Marketing has always been about taking a product or service to consumers and pulling them into the sales funnel through messaging and touchpoints. While these buzzwords weren’t around even 50 years ago, it’s blatantly obvious that adaptive marketing strategies sure have come a long way since the new Sears catalog hit homes. In today’s marketing terrain, businesses and organizations are facing new challenges in terms of keeping their target audiences interested. In the last few years, statistics overwhelmingly point to data that shows a high majority of our target customers want humanization, personalization, and storytelling when it comes to choosing where they want to spend their hard-earned money. They want to be seen, heard, and most importantly, they want to know there are actually people behind those crafty social media campaigns. They want to feel seen with a personalized direct mail piece, or if they’re forced to communicate with a business, they want to know it’s not just a chatbot. Conversational marketing tactics take these consumer desires into account and help engage our new or potential clients and customers, and in doing so, we as business owners can cultivate a brand ambassador relationship with the people most invested in our products.
When most people think of conversational marketing, they immediately turn to chatbots, great customer service, and methods in which they can engage with their customers in real-time. But conversational marketing doesn’t start there – in order to snag a new client or customer, it’s important your business creates content, ad campaigns, and cross-platform marketing strategies that compels them to want to engage with your brand. That being said… let’s talk about it. (See what we did there?)
A Smidge of Perspective – What Consumers Want
There was a time when a flashy, bright, and colorful print ad was the go-to for selling your product. Before the internet, advertising was about magazines and billboards, radio ads, and TV spots. It was a glamorous time for retailers and even now, who in the marketing industry isn’t captivated by watching old black and white infomercials where luxuriously clad models pattered around living room sets while a slick narrator told you about the newest accessory features on your fully reclining armchair with cup holders. Back then, consumers were enticed, saw the product, and had to physically appear in front of a salesperson to inquire about their purchase. They were forced to stand face to face and have real-life interactions.
In the digital age, with eCommerce sites, customer service lines, ad videos on TikTok and Facebook, beautiful influencer images on Instagram, and even Spotify ad spots, it’s easy to get what you want with the simple click of a button. Whether the market for your product is saturated or not, those initial touchpoints are pivotal to your overall success as a business.
For years convenience was the name of the game. Who needs to talk to a salesperson when you can look up reviews, head to Amazon, and find the lowest price with Prime Shipping? If you offered streamlined online ordering and shipping, you were on top of your game. Now, almost anything you could ever want is available online, and that’s created a new dynamic for businesses and organizations. Everyone is doing it, right? If there’s a product you want, the online ordering processing and efficiency have to be top-notch, and if it isn’t, there are 10 more brands that can provide those features when you can’t.
This unique conundrum has molded consumers’ desires into a new, unique, and interesting need for conversational marketing. What marketers around the world are learning is that our majority consumer market is switching gears. What consumers want now are connection and conversation.
Conversational Marketing – Starting a Dialogue
The overall concept of conversational marketing is this: Creating opportunities for consumers to engage with your brand in real-time, no matter when or where. Consumers want to feel connected on a personal level with your business, and to get live updates and answers to their questions to help make purchasing decisions when it comes to your products or services.
The big picture here is that consumers now more than ever, want to see chatbot popups, good response times on email communications, answers to Tweets, DMs, and comments in groups or on blogs, and prompt call back times. It’s important to note that automated responses only go so far. These types of bots should only be used to acquire initial, imperative information like “Why are you contacting us today?” or “We’re sorry we’re not available at the moment, you’ve contacted us outside of business hours but we’ll respond as soon as possible!”
We’ve hopefully emphasized the need and importance surrounding the availability and ease of contacting and communicating with your brand, but we want you to understand it doesn’t start or even stop there. Conversational marketing strategy is a bit larger than that, and we want to help you understand how important it is that your brand culture and image is portrayed to consumers as a company that values that engagement. You absolutely want someone looking at your brand to think “Gosh I love this product but I have some questions…their website and online presence makes me feel like they’d actually answer my questions if I ask them.”
So how do we inspire that feeling? How can your business gain valuable visibility, and a reputation for being accessible, friendly, and…dare we say it, personable?
Our words online as a brand literally speak volumes. Your tone, in addition to the type of consistent content you produce, is for all intents and purposes the first impression consumers are going to have of your business.
Content Marketing in Conversational Strategies
Now just hear us out – developing great social and website content is another level of dedication and resource application that not every business has the time or budget for. That’s why if you’re looking to really grow your business, it’s a fantastic idea to speak to an agency or firm to see what kind of multi-channel services they can provide. The conversation starts when they see your content, and that means employing tactics that make them feel comfortable engaging.
Social media content is your first step, and let’s be really clear here… your social media content and engagement will not be the same as any other business. It shouldn’t be. For example, at Capacity Marketing, we dive into in-depth market research and audits before we even deliver a strategy. We want to see what your competitors are doing, we want to know what tone they’re using, and most importantly, we want to see if those strategies are working for them.
Should you use humor? What about hashtags? Do branded images work better on your social feeds or do people engage more with candid photos in the office? (Hint: Consistent data analytics across Capacity clients shows that photos and content showcasing real people perform better, hands down.) When creating content, are you writing a thesis paper, or do you use a conversational tone? Do you answer questions as though you were being asked them by a real-life person? There’s an SEO and search ranking balance here when it comes to informative vs conversational tones, and we can talk about that in a different blog, but when we get down to brass tacks, 77% of online users read blogs. They’re reading your blogs and they’re reading them for information, but they also want to learn more about your tangible experiences. They want to resonate with your messaging, they want to feel seen and heard.
Creating engaging and welcoming content can be hard, but agencies like Capacity Marketing are here to help. As the digital age progresses, transforms, adapts, and is constantly evolving, it can be hard to keep up. Focusing on running your business should be your top priority, but humanizing your brand’s culture is a sweet spot you don’t currently want to overlook.
If you have questions about conversational marketing, we’re here to help. Reach out to us by heading to our contact page here, or give us a call at 845-430-5277. Help your brand stand out in the crowd, connect with your consumers. Trust us when we say it can mean the difference in ROI.