THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR SMALL BUSINESS
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Conversational Marketing: what it is and why you need it
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about online tools, but conversational marketing isn’t just an online strategy and requires more than digital tools. Regardless of whether you’re connecting with customers online, over the phone or in person, the conversational approach should permeate everything you do.
A conversation happens between two or more people. There’s an exchange of information, and in a conversation you would modify what you are going to say depending on what someone else has said.
Sales messages have typically shown a company in broadcast mode. This is a monologue and if you imagine it in a social setting, it’s like someone standing in the centre of the room shouting the same thing over and over. The chances are pretty high that you wouldn’t buy from this person and in fact you’re very likely to start edging away from them.
Even sophisticated brand messaging has something impersonal about it. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have those messages, but branding can be supplemented with conversational marketing to enrich the brand and increase engagement.
Conversational marketing involves answering customer questions and responding to feedback. If you keep getting the same question over and over, that’s a sign something could be clearer in your messaging. If you change your product or service based on customer feedback, that’s worth highlighting.
Data-driven marketing started out as a way to get to know your customers better but somewhere along the line, the potential of all that data has led many companies to lose sight of the fact that there is a person behind every line in their spreadsheet.
Customer-driven marketing is the way to deliver sustainable results, and that starts with a conversation that involves the customer throughout the sales process. That doesn’t mean throwing out all your current methods of data collection; conversational marketing enables you to use that information in a smart way and add a further dimension to your customer knowledge.
While it is important to have an end goal in sight, such as making a sale, booking a meeting or a demo, don’t get too caught up in all the possibilities of your data. A/B testing, retargeting and form filling all have value but remember there’s a person at the end of that information. You might gain more if you take the time to have a conversation and really listen to what people are telling you.
This approach applies across all channels. Sales scripts are useful tools, but only if they’re flexible. If your sales process requires telling everyone everything, even if they haven’t asked, even if they’ve learned much of it online already, then you could find that previously warm leads start to go cold.
Data collection shouldn’t be seen as the end to a conversation, it’s the start of one. Applying this approach across your business means customer-centric products and solutions as well as effective marketing channels and successful sales promotions.