Updated: Mar 18
Wondering how to grow your digital sales revenue in 2022? Have you considered conversational marketing? Sounds unfamiliar, I bet. That’s because conversational marketing is a relatively new tool that many digital marketers are yet to wrap their heads around. But really, it is as simple as it sounds.
At the heart of conversational marketing in 2022 is a particular focus on creating an interactive/conversational buying experience for every visitor interacting with your site or ads.
So in this piece, we’ll first examine what conversational marketing is, then we’ll dive deeper into how it works, and how you can leverage this new strategy to generate more leads and drive more conversions with your campaigns.
What is a Conversational Marketing Strategy?
To keep it simple, conversational marketing is a personalized marketing approach that actually talks to your customers without you being directly involved in the conversation. Think about using chatbots, live chat, voice assistants, and messaging applications to engage every customer that visits your website or social media channels. Conversational marketing is a revolutionary brand communication channel that uses automation conversations to drive sales.
Interesting, right? It’s more like integrating artificial intelligence into your sales funnel. But why bother about conversational marketing when cold calls and traditional B2B or B2C marketing styles still yield results? When you realize that more buyers will opt for a seamless buying experience, and conversational marketing offers just that, I bet you’ll rethink your existing strategy! To make it even more effective, you can strategically position these experiences at every customer touchpoint, such as your landing page, social media channels, and PPC (paid advertising) campaigns.
This is the new style in digital marketing — opening a channel of back and forth interaction with the client until they make a purchase. Unlike the traditional way of doing marketing, which tells the customer to do this, do that, fill out this form, or jump through several hoops, conversational marketing makes the customer feel like they’re having an actual conversation with you.
“Conversational marketing allows brands to engage prospects with real-time conversations that easily lead to more conversions.”
Do you know why it is effective and gaining popularity by the day? People actually like conversations via messaging; it is fast, easy, and often feels like a regular face-to-face interaction. This is similar to HR chatbots that many organizations are now using to improve employee engagements, people analytics, and process efficiency. Many digital marketing strategies eliminate the part where the customer makes an input.
Conversational marketing, on the other hand, re-introduces the customers’ ability to articulate their preferences, ask questions and get real-time feedback, thus personalizing visitors’ journey with your brand. If you’ve ever been engaged by customer support or banking chatbot, then you already have a feel of what conversational marketing is.
This time, the bot’s mission is to give you, the visitor, an interactive buying experience. So instead of forcing buyers and customers to jump through endless hoops before a conversation can ever take place, why not simplify the process for them?
Conversational Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing
Yes, inbound and conversational marketing are two sides of the same coin. The difference lies within their approach; Inbound Marketing prefers to attract customers through channels, like social media or email, while Conversationalists focus more on actually talking with them when customers visit your website or social media platforms. Both strategies have always been about being customer-centric so there isn't really any conflict here!
Chatbots for Conversational Marketing
Chatbots are a crucial component of conversational marketing. They offer an immersive experience that simulates face-to-face interactions and provides more personalization than traditional media channels do, making them perfect for reaching individuals on their smartphones (or other devices).
Today, chatbots come in all shapes and sizes with various capabilities. Some can be more sophisticated than others but they are still easy to use for those who don't have much experience coding them or designing user interfaces that will help you get your message across while staying within budget constraints!
Chatbots are a new way to engage customers by automating the process of gathering data, providing information about products/services, and qualifying leads. The fact that they're so common on websites like Facebook or Twitter means you need one too!
So, How Does Conversational Marketing Actually Work?
“Instead of scheduling a meeting or call, conversational marketing shortens the sales cycle by providing real-time answers and solutions to customers.”
Like I said earlier, it is as simple as it sounds. In fact, conversational marketing is the fastest and easiest way to move buyers through your marketing and sales funnel. You don’t have to tear down your existing structure; you only need to make some modifications. Conversations help us build relationships in real life — that’s exactly how conversational marketing works.
The conversational marketing framework first engages the visitor, understands their need, and finally, offers/recommends smart solutions based on those needs.
Step 1: Engage Leads with Chats
I know what may readily come to mind here is having a live chat, but you can’t run live chats 24/7; even if you do, it may not be possible to keep the pace as you get more leads. So the solution here is running a human-like chatbot that takes the customer through your sales funnel unassisted (at least until there’s a need for human interference).
This way, you can meet your customers' needs in real-time and drive more conversions in less time. There’s a huge difference between this and asking customers to fill out a form and have you contact them or schedule a call; you are speaking to them while they are live on your website.
Step 2: Understand What the Customer Needs
The traditional approach to qualifying leads involves email marketing, cold calls, etc., but with conversational marketing, you get to understand what the visitor needs immediately, based on already set answers to likely questions.
Again, the “fill out this form, and we’ll contact you approach” may take a day or two before initiating a conversation with the customer. In contrast, a conversational marketing chatbot engages the customer right from the point they make contact with your website.
Considering that the chances of winning back the customer after a day or two (that is, if they haven’t found what they were looking for) is slimmer than when you answer their questions immediately, we can say that conversational marketing is more efficient than email marketing for converting leads.
Step 3: Offer Smart Solutions Based on Perceived Customer Needs
This is where your sales team comes in. Luckily, chatbots aren’t just conversational; they operate with human-like intelligence and are smart enough to know when to route the conversation to a human representative. The bot engages with the prospects until the need for a one-on-one interaction becomes inevitable.
This way, your sales team can actually focus more on selling — including leads generated from automated marketing like this one. What's more? You can even program the bot to schedule calls and meetings with clients based on the availability of active sales agents.
Benefits of Conversational Marketing
It is a proven fact that conversational marketing can help you connect with your target audience in ways other forms of advertising cannot.
This type of strategy could make all the difference when it comes time to secure new customers or get valuable feedback from current ones! Either way, here is what you can expect.
1) Better Lead Generation
When you use interactive ways for customers and prospects to engage with your company, they're more likely to have a good experience that converts them into paying clients. Conversations not only help qualify leads but also make sure questions are asked at just the right time so sales can happen!
2) Faster Deal Flow and Customer Acquisition
Your marketing and sales teams will be able to maximize their time by leveraging chatbots. In many cases, they will be able to identify and move along highly qualified leads right much quicker for more meetings and higher conversion rates. All in real-time.
3) Improved Customer Experience
Conversations with your website visitors help you to learn more about their needs and pain points, which in turn increases the likelihood they will seek you out again and again in the future. With ease, you can collect information from these chats by asking open-ended questions or providing targeted offers at specific points throughout the purchasing process that will resonate better than others based on where people are at in the buying journey.
These conversations provide an opportunity to build trust through a personalized approach that caters to your customers. Trust us, they'll be glad you were there!
How to Use Conversational Marketing to Improve B2B Lead Generation (Research-Based Recommendations)
The essence of implementing the conversational marketing strategy is to completely eliminate bottlenecks and all frictions along your customers’ buyer’s journey. And for B2B companies, this is even more crucial because most prospects today are not willing to wait around for you to come back with an answer or respond to their emails. They’d rather switch to the next available solution that works for them.
This is where conversational marketing can work for you as a B2B company. According to Gartner, by 2025, 80% of all B2B buying will be consummated via digital channels. But as of now, if we go by Drift’s 2021 State of Conversational Marketing report, frustration with B2B digital experiences is still on the rise since 2020, with 27% of buyers being increasingly frustrated with poor quality forms and another 25% facing poor website navigation.
So how do you eliminate all possible frustrations that your prospects are likely to face when initiating a sales conversation with your brand? The simple answer is conversational marketing, and here are some practical, research-based recommendations that can help you simplify your customers’ buyers’ journey and create a more seamless buying experience for every visitor:
1. Pinpoint the Sources of Frustrations/Frictions in Your Customer Touchpoints
To enable you to develop the right solution and attack the problems head-on, you want to first carry out an internal investigation or audit of all touchpoints. For instance, consider testing your chatbot sequences and web forms as a customer would. Again, you can engage your customers on a one-on-one chat to understand their frustrations with your processes.
In addition to these, revisit your sales funnels and check if there might be opportunities that you’re missing out on. Furthermore, you can conduct employee feedback so you can also see things from their perspective. Many times, customers pour out their frustrations on the first human they interact with. Finally, you want to double-check and be sure that your tech stack is performing optimally without glitches. If not, consider investing in reliable chatbot technology for your site.
2. Automate Conversations Where Necessary
Instead of having forms for everything, consider automating your responses across all your touchpoints. The flip side of this is that your sales reps are all tied up with customers, answering questions that automation could take care of.
Instead of creating forms for all processes, use chats to provide automated responses to as many as is possible via chats. In addition to that, FAQs sections come in real handy for answering possible customer answers. You may then encourage them to fill out your contact form if they require further solutions or answers. Businesses using this approach have happier customers.
For repeated visits or customers who haven’t been on your site for a while, consider using welcome messages to re-engage them. This simplifies the conversation and allows you to proffer the right solutions by picking up the conversation where they left off.
For instance, a message like, “Welcome back! We’ve added several updates to improve your experience since you last visited. Click here to download our recent press release to see these updates.” can help visitors find what they’re looking for faster.
3. Personalize the Buying Experience for Your Customers
Whether you’re dealing with repeat customers or new ones, you cannot afford to fall behind the personalization trend. Gone are the days when customers waited around for days to get answers.
Besides, going by recent trends, you can expect the demands for instant responses to increase in 2022. In this digital age, one review from one frustrated customer can cost you many more sales opportunities than you can imagine. In addition to that, the old ways of cold emails and cold calls are gradually fading in effectiveness to marketing automation.
With automation fully operational in your campaigns, you can roll out highly-personalized solutions to customers or new leads. For instance, using relevant, rather than generic greetings can help you solidify customers' confidence in your processes.
4. Don’t Forget to Align Your Solutions With the Conversations
The beauty of conversational marketing is being able to engage and understand each visitor with automation tools, and then offer the most fitting solutions to them based on their pain points. Having the best tech support and engaging customers with smart conversations are just other important pieces that constitute the entire package when implementing conversational marketing in 2022.
Ultimately, you want to be able to provide your visitors with the right solutions. After all, that’s why they came knocking on your door in the first place. Making sure the solutions you offer align with the customer's needs ensures their satisfaction and repeat visits or even referrals. And what’s there to know? 78% of the B2B referrals create viable customer leads for the business.
Want to Learn More About Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing in 2022 presents a dramatic shift from conventional or traditional styles of marketing; it is driven by automation. But beyond that is the focus on simplifying your customers’ buyer’s journey. You can take advantage of our digital marketing insights at Mission to improve your conversational marketing strategy this year.
You can take advantage of our digital marketing insights at Mission. We are happy to help you make the most of your conversational marketing strategy. We want to see you grow. As leading growth strategists, sales, and digital marketing experts, we are here to take you through every step to creating smart digital marketing goals.
We provide you with help on how to implement them successfully. Also, as leading partners in the PEO, HR, payroll, and benefits outsourcing marketplace, we provide result-oriented services for small and medium-sized organizations and government contractors, serving as a trusted partner in integrated human resource compliance, risk management, employee benefits, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI), and payroll processing.