We explore the benefits of these powerful marketing techniques and explain how you can integrate them into your strategy to build a loyal community of consumers.
Marketing, in all its forms and across all channels, is about communicating with existing customers and reaching out to potential ones with the intention of growing sales, attracting repeat business and referrals. Traditional marketing tends to involve sending information one way, be it emails, pop up adverts etc. Word of mouth and conversational marketing, however, promote conversational flow — two-way and beyond.
It’s simple really. Conversational marketing is about creating conversations and building real relationships. Do you want customers to make a purchase, or do you want to get a broader sense of who your audience actually is? Conversational marketing can achieve both.
Conversations help you get answers. Surely it is most effective to find out what a customer is looking for by simply asking them directly? Initiating a conversation will mean gathering lots of necessary data which can be used to further improve the services you provide. You can promote deals, update customers on changes, events, or ask for specific feedback.
With conversational marketing, speed matters. Customers don’t want to hang around waiting for a generic email. And they want things to be personal. That’s not to say that emails aren’t still a valuable method of talking to customers. But get creative with your email send outs — experiment, surprise the recipient, tailor your message to them and see how they respond.
So — you’ve nailed emailing. But you want customers to know that they can contact you in an instant. 53% of consumers are likely to abandon an online purchase if they can’t quickly find the answers they’re looking for. A quick response (and those three dancing dots that show you a reply is on its way) is reassuring. This is where Chatbots come in very handy.
Conversational Marketing in the Digital Era: Chatbots
We’ve written before about how intelligent assistants and voice searches are changing the e-commerce space, and it’s becoming clearer that they’re the trend that’s here to stay.
Using artificial intelligence will be a valuable addition to your current strategy, and can be as straightforward as setting up a Chatbot to speak directly to customers. The success of Chatbots is partially due to the speed at which they can operate, and the multiple ways they can positively impact shopper journeys.
Chatbots are pre-programmed with responses and are able to mimic informal language, so they’re able to handle a vast range of conversations with users. This means you can get the benefits of real conversation from a live chat system without sparing resources to monitor it 24/7. Bots can predict the issues a shopper is facing and offer assistance and support, and prompt action if someone is hesitating before completing their purchase.
Can they really make a difference? Yes!
88% of consumers say they’re more likely to shop with retailers that deliver personalized and connected cross-channel experiences and Chatbots can improve conversion rates in many ways. Vodafone has experienced the benefits — its Chatbot delivers double the conversion rate of its website, with markedly lower abandonment rates.
Just as when a customer seems a little lost in a physical shop and a member of staff offers to help, with Chatbots, the same applies. They are a great opportunity not only to welcome customers, but to offer them genuine support in their product search, recognize and solve issues they might be facing, and improve the chances of them completing their purchase.
Building a Chatbot is an incredibly personalized task. But translating your brand’s message and persona into each conversation can be achieved with ease. You can even integrate quizzes and GIFs, if this will resonate with your target consumer.
Before setting up a Chatbot, it’s important to make sure that you have established a clear tone of voice, and that you are satisfied that your copy represents the tone you want to achieve. This can then be replicated accurately and fed into intelligence systems.
Making Connections with Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth marketing is all about motivating people to discuss your brand, products or services, and building a community of loyal fans. Word of mouth is a powerful force — 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know or trust directly.
When lots of people promote your brand, potential future customers will have an authentic, trustworthy reference point for their opinions (and hopefully will be persuaded to check out your online store for themselves).
With the ever-growing pace and influence of social media, one post can be seen by hundreds or thousands in just moments. It’s no question that this is an invaluable opportunity for e-commerce businesses. User-generated content can also become a conversation starter — a place for your business to respond directly to questions and actively connect with those who’ve shown you support.
Of course ideally this would all be achieved organically, with happy customers sharing their experiences without being prompted. But reaching out to influencers for paid product placements or reviews can be great practice, too. Consider reaching out to influencers with an audience similar to your own — those are the people you want to join your community.
It turns out that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they do their friends. This means that it’s critical to monitor online reviews and respond to the negative ones just as frequently as the positives. Think of the undesirable ones as an opportunity to show just how far you’ll go to keep customers happy.
At Klevu we’re committed to innovating and perfecting on-site search. An important aspect of conversational marketing is making engagement easier for customers, and keeping them satisfied. Klevu’s search robot helps to ensure the smoothest shopping experience for customers. It can also be set up to provide custom keyword lists, automatically identifying the most appropriate words for customers to use when navigating your site.
To accelerate the buying process, Klevu prompts consumers as they type into the search bar, with words and suggestions taken from popular and recent searches. This forms an instant connection, giving the customer a simpler, more positive shopping experience.
Klevu’s partnership model is another example of word of mouth marketing in practice. We build relationships with distinguished leaders in the e-commerce industry to offer the most powerful service to merchants. Prospects also appreciate hearing about the brands we work with (and admire!). This often leads to sharing testimonials or making introductions, which benefits all involved.
How to Incorporate Word of Mouth and Conversational Marketing into your Strategy
There’s no one size fits all with marketing and communication. Luckily, conversational and word of mouth marketing have personalization at their core.
If you’re unsure where to start, consider:
- Re-posting any mentions of your brand on social media. Showcase happy customers and you’ll boost traffic to your store.
- Thinking outside the box and offering less predictable rewards that your competitors may not have considered. Uniqueness is a business’s superpower.
- Offering discounts for referrals. You’ll have a loyal, rewarded customer and new visitors to your store.
- Prompting action within email and marketing. All the little things add up here so remind customers to follow your social media pages.
- Launching a competition or giveaway, encouraging people to share your posts and get your brand in the limelight. The easier it is for them to engage, the more likely they’ll be to get involved.
- Collaborating. Consider teaming up with a company with complementary products or brand messages to yours. A shared customer base is a bonus, but you’ll have a subject to start talking about, and a hype to create.
With clear intentions in place, word of mouth and conversational marketing strategies can be incredibly transformative for your business. But remember – slow and steady. There’s no rushing genuine customer support. Gaining trust is a gradual process, but a very rewarding one, too.
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