By Mazdak Rezvani, CEO at Chatkit
Every day, the average person receives 88 emails. But that same person only sends 34. If your inbox looks anything like mine, there’s probably a steady stream of newsletters, discounts, and PR outreach emails that go unanswered. And with all that clutter, it’s hard to know who wants to have a meaningful conversation with you online and who just wants to spam. Instead of talking with you, these companies and individuals talk at you. That has to change.
Conversational marketing may be the solution to that problem, giving brands a chance to listen to and communicate with their customers one on one in chat apps. In the previous article in this series we discussed how this approach lets brands automate messages in a way that’s both more personal and efficient. Personalizing the conversation for each and every customer ultimately drives better conversions and lifts brand loyalty.
But pulling this off is not as simple as just building a chatbot and programming it to message anyone you want. Successful conversational marketing comes down to three key actions: grow, message, and optimize.
Email is simple. Once you have the correct address, you can make contact with anyone you want. But email is also more intrusive, which partly explains why so much of it goes to waste.
Think of conversational marketing as the counter to that. It requires a bit more work upfront, but the payoff is worth it. Conversational marketing calls for consumers to opt in before a dialogue can start, so to thrive, brands proactively connect with people using paid ads and organic content.
Marketers have a number of options at their disposal to start a conversation. They can answer comments on Facebook and other social platforms, create custom buttons on their profile pages, and offer QR codes. Once the conversation starts, it’s so much easier to keep it going. According to Mediakix, 30% of chatbot users communicate with brands. And that number is set to increase as they become more popular because more than half of millennials who communicate with a chatbot leave with a positive impression of the brand behind it.
Once the customer opts in, it’s time to start the messaging process. Brands should strive to add value right away to make a good first impression. After all, a following isn’t worth much if people stop listening once you reach out to them.
Once the customer opts in, it’s time to start the messaging process. Brands should strive to add value right away to make a good first impression.
The best brands add that value through personalization. It sure beats the alternative of making a customer visit your corporate website, find the contact form (if one exists), and wait days for a response. That’s why companies like Bank of America and TD Bank were early chatbot adopters. They realized customers had questions and needed immediate alerts or updates specific to their accounts.
It also helps to remember that this type of marketing is meant to facilitate a long-term conversation. So be strategic. Don’t overwhelm users with too many messages. Treat each person with a custom approach. For example, if someone gets the information they’re looking for, wait a few days to follow up. But if a different user starts a chat but doesn’t complete a transaction, it’s okay to nudge them depending on where they’ve left.
As long as you treat people with respect and give them a worthwhile experience, you can separate your company from the brands that just spam inboxes with one-size-fits-all promotional emails.
While personalization is extremely important, it’s just as important to segment your audience based on their behavior.
While personalization is extremely important, it’s just as important to segment your audience based on their behavior. One of the benefits of conversational marketing is that all of your chat history is located in one place, and you can use artificial intelligence to gather data on your customers to find key insights that will guide your strategy.
Data is always going to be a marketer’s best friend, so aim to test as much as you can–introductory text, carousel images, button copy, etc. Additionally, brands can run virtual focus groups and conduct surveys to find out how they can improve the messaging experience. Technology company Kapow found that 68% of customers leave because they perceive that you’re indifferent to them. So it’s up to brands to perfect their voice to each and every person they interact with.
More than 3 billion people are active on messaging channels around the world. If conversational marketing is the future of communication between brands and customers, it’s time to start talking.