What is Conversational Marketing?
You might agree that trying to engage or satisfy your audience is getting increasingly difficult these days.
And thanks to a few/ or many bad eggs, it is getting harder to be able to use conventional digital marketing tools and strategies to reach them.
The rules are getting tighter.
Customers’ expectations are getting higher.
But the tools are not getting any easier to use!
Customers also want to be acknowledged for their unique differences and preferences.
They not only want unique or customizable products, but even when they are engaging with your business.
They don’t want a passive experience anymore, they want to have a say in the purchase process!
One of the ways that have been found to meet this requirement has been through the use of Conversational Marketing.
What exactly is Conversational Marketing and how is it any different the usual stuff digital marketers have been doing all along?
I’m sure we are all too familiar with the standard digital marketing gameplan.
You run an Ad Campaign, the user clicks on the Ad Creative, they get led to a landing page or opt-in page or maybe invited to fill up a lead form.
If you’re running an Ads Campaign to push them to a landing page or sales page, they will read the script and eventually decide if they wish to buy or bounce.
Going a step further, they might get tagged by the Facebook Pixel or other means and will be retargeted for future campaigns or follow ups.
Should you be doing collecting leads, you’ll start asking them to input the fields in order to receive updates or in exchange for a small ‘gift’.
Got Some Sales?:
If there’s a sale, time to get started with fulfilment and follow through with post-purchase where necessary.
Generated Some Leads:
If they didn’t buy or got captured as leads…
This is where your sales cycle begins.
Most marketers will upload their list on to their preferred CRM or spreadsheet.They’ll start preparing their scripts or sequences and then proceed to follow up with the leads.
Whatsapp or Telegram messages.
Drip E-mail Sequences
Or combination of all?
They will keep reaching out, sending newsletters, calling, following through until the leads requests to be removed from the list, agrees for an appointment or maybe just let the messages rot in the inbox.
At each stage, there will be attrition.
Is this Digital Marketing Gameplan bad?
It’s a tried and tested formula that’s been practised by almost every seasoned entrepreneur.
But the sales cycle and conversion rate may be quite challenging for some to bear.
You might have to go through warming up the leads for 2 to 3 months (depending on industry) before they finally decide to give it a shot to get your service. And that’s a modest number.
They may have shown interest, but they have not been properly qualified yet!
You will still need to go through another round of qualifying DESPITE the effort warming them up.
And that’s another layer of attrition…
What if they convert?
Time to do your numbers and measure your sales cycle and your customer acquisition costs.
Again, not meant to discourage the tried and tested formula.
But what if there’s an alternative method that can reduce the sales cycle significantly, helps you qualify the customer in advance and even provide a personalized experience to their purchasing journey?
Here’s the kicker.
Some of you might have already been doing it fully or in part.
It’s none other than using conversational tools.
Whatsapp, Messenger, Telegram, Discord, etc.
Some of you are probably familiar with chatting up with your prospects to qualify them.
But for this particular conversation, I’m going to narrow down the elements to Messenger and Facebook/Instagram marketing.
Customers love being treated with a human touch, but the problem is that it can get very time consuming when you are operating with large number of queries streaming in through your Ads or Pages.
That’s where you need the help of technology that can help automate these conversations.
Time needed: 15 minutes.
Users are getting more tech-savvy but sometimes they still need that extra push in the right direction.
This has been the most unique engagement so far!
One example was a fishery that has been planning to scale for the longest time.
They have a good share of loyal customers and new ones buying from them periodically.
However, should they invest on expanding their reach far wider than before, they will be stuck and possibly collapse under their own weight.
New customers sometimes get confused about the proper purchase processes.
Others, affected by the drop-off effect mentioned earlier in this article, sometimes leave incomplete or improper information.
That leaves the sales team having to spend hours correcting orders before passing them to the pickers to fulfil the orders.
This limits their ability to take on more orders.
Their operational team is ready to scale but the chokepoint in the order process is not giving them the chance to push for more sales.
And acquiring an enterprise system that can resolve this bottleneck is going to cost a fortune!
Implementation and maintenance will cost them even more time and money.
Unique problem calls for unique solutions!
We needed to create a chat sequence that educates the customers on the proper way to make their order and at the same time, helps the admin team be able to sort the orders in record time!
A conversational sequence was implemented to engage the consumers and guide them through the sales process step by step.
We created an Ad to Messenger Advertisement to update their audience of the new ordering changes.
Facebook Ad -> Messenger Video Post Creative
Instagram Ad -> Messenger Video Post Creative
Instagram Story Ad -> Messenger Video Post Creative
User gets led through with a conversational sequence to educate and guide both new and existing users on the new order process.
There’s something about filling up forms that can be quite intimidating.
You are expected to answer everything and submit.
It feels impersonal.
A conversational chat sequence may have the same goal.
But the nature of sequential questions, and responses in between….
feels more like a conversation rather than an exam.
Sometimes, this might be helpful when you have questions that might be personal to the user.
We developed a very basic chat sequence for a tuition centre to invite parents to share more about their child through the chat instead of a form.
We wanted them to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and queries through the conversation first so that the Tutor can get a sense of what to expect from the parents when they meet.
Every parent wants their child to receive the best support from their tutors.
They want to know that the tutors really take interest in their child’s progress.
Tutors, need to know if the student and parents are compatible for their teaching style and systems.
Qualifying each child and parent can be very time consuming when either parties meet without having enough information about each other.
Small centers have tutors who need to juggle multiple responsibilities on top of teaching alone.
Time is a precious commodity that they need to be mindful about using.
At the same time, they need to fill up seats within short period of time due to seasonal windows having a higher demand for their services.
They have to compete with stiff competition from bigger centers who have team of staff who can manage the entire on boarding process for each child, price war and still manage existing
That leaves them with little to no room to grow even during the best of times.
A conversational sequence allows them to continuously educate the parents and keep them engaged even during off-peak period.
Typically, advertising costs can be rather expensive when you’re trying to reach cold traffic through Lead Generation or Conversion ads.
Facebook has to work extra hard to find the users who might be interested to enlist themselves as a lead or make a purchase.
Conversational Marketing is a workaround that has helped one my clients continuously reach cold traffic without bursting their budget!
When they deploy Messenger Ads, Facebook works less harder than the previous two and users feels less intimidated by the experience interacting with their Ads.
The expectations from the users are no longer about making a decision immediately.
But to learn more about the company’s product or services first.
Here’s the best part.
Conversational Marketing is able to bring down your costs so much, that it’s almost cheating!
Messenger allows you to tag users that have chatted with you.
Our system tags them when they interact with our sequence.
When the last quarter came around, they needed a way to make one final push to hit their targets.
Where do they turn to again?
Yeap, their subscribers!
Since we managed to capture a sizeable list of Messenger subscribers over the past few months.
It’s time to engage and reconnect with them!
And at zero cost 😀
We used our Messenger tool to send out a broadcast, reconnecting with them to share about their plans for 2021.
It was an opportunity to revisit past conversations about their financial plans.
We ‘bribed’ them with a ‘2021 Financial Plan Guide’ to engage with us.
It was a freebie to keep them at the top of their minds.
We also successfully managed to ‘scrub’ the list and reconnect with past users.
The agents’ grew more confident using the system and are excited to roll out more materials to be shared through Messenger.
The regulation surrounding Ad Creatives and Setup are getting very stringent with algorithms or rules changing at every of Zuckerberg’s whim.
Through a conversation done via Messenger, apart from pushing promotional campaigns for sales, you can have the freedom to run almost any kind of conversational sequence with your
Don’t take our word for it.
Hermes ran a Murder Mystery sequence to get their users excited and take the opportunity to do some product placement as well.
Users get to immerse themselves in a Murder Mystery challenge littered with product placement. After some light-hearted fun and games, they are invited Hermès online store to do some shopping for the products seen earlier!
You do not need to be as ambitious, but you can most definitely be very creative.
You no longer have to be shackled to the rigid terms dedicated to Ad Creatives on Facebook.
The guidelines for compliance is very minimal.
Wildwest in the chat (albeit some restraint would still be helpful.
If you still think that Messenger or Conversational Marketing is purely about exchanges of text and information.
Hopefully your mind has expanded after seeing what big brands like Hermes have done with this tool.
With an innovative imagination, the sky is the limit!
Your customer dropped off from the conversation?
You can schedule follow up prompts to remind them to finish their conversation with you.
They don’t have to go through the whole sales funnel again.
Don’t need to fill up the opt-in form.
Or any other hoops.
Pick up from where was left off and continue with the conversation, updating the sequence with vital information about their preferences until they check-out and complete their sale.
We accounted that users sometimes may get distracted by the environment or from their mobile phones.
A 30 minutes interval was added as a Cart Recovery Sequence to remind users to complete their orders.
They did not have to go through the funnel once more but a simple update or changes to their was all that was needed.
Let’s use a certain occupation that gets affected by lengthy sales cycle.
Real Estate Agents…
Real Estate agents have one major concern.
In order for them to scale and get more sales.
They need more Leads.
When they get leads, they need time to qualify each of them individually.
Time = Money.
What happens when you get lots of leads but you they have not been qualified?
You need to spend more time prospecting, educating and qualifying them.
You might even have to spend time on prospects that are not ready to move forward.
That means you have spent time, money and effort going back to square one!
With an automated qualifying process, applied through conversational chat sequences, not only will the leads feel more comfortable to share the necessary details for the agent to follow up effectively, agents can now pace themselves and plan their meetings better.
In this instance, our sequence presents users with questions about their application status to measure their knowledge level and interest level.
Prospects will arrive at meetings educated thanks to the chat sequence as well which will make agents feel more confident to help their prospects since they are armed with sufficient information to move things forward quickly.
Both parties enjoy a positive experience!
Messenger tools allows you to ID or tag a person based on their journey with you through the conversational sequence.
You can categorize users based on their responses and send them through an appropriate follow up sequence.
You can even design unique experiences for different gender or randomized encounters for different users!
For example, the fishery we mentioned earlier had loyal following of Malay customers.
That meant we had to create a unique set of sequences and ads designed to cater to their profile.
You can use this to create unique experiences for different users, providing them with the personalized and humanized experience that they expect.
In the case of the fishery once more, users may conveniently update their order details or customer info anytime without the hassle or filling up forms or sending text messages to the company.
A simple message allows users to make the changes effortlessly.
What’s been shared has only been the tip of the iceberg!
The possibilities through conversational tools like these are growing continuously as Facebook continues to invest into Messenger and Whatsapp in a bid to follow the trend and seize the market share for their users.
As more tools, features and interactions gets introduced and adapted by businesses.
We might begin to see the conversational marketing trend take off, reshaping the digital marketing landscape!
The secret to success for every business has always been the quality of relationship they have with their customers.
The stronger the bond, the better the business grows.
And the fastest way to connect to another person, is by having a conversation.
For businesses, through conversational marketing.
Let me know how your thoughts down in the comments section below. Have you actually take notice of the customer behavior shift?