Conversational Marketing has everything to do with how, when, and where we connect with our audiences, and a handful of platforms that allow us to keep up with them. Finding a way to cut through the noise across digital marketing platforms allows us the opportunity to make a real connection with every one of our customers. Platforms such as texting, social media, email, and live chat are great methods of communication for our evolving customers; The key is using these platforms to create a better shopping and buying experience for our customers.
Today, customers expect us to:
- Always be on.
- Always be there for them.
- Always know who they are.
- Always be ready to help.
Conversational Marketing is a new dimension of inbound marketing in which we utilize modern technologies to connect with car buyers in a convenient, friendly, and non-disruptive way. This allows us the opportunity to respond faster. Conversational Marketing not only contributes to the overall marketing and sales strategy, but also the customer service strategy as well.
If you’ve ever handled automotive leads before, you’ve seen this first-hand: a promising lead hits your CRM and the customer is asking all the right questions. Then without any explanation, they ghost you (don’t worry, this happens to everyone). Without hesitation, you go down a wormhole trying to figure out whether you did or said something wrong. Chances are that you’re not actually looking back far enough.
Converting leads into customers has a lot to do with giving our customers the opportunity to respond on whichever platform they feel most comfortable. This is where Conversational Marketing comes into play. It’s about treating people like people and interacting with them when and where they want. This ensures that the customer journey is better than ever. Following up with customers via text, email, Facebook messenger, etc., can be challenging. So, how can this be achieved?
Here is a quick overview of everything we think is important to know to ensure that your customer’s journey is unique:
Email is often overlooked when it comes to Conversational Marketing, but it’s important that we take a look at how email can be utilized when discussing this topic. Email Marketing is the only platform that performs better, year-over-year, according to Campaign Monitor. Conversational email strategies focus on the development of relationships and strive to humanize the communication between a company and their customers; After all, sales happen as a result of genuine conversations. When analyzing email campaign success, there are a few different things we can look at. Open rates being one of them; however, when the goal is Conversational Marketing, it’s valuable to also measure engagement (email replies).
Key to Successful Email Marketing – The Trial and Error Phase
There are multiple factors that encompass successful email marketing. In this day and age, any digital platform is outperforming most forms of traditional media. If you don’t have an email strategy in place, finding the optimal time to send an email can sometimes feel like a guessing game in the beginning. There is also the importance of understanding shoppers’ activities and sending the email out on the optimal day to acquire the best open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
Finding the Optimal Time to Send
Utilizing data tools like Google Analytics or email analysis from your CRM will tell you lots of information about your users, especially if you segment your audience. Ideally, you should aim on sending emails around the times your website gets the most traffic.
For instance, if you have the most visitors between 8am-12pm, then sending the email around 10am would be the best time as it’s the median time within that window.
Finding the Optimal Day to Send
Figuring out the day to send is usually a little trickier to find because it truly can vary from the month it was sent, and if there was a sale or holiday occurring. It is common for the most part to see heavier email traffic mid-week compared to Monday, Friday, and over the weekend. Again, using a median method applies here as well.
For instance, if you have the highest open rates and engagement during Tuesday through Thursday, then Wednesday would be a great day to send email blasts. Historically, Tuesdays have been known as a good day to send, so it’s worth a try if you’re testing any new creatives or incentives. If you are sending multiple emails within the week, sending on Tuesday and Thursday would also be a good approach.
Remember that each industry has their own analytics of optimal email marketing strategy, as well as time-zone strategy. No single answer is necessarily the right answer as you need to cater to your demographics, audiences, time-zone, industry, etc., through utilizing your analytics.
Chat services have been around in the automotive industry for well over 15 years, using a combination of self-managed, hybrid-managed, and automated systems to keep in contact with customers. One constant is the need for a conversation in every facet of the automotive industry. Communication methods are constantly evolving based on shopper needs, as new platforms enable messaging services it is becoming more important to connect with shoppers on their terms. Over the past 3 years alone we have seen massive growth beyond on-site chat and text/SMS messaging, expanding to Facebook Messenger, Google Business Messaging, and Apple Business Chat through connected services. Some vendors can connect directly to these services to centralize responses through your CRM as well.
The benefits of having a live-chat communication platform are numerous: providing a real-time, assisted shopping experience with your customers keep them engaged, while moving them down the shopping funnel. As your associates work with customers – staying on-message to address their questions for sales, service, finance, or incentives – following best practices leads to increased customer satisfaction. Customers reaching out to your store through a chat method may be doing so because a phone call or email is inconvenient, while a DM through Facebook or text message is easiest. With change being constant and new instant-contact methods becoming available, we as dealers must ensure we are available to meet our customers’ needs in the moment. Chat messaging platforms are just one facet of an inter-connected, seamless experience from online shopping to in-store purchases.
When discussing how Facebook can be incorporated into Conversational Marketing, it is not a matter of if, but rather, when, a business should be on Messenger. There has never been a better time to create a presence for your company and build a customer experience utilizing Facebook’s Messenger platform. Utilizing Messenger allows us the opportunity to engage with customers in a new way. According to the Director of Messenger Business at Facebook, Stefanos Loukakos, there are over 8 billion messages exchanged daily between people and businesses (HubSpot). According to Mr. Loukakos, the Facebook Messaging framework for success is quite simple:
- Create a Presence – utilize Facebook Messenger to create a digital presence for your business and be where your customers are.
- Message with Customers – use powerful tools to communicate efficiently with customers.
- Drive Discovery – automated experiences are not enough. Leverage channels and advertising solutions to create a custom experience for each customer.
Facebook Messenger is quickly growing among businesses and here’s why: According to Inman Group, Messaging apps report an average of 60% open rates vs. 10% in email (HubSpot). Additionally, according to a recent study conducted by Nielsen 53% of people in a survey said they are more likely to do business with a brand they can message (HubSpot). When pairing these statistics with the growing number of users of Facebook Messenger, it is safe to say that Messenger is becoming its own platform, apart from Facebook.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: How do we start chatting with potential customers? Messenger should be used as another way to get in contact with your business. Use Facebook ads to drive customers to Messenger and start conversations without ever having them leave the platform they were on when coming across your business. Chances are, that currently most of your Facebook advertising is either pushing traffic to landing pages on your website, or pushing leads from Facebook into your CRM; However, allocating some of that budget over to Facebook ads that send customers to Messenger will give you more bang for your buck! Facebook Ads pushing customers into Messenger – which is part of their ecosystem – costs less than ads pushing customers away from Facebook.
With each new platform, accepted response times have changed. People make plans quicker, it’s easier for families to stay closer, and businesses provide information faster, answering customers’ questions instantly. We understand this sounds intimidating, but we assure you it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Consumers will continue to expect conversations with businesses to be helpful, personal, and understanding. With the technology we have available today businesses can manage those conversations at scale.
If you are interested in discussing Conversational Marketing, its benefits and how it can help your business grow, get in contact with us; Let’s build a successful Conversational Marketing strategy together.
Marketing in 2020
Marketing in 2020