Men in Conversation

Let’s talk – how conversation is the most powerful marketing tool

Are you missing out on a simple way to get your business in front of the right people?

Conversation Marketing

Elvis wanted ‘A Little Less Conversation’, but if you’re in business – and especially in marketing – what you need is MORE conversation! Conversation and engaging with people are both vital if you want your clients, or customers, and prospects to feel connected with your company and brand.

Conversations can take many forms, and whether your customers are having a face-to-face chat with you or engaging with you in an online conversation, it has never been more important.

However, while it may be a buzzword in 2020, the concept of Conversation Marketing isn’t new. It harks back to 2007 with Joseph Jaffe’s ‘Join the Conversation’, which intended to educate marketers and businesses on how to re-engage customers who were overwhelmed with marketing messages, through community, partnership and dialogue.

And as more of us live most of our lives online nowadays, this has never been truer. Your potential customers are inundated with marketing initiatives constantly. It is likely they have grown weary of them.

Engaging Better

The thing about trying to market and sell is that it can be a one-way street – what we’re actually doing is talking AT that potential lead rather than engaging in a two-way conversation. Actually, that lead is a person with thoughts and feelings and not just a number on a sales sheet or a mindless nonentity – now can you see why it is so important?

Because unless you engage in conversation with that potential customer, how will you know what they want? Unless you find out more about them, how will you know what they need?

If you can engage and connect with your community of customers, you will have an arsenal of ways in which to market your business to them – by helping to address their needs.

Making the Transition

Instead of just targeting a potential client with information about your product or service, selling it to them and never seeing them again, conversation marketing works like this:

Imagine you run a shop. They come in, you find out how they heard about you, you ask why they want the product or service from you while you’re wrapping up whatever it is they bought from you. Then you carry on chatting and you discover they have some other needs that you can fulfil, and you sell them something else. You ask them when they will need your help again – they say they have a birthday gift to buy in a month. You make sure you remind them in a couple of weeks about something you thought would be suitable. So, you go from a one-off sale to a lifelong customer.

This is a very simplistic example but I’m sure you’ll get the gist! And the premise of engaging better can take many forms. For example, after a webinar I hosted recently, some of the attendees added me or contacted me on Twitter. Because I wanted them to know that I was a ‘real’ person and genuinely wanted to engage and make sure they knew they could ask me any questions, I tweeted out to them individually and personally.

Picking up the telephone right now has never been a more powerful way of communicating with your clients or customers. However, dependent on your business, it is entirely possible that they might not be able to get through to you if your lines are busy.

Online messaging should, if its not already, be a vital part of your ‘conversation marketing’ strategy.

If you’re in any doubt, let us give you some figures – courtesy of Facebook’s latest data. More than 40 million companies worldwide are active on Messenger – 40 million! If you’re not using it, that’s an awful lot of connections you are missing out on.

Upwards of 20 billion messages are sent between people and businesses on Messenger each month and a massive 64% of people would prefer to message rather than call a business. Let’s face it, it’s easier and it’s quicker, but they will still demand if not an immediate response, then certainly a quick one!

Why use Messaging?

As we’ve already pointed out, it is hugely popular. It is constantly used as a means of communication by and between consumers – your prospective and present customers.

With 87% of smartphone users using messaging and 100 billion messages winging their way through Facebook alone every day, it would be downright silly not to embrace this form of communication.

Consumers nowadays want immediate action and immediate results. Messaging allows them to contact you when and where they want to. It’s quick and reliable, and businesses are also likely to respond ‘reasonably’ quickly. An office may have a policy of picking up the telephone in 3 rings or responding to an email within 2 hours, what’s your policy for online messaging?

Messaging is also highly convenient – most people have the facility on their smartphone, so they are already familiar with the offering, and there are no hoops to jump through in order to be able to communicate with you as a business.

Available Messaging Tools

In addition to Facebook Messenger, it looks like LinkedIn is also getting in on the act, with its Conversation Ads, which it describes as “the evolution in our new messaging-based ad format helps you interact with your prospects in more personal and engaging ways. Conversation Ads build on our current Message Ads offering (formerly Sponsored InMail), and feature a ‘choose your own path’ experience that lets you create full-funnel campaigns with multiple customized calls-to-action, like product education, webinar sign-ups, and e-book downloads.’’

Twitter is not far behind, as it has announced it is testing its own version of Stories called ‘Fleets’. Fleets will disappear after 24 hours and are currently being trialled in Brazil.

Realtime Response

Being able to message in real time is a huge plus – no waiting around for an email to be answered. This is key if you work in a time sensitive business, and even if not, the ability to respond quickly will stop your potential customer from looking elsewhere for the same product or service.

Imagine, if your prospect emails in the morning and it takes you until lunchtime to respond. In that case, they may have continued their online research and already made a purchase from a competitor before you’ve even typed your reply.

Messaging is truly versatile, it allows you to deliver content, help consumers find relevant content, generate sales leads, re-engage with clients and talk to your target audience on a one-to-one basis.

More Examples of Conversation Marketing

Here’s a few more ideas to get you thinking:

  • Telephone: As we said earlier, picking up the telephone has never been more powerful! Start with a simple, how are you?
  • Email marketing: Offers and updates can promote your business and let customers know about news or events. Ideally your data will be segmented to maximise this approach.
  • Direct mail: A great way to stand out from the crowd and a great form of communication, because it can provide bespoke and intimate one-to-one conversation.
  • Surveys: An easy way to get customer feedback.
  • User-generated content (UGC): Reviews and testimonials from customers are valued by prospects, your ‘would-be’ customers. Encourage content creation with competitions and shoutouts.
  • Feedback: You will probably need to prompt for good feedback! Use a survey, introduce a loyalty scheme, or perhaps rewards for recommending new customers.
  • Be approachable: Whatever medium you’re using, whether it is on social media, using live customer service or in-app chats, be approachable – and note that poorly thought out chatbots can do more harm than good!
  • Be ready to help: Offer a telephone helpline or specific email address for customer service, advice, support and product information.

If you would like to have a chat about how you can engage with your clients, use conversation marketing in your marketing strategy, develop a strategy or any other marketing requirements, please call Alison Page on tel: 07963 002065 or email: hello@alisonpagemarketing.co.uk. You can of course browse our website to see what our existing clients have to say about our work.

Alison Page

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