People don’t want to answer cold calls, email back and forth, or use impersonal contact forms. They want rich, 1:1 conversations when and where they please. They want: conversational marketing.

This is why conversational marketing is the future. Our CEO and Founder, Ron Palmeri, sees that future. Gartner sees it. And, judging by the fact that you’re reading this blog, you see it too.

But, just because you see the future, doesn’t mean you understand how to implement it. That’s what we’re here to clear up. Here is everything you need to know about conversational marketing and the future it brings for enterprises:

First, what is conversational marketing?

Conversational marketing can be defined as a specific approach to engaging your customers that involves:

  1. A unified and personal experience
  2. Communication that flows both ways
  3. And a focus on building 1:1 relationships

Most enterprises still talk at customers, but conversational marketing is all about talking with them. It’s a methodology of marketing that eschews the traditional idea of piling leads into a funnel and replaces it with a short sales cycle emphasizing learning about customers and creating a personal experience.

How does conversational marketing work?

One of the best aspects of conversational marketing is how simple it is for both parties to use. On the enterprise side of things, it’s as simple as adopting a conversation platform (like Layer) and integrating it with all your existing platforms (email, social, mobile apps, site, etc.).

On the customer side of things, the experience is as simple as connecting with a business where and when you want to! Customers need to simply send a message and they’ll receive a real-time response from your sales team, marketing team, customer service team, or even an intelligent chat bot.

It looks something like this:

conversational marketing example on iphoneconversational marketing example for ecommerce

Let’s get more granular

If you’re looking to adopt conversational marketing, and make it an integral part of your sales and marketing methodology going forward, you’ll need to know more than just the basics. Diving down into how conversational marketing really works, we can break it into 3 major components:

  1. Capturing leads
  2. Qualifying said leads
  3. Generating sales

1. How conversational marketing captures leads

The first component, as we mentioned above, is converting your visitors into leads. Conversational marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for accomplishing this, as it reduces the friction a visitor will encounter becoming a lead via traditional forms.

Think about it, if you’re interested in a product, and they only offer a form, you’ve got to fill out several fields and then won’t get anything back right away. It’s not a pleasant experience for the shopper.

But, with conversational marketing, that whole process is made loads easier! If someone’s interested, they can simply chat with a member of your team or a smart AI. It’s quick and frictionless.

Not only that, but they can start this conversation on a wide range of platforms. It could be in the form of a Facebook message, an Instagram comment that slides into the DM, or on your website. (Most conversational marketing services include a configurable popup on your site which asks visitors if they’d like to chat.)

Conversational marketing has great potential to convert visitors to leads on any platform where messaging is an option.

Step 2: Qualifying leads

Traditionally, qualifying leads involved long forms, email chains, and perhaps even having your own team research the lead themselves. This process is not only inefficient, it’s inconvenient for both parties!

Rather than continue using this inconvenient process, many companies are letting conversation marketing and smart AI do it for them! Basically, when a visitor begins engaging with your team or your bot, you can ask them the questions needed to qualify them.

Questions like “where do you work?” and “What’s your role there?” feel more personal when asked via a live chat. This makes capturing lead data, and thus qualifying leads, easier than with traditional forms.

Conversational marketing cuts out the time needed on your team’s side to pull up a lead’s LinkedIn, compare that to data captured from the form, and do a qualifying call.

Step 3: Sales through conversational marketing

One of the best use cases for conversational marketing is the ability to drive sales with intelligent bots and 1:1 messaging with your team.

A lead could ask a question such as how long it takes for your product to ship, and a bot would respond with your answer from your FAQ page, then if they ask for a list of products a bot could even provide that.

After which, they may have more specific questions that your bot isn’t yet able to handle, at which point one of your team members hops into the chat and seals the deal.

The entire process will feel seamless for the lead/customer, something that can’t be said for other sales mediums. It’s this ease of use that makes customers more likely to buy through this channel.

The major benefits of conversational marketing

You’ve already seen some of the benefits your enterprise could experience through taking a look at how conversational marketing works above, but those aren’t all!

One of the biggest benefits of conversational marketing is that it adds to your existing marketing efforts. Many commonly think they need to remove their landing pages or forms to use conversational marketing, but that’s just not true! Using conversational marketing alongside your existing marketing campaigns and funnels will add extra leads to your pipeline.

In other words, conversational marketing gives your customers an alternative. Those that prefer forms will still use them, but those that would have never filled out a form may now convert to become some of your best customers!

Another powerful benefit is the ability to shorten your sales cycle. Traditionally, a lead has to fill out a form, then wait for an email from your team. Typically, you’re looking at a day or two for your email to go to them, then another day or two for them to respond, and so on.

This process is cumbersome and long, but with conversational marketing responses are instant!

Lastly, thanks to the more personal buying experience, your leads are likely to share significantly more than they would in forms. You’ll be able to better discover their pain points, what they care about most in a product, and even why they came to your site in the first place.

Who does conversational marketing appeal to?

You may be tempted to think that conversational marketing would only appeal to the younger crowd and consumers, but you’d be wrong. It’s not uncommon to see key decision makers and executives in your chat.

Even CEOs too busy to fill out a form and go through your email marketing drip will engage with your sales team through real-time chat. This means that conversational marketing is even likely to deliver higher quality leads to enterprises than forms would.

Conclusion

Conversational marketing is a faster, more convenient way to capture new leads that would have skipped over your forms otherwise. It’ll grow your sales pipeline, shorten your sales cycle, and help you to learn more about your customers in the process.

Implementing it now will give your company a big competitive edge, and in a few years, it’ll be a necessity to compete. Let us know when you first heard of conversational marketing in the comments below.

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