This morning, after reading something I’d written, my mother (who has worked in marketing for 30+ years) sent me a text. It said: What is conversational marketing? It’s popular…I Googled.
As I briefly explained the concept of Conversational Marketing to her, the idea for a blog post bloomed. Getting it “right”, and seeing the kind of incredible results some companies have seen from their own CM strategies, takes time.
So, we won’t call the following tips “pro-tips”, but rather “tips from people who are working super hard at learning”.
Leveling-Up with Conversational Marketing
As B2B SaaS companies embraced the need to be more customer-centric and human, marketing had some catching up to do. Thus, Conversational Marketing was born. The concept seems simple, but the reality is that after years of having “corporate marketing” techniques drilled into us, it’s actually strangely difficult to start interacting with prospects and leads and customers like they’re, well…people.
Because a big part of the Conversational Marketing phenomenon is the rise of personalized chatbots and live chat straight from your website, there are a surprising number of techniques to learn when it comes to making your brand feel human from the outside.
You’d think that, as humans, it would be kind of an inherent skill, but alas.
On to the tips!
Personalization doesn’t have to be perfect
Especially in the world of RevOps, there’s a lot of importance placed on personalization. Whether it’s written content or direct mail, account-based-everything has become the gold standard for marketing and sales efforts. That’s how it should be.
However, we also need to accept the fact that we don’t always have the ability to personalize everything flawlessly. For example, when it comes to creating your bot flows, sometimes the only insight you have into whom you’re chatting with is the company they work at or the city they’re in.
In a perfect world (actually, no, this sounds pretty dystopian), we’d be able to greet every site visitor by their name and immediately offer up something of value. In this world, though, don’t mistake imperfection for failure.
Use the information you do have and just try to make a connection like you would if you were meeting someone in person for the first time. Ask them how the weather is where they are—everyone loves that question.
Routing rules and chat timing are super important
Okay, so by now it’s probably clear that we use Drift, right? Just checking.
Anyway. Routing rules. If we’re being honest, this one was the toughest for us to figure out. As a small marketing/sales team, there was a perception among us that this would have to be complicated.
In reality, over-architecting our routing rules did more harm than good. It ended up with people being confused about when they should be jumping in, and being stressed over what would happen if someone didn’t jump in fast enough (i.e. catastrophe! leads lost forever!)
Our advice? Prioritize routing rules for important accounts and current customers, and kind of be calm about the rest. Assign someone on your team to handle general chats if you don’t have a ton of conversational traffic, and adjust your settings so that your bot captures their email for follow-ups.
Short and sweet is always better
For those of us who write content (ahem), it can be tempting to get a little flowery and overly “clever”. When creating chatbot flows for the first time, that instinct is somehow magnified; after all, interacting with your bot should be like a rollercoaster ride of both knowledge and fun! Everyone should be immediately inclined to book a meeting with your sales team and buy the heck out of your product!
That would be nice, but alas. All your overly-long, wordy bot odysseys are likely to do is increase your drop-off rate and maybe give you a handful of incomplete data that you’re not sure what to do with.
Instead, be up front and clear with your value prop and make it easy for those interacting with your bot to get the information they want without feeling like they’re taking part in an interrogation.
Don’t think of it as “marketing”.
This part is, um, hard. After all, ‘marketing’ is right there in the name. We’ve found, however, that most of the time, it’s really more akin to support. Most people who engage with your bot are not looking to be pushed to book a meeting; rather, they have questions about your product or want to be directed to specific content or information.
Once you let go of the idea that every interaction has to be capital ‘M’ marketing, it gets a lot easier to just be helpful and friendly without projecting that pressure to convert onto everyone you chat with.
Drop-off happens. It’s okay.
When you immerse yourself in success stories, it’s easy to feel like a failure. After spending hours crafting a bot flow comparable in length to an encyclopedia of some kind, we assumed (naturally) that everyone who visited our site would be just as delighted with it as we were proud of having created it.
As it turns out, no matter how beautifully crafted your bot flow, people are gonna drop off of it. Maybe they were drawn in by your greeting, and clicked just to see what came next. Maybe they didn’t know how to answer a certain question, or maybe they just didn’t feel like talking.
Yes, it’s discouraging. Of course it is. But think about how many chatbots you’ve ignored or hidden or just stopped answering. It doesn’t mean they won’t reengage or buy from you in the future, so just take some time to determine whether something in the flow needs to be tweaked. For example, things like compound questions, stiff-sounding language, and flows that feel aimless or never-ending.
If you haven’t already, we recommend getting your hands on Drift’s Conversational Marketing Certification to get some invaluable insight into their strategies and best practices. Also, don’t be afraid to play around. Create flows and go through them yourself as though you were a potential customer, have other people do the same.
Most importantly, give yourself permission to quiet the hardcore marketer in your brain and just be a person, talking to another person.