This can be a tricky approach because you want responses to be as natural and appropriately casual as possible. You don’t want to sound like a robot or give anyone the “hard sell.” Authenticity is key. You’ll need to carefully choose the platforms on which to be active and train employees to monitor those accounts, respond quickly and behave properly.


Text and email. If you allow customers and prospects to opt-in to texts and emails from your company, current AI technology can auto-respond to these messages to answer simple questions and get the conversation rolling. From there, staff can follow up with more personalized interactions.


A wider audience

Like many businesses, yours may have already been engaging in conversational marketing for years simply by establishing and building customer relationships. It’s just that today’s technology enables you to formalize this approach and reach a much wider audience. For help determining whether conversational marketing would be cost-effective for your company, contact AHP.


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