AI-driven content creation. Voice search optimisation. Augmented reality ads. Predictive analysis. Neuromarketing. Conversational marketing. In a sea of ever-evolving digital marketing techniques, strategies and technologies, how can you guarantee that your brand is making the most of this expansive toolkit?
At RealClicks, we proactively monitor emerging digital marketing trends in order to deliver the highest quality of results for each of our clients. That means we’re always looking at not just the kinds of tools that are available, but why these tools may complement our strategy as we work towards collaborative goals. The ongoing expansion of conversational marketing is one such evolution we’re utilising, fostering rich relationships with customers through meaningful, real-time dialogues.
When conversational marketing is done well, it can turn passive visitors into active participants, enabling brands to establish a two-way dialogue with consumers (as opposed to bombarding them with one-way messages). When it’s done poorly? It can feel disingenuous or robotic, making customers feel like they’re not being truly heard.
If you’re considering implementing conversational marketing in your digital strategy, these best practice tips can support a positive customer experience, not a damaging brand interaction.
What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing draws on tools, including messaging apps, chatbots, and social media, to initiate and continue genuine conversations with customers. While the goals of these interactions may vary, it’s common for conversational marketing to be used to build a better understanding of their needs and intent, to answer questions efficiently, and to guide them further down the sales funnel.
‘I believe that we as marketers need to evolve to stop talking at our customers and invite them to have a dialogue,’ writes Matt Ramerman for Forbes. ‘The solution is conversational marketing: designing purposeful customer interactions that invite and welcome customers to have a conversation with your brand.’
Some of the key elements of conversational marketing (when done well!) include:
Instant responses. This demonstrates respect for the customer’s time by delivering instant, accurate responses.
Personalised interactions. When conversations are tailored to the unique needs of each customer, they’re much more likely to feel valued and seen.
The capturing and implementation of feedback. When your customers are able to provide feedback on their experience, that feedback can be applied to your strategy, allowing for continuous improvement.
What are some of the common mistakes brands are making in conversational marketing?
For every excellent conversational marketing experience, there’s a misstep. As the tools and tech stacks used to deliver these experiences continue to grow, space for improvement remains in how customers engage with a conversational marketing experience.
Over-automation is one of the most common mistakes made in this area. While chatbots and AI capacities have had significant impacts on response times, over-relying on them in your conversational marketing workflows can clearly signify an impersonal approach to your customers. Striking a balance between automated conversations and human-driven interactions is crucial to building genuine engagement experiences.
‘Talking at’, rather than to the customer, is always one area where brands are failing to deliver an authentic conversational experience. Taking a one-sided approach can leave many opportunities for engagement on the table, reducing the sense of a meaningful relationship between your brand and your customers.
Another common mistake is in the area of feedback: when brands fail to learn from negative feedback, customers wonder why they bothered to offer it in the first place.
Our recommendations for how to implement conversational marketing
If you’re yet to dip your toes into the conversational marketing water, considering how you can set your brand up for successful implementation is key to delivering a seamless and enriching customer experience.
Our recommendations for this process are:
Carefully consider your technology integrations. AI and chatbots can serve incredible purposes – but be mindful of when it may be necessary to hand the conversation over to a human agent. By combining automated integrations with your team, you can build efficient, conversational processes that don’t sacrifice a human touchpoint.
Invest in regular training. How equipped are your customer service teams? Are they aware of the conversational marketing nuances that have taken place before they connect with your customers? By investing in regular and ongoing training, you can make sure your customer service team is ready to meet the diverse range of customer queries that may arise through a conversational marketing experience.
Prioritise authenticity. We all know when we’ve been met with an overly scripted response: it feels robotic, mass-produced, and inauthentic. By prioritising authentic communication at every customer touchpoint, you can significantly increase your customer’s experience, all while maintaining your unique brand voice.
Segment your audience. Not all of your customers will have the same exact needs or preferences. In fact, each individual customer may have a unique need that brought them to your brand in the first place! Conversational marketing can be enhanced through careful segmentation, breaking mass audiences into segments based on behaviours, demographics, or purchase history.
Look for proactive engagement opportunities. Sure, you could wait for your customers to come to you – or you could initiate conversations at strategic and intentional customer touchpoints in every stage of their customer journey.
Prioritise data safety. Increased personalised interaction means customers require even more certainty that their data is safe, secure, and not at risk of being misused. If your organisation isn’t already prioritising compliance with data protection regulations, this must be an urgent priority as you step further into the field of conversational marketing.
Conversational marketing can represent the very best of marketing intentions: carefully crafted messages designed to engage with the right human at the right stage of their buying journey. By placing an authentic human experience at the forefront of your conversational marketing efforts, you can make the most of this emerging strategy, using technology to fuel genuine experiences rather than mass-marketed blanket messaging.
Not sure where conversational marketing fits into your overall digital strategy? Reach out to our team of digital marketing experts today, and we’ll give you honest, real-world advice that truly moves the needle.