While traditional advertising techniques aren’t completely obsolete, today’s consumers want something more from the brands they trust and frequent. They want relationships, engagement and connection. Conversational marketing provides all of that.
At its core, conversational marketing involves creating a dialogue with customers as quickly as possible. It’s an effective way to move them through the customer journey, and it helps them feel more connected to your business. Whether they talk to an employee, a chatbot, or your social media specialist, they’ll feel like they matter to your business.
Incorporating conversational marketing into your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is easier than you might think. It’s good business intelligence, and there are plenty of benefits to back it up.
Whether you’ve never heard of conversational marketing or you’re already interested in incorporating it into your strategy, let’s dive a little deeper into how it works, why it’s important and how you can start putting it into practice.
Anyone with experience in marketing understands the importance of quality data. Thankfully, there are plenty of numbers that back up the importance of conversational marketing. First, buyer expectations for personalized shopping experiences grew by 26% from 2020 to 2021. Real-time conversations can help to create meaningful, personal interactions with customers on every step of their journey, fulfilling those expectations and meeting their needs.
According to Folloze Research, 77% of B2B marketing professionals believe that personalized experiences improve customer relationships. Since that’s exactly what people are looking for, there’s no question as to why conversational marketing is so effective.
If you need even more proof, take a look at the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people spending time online than ever and not doing as much shopping outside of the home, the need for interaction became even greater. According to Drift, a survey of B2B companies found that 58% adopted a conversational marketing strategy as a direct response to COVID-19 and 99% of those respondents believed it to be valuable.
Businesses have chosen to adopt a conversational marketing strategy for several reasons, including:
• Converting web traffic into leads
• Generating a sales pipeline
• Boosting customer support
• Delivering a greater customer experience
No matter the reason, it’s clear that using conversational marketing in your SEO strategy is good business intelligence. When you harness the power of data to make effective, smart decisions for your company, you’re more likely to find success. Not only does business intelligence help you identify market trends, but it analyzes customer behavior. When you take a look at the increase in conversational marketing and how well people are responding to it, it quickly becomes a strategy that’s hard to ignore – and one you should start prioritizing.
If you’re still not convinced that conversational marketing should be an important part of your SEO strategy, consider the benefits.
First, you’ll create a better customer experience from start to finish. While your business goal might be to move a customer quickly through their journey to close a sale, the last thing you want is for that customer to feel rushed. Meaningful conversations can happen on your website 24/7. That will help your customers build trust in your business while making it easier for you to collect data and create a more personalized experience through targeted messaging and learning more about their needs.
That’s important because it eliminates a lot of recruitment issues for potential customers. Instead of sending out surveys or asking people about their needs on your website or social media, you can speak directly with existing customers or those interested in your business.
When you provide potential customers with an easy way to interact with your business, you’ll also improve lead generation. Who doesn’t want to convert visitors into customers? Engagement is one of the best ways to do it.
But, what are the best ways to do that, and how can you implement it into your SEO strategy?
Once upon a time, the best way to incorporate conversational marketing into your business was with actual employees. That’s still a viable solution depending on the size of your business and how many people you’re able to hire.
Nothing will ever be able to replace human interaction. In fact, more people are craving it than ever, especially in a post-pandemic world. With so many people working remotely, human interaction is extremely important. It can boost mental health, reduce stress and help those who are working from home combat loneliness and isolation.
Two of the best ways to incorporate human interaction into your website are to offer a “live chat” option, or a 24/7 phone number customers can call to get information.
Live chat is a great way to improve the customer support experience, and it can actually boost employee productivity. When a customer is talking to a well-informed employee, they’ll feel more supported, especially if they have a question that needs a quick answer. If an agent is talking with a new or potential customer, they can also give them the confidence and security necessary to finally make a purchase.
Most importantly, live chat increases customer engagement. Whether you choose to have a text chat option on your website or a phone number that allows people to call in, offering human-to-human interaction will make it easier to get to know your customers, make positive changes to your brand and products based on the data you’re collecting and build a rapport with your audience.
Live chat and a 24/7 call line aren’t obsolete in any way. Again, nothing can ever take the place of human interaction. However, not every business is able to have the on-hand staff to provide those services around the clock.
So, it should come as no surprise that we’ve seen a rapid rise in chatbots over the last few years. They provide a streamlined, frictionless way to interact with current and potential customers. Some of the biggest benefits of implementing a chatbot on your website include:
• You can provide 24/7 availability
• Increased support speed
• Quicker time answering questions
• Agent time can be reserved for high-value inquiries
• Personalized human interaction
There are several different ways you can implement a chatbot. First, decide the most effective place on your website for conversations to take place. On which pages of your site do you want your bot to start interacting with your customers? A good rule of thumb is to choose high-traffic pages, where customers have the highest chance of purchasing something.
You don’t necessarily need a chatbot to immediately pop up. Consider setting up automated messages on different pages that appear after a certain amount of time. Give the customer the chance to respond to that message, and it’ll get the conversation going.
As you set up your chatbot, it’s important to determine the kind of flow you want each conversation to have. What questions does the bot need to ask to get the information you need? What do you need to implement to make sure your customers are getting correct answers quickly?
Because chatbots are becoming so popular, people are becoming more comfortable with them as resources for viable information. While you should always have a “backup” available if your customers want to talk to a real person, chatbots can serve as an effective intermediary that boosts engagement, allows you to analyze detailed data and uses conversation to keep your customers’ journeys moving forward.
If you really want conversational marketing to work for you, the most important thing is to have a detailed understanding of your audience. You’ll be rewarded with incredibly specific data that you can use to personalize the customer experience for everyone. Don’t take that for granted. Every time a customer engages with a customer service agent or chatbot, they’re telling you more about their needs and wants.
It’s essential to utilize that data for their future experiences. Not only will it increase the chances of them becoming loyal customers, but it will help to foster a healthy relationship between your business and every customer who interacts with you.
Don’t stop at your website. You can utilize conversational marketing on social media, as well. Facebook, for example, now allows businesses to use Messenger as a sort of makeshift chatbot. You can set up a welcome message, inviting potential customers to reach out and ask questions. You can choose to set up automated responses or have a member of your team respond directly. If you’re not familiar with these practices or you’re not comfortable implementing them yourself, consider working with a professional SEO company to get moving in the right direction.
Conversational marketing will only continue to become more popular and prominent as technology keeps moving forward. Chatbots will become smarter and able to streamline the customer journey even more. Artificial intelligence will be implemented more frequently into websites, creating a more personalized experience for every customer that visits.
Now is the time to get on board with conversational marketing, so you can build a bigger audience of loyal customers now and stay on track for the future as more advancements are made. Show your customers you value their experience from start to finish, and engage with them on their purchasing journey.