Conversations have always been at the heart of some of our most authentic relationships. Whether it’s a business deal or a personal connection, they are a driving force to solidifying a foundation of trust. Enter conversational marketing - the new paradigm to tackling your business deals and converting prospects in minutes.
Conversational Marketing - The Definition
In industry terms, conversational marketing is the strategy of leveraging 1:1 engagement between you and your customer in the form of real-time conversations. It is a marketing channel that enables byway communication between buyers and sellers to provide critical buying information that accelerates their path to purchase. In simple terms - speak to your prospects and customers immediately and witness faster conversions.
Before we tell you what conversational marketing is, first understand what conversational marketing is not.
There are a couple of applications in conversational marketing and the most common one is a chatbot. Many people have mistaken conversational marketing with just a chatbot.
But, chatbots are just a small part of the entire conversational marketing realm. In reality, it encompasses a variety of conversational marketing forms - from live chat, chatbots, voice bots, audio conversations and the most common one being chat. And thus, its strongest factor lies in its ability to convert leads faster with the power of conversations.
How Do You Do Conversational Marketing?
Let's dive deeper. In order to successfully adopt the process of conversational marketing into your marketing strategy, you need to understand its three (3) main attributes.
Yes, we know this keyword has been overly used by many marketing solutions. But if you dig deep, then most of them just provide some level of personalization in the conversation with their prospects.
Here, 1:1 engagement means having a buyer-led conversation with a business where the focus is not just to market your product or provide self-assertive content to the buyer, but instead help them in their buying journey.
A knock on the door marketing conversation is gone where businesses ask visitors to try signup or download a pdf or join a newsletter. Buyers are not interested in such pushy marketing anymore.
They want to be heard and need someone who can understand their business problem and guide them to the best possible solution.
For this, they are required to have a real conversation with the business.
But businesses are making it hard for their buyers to reach them. An email conversation takes time and it's not always suitable.
If I have a query regarding a product right now then I don't expect a business to ask me to provide my email address and contact me after 2 days to provide the solution.
Everyone today expects everything in real-time. Look around you, we all are equipped with a ton of conversational apps that we use very frequently.
Whatsapp Wechat, Facebook messenger, iMessage are all examples of conversations happening in real-time. But when it comes to having a conversation with a business, we are forced to rely on the asynchronous mode of communication.
There will always be some waiting time in getting a response and the connection with a business is not present whatsoever.
Let's take an analogy here. If you walk into a showroom and asks a query to one of their employees. What if he didn't answer your questions then and asked for your email and told you to expect an email from them in the next 2 days so that they can arrange a call from their executive? This would be ridiculous. Right?
But when it comes to online business, it doesn't look that ridiculous because we all are used to this, but in the function, the process is still absurd.
With conversational marketing, this asynchronous mode of communication will be replaced with real-time communication.
Businesses can easily leverage the habits of people of having a real-time conversation through a chat.
In today's digital era, buyers are well informed in advance. Having a myriad number of review sites, and product comparisons at their disposal, today's buyers don't need to experience obtrusive content from sales and marketing folks.
In conversational marketing, the buyer has complete control over the buying experience. So much so that they define their CTAs.
The whole experience in conversational marketing is focused on the buyers' intent and consent. Any good conversational marketing solution should precisely try to understand the intent of the prospects and get their consent to provide any informative content.
Before going in further, let us first identify the problems with the current B2B buying process. This would help give you context for how conversational marketing is the smartest solution for your sales journey.
Problem #1 One-way communication
In the last few years, people have been wired to communicate over synchronous conversational apps like Whatsapp, Wechat, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage. They all send and receive messages almost instantaneously and make us feel like we're having the next best thing to face-to-face conversations.
But businesses don't seem to leverage this mode of communication in their buying process.
When a prospect lands on a B2B website then oftentimes the only available mode of communication between the business and the prospect is asynchronous - Email.
Emails are certainly not the best option available for businesses when an average open rate has fallen below 20 percent for all B2B industries.
Problem #2 Pushy marketing
The other major problem in B2B marketing is pushy messaging which includes asking for email, blocking the whole page with pop-ups, etc.
These practices are only hurting the user experience of your prospect on your website.
It becomes more absurd when such pushy content tries to engage with a website visitor at the wrong time. Why would someone want to sign up for your newsletter before reading any of your content?
Your marketing will always feel pushy when it is not driven by your prospects.
Problem #3 Long waiting time
Oftentimes, one has to go through a series of questions in the website form before the actual conversation starts between the business and the prospect.
This process is neither convenient for prospects nor businesses, as there is always a long waiting time in getting a response from either side.
With conversational marketing, businesses can take a step ahead and easily eliminate these problems in their buying process.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about Conversational Marketing
What are the best practices for conversational marketing?
Like any new channel, you introduce into your workflow, you need to refine your strategy and resources to adapt successfully. With conversational marketing, you need to focus on prioritizing your buyers, integrating with your existing marketing automation and CRM platforms and leverage a combination of human-first and chatbot approaches.
Does Conversational Marketing integrate with my existing workflows?
Conversational Marketing is meant to fit right into your existing workflows without any hassle or disruption. With its ability to integrate seamlessly with your current integrations - Marketing Automation, CRM and Collaboration tools - it becomes easier for your teams to adopt it into their current workflows. Also read: Leverage Marketo & Conversational Marketing: The powerful duo
How do I combine both human-first and chatbots to scale for optimal customer support?
When it comes to B2B sales, nothing is better than having your best sales rep talking to your prospect. But they are human after all. They can't be available for 24x7. In this case, you should program your chatbot to fix a meeting with your best sales rep. With Insent, you can establish set office hours for your team to be available to respond to requests. The moment they go offline, deploy the Insent bot to collect all relevant data from visitors, and book meetings so that you don’t miss any incoming opportunities.
Do I need to get rid of all the forms on my website?
Conversational marketing accelerates your lead capturing process. With our form-based acceleration, you can sync all your lead capture forms to your bot, so that the moment a lead fills out a form - your bot engages and continues the conversation. We’ve made it that easy for you to make your prospects' experience on your site more personable.
Insent.ai is a B2B Conversational Platform that enables marketers to engage with their ideal prospects in real-time. Insent.ai identifies the prospects before they sign up on your contact form, gauges the engagement and fit of the account and alerts the right SDR while the prospect is browsing on the website. The SDRs will get contextual information + an in-website conversational platform to initiate a chat with the prospect.
Aatharsha is the Digital Marketer at Insent. She loves creating B2B marketing experiences that help marketers stand out from the crowd and fill their funnel with qualified buyers.