Reading Time: 6 minutes

We get questions all the time about what conversational marketing is, and what it isn’t. On this page, you’ll learn about conversational marketing, chatbots, the technology involved, and how it can tie into other strategies for your business.

This is Conversational Marketing, Explained.

What is Conversational Marketing?

Conversational marketing (which is also known as conversation marketing) is a feedback-oriented approach to marketing. Companies that engage in conversational marketing make active strides to listen to potential clients and use what they say to develop and foster real, valuable, positive relationships. 

It’s worth noting that all of this work surrounding contextual advice, content, and interaction isn’t a new idea in the world of B2B sales– inbound marketing relies heavily on similar themes to drive up client interaction and incite interest. Those who are less comfortable with outbound or field based sales & marketing have long relied on inbound tactics to construct successful inbound marketing campaigns.

Where conversational and inbound marketing differ is in the time spent with customers. A team working under the inbound marketing model will, at some point, need to push forward from one set of prospects onto the next. They may have offered some advice and made a few meaningful connections along the way, but inbound marketing doesn’t revolve around the deep-dive into a potential customers’s need for solutions.

Conversational marketing really does. It’s all about real-time, genuine interactions with customers, leads, and prospects– and it’s about providing the opportunities for that to happen 24/7. Some companies rely on chatbots, others work aggressively to stay on top of email and phone calls, and plenty work with all three in some capacity.

Companies who engage in conversational marketing position themselves to offer clients a more personalized and human buying experience. These teams seek to learn more about customers to help develop unique solutions to their individual problems; the selling potential of tailor-made solutions such as these is immense. 

For greater context on our philosophy here at ClosedWon, you might want to give this a listen 👇.

Why Conversational Marketing is Critical for B2B Companies

Many B2B companies today still rely on stale, outdated “best practices.” These marketing tactics make companies look pushy, aggressive, and impersonal– the days of automatic cold calls after a potential client accesses a gated PDF are coming to a rapid close. In a world where your customers want to feel valued and appreciated, many traditional B2B sales methods aren’t making the cut and those forms aren’t getting filled out nearly as much for subconscious fear of that auto-dialer.

That’s why conversational marketing is such a critical tool to have in your marketing arsenal. It gives B2B organizations the chance to improve the client experience without pomp or circumstance (and without bleeding funds to get it done). There are no gimmicks, no secret impersonal tactics about to emerge from the shadows, and no secrets– it’s about meaningful conversation and true connection. 

New technologies– especially those to do with the consumer experience online– are emerging at a staggering pace. B2B marketers have to work aggressively to maintain their competitive edge in the age of technological innovation. Highly personalized online targeting of this nature has become the norm even for historically slow-paced large retailers; if you can’t stack up, you don’t stand out.

And your only chance to stack up is to start putting in the work to get to know your clients. Anybody looking to make a purchase wants to feel like they’re supported and encouraged by whoever is selling to them; stark, impersonal lead forms on a website aren’t going to make that happen, but even the most preliminary conversational marketing strategy has a shot. 

Recent Changes in Conversational Marketing

After a decrease in quality relating to company-customer relations at the turn of the century, marketers realized that they had lost sight of what it was consumers really wanted. Because during that time, sales teams relied so heavily on impersonal advertising and lead generation, organizations floundered as they tried to understand what their potential clients wanted.

It was only after the marketing sector began moving back towards personal, targeted advertising and lead generation that things turned around. The push for authentic conversational and valuable one-on-one interaction has lead us to where we are today. The general public still doesn’t often view marketing as something overwhelmingly positive, but conversational tactics are slowly reversing that thought process. 

With so many recent advancements in the tech sector, companies looking to engage in B2B marketing are beginning to see a world of possibilities at their fingertips. What was once seen as a slow, plodding method to capture sales– speaking for an hour over the phone seems ineffective when you could have generated forty leads with a form in the same time– is now moving rapidly towards an era of quicker, easier solutions.

Intelligent conversational chatbots, in particular, have stepped into the conversational marketing sphere and changed the game. These chatbots (also referred to as conversational, intelligent, and/or virtual assistants) have skyrocketed in popularity. This has been to such an extent that professionals anticipate most commercial interactions between people and business will take place through chatbots in just a few years. 

The “Do”s and “Don’t”s of Conversational Marketing

  • Personalize
    • Do aim to share relevant knowledge that’s directly related to what clients are expressing
    • Don’t rely on canned responses
    • Don’t push information that’s irrelevant to the individual you’re speaking to 
  • Contextualize
    • Do listen to clients to understand the context of what they’re saying
    • Do use context to understand which questions need answering and when
    • Do seek to provide answers to the most pressing questions first
    • Do spend time analyzing current and past interactions in order to determine which data will be most conducive to fostering customer relationships and solving problems
    • Don’t waste time searching for or collecting information about clients that you already have access to
    • Don’t lose sight of the conversation and the goals that both you and the client have for the conversation
  • Standardize 
    • Do work to separate work from play
    • Do standardize certain elements of business-customer interaction in order to assure a level of consistency and professionalism in your interactions
    • Do keep conversations predictable
    • Do take the time to understand which questions are most frequently asked; have a list of approved answers ready to go 
    • Don’t get overly interested in personalization
    • Don’t get caught up in conversations that are too personal or that don’t directly grow the business-client relationship
  • Empathize
    • Do make it clear to clients that you understand they’re looking for a solution to a problem
    • Don’t rush to solve problems before empathizing; it feels impersonal and rushed
  • Optimize
    • Do use what you know to improve conversations with clients in the future
    • Do optimize to suit your business’ strength
    • Do ask for customer feedback (and show the appropriate appreciation when you receive it)
    • Do pay special attention to customer behavior and interactions in order to craft your strategy
    • Don’t hesitate to make changes where they’re needed
    • Don’t be afraid to learn from past conversations– good and bad

Conversational Marketing: Everything You Want to Know and More … Lots More

With all of the different ways of marketing or promoting a business today, the terms and concepts can become quite confusing. One of the simplest and most straightforward methods of sharing your business with potential customers can sound a little daunting–until you understand it. We’ve put together some basic information about “conversational marketing” so you can see the many benefits of this marketing method.

Conversational Marketing Made Simple

At its most basic, conversational marketing involves having conversations as a means of capturing and connecting with leads. Conversational marketing has occurred since commerce first began, there simply wasn’t a name for it.

The Benefits of Conversational Marketing

The biggest benefit of conversational marketing is that it is convenient for your potential customers. You are engaging with them in real-time when they are available and interested. You’re not intruding, you’re conversing. In addition, it gives your company a visible “friendly” side that makes you seem approachable and relatable.

Conversational Marketing Can Happen Anywhere

Conversational marketing isn’t something that has to happen in-person or even over the phone. You can have conversations through social media, using a chat app on your website or through texts as well. That’s what makes conversational marketing so relevant today. After all, it is easier than ever to get in touch with potential customers.

Now that you understand the basics of conversational marketing, it’s time to look at how it can work into your overall marketing plan. By utilizing this technique in conjunction with additional marketing ideas, you’ll be able to start more conversations and make more conversions.

Choosing a Platform

Read more from ClosedWon:

What is Conversational Marketing?

Additional Reading

Additional Resources

Conversational Marketing Facebook Group
Drift To Go Podcast
Hypergrowth Conference 

Dialog Podcast

You can listen to the Dialog.fm Conversational Marketing Podcast here.