THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR SMALL BUSINESS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Crafting a conversational marketing strategy that generates leads and sales
Your strategy depends to a certain extent on your objectives, but some aspects of conversational marketing strategy are common to all businesses, regardless of your specific goals.
Every business requires good quality sales leads that convert prospects into customers. Conversational marketing allows you to both widen your sales funnel to capture more leads, and then qualify those leads so you can focus on those prospects most likely to become customers.
It’s important to clarify the steps in your strategy because on its own, conversational can seem like a woolly approach. You need more than just a wish to know your customers better. Breaking the strategy down into steps allows you to measure each aspect of your conversational marketing strategy and measure the results. This ensures that your strategy is focussed on delivering benefit to your business.
Stage One: Capturing Leads
The first stage is to capture leads. If your prospects are online, the chances are that you’ve already invested in SEO to make sure people can find your website. That’s a great first step, but have you considered what happens to those prospects once they reach your site?
The best SEO strategies tailor everything from keywords to landing pages to dovetail with customer expectations and requirements. However, those same sites often direct everyone to the same enquiry form to capture information which is then stored in a database for a response.
You have the potential to collect information on customers anywhere on your site, not just from a form. Real-time messaging and intelligent chat-bots can capture information for your database but can also guide prospects further along their journey.
Just as you tailor website landing pages based on the keywords used to find your site, you can tailor the conversation to meet your website visitors’ needs and expectations. You may already have a number of FAQs on your site and perhaps even display this information online as a reference. These can also be a source for informing the conversation.
For example, imagine you sell cakes for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions. If someone has searched specifically for “wedding cake” then not only can you direct them to a landing page which reflects this interest, a chat-bot could start the conversation by referencing this point – “Are you looking for a wedding cake?” “Do you have a theme for your wedding?” “Would you like to see examples of other wedding cakes we’ve created?” etc. If the search is less clear, you can alter the approach. You might ask, “Every special occasion deserves cake – what occasion can we bake your cake for?” and then the rest of the conversation can carry on from the prospect’s response.
Stage Two: Qualifying Leads
Research from InsideSales.com and HBR suggests that you have five minutes to qualify a lead; after ten minutes there is a 400% decrease in the probability of qualifying that lead. That’s why chat-bots can be so valuable. You may not be able to afford to have someone available to respond to messages 24/7 and it’s important for your own work-life balance that you’re not tied to a screen.
Conversational marketing tools are an affordable way to remain responsive to customers so that lead qualification can take place in a fast time frame. As well as helping you retain more leads, this approach also means that you’re speeding up the sales cycle.
Let’s return to that cake shop. Someone starts searching in the evening for a wedding cake, and they engage with a chat-bot on your site. By the time the owner returns to work in the morning, they may already know the date of the wedding, the theme and any dietary preferences. Depending on how it works, the prospect may have already booked a tasting or a meeting and all that remains for the owner to confirm that meeting or get in touch with some specific ideas.
Conversational marketing allows your website to work for you and do more than just sell your brand. You can directly connect with each customer and in some cases even make a sale by providing personalised information and guiding them around your site.
Warm leads and sales while you sleep are just two of the advantages of conversational marketing. In addition, the personal touch can build brand loyalty because great service from a company that takes the time to listen can make all the differences when competitors arrive on the scene to erode your market share and cut prices.
Qualifying leads also, by default, disqualifies those leads that aren’t relevant to your business. Just a few simple questions may be enough to determine whether or not your business is right for someone. You can send them on their way with a polite message, maybe even refer them to a partner or another local business who may be able to help.
Filtering out irrelevant leads will mean that your sales team can focus on the relevant leads. This means more time for personal connection and building relationships, which all contribute to closing the sale.
Stage Three: Connecting with customers
Even the best chat-bots and the latest AI has its limits. For many businesses, there never will be a replacement for the personal touch.
Conversational marketing tools can do a lot of the legwork in terms of lead generation and qualification. Unless you have a very simple product, it’s likely that at some point, a person will need to take over.
You and your team will have more time to spend with each prospect and customer because there’s no time wasted on irrelevant leads. The tools can route each enquiry to the right sales rep depending on territory or specialisation. They also provide useful background information to keep the conversation going.
Intelligent routing can save time that you used to spend sifting through the data from enquiry forms. That speeds up your response time and increases the effectiveness of the sales channel.
In some cases, prospects may prefer to carry out their research online; in those cases, the sales team could refer someone to the website with a live chat link so they can keep in touch. Sales calls can pay dividends, but giving the customer the choice of how they interact with your business, combined with a real-time response, can be even more powerful.
Conversational marketing is not a replacement for person-to-person sales but it can do a lot to support the building of relationships and closing a sale. From time-saving data collection to smart routing of enquiries for a rapid response, conversational marketing tools leave you and your team well poised to increase your revenue.
If you want to know more about conversational marketing and then benefits it can bring your business, download the complete article as an ebook from my resource hub below.