The way we communicate and interact online is constantly changing. Users have come to expect a much more personal and tailored experience, the type that can’t be provided using traditional ways of interaction.
When looking at the words conversational marketing, some people might be wondering what exactly that is. Well, it basically is a strategy that gives customers the personalized value they are looking for and allows businesses to scale while saving time and resources. We found out that through conversational marketing and therefore through live chats, chatbots, and social monitoring it’s possible to promote genuine conversations and real relationships. The goal here is, of course, to enhance the user’s experience while minimizing friction.
Long gone are the days when consumers were passive recipients of marketing messages who had to be bombarded with a blatantly pushy sales pitch in order to be convinced to make a purchase. New, interactive technologies enabled them to break the fourth wall and have their say about how they feel about brands and what they expect from them. This means that the time has come for brands to learn how to listen actively while their customers do the talking. Marketing is a two-way street, and that’s the essence of conversational marketing.
What’s Conversational Marketing?
Unlike traditional marketing which heavily relied on TV commercials, billboards, newspaper ads, direct mail, and similar methods which customers learned to ignore successfully, conversational marketing enables brands to have relevant, meaningful, one-on-one conversations with their audiences across different channels of communication.
Live chat and chatbots are the first things that come to mind when it comes to conversational marketing. However, this strategy is much more than these two tools, and it can be extended to social media, phone calls, SMS, and IMs – pretty much any channel that your customers prefer.
Some of the benefits of such an approach include:
- Being available 24/7. This is something that your customers will appreciate as you’re putting their needs first, and override your regular working hours which are somewhat limiting. AI-powered bots can answer customers’ questions in real time, be it 7 a.m or midnight. No wonder that by 2020, more than 85% of customer support interactions will be handled by chatbots.
- Getting to know your audience on a more profound level. These chats and conversations are a gold mine of customer information, and they can help you understand your audience better and start using their language in your messaging.
- Humanizing your brand. By combining live chat, bots, and social media, your outreach will be much more natural, and you’ll avoid using generic request forms which your customers don’t consider particularly promising in terms of providing them with timely responses.
1. Sephora’s Virtual Artist
The upscale beauty retailer stepped up its marketing game by introducing the Sephora Virtual Artist feature in their Facebook Messenger bot.
This innovative AR functionality allows the brand’s customers to “try on” makeup by uploading their selfies and applying different lipstick shades, eyeshadows, and false lashes.
Besides being fun and making it easy for customers to share their makeover photos with friends in order to get valuable feedback or add them to Facebook Stories, Visual Artist offers something much more important – a try-before-you-buy experience without having to visit a physical store.
What’s even better, once a prospective shopper makes their purchasing decision, they can order the products they want directly from the thread, which additionally streamlines and improves the customer journey. The brand reports that Sephora Assistant, a similar Messenger bot for booking makeovers in one of its stores, accounts for an 11% conversion rate increase.
2. eBay’s Google Assistant App
By 2020, 50% of all queries will be voice searches.
This stat is a wake-up call for marketers to optimize their content and adjust it to their target audience’s latest fad for voice assistants.
eBay’s Google Assistant App tremendously facilitates browsing through the company’s vast online shopping inventory and lets customers start their search by saying “Ok, Google, ask eBay to find me…”, and this smart app will ask you additional questions in an attempt to narrow down your search and provide you with the most relevant results. Once it finds the best deal, the chatbot will ask you whether to send the results to your smartphone so that you can complete your purchase.
Given that Siri, Alexa, Amazon Echo, and other voice-based assistants are increasingly popular, it’s clear that implementing such a tool can significantly boost customer engagement.
This widget comes after the online retailer’s Facebook Messenger ShopBot, which uses AI and Machine Learning in order to personalize the shopping experience based on a deeper understanding of customer intent.
Planning and executing such an effective conversational marketing strategy can be a complex endeavor, which is why it’s a good idea to consult experts from digital marketing agencies and see what the best approach will be for your company and how to make it work within your budget.
3. Domino’s AnyWare
Domino’s wants to make the process of ordering pizza as easy as pie.
Back in 2015, the company encouraged its customers to tweet or text a pizza emoji and have a pizza sent their way.
This concept evolved further, so that now with Domino’s AnyWare it’s possible to order your favorite items from their menu through a number of available options – Google Home, Alexa, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, or even a Smart TV. This versatility and abundance of different channels of communications is something that’s of vital importance to today’s picky customers, and Domino’s does everything g to meet its patrons’ preferences.
Again, personalization and an in-depth understanding of customers needs is exactly what helps Domino’s build loyalty thus making sure that its clients will come back knowing that they can easily reorder their favorite item from the menu with a single click, tweet, or word, as well as track their order and see when it will be delivered.
4. General Motors and Social Media
Although conversational marketing is mostly related to innovative chatbots powered by the latest tech, social media is another tool that can make this strategy work.
One of the best examples of this approach is General Motors and the way it dealt with the 2014 ignition switch recalls, a crisis which threatened to ruin not only the company’s finances but also its reputation.
Over the course of several months, more than 30 million cars worldwide were recalled, while the switch ignition flaw resulted in the deaths of 124 people. G.M. was transparent about the issue and owned it, raising the bar on customer support and experience along the way.
Customers flooded the company’s social media channels with distressed comments and negative feedback, and the auto giant had its customer support reps address each and every individual complaint and offered to help on the spot.
Some customers got loaner cars until their problems were solved while others were given a refund for the travel expenses caused by the malfunction of their vehicles. Instead of trying to hush things up and switching to traditional tactics such as emails, phone calls, and other more private communication channels General Motors chose to listen to their customers, hear their objections, and proactively handle this huge blunder in the public eye.
It’s time to jump on the conversational marketing bandwagon, if you already haven’t, and take a cue from these companies who mastered the art of customer experience and satisfaction with the help of this powerful strategy.
Nina is a technical researcher & writer at DesignRush, a B2B marketplace connecting brands with agencies. She loves to share her experiences and meaningful content that educates and inspires people. Her main interests are web design and marketing. In her free time, when she's away from the computer, she likes to do yoga and ride a bike. You can also find her on Twitter.