Conversational Marketing In 2020: The Ultimate Guide On Why and How to Get Started

Conversational marketing continues to rise in popularity.

This is because one of the best ways businesses use to get new customers and maintain a solid relationship with existing ones is through consistent communication.

To do this effectively, businesses use different strategies and tools. Channels such as emails, social media, traditional media, and so on are quite popular and have been in existence for long.

While these channels have helped business owners grow and engage with their audience over the years, they still have their shortcomings.

Recent research by Survey Monkey Audience and Drift, show that online users still struggle with getting prompt information easily with these channels of communication.

conversational marketing trend
conversational marketing report by Drift and Audience

This shows that online users now prefer to interact with businesses through instant messaging. This is because it allows them to have immediate access to these brands, and also make it easy for them to resolve any concerns they may have about their products and services.

So, if you’re an online business looking to communicate effectively with your target audience, then excelling at conversational marketing is something you should care about.

In this post, I want to show you exactly what conversational marketing is and the steps you should take to excel at it.

Let’s get started.

Conversational Marketing: What Does it Mean?

In case you’re wondering what the concept of conversational marketing or conversation marketing is all about, this section of the post will explain it in detail.

But before I delve into that, I’d like to know which you’d prefer out of these two businesses.

Business A has a great product, pays great attention to detail, but their customer support takes 24 hours before they respond to customer’s concerns and queries.

Business B has a great product, pays attention to detail, and responds almost immediately to any concerns and queries by their customers.

Chances are that you’d prefer the latter, and this is exactly what goes on in the minds of your customers before deciding to do business with you.

Truth is, aside from having a great product as an online business, ensuring that you respond to your customers’ concerns promptly should be a top priority for you. 

With conversational marketing,  you’re able to communicate with new and existing customers in real-time.  That way, you’ll move them through your sales funnels as soon as possible.

Not only that, it also helps you to build personalized relationships and create a memorable experience for your customers. When you do so, converting the right leads in a short time becomes an easy task for you. 

Finally, with conversational marketing, you don’t expect your leads to fill a form and take days before reaching out to them. Rather, you use the right content forms to engage with them, while they’re still on your website.

Conversational Marketing Statistics: The Trends You Need to Know In 2020

Below are some latest conversational marketing statistics and trends you need to know in 2020, and what it means for your business.

  • 66% of consumers prefer to reach brands through messaging apps: Chief Marketer
  • 45% of businesses have implemented conversational marketing as part of their marketing efforts: HubSpot
  • Over 300,000 messenger bots are active on Facebook: Social Media Today
  • 82% of consumers believe that an immediate response is very important when they have sales or marketing-related questions: HubSpot
  • About half (46%) of Americans use digital voice assistants on their smartphones: Pew Research Centre
  • Conversational marketing will become more popular among business owners for generating, nurturing, and landing sales: Gartner
  • 86% of consumers prefer to use a chatbot than filling a form on a website: Drift
  • The reach of messaging apps is now bigger than that of social networks: Business Insider Intelligence
  • 85% of customer interaction will be managed without a human (chatbots) by 2020: Chatbots Magazine
  •  By 2021, more than 50% of enterprise companies will spend more every year on the creation of chatbots than mobile app development: BotCore

Conversational Marketing Best Practices You Need to Imbue

To excel at conversational marketing, there are some best practices that you must imbue to make it happen.

Done right, you’re sure to get tremendous results from this strategy. Else, you’d end up blaming yourself for doing it in the first place.

Here are the things you must consider to get conversational marketing right for your online business.

1. The Needs of Your Customers Are Paramount

With conversational marketing, the needs of your customers and not that of your business matters a lot. Hence, you must intelligently create your system such that the conversations happen in your customer’s time.

Although as a business owner, you want to get more leads and close sales as fast as possible. When implementing conversational marketing, this isn’t usually the case. Rather, you should focus on ensuring that you’re available to chat with the customer in their own convenient time.

That way, a conversation which you initiated with the customer early in the day, could be completed late in the night.

2. Be Ready to Communicate With Multiple Customers at the Same Time

Another point which you must note as far as conversational marketing is concerned is to scale up your communication with clients. Unlike traditional forms of communication, you’ll most likely be responding to a lot of customers at the same time.

This is why you must create a scalable system that can accommodate the communication needs of your customers. For humans, this might be a difficult process, unless you’re working with a huge team.

You can build a chatbot into your system which provides answers to commonly asked questions. Alternatively, you could implement educational content marketing into your to enable your customers find the answers they need on time.

3. You Must Understand Your Customers Deeply

To succeed with conversational marketing, then you need to have a deep understanding of your customers. Without this, you won’t be able to communicate with them at the level that they expect.

Take for instance, if a customer purchased one of your products online and reached out to you hours after, to complain about it. If you don’t know the exact product that they purchased, it’ll most likely take time before you provide them with a solution.

However, if you set up your system to tell you exactly the product that each customer purchased and when they did, answering their questions correctly then becomes a walk in the park.

This is why you need to understand your customers deeply. To do this, you’d need a CRM to gather, manage, store, and make customers’ data easily accessible.

That way, your system will be smarter and your employees will respond to your customers in record time.

Why Conversational Marketing Matters for Online Businesses: The Benefits You Stand to Gain

You stand to gain a lot when you implement conversational marketing in your online business. Here are some of the reasons you should start using conversational marketing today to grow your business.

1. Helps You to Learn More About Your Prospects and Customers

If you want to know the pain points of your prospects and customers, then you should implement conversational marketing in your business.

This is because it helps you to create a rapport and deeper understanding of what your customers care about and the products they love.

Take, for instance, if you’re a content marketing agency and using a chatbot, you can easily qualify a prospect even before they purchase from you.

You can configure the chatbot to ask them questions such as:

  • How may I help you today?
  • Why do you want to implement content marketing as a strategy?
  • What type of content do you want us to create for you?
  • What’s your budget for each piece of content?
  • How many pieces of content do you need per month?

By asking these questions, you’re able to know more about your prospects and decide if they’re a good fit for your agency.

Also, you’re able to know exactly what their pain points are and how you can help their business grow with your services.

2. Provides Your Customers with an Avenue to Get Answers in an Exciting Way

Conversational marketing helps you to delight your customers and make communication with them less boring. For most people these days, they prefer a quick answer to their questions through a chatbot than going through your website content.

Also, with more consumers spending more time on their mobile phones than ever before, conversational marketing will help you interact with them better.

A recent data by Flurry shows that US consumers spend more than 5 hours on their mobile phones every day.

how conversational marketing affect mobile users
how conversational marketing affects mobile users

This shows that if you want to delight your customers these days, then you should use apps that allow you to give a quick and personalised support to them.

When you do, they’d be happy to interact with you and most likely recommend your business to others.

3. Great for Converting Leads to Sales Faster

When you use traditional means of communicating with your prospects, such as lead forms and email optins, it takes time to convert your leads to sales.

This is because your team has to manually go through the form, qualify the prospects, and then reach out to them via email or phone.

This takes a lot of time and you might end up converting a qualified lead to a sale, in say 14 days. 

With conversational marketing, you reduce your sales cycle hence making it easy for you to get more leads into your sales pipeline faster.

An example of this in action, is the digital marketing agency, ThriveHive.

According to them, implementing conversational marketing on its website made them qualify their leads much faster and in an efficient way than chasing them down via email or phone.

This was achieved because their sales reps were having conversations with their prospects while they’re live on the website. That way, they can guide and qualify them correctly too.

At the end of the day, they were able to shorten their sales cycle by 63%.

4. Exciting Way to Build Relationships With Your Customers

To build a more robust relationship with your existing customers and prospects, then you should implement conversational marketing in your business.

The reason is simple. Conversational marketing platforms promote ongoing communication with your customers in a way that they’d most likely love.

Take for instance, if you want to purchase a new gadget at home and you visited two websites.

Website A provides you with all the details of the product and prompts you to make a purchase afterwards.

Website B, on the other hand, provides you with the details of the product, and also a detailed comparison with other similar products then prompts you to chat with a live agent who takes time to explain the pros and cons of each product to you.

Which of these websites are you most likely to buy from. I bet you’d prefer the former.

When used correctly, conversational marketing helps you to build a strong relationship with your prospects who’ll eventually convert into leads. 

By adding live chat as a communication channel, Hubspot was able to attract 20% more qualified leads for their business.

5 Conversational Marketing Examples: How Other Online Business Owners Use It To Grow

You might be wondering if conversational marketing is the right step to take for your online business. If that’s the case, I want to show you examples of companies that use this as a strategy and how they use it to get tremendous results for their business.

1. Databox

Databox is a great example of companies that use conversational marketing the right way to grow their business.

The first thing that any visitor (aka prospect) to their website sees is a chat prompt asking how Databox can help them in their business.

Databox conversational marketing example

One thing I particularly love about this chat prompt is the fact that it provides the visitor with clickable resources to get started with the company immediately.

And if you want to take the conversation further, you can ask specific questions and someone from their team, will reach out to you immediately just like this:

how databox uses conversational marketing

As you can see, if you were a prospect, this allows you to learn more about Databox and perhaps eventually sign up with them in the long run.

2. RapidMiner

RapidMiner, the data science platform used by organizations across different industries is another great example of conversational marketing in action.

They make use of a chatbot to engage with prospects who land on their website.

As soon as you communicate with the chatbot, it immediately asks you to submit your email address in case there’s a disconnection along the line.

rapidminer conversational marketing example

That way, their sales team can follow up with prospects who have indicated an interest in their products.

Not only that, if you ask more questions about using the solution, there’s someone on standby to point you in the right direction.

how rapidminer engages their customers using a chatbot

As you can see, they’re using conversational marketing to generate more interest in their products and providing the needed information to their prospects on the go.

3. 1-800-Flowers

1-800 flowers is an online flower delivery company. They use a multi-channel conversational marketing approach which makes them stand out.

The company, which started using chatbots on Facebook, was one of the early entrants.

As soon as you click on “Get Started” you’re prompted to either order for flowers or talk to support.

Once you decide on the option, you’d then be redirected accordingly.

Source: Impact

Also, you can initiate a chat with one of their representatives directly on their website.

Once you click on the “chat” icon, you’ll be prompted to enter details such as name email, and the kind of help you need.

There, you can select if you want to make a new order or need help with an existing one.

As you can see, it makes customers’ lives easy and helps them weed out prospects who aren’t ready to make any purchase.

4. Brandwatch

Brandwatch, a digital consumer intelligence company is another shining light as far as using conversational marketing in online businesses is concerned.

Once you visit the website, you’re welcomed by the chatbot, which asks you if you want to know more about how consumer perception changes.

One thing I love about the conversational marketing tool on this website is the fact that it also serves as a knowledge base.

Such that, if you click on any of the options mentioned, you’ll get a pre-written response to your question.

brandwatch conversational marketing example

Depending on what you choose, a real customer support personnel follows up with you on the chat, to ensure that you get the needed help.

As you can see, they don’t just assume that the bot will do the job, the team follows up to ensure that everything is done correctly.

5. 7Shifts

7Shifts is a SaaS business that helps restaurant owners to schedule different shifts for their employees.

The intelligent chatbot which is used on their website (also known as 7bot) is awesome.

Once you indicate that you have a question, the first response you get from the chatbot is to confirm if you’re a current user of the software.

If your answer is no, then it’ll request that you submit your contact details to enable you to engage with the right person on the team. 

As you can see, this chatbot was set up to identify website visitors who aren’t clients. That way, the sales team can reach out to them and communicate the company’s value proposition to those prospects who are a good fit.

Conversational Marketing Tools: Taking Your Business to the Next Level

To skyrocket the results that you get from conversational marketing, you need the right tools.

Here are some conversational marketing tools that can help you kickstart your journey the right way.

1. Facebook Messenger Bot

This is the official tool by Facebook for developers who want to build a personalized experience for their audience on the platform.

The upside of using the messenger bot for conversational marketing is that it’s free to use and gives you access to a huge and engaged audience.

However, if you’re not a developer, it’d be a herculean task for you to build a chatbot using this tool.

2. Drift

If you’re looking for a conversational marketing tool that helps you to create a chatbot in seconds without any need for coding, then you should consider using Drift.

This tool helps business owners to communicate with their prospects in real-time and also set up meetings with their sales team.

Features:

  • Welcome message
  • Knowledge base integration
  • Zapier connection
  • Calendar integration
  • Sales enablement integrations
  • 24/7 chat support

You can get started with a basic chat capability for free. The standard pricing plan starts at $50 per month.

3. BotMyWork Chatbot Builder

BotMyWork chatbot builder is a lead generation chatbot builder on Facebook messenger. With this tool, you can create a chatbot on your website that is linked to your company’s Facebook page.

Interestingly, using this chatbot builder doesn’t require you to have any knowledge of coding or setup any configuration on your website.

Features: 

  • Multi-language support
  • Great for retargeting Facebook users via other platforms
  • Connects with live customer support representatives
  • Broadcast messaging
  • In-built bot analytics

You can get started with its free plan if you’re looking for basic chatbot capabilities. The pro plan starts at $9 per month for each bot.

4. Intercom

If you’re in need of a conversational marketing tool that helps you to handle customer relationships in real-time, then this one comes really handy.

With thi tool, you can drive growth for your business at every stage of the customer lifecycle and also convert prospects to leads faster through your funnel.

Features: 

  • Personalized customer messaging
  • Allows you to create customizable bots for your business
  • Self-service resolution bot
  • Integration with other useful tools and apps
  • Ability to track, segment, and gather customer data

The basic live chat plan starts at $39 per month. 

5. Collect.chat

Collect.chat helps you to collect vital and relevant information for your business from your customers through chat.

It’s a great conversational marketing tool to delight your customers, boost your online presence, and get higher conversions.

Features: 

  • Easy creation of a chatbot with no coding knowledge required
  • Great for lead generation
  • Helps in booking meetings faster
  • Integrates with other apps
  • Customizable templates for different industries

The free plan starts at $0 per month. To access more features, you can upgrade to the paid plans which starts at $24 per month.

Conversational Marketing Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide

To excel at conversational marketing, you need to do it the right way. This will help to convert website visitors to business prospects and finally qualified leads. 

Here is a step-by-step guide which is highly recommended to help you get the best out of this strategy.

Step #1: Personalize Your Conversation With Customers

Conversational marketing is usually a work in progress. However, one of the first steps towards a successful campaign is to personalize how you relate with each customer.

Since conversations happen in real-time, then showing your customers that you know them will create a lasting impression for them. Else, you’d most likely force them to leave the chat almost immediately.

To do this, you can set up your chatbot in a way that it asks them some personal questions as soon as they engage with it.

Some personalized questions you may ask, include:

  • What’s your name?
  • What’s your email address?
  •  How may I help you, today?

Having personalized details of your customers such as this creates a room for a more natural conversation and helps you respond to them quickly.

Step #2: Engage With Your Prospects 24/7

After personalizing your chatbot, the next thing you need to do is engage with your prospects on an ongoing basis. The reason is simple. What’s the essence of conversational marketing, if there’s no ongoing communication.

To make this happen, you need intelligent chatbots. This helps you to engage with anyone that stumbles on your website as soon as they do. After all, you can’t have someone on your team responding to website prospects 24/7. 

Before creating an engaging chatbot, you need to understand your customers’ pain points and put an appropriate response mechanism in place for each of them. 

Also, you can engage with regular website visitors to know if they’re interested in your products and services. 

Not only that, you might also want to target those who visit some buyer intent pages on your website and initiate the conversation with them.

Step #3: Understand the Value of Each Prospect

One of the disadvantages of conversational marketing is its low barrier of entry. Since it doesn’t take much to engage with a chatbot, chances are that you’ll come across those who engage with you with no intention of buying.

This is why you need to understand the value of each prospect that you come across. When you do, you’ll know those ready for a sales conversation and those who aren’t. That way, you can manage the number of people who get in touch with your sales reps.

To do this, you should set up some qualifying questions that your bots ask visitors. Afterwards, they can engage with them to know them better.

Step #4: Show Your Prospects What to Do Next

After engaging with the valuable leads, the next step your bots should take is to show them what to do next.

Say you operate a SaaS business, and a prospect who stumbled on your website and has been engaged by the bots is interested in taking the conversation forward.

So, what happens?

Do you set up the bot in such a way that it closes sales with these types of leads too?

Truth is, while you can configure your bots to engage and qualify your leads, most people still prefer human interaction to make a purchase.

In this case, you can connect your bots and sales reps.

After confirming that a prospect is ready to make a purchase, they can intelligently ask them to book a meeting with your sales team automatically.

That way, your sales team won’t have to spend much time convincing people to buy from you. Rather, they’d be focused on closing sales for your online business.

Step #5: Optimize Your Conversational Marketing Campaigns For Optimal Performance

The final step to take in excelling at conversational marketing is to optimize your campaigns for optimal performance.

To do this, you need to periodically check your campaigns to know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

If a particular step isn’t working well for your prospects, then you should test other variations of that step to see what happens.

Similarly, if there’s a particular step that converts greatly for your prospects, then you might want to A/B test it to see if you can get better performance.

By optimizing your campaigns, you’ll learn from them and improve on it too.

Conclusion

In this post, I’ve shared with you why excelling at conversational marketing should interest you as an online business owner.

Also, I’ve shown you examples of online businesses that actively use this strategy and how it’s helping them to convert website visitors to prospects and leads.

If you want conversational marketing to work for your business, then integrating it with a powerful content marketing strategy is the best way to go about it.

That way, as you engage your prospects and customers via chat, you’ll be able to convert them faster with your content too.

Here are some ideas that would help you to get started with conversational marketing.

  • Personalize the conversations you have with prospects
  • Ensure that your chatbot is readily available to engage with your prospects 24/7
  • Outline the value you want from your ideal prospect
  • Take your prospects by the hand and don’t leave them in doubt at any point
  • Check what works and optimize your campaigns accordingly.

At Winsome Writer Services, we understand how conversational marketing helps businesses grow and why it’s important to implement it for your business too. 

If you need help with creating actionable content that engages your prospects and converts them to leads, then you should reach out to us now.