By Samuel Thimothy, VP at OneIMS.com
We often think that marketing is about selling, but in my years as a marketer, I’ve realized just how wrong that is. Marketing isn’t about selling a product -- it’s about building relationships.
Customer relationships help fuel business decisions on every level. From the products you offer to the way you sell them, knowing who your customer is and what they need is incredibly important to building a successful brand. However, getting to know them can be challenging.
One of my favorite ways to boost customer relationships is through conversational marketing.
What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing uses the power of real-time conversations to build authentic experiences for customers. It focuses on providing unique conversations, talking points and messaging to each customer depending on their needs, meaning happier, more trusting customers.
Conversational marketing also helps bring a personalized, human approach to marketing. Instead of putting new leads and customers straight into a pipeline of automated messaging, conversational marketing looks at how to build authentic experiences.
How can you build a conversational marketing strategy?
Let’s break down how you can implement a conversational marketing strategy to start building stronger customer relationships.
1. Include two-way messaging opportunities on your website.
Traditionally, a customer can only start a conversation through your website by filling out a form, sending you an email or giving you a call. They then need to wait for you to get back to them.
Unfortunately, this one-sided communication can make it difficult to really get to know your audience. It’s not conversational, meaning back and forth can be time consuming and easy to forget about.
Use an easy-to-engage-with chatbot or direct messaging feature to start a conversation. This allows customers to get in touch quickly and gives you a chance to create a dialogue that helps dig into the issues or challenges your customers are experiencing to get to know them better.
2. Offer personalized next steps.
The biggest benefit of conversational marketing is that you can get to know the unique struggles your customer is facing. To take advantage of this, offer personalized solutions for their problems.
Conversational marketing allows you to get away from a one-size-fits-all approach to your marketing funnel. Through talking to your customer, you can recommend a next step that fits their unique needs.
3. Use communication to build more human experiences.
Conversational marketing brings a human touch to the buying experience. By creating conversations with your audience, you can get to know more about what your audience is looking for and refine your marketing strategy to fit their needs.
This not only makes the sales process more efficient, but it also makes you more trustworthy in the eyes of your audience. When customers can hold a conversation with you, they can get to know you better as well.
A dialogue captures your customer’s attention and gives you an opportunity to share more information about what you offer. By engaging your audience in conversation, you bring a more human element to the way you do business.
4. Build from previous conversations.
Each conversation you have with a customer shouldn’t exist in a vacuum -- especially when it comes to repeat buyers. When using conversational marketing, each conversation should build on the last one you had with the customer.
Continuously building the conversation helps you dig even deeper and truly get to know your audience. It also shows your customers that you’re listening, helping you build your relationship with each individual. Store notes about interactions with customers so you can refer back to them the next time you talk.
What are you waiting for?
Conversational marketing help you build authentic relationships with each and every customer. By focusing on creating conversations with audience members rather than just sending them one-sided content, you can build trust that encourages leads to become repeat buyers.
Start your conversational marketing strategy by making it easy for customers to get in touch and get a quick response. Offer personalized next steps, and focus on communication that creates human experience. Finally, build from your previous conversations with customers by keeping notes on each communication.
Samuel Thimothy is the VP at OneIMS.com, an inbound marketing agency, and co-founded Clickx.io, the digital marketing intelligence platform.