Guest post by Nina Ritz, technical researcher & writer with DesignRush.
Conversational marketing is a form of b2c and b2b communication conducted in real time via a variety of online channels. In contrast to other forms of marketing communication such as email, conversational marketing works on the basis of one-on-one interactions between parties.
Conversational marketing is underpinned by two key technologies – instant messaging platforms and chatbots.
Instant messaging has exploded in popularity in recent years thanks to apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat, each of which has more than 1 billion active users. In order to engage with user bases of this size, businesses have started using chatbots, automated systems designed for performing various conversation-based tasks such as providing product information, placing orders, offering troubleshooting advice, etc.
In effect, conversational marketing is the process of using chatbots for delivering personalized, one-on-one conversation experiences on a massive scale.
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At present conversational marketing remains relatively underutilized in comparison to other established forms of digital marketing, but more and more success stories have been cropping up in recent years. If you wish to expand and enhance your digital marketing operation through conversational marketing but don’t know where to start, you can check out this list of 5 successful examples of conversational marketing in the rest of this post.
1-800-Flowers is one of the pioneers of conversational commerce. This flower retailer was one of the first companies to use chatbots on Facebook Messenger. Once a user starts a conversation with the bot, they are given the option to choose among a number of flower arrangements, after which they are prompted for their delivery address, and then finally taken to the payment page.
According to 1-800-Flowers, 70% of orders coming from new customers are placed through their chatbot, proving that consumers are increasingly comfortable with the idea of conversational commerce. The streamlined nature of the process ensures that the customer feels like they’re engaging with a live customer services rep, which is preferable to filling out forms on several different web pages to place a single order.
Ride-sharing giant Lyft was also one of the early adopters of conversational marketing. Lyft hosts its customer service chatbots on multiple channels, including Facebook Messenger, Slack, and even Amazon Echo.
After you request a ride through the Lyft app, a chatbot on the channel of your choice will notify about the current status of your ride, the license plate number of the driver, as well as the kind of car they’re driving. If you’re using Slack, you can also request a ride directly through chat.
By typing /lyft in a chat channel, you will receive a list of commands for determining ride ETAs, available vehicles, fares, etc.
Lyft is using conversational marketing in an attempt to make it easier for customers to order a ride. They are accomplishing this by reducing the number of steps needed to find a ride, as well as by providing a more informative and engaging experience when placing an order.
eBay has seen a great deal of success with its ecommerce chatbot. The chatbot relies on the Google Assistant platform, which means it can only be accessed through a voice-based interface such as Google Home or Google Now.
eBay was one of the first companies to realize that voice search is going to be the way of the future, and they’ve adjusted their conversational marketing approach accordingly.
The chatbot allows users to browse a large number of product categories by simply saying what they’re after. It can also find the best deals for your specific query, and send relevant seller information directly to your smartphone.
Instead of focusing on text-based chat, eBay has set out to recreate the experience of shopping in person, making it easier for customers to get started with conversational ecommerce.
The data science platform RapidMiner gave up using conventional lead capture forms in favor of chatbots. This has allowed them to scale conversations and filter out the best leads.
Instead of focusing on talking to every visitor on their website in person, RapidMiner chose to automate the process by having everyone screened by their chatbot, allowing them to automate the lead qualification process. This was accomplished by having the bot ask a number of qualifying questions, and then funneling the best candidates to a real sales rep.
This enabled RapidMiner to eschew having to qualify every lead in person. By switching to a lead qualification model based on conversational marketing, RapidMiner managed to capture 4000 new leads, as well as add more than $1 million to their sales pipeline.
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Health is a personal topic for many consumers, which is why modern healthcare service providers such as HealthTap are looking for ways to facilitate one-on-one conversations between users and healthcare professionals on a large scale.
What HealthTap chose to do was use conversational marketing techniques based on chatbots and Facebook Messenger. The HealthTap bot first prompts users to ask any health-related question they might have. The bot then provides popular answers to similar questions.
If the provided answer doesn’t satisfy, the question will be forwarded to real healthcare professional, netting you a more detailed response in the span of a day. And, if you choose the premium health consulting service, you can spend $25 to get an answer straight away.
Leading digital marketing agencies claim that conversational marketing is shaping up to become the marketing technique of choice for businesses of all sizes in the future. The benefits of having a scalable marketing solution in the form of chatbots are simply too good to pass up, especially when you take into account the size of the user based on instant messaging platforms. If you wish to follow in the example of the companies we have outlined above, you can do so by working together with conversational marketing experts.