When conversational marketing & sales started to become a subject, I was working as a CMO at a startup and immediately hired a digital sales specialist to start chatting with customers.
Because for a digital marketer like myself who talks a lot, I thought conversational marketing could have been the silver bullet in digital marketing, a game-changer for a startup with limited sources.
I thought, If we chat with customers, we could start selling one-by-one, and if we kept those customers on the recurring bill, we could have made enough ARR to take us to the next investment round!
What happened? The plan worked, and we started to sell more. We also began to sell life-long packages instead of monthly or annual subscriptions.
Nonetheless, for some of my peers, it wasn’t a breakthrough or anything like that! They didn’t entirely like the idea of selling one by one. They thought it was against the SaaS business mentality.
Well, LTV has skyrocketed (due to lifelong subscriptions), and ARR is dramatically increasing (chat sells more than the website itself); I don’t know how it’s against the SaaS business! Anyways.
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing is marketing done by talking to customers, a fast-paced direct communication with them. And it works like a charm. And I got a lot of things to say about it! So let’s go!
First of all, let’s point out that conversational marketing is not an invention. In fact, It’s the medieval kind of marketing! Because ever since people started to speak a language and barter their goods, it’s been there!
Remember the talkative small business owner from your neighbourhood that everyone loved? Well, that guy had been doing conversational marketing, hadn’t he?
Today, we are just implementing this proven way of marketing & sales to the digital world by developing all kinds of chat tools!
Secondly, I would like to clarify which channels are conversational marketing and which are not! For a channel to be considered conversational marketing, it has to be a quick way of communicating with potential buyers.
Therefore, live chat widgets on your website, WhatsApp or Telegram messaging are the heart of conversational marketing & sales. Phone and video calls are also conversational, but we will not focus on phone calls in this article for our purposes.
Social media inboxes such as FB messenger, Instagram direct, Twitter or LinkedIn messages, in my opinion, may or may not be in the scope of conversational marketing, depending on the type of business or the buyer persona.
Generation Z and younger generations might consider social media as the first line of communication. In contrast, Gen X and Y usually prefer contact with a more personal touch like a phone call or meeting in person.
Businesses also receive messages to their business pages, such as Google My Business or Bing Places. These are often underestimated channels native to small businesses where the sales funnel is relatively short.
So it might be worth investigating whether these messages need immediate reaction or not to classify them as conversational marketing or not.
All in all, it might be a brilliant idea to merge all inboxes in one place, dedicate the staffing and carefully study which channel is the ultimate conversational marketing and bringing the most sales for your business.
Now that we laid some foundation on our topic let’s also explain how conversational marketing can fix your funnel problems.
How Can Conversational Marketing Fix All Your Funnel Problems?
Imagine we live in a perfect world for a second where the sky is blue, the sea is crystal clear, and more importantly, you can hire as many specialist marketers as you want for your business!
We all want that for sure, including startups to corporations, but our sources are always limited. As marketers, we are often shorthanded in terms of budget and staffing. That certainly causes a bunch of problems!
The first of them is not being able to execute an effective marketing strategy. An effective strategy, especially in performance marketing, is funnel based.
By applying a funnel (marketing & sales) based approach, we define the key steps or milestones towards a purchase and improve each step to boost our revenue.
These steps also match the three-stage process called the buyer’s journey; awareness, consideration and decision. The buyer’s journey concept is first introduced by HubSpot (the pioneer of inbound marketing), and all potential buyers go through these stages. There are even more stages, according to some other marketing authorities.
So in an ideal world, we would like to address each stage to maximize its performance. But like I said, that’s not always possible in real life. That makes us constantly look for a shortcut. Because shorter funnels allow us to have more control with small budgets and staffing.
This is exactly where conversational marketing & sales come in handy. Conversational marketing allows for more effective marketing by shortening and simplifying the marketing funnel! Because potential buyers can start chatting with you at any stage, and you can push them towards the bottom of the funnel within minutes.
So, if you want to sell when your sources are limited, definitely consider implementing a conversational marketing strategy. Which one is more effective, a blog post or a real-time conversation? A google ad copy or a live chat? Social media post or a chatbot? You decide!
Types of Conversational Marketing Tools
There are several types of conversational marketing tools to choose from. I will illustrate a few different types for you as well before you pick yours. So let’s start from the most basic and move on to the more advanced tools you can implement for your conversational marketing efforts.
It’s good to know some alternative names for conversational marketing since everyone may not widely use it; most experts use these keywords; chat widgets, chat tools, chatbots, or even chat automation.
The simplest tools such as Tawk.to allow us to add a chat widget to our site, set our working hours and start chatting.
Then we move on to a bit more sophisticated tools where you can see the demographics of your website visitors in real-time and initiate chat proactively, such as JivoChat.
Next up, there are tools more on the chatbot/automation side where you can play a few different scenarios each time someone initiates a chat. The core advantage of these tools is that you can easily drive potential buyers to relevant funnel stages by showing them action buttons.
A few good examples are Botgate AI and ManyChat. These are probably the best fit for most startups, and they are hoping to eventually become a tool like Intercom.
This type of conversational marketing can streamline your marketing and sales so well that you can skyrocket your revenue in a really fancy way. The secret sauce is to customize a workflow specifically to the business in question.
I once implemented a custom chat funnel to the hotels’ industry to collect reservation data (destination, check-in date, number of kids, room type) and send offers with payment links, all automated thanks to chat tools and Zapier. This is super powerful marketing!
Lastly, there are tools like Intercom or even HubSpot. Although they include an inbuilt chat tool with advanced trigger capabilities, they are marketing automation tools in reality.
Their coverage goes beyond the humble chat tool since they combine lead scoring, chat, e-mail marketing etc. In HubSpot, you can connect your call centre, build landing pages etc.
These tools are brilliant, but they come with a significant cost, unbearable for most SMEs. But for corporations, they are a must-have!
You might have understood that I’m a big fan of conversational marketing. To me, it’s like the best single pill to prescribe for all marketing challenges.
It works brilliantly in startups since a simplified version of funnel and marketing is needed. Could there be a better way to start talking to customers directly for this purpose?
So let’s take a step forward, streamline our marketing & sales funnels using conversational marketing, starting today!