Every business owner – every single one of us – has tempted the impossible fantasy that we might one day be able to clone ourselves. And while we all understand the impossibility of such things, this doesn’t change the fact that so many of us wish that it were possible to be in two places at once.
Not because we don’t trust our team, but because it is so very human to rely on ourselves. No matter where we go or what challenges we face, there’s always one person we know we can call upon without question. No one could possibly understand our experience as well as us, and it is absolutely essential that we draw upon that so we can connect with our clients in a way that accurately reflects the legacy we hope to leave behind.
However, while creating a physical clone is not possible, the funny thing is that the now live in a time where you can recreate yourself in the form of a virtual assistant! Thanks to the latest advances in automation technology, you can program your virtual assistant to be there for your team. Yet despite the fact that such methods are proven to improve customer relations, there are still many business owners who dislike the idea of trusting A.I. to run their business on their behalf.
You want the very best for your business. Nobody wants to risk sounding like a bot when they can simply make time to follow up on customer queries themselves. But before you dismiss the incorporation of automation services, it is equally important to focus on why this new method of digital marketing has grown to be so widely recommended across the world.
In the end, it all boils down to Conversational Marketing.
Table of Contents
- The World of NOW
- Let them Come to You
- What is Conversational Marketing?
- Keep It Simple
- The Incredible Chat Box
- Prepare For Automation
- In Conclusion
The World of NOW
There was once a time when in-person marketing was the norm. When door-to-door sales were the custom and “hitting the pavement” was the only way to be taken seriously by employers and clients alike. All of that changed with the Internet Boom, and only became all the more real when the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions to search the virtual world for work, entertainment and more.
No matter who you are or what your background may be, there is no denying it. We live in a world of NOW. Any relevant business you might want to buy from has a website of their own, and our customers can find anything they want online, complete with discount codes, overnight shipping, order confirmation, and shipping updates and more… all available within seconds.
It can be intimidating to process all of this alone. Yet, interestingly enough, despite having thousands of options to choose from in every conceivable category, consumer skepticism remains at an all-time high! With so many people having been burned by businesses in the past, it’s our responsibility to use every resource we can to create quick, friendly, informative, and genuine connections with our customers.
So, how exactly do we do that?
Let Them Come to You
Searching for new customers in the world of NOW is much like casting a line when you go fishing. Even if you have never attempted the activity yourself, many Americans have seen it played out in old Saturday morning cartoons. The fisherman places their bait at the end of the hook, tosses the clear, plastic fishing line as far out into the water as they can reach, and then they wait. It may take hours before some fine young fish finds itself stuck at the end of the line, but when it does, that very moment is when the real fun begins for the fisherman.
This analogy, crude as it is, pairs remarkably well with the process that goes into finding and acquiring new customers in the digital age. Every respectable business person has an online presence. This is your digital bait. When you post on social media or authorize a new ad campaign, you are casting the line so you will be seen along with the not-so-proverbial sea of similar options out there. The key here is patience. Keep working, stay focused, and be ready to respond as soon as somebody finds themselves taken in by your carefully and strategically designed new media.
Yet, as delicious as that prospect may sound, it can be genuinely deterring in real life when you return home after work to find an inbox full of messages and notifications. Nobody wants the stress of having to monitor their many inboxes all day, which is precisely why automation has become so exceptionally popular. You want to be ready to connect with your customers at their convenience, while simultaneously maintaining a healthy balance between your personal time and your office hours.
Today, this is achieved through the art of Conversational Marketing.
What Is Conversational Marketing?
While there are lots of insightful articles on this subject, “Conversational Marketing” is a newer term that refers to the use of consistent, immediate, and consciously-penned communication with any and all customers; specifically focusing on the creation and cultivation of personalized “real-time” conversations.
Even before the pandemic brought the known world to a standstill, Conversational Marketing strategies were quickly dominating the realm of digital marketing, proving to be an essential part of long-term marketing strategies, and is often achieved through one of the following methods: Email Automation and the A.I. created to run the ever-popular Chat Box.
Now, before you hit the back button, screaming “Nope. No way am I letting A.I. robots run away with my business!” We can assure you that the artificial intelligence we refer to is nothing like the ones you may have found in popular fiction. As it happens, Chat Box and Automation Technology were created to allow you the option of being in two places at once. When used correctly, it can save you countless hours of stress by doing the one thing you were hoping for from the very beginning.
Keep It Simple
No matter how much work you may have already put into your branding and your business, these factors alone will not guarantee conversion rates. Ask yourself: “Have I made it easy for users to engage with my content? Is it easy to find the most common answers to my customer’s questions?” If the answer is “no” to either of these queries, then it’s time to make a change.
Make a list of all your available methods of communication. Webchat? Facebook? Instagram? Etsy? Who monitors each of these DMs and inboxes? Do you realistically have the time to ensure your customer receives a reply within the hour? Be honest with yourself. If you cannot ensure a quick, professional reply to every message in your inbox, you might as well burn the cash you planned on spending on that ad campaign.
Weed out the clutter. Make sure all of your current links are easy to find and easy to read. Once you have finished consolidating all your contact methods and gotten things organized, you’ll finally be ready for the impossible.
The Incredible Chat Box
While it’s true that we might never be able to create a perfect copy of ourselves, by installing a Chat Box, you will have achieved the next best thing! Today’s consumers have higher expectations than those who learned to shop in-person, and accessibility is as important as consent these days. When you fail to respond to a customer right away or force them to jump through hoops to find out how they might get in touch with you, you are denying them the ability to support your business.
Now, while some may believe that the Chat Box A.I. might prohibit you from maintaining autonomy over your personal messaging apps, we would like to assure you that this is very much not the case. Far from it, actually. Most Chat Box apps can be programmed to deactivate precisely when you choose to login so you can take over the ability to chat in real-time with your fellow users and prospective consumers. It all depends on how you choose to set up your Chat Box.
You can personally type out premeditated replies to all the most common questions, sync the software with your company calendar to schedule appointments for you, post recommended links you might want to share with your customers, et cetera… and all in real-time!
No matter how you choose to customize your Chat Box A.I., you can trust it to use Conversation Marketing methods to connect with your customers on your behalf. It is, in actuality, allowing you to respond by referring to each of your carefully penned replies precisely as you programmed it to do.
And for those questions you would not be able to provide an answer to, the incredible Chat Box will be there to schedule a callback appointment, or to remind them you will follow up within 1-2 business days. All perfectly written out thanks to the art of Conversational Marketing methods.
You may be wondering: How do I manage incoming messages while actively focusing on my work? Well, unless you have the time to be your own customer service agent in addition to everything else, we may have the perfect solution for you.
Prepare For Automation!
While not always a top priority for businesses with online shops and designer boutiques, it’s important to remember that customers will decide whether or not to buy from you within seconds of visiting your website. Any unanswered message that sits in your inbox could be a lost sale in the making. And when you do find the time to reply, the words you choose can make or break that connection the very second you hit “Send.”
Setup Automated Replies for all incoming messages. You can write the template yourself or use one online, but the most important factor is to clearly state how soon your customer should expect a reply. Could be within 24 hours or 1-2 business days. But in the end, the choice is yours.
While digital marketing certainly got its start with cold, hard numbers, you’ll find that marketing companies of today have learned that the key to acquiring and maintaining your audience is to “keep it real.” Listen to your customers and interact with them in real-time. With consumers being hit with one incessant marketing message after another, it gets harder and harder to figure out how to break free from the clutter. And with so many people quite literally starved for human connection, we can understand why the resistance toward Chat Box A.I. continues to hold firm among many older business owners.
Even if you have no interest in installing a Chat Box after reading this article, we want you to remember: This step alone will quickly prove to repair any lack of faith you may have incurred with existing customers. It will also save you the stress of having to reply “right away” every time you receive a new message.
The purpose is to establish realistic expectations from the get-go, and that is precisely what you will be doing by enabling Automated Replies in the first place. Once this is done, you will now have the freedom to follow up with those messages within the timeframe you already established.
Set a reminder. Do the work. Do not forget.
Embracing the New
As the world continues to evolve around us, it can be difficult to let go of the old ways. More specifically, it can be difficult for many working professionals to adjust to the many ways in which marketing has changed to keep up with the times. With unsolicited calling and door-to-door sales – once the most popular methods of connection – now the most quintessentially unappealing of all marketing methods, you may be left feeling like all those years of experience count for nothing.
Understandably intimidated by the many, many new apps, programmable software, and other variations of technology, you may be left wondering: “How do we keep up? How do we create real connections with our customers without actively reaching out to them in the first place?”
In short, Conversational Marketing is the art of engaging your customers in a conversation. Instead of relying on sales pitches and focusing on sales, by taking this step, you’ll be showing your fellow users that you mean business. That you are, in fact, a real person hoping to address their needs in a timely fashion, and effectively using the technology available to you to make that happen.
Conversational Marketing can be referred to as the art of “keeping it real.” Every business owner needs to understand how to facilitate one-on-one, real-time conversations with their customers without sounding like a bot. And that, my friend, is where the real work begins.