There once was a time when every transaction began with a conversation.
But when millions of transactions take place without a word being spoken, how can you thank your customers? Answer their questions? And most of all, become their friend?
Slowly, over the past year or so, “We want to tell our story,” is being eclipsed by, “We want to have those conversations.” And so content marketing brings us right back to the beginning of marketing itself with “Conversation Marketing.”
The term is still a bit nebulous: should it refer to any relationship generated through a UX, or only to those conversations, like on Snapchat and other chat apps, that can be archived and tabulated?
In the case of the latter, SkullCandy has amassed 400,000 conversations in two months while seeing click-through rates 15–20x higher than Facebook. The vast majority of these conversations are handled by robots, but that doesn’t seem to bother the human participants at all.
The all-encompassing option harks back to an earlier, simpler time, when shopkeepers knew their customers through countless conversations. Listening to their struggles, their stories, their lives, their woes and their highs. In this realm, conversation marketing is about making connections with your community and then using that information to better inform your marketing initiatives.
Conversation Marketing in Practice
Because Conversation Marketing sprang into being as a small sub-sect of content marketing, you’ve probably already indulged in a few of these practices and strategies:
- Email marketing (opt-in only):Provide updates, promote your business and communicate any news or events.
- Surveys: Simple and direct, asking for your customers’ feedback. This is a great way to make decisions if you’re unsure as how best to approach a situation.
- UGC: Testimonials & reviews are powerful things. In fact,most Millennials trust User-Generated Content 50% more than any other media.
- Feedback: Ask for, capture, and then act on your customer’s input. This can be through a follow-up email, a survey, organic one-to-one conversations on social media, and so on.
- Customer loyalty:Implement loyalty or reward programs that demonstrate your appreciation for return customers.
- Relationship building:Talk, listen, get to know your customers and your industry peers.
- Be accessible:Make it easy for customers to reach out to you. In-app chats, live customer service, social media support and emails all offer you different doorways to your customers.
- Customer satisfaction:Let your customers know that you’re putting their experiences first and foremost in importance by implementing a customer satisfaction policy. This will help you easily remedy any problems and issues, while maintaining customer rapport.
- Help lines:Provide support, service, advice, and information.
Bottom line: Conversational Marketing builds relationships that can give you personal insights into your customers, allowing you to anticipate their needs. To start implementing Conversational Marketing, do what you did at the beginning: Start a conversation.