Humanizing Your Brand: How Conversational Marketing Builds Authentic Connections
Modern customers don’t want to be talked to with marketing materials, including traditional ads, email newsletters, and more. They want to be talked with – in other words, they want to have a conversation with the brands seeking their business.
Indeed, conversational marketing is one of the most effective and useful tools in your marketing toolkit, but far too few brands know how to leverage it properly. In this guide, we’ll break down what conversational marketing is and how you can use it to build authentic connections with your target audience members.
What is Conversational Marketing?
For example, traditional marketing might have a single PPC ad displayed in front of a potential website visitor. The PPC ad is already set up; it doesn’t engage with the customer, nor does it require a response aside from a click.
Conversational marketing, in contrast, might include things like:
- Customer service representatives interact with website visitors in real-time
- Customers emailing customer service representatives and salespeople back and forth
- Chatbot interactions
- And more
At its core, conversational marketing is all about engaging with your prospects quickly and encouraging fast-paced progression for the customer journey.
The Importance of Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing is highly crucial thanks to the many benefits it can provide your brand. These include:
- Higher engagement. When customers can talk one-on-one with sales reps or customer service staff members, they feel much more engaged with your brand and with the shopping experience on your website. This, in turn, can sometimes lead to the next big benefit…
- Higher conversion rates. Through conversational marketing, customers may be much more likely to purchase products or services from your site. A higher conversion rate is always better for your bottom line!
- Greater brand loyalty from your current and future customers. Conversational marketing makes your customers feel more emotionally connected to your business. Over the long term, this can translate to truly strong brand loyalty, helping you keep your customers coming back again and again for years to come.
- Faster customer service complaint resolutions. In instances where your site visitors or customers do have issues that need to be resolved, two-way communications and conversational marketing will help you solve those issues ASAP. There’s no better way to increase your customer satisfaction score.
4 Ways to Use Conversational Marketing to Build Connections
Luckily, you can see many of the above benefits for your small business by using conversational marketing in the near future. Here are some strategies you can implement ASAP.
Facilitate Two-Way Messaging on Your Site
First and foremost, give your customers as many two-way messaging capabilities or portals as possible. Many websites only let customers talk to brands by filling out forms or sending emails. Then they have to wait.
This is all one-sided communication, unfortunately. You’ll have an easier time building brand loyalty and making new authentic connections with your target customers if you have two-way communication abilities on your website right from the get-go.
The best way to do this is through the implementation of a direct messaging feature. In this way, a site visitor can strike up a conversation with a customer service or sales representative whenever they have a question or want to know more about a product.
This level of accessibility closely emulates the “on the ground” availability of sales staff in retail stores. It’s no surprise that this often results in customers building more connections with e-commerce brands like yours. Everyone wants to feel like a brand is open and ready to answer questions at all times, after all.
Implement Chatbots with Conversational Abilities
In keeping with the above, you can also implement smart chatbots that have new, evolved conversational abilities. Modern chatbots use machine learning and AI/artificial intelligence algorithms to successfully emulate human conversational patterns.
However, you can also opt for well tested, rule-based chatbots. Rule-based chatbots – also called scripted chatbots – use predetermined rules and scripts to make effective, conversational responses based on user inputs. Rule-based chatbots are oftentimes seen as more reliable and cost-effective compared to their AI-powered counterparts.
In either case, the best chatbots can sound just like human sales or customer service reps, allowing your brand to provide personalized, communicative support to new website visitors without having to employ many more customer service representatives
You should use chatbots that have conversational abilities as often as possible; they’re very helpful for directing new website visitors to the right product or page and for answering basic FAQs that many new visitors have.
Personalize Marketing Communications
You should also try to practice conversational marketing by personalizing all marketing communications, even if they don't facilitate real-time talking.
As an example, say that you send out regular email newsletters to your customers. Personalize those marketing communications by:
- Using your customers’ first and last names for all the marketing emails
- Including personalized offers and special discounts based on those customers’ prior purchases or the items they placed in their shopping carts
- Offering ways for your customers to immediately reach out to a customer service representative or sales people via email links
Of course, this extends to non-text elements of your marketing communications as well. The way you tell a story or connect to a customer through your images can matter just as much as the text you use to converse with them!
You’ll want to make sure the visuals and images you use in your personalized marketing communications are high-quality. HEIC files are high-quality, but they are only used for storage. For the best results, make your images as HEIC files first, then use tools for converting HEIC to JPG files to enhance your marketing communications with emotionally resonant, attractive images.
In any case, personalizing your marketing materials to customers will go a long way toward helping your customers feel like they are having an ongoing conversation with you, even if the communication takes place over weeks or months. Note that this can also help for B2B marketing, which oftentimes takes a long time to cement or result in a conversion.
Use Previous Info to Humanize Customers
Don’t forget to take any previous information you have from your current or previous customers and use it in present-day sales calls and tactics. The best way to do this is through CRM or customer relationship management software.
CRM software stores customers’ contact information, names, personal details, previous sales information, and other crucial data points. That way, your marketing and sales staff can easily recover that information for their upcoming sales calls.
As an example, many local businesses and contracting companies use CRM (customer relationship management) tools to engage with their customers. They leverage customer relationship management software to:
- Keep records of their most common customers
- Ensure that salespeople and contractors address customers and clients by their names
- Always know which services they’ve previously offered to customers and which services they should recommend going forward
Even better is that there are now hyper-specific CRMs for different industries. For example, local roofing contractors can rely on roofing CRM tools rather than basic home improvement CRM tools. The same applies to several other specific industries as well.
Overall, just remember to leverage customer relationship management software platforms so your sales staff and marketing team always have information about customers' previous interactions with your brand on hand. The last thing you want is for a customer to call up your small business and be treated like a stranger.
Ultimately, conversational marketing could be what your overall marketing campaign has lacked in the recent past. Good conversational marketing will not just keep people on your website but will also result in higher conversions and better brand loyalty across the board.