Marketers are deploying different tactics and strategies to reach their clients and prospects with various communication channels. Some of them exist for many years, and others are quite new and shiny. But the motivation to leverage those channels remains the same: To improve a company’s north star metric, which is usually connected to sales and revenue.
Two distinguished channels have emerged as indispensable tools in a growth marketer’s toolbox: Email marketing and conversational marketing.
What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing leaves the traditional approach of digital marketing tactics behind and focuses on talking directly to your (potential) customer. It allows customers to take (back) control of the conversations they have with companies.
Today’s buyer is in charge. And they don’t want to fill out forms or be treated like an MQL. They want to be treated like people. Conversational marketing helps you focus on having real conversations with the individuals who do the actual buying. It elevates the buying experience and makes it more authentic and more effective.Kate Adams, VP of Marketing, Drift
In short, conversational marketing allows marketers to listen to their customers, understand their pain points, and analyze their needs.
How does conversational marketing work?
Don’t worry; you will not have to sit at your computer all day talking 1:1 to hundreds and hundreds of clients and prospects, trying to understand their needs and solving their problems individually at the same time. One common misconception about conversational marketing is that we think that it is a singular channel. However, it’s rather a whole new approach to digital marketing than just another channel.
Conversational marketing is a strategy. One you should use across the entire customer journey, regardless of the individual tools you use at any point in that journey.Drift
Conversational marketing goes beyond the new and shiny things such as chatbots. It is a way of leveraging channels in a more interactive and customer-centric way. Live chats and chatbots are what you might think of in the first place. But your videos, blog posts, and especially your emails can be conversational too.
Marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot can help you to set up personalized, conversational customer experiences. Especially small businesses can benefit from conversational marketing since it potentially relieves the sales team from manual outreach and follow-ups.
How to make emails more conversational
We always identify emails as a one-way communication channel between us (= company or marketer) and them (= clients or qualified leads). We then push product updates and announcements, promotions, invitations to the audience. And that’s what gives email marketing a bad reputation.
The problem is, the emails we’re sending aren’t conversational at all. We’ve made email marketing about us, when it should be all about our customers.Marketo Blog
That’s why we need to get rid of a push-focused email marketing approach and start having conversations instead.
Build relationships, not sales funnels!
Conversations are about building and nurturing relationships. Therefore, it is essential to establish a human connection with your audience. These conversations can take some time and effort and may not generate a sales opportunity instantly. But, you can be confident that they will establish an authentic relationship which is even more valuable than a one-time purchase.
Listen, Analyze, and provide a solution
To build a strong relationship with your customers and, therefore, an effective conversational marketing strategy, you need to listen to them, pinpoint their needs, and identify their pain points. Then, you may ask yourself how – it is easy!
You can send them surveys to fill out or ask them to leave a review. If you want to go the extra mile, you can offer them a free consulting session (like we do). Next, analyze your insights and identify the trends. Equipped with those, you will be able to provide a tailored solution for their needs which will help you to reduce friction and optimize conversion and close rates.
Don’t push! Let them breathe!
It’s not a secret; no one likes “pushy” people. Even more, no one likes “pushy” marketers sending “pushy” emails!
Don’t get this wrong – you will still use CTAs, and you will have your conversion funnels mapped out across your (email) marketing strategy. But, you should give your clients and prospects room to breathe. This might take time, but eventually, it will end in genuine conversion.
Friends or enemies?
After all, conversational marketing and email marketing are neither friends nor enemies – they are actually the “same” if properly used.
This blog post was originally published on LinkedIn.