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It’s time to have a conversation about conversational marketing

When states initially moved into quarantine and lockdown procedures in March, the hope was the curve would be flattened and life would return to somewhat normal. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.

There are many obvious changes in our daily life, but perhaps the most prevalent of all: any face time that doesn’t involve an iPhone is being limited whenever possible. As many businesses continue to work (and sell) remotely, creativity and resourcefulness are needed more than ever to keep revenue coming in.

As companies pivot to a digital environment, part of that is figuring out how to keep clients and prospects engaged through a computer screen — cue conversational marketing.

What is conversational marketing?

Conversational marketing, at its core, is basically what it sounds like — marketing through having conversations — which is what you’ve probably been doing since your business started! However, there are a few differences when it comes to conversational marketing during a time when we’re all communicating online.

The era of setting up initial meetings and follow-up calls for every lead is over. Prospects want access to information on their own schedule and real-time support to go with it, which is why more than 45% of businesses have taken the first step into conversational marketing: installing a chatbot on their website. Now, instead of rifling through webpage after webpage and getting frustrated (or bored) before finding the content addressing their pain point, prospects can be guided through conversations and led exactly to where they need to be.

Do the robot

For those of you who haven’t made the transition, it may seem foreign to have a bot be responsible for guiding potential customers through the initial stages of your marketing flywheel. After all, how many times have we thought to ourselves while calling into customer support lines, “Why can’t I just talk to a real person?” However, data shows that not only do users not mind conversing via chat, they prefer it.

According to Chatbots Magazine, 69% of consumers prefer chatbots because of their ability to provide quick replies to simple questions. Further, over half of consumers prefer to message a business for help, rather than reach out to customer support via phone.

So why is it that consumers hate automated menus on phones, but love chatbots? Because chatbots are smart. Like many other evolving technologies, bots can be highly personalized through a number of factors, such as what page(s) the user is on, if they’ve given their information before, and other logic flows that will guide prospects down the right path without making them want to pull their hair out. And if you’re using your chatbot in conjunction with a CRM like HubSpot, you’ll be able to set contact properties automatically, based on the answers your site visitors give.

Automation isn’t everything

While chatbots are wonderful for quick and automated responses, sometimes, just like in real conversations, there will be times when canned answers aren’t quite enough. To assure the leads who need some extra support aren’t lost, businesses are beginning to take their website’s chat functionality one step further by introducing live chat, where users can talk directly to a team member in real time without the hassle of setting up any phone calls or meetings.

In fact, not only has chat functionality been shown to increase initial customer perceptions, but the chance for conversions and re-conversions, as well. A 2017 survey conducted by Kayako indicated that for 41% of users, live chat is their preferred medium when communicating with a company, and over half of consumers are more likely to repurchase from a company that offers live chat support compared to those that don’t.

If you haven’t set up your website’s chat functionality yet, don’t worry, we’re in the middle of it ourselves. Start off with basic functionality, try and get feedback from your current customers and industry peers, and go from there. There will never be a substitute for face-to-face communication, but while we all continue to socially distance, real-time chat functionality comes pretty darn close.

Interested in implementing a chatbot but not sure where to start? HubSpot is a great option for easy-to-use chatbot software along with plenty of other benefits. If you're thinking of taking the dive into a CRM, check out our HubSpot implementation services.


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