The Power of Conversational Marketing and Great Content
“Content is king”
This statement (title of a 1996 essay by no other than Bill Gates, unfortunately only available via the way back machine) has to be one of the most common phrases in the world of online marketing.
Everybody knows it. Everybody uses it. Everybody swears by it.
And why wouldn’t we? After all, content does soar above the rest when it comes to marketing.
Content helps with SEO. Content educates prospects about your product. Content encourages engagement between your customers and your brand. Content generates leads. Content, in itself, is social validation of your product or service. Content brings traffic.
Content is king.
All in the family
Content is king, right. But what about the rest of the family?
The allegory has evolved over the years, giving our king a queen (sometimes “distribution“, sometimes “conversion“) and even a God (“context“).
“If Content is King, then Context is God.”
– Gary V.
The family is growing, and for a very good reason. Content alone can’t do much. Great content, even the best content, without an audience to read it is virtually worthless. [Tweet this]
We need to bring in a method of distribution, to get our content out there. We need to be aware of the context that surrounds the content we’re writing, to make sure we’re using the right tone. We need to be aware of conversion goals, to make sure our content serves a purpose.
Where does conversational marketing fit into all of that? Who, in the family, represents the conversational aspect of content and what will it bring to the table?
Conversational marketing, the powerful ally
We’ve defined conversational marketing in another blog post, here’s a quick rundown of what we think it is.
Conversational marketing is a way for brands and companies to communicate in a personal way with each of their customers, and equally be on the listening end of their customers’ needs.
It’s a two-way discussion between brands and their audience.
How will that help content, our mighty king?
Thanks to the undeniable rise of messaging applications and the technology available for brands to connect with their audience, we can leverage these channels every step of the customer journey.
As we’ve seen, writing a great piece of content isn’t enough.
How can conversational marketing help context?
Context is everything that surrounds your content. When you’re writing a piece about your product, you need to know which context your audience will be in when confronted to it.
Are they in a buying stage? Are they happy? Are they grieving? Do they have an urgent need that requires immediate intervention? Have they been on your website already? Do they know your brand and what you do? And so on.
Context has been nailed when the marketer knows exactly when to push a specific piece of content to a person who’s ready for it. Right time, right place, right content.
It sounds obvious, but context is one of the hardest aspects of online marketing. It’s hard to predict which state your visitor will be in at a particular time, and which piece of content would best suit them. You can rely on experience and interactions with your audience.
Interactions you said? Sounds like a job for conversational marketing!
As conversational marketing is integrated in the brand’s work flow, marketers are presented with the perfect tool to actually talk with their target audience. What better way to find out about a potential client than by actually talking to the person?
The guys at kunocreative summed it all up well in their Context Marketing is the new Content Marketing article: “Instead of campaigns, think interactions. Instead of targeting, engage”.
Through the incredibly personal medium that is a messaging application, context can potentially be solved. By making the marketer available via a conversational marketing platform, the context visitors are in can be easily discovered or – even simpler – asked.
How can conversational marketing help distribution?
Using a conversational marketing platform can have a big impact on distribution. Since we’ve seen in my previous point that a simple exchange between marketer and visitor can provide extremely valuable context, this can then be used to distribute the perfect piece of content to go along with it.
The age of blindly blasting an entirely email marketing list is over. [Tweet this]
Email marketing has been reported to be less effective each year. We are down to an average of 21.96% open rate and a 2.71% click through rate, according to Mailchimp’s statistics.
Chart made using Mailchimp’s benchmarking numbers.
However, thanks to the direct line of communication with each individual through messaging applications, marketers are able to:
- Send content that will delight the customer in his or her current context (inbound intent – the customer is actively looking for that piece of content).
- Send a new piece of content to a pre-segmented audience that would enjoy it in its current context (outbound intent – the customer didn’t actively ask for the piece but has shown interest in the subject).
That’s not all.
You could make a point and say that you could potentially do the same thing with email automation and other available tools – and you would be right to a certain extend.
However, distribution through a conversational marketing platform differs greatly from simple email automation by leveraging an extremely personal connection with the reader. Because the new technology allows it, you can interact with your customers through messaging applications and learn much more about every single one of them within one conversation.
This distribution will help you reach your customers straight to the messaging applications they use every day to chat with their friends and family. Your customers will be inclined to engage, reply and discuss the article – ultimately giving you more opportunities to learn about them, their intent and how their context is evolving over time.
Finally we’re down to conversion. The conversion is the end goal of your content. It’s what you hope your readers do once they’ve finished reading.
It’s important to also think of all the conversion goals that are not related to making money. Although a good part of the content marketing goals are to convert readers into clients, not every piece of content is supposed to directly drive revenue.
Some pieces might be there to educate your readers, others might be there to get your readers to subscribe to your mailing list, and so on.
Where does conversational marketing fit in?
Again, we’re looking to improve the customer journey through content from discovery to conversion by creating a personalised and exciting experience.
A recent study by Smart Insight, showed that 80% of businesses found personalised content helped grow their revenue.
Thanks to the direct contact with the customer, and the extra knowledge gathered from the continuous your conversations, you can:
- Present your customer with an action they are ready to take. You’re not blasting them with a “Buy Now” email about a product YOU want to sell. You’re presenting them with a product you know THEY are interested in because of the exchange you’ve been having.
- Turn the conversion into a conversation. How often do you go to the shop and buy a higher end product without talking to a customer service representative? Probably not often. Usually buyers like to be accompanied in their purchase, reassured they’re doing the right thing etc. Conversational marketing is an opportunity for you to make this process seamless, and often much more profitable (faster conversion, upsells, etc.).
A delightful experience
As you can see from the three points presented above, bringing a conversational marketing angle to your content marketing efforts can have a tremendous impact.
Content and conversation will work hand in hand to offer a delightful experience to customers [Tweet this].
Now that the technology is here, there is no reason not to implement a strategy that could significantly improve your bottom line and make your visitors happy.
So now it’s your turn!
Which stage of the three-part funnel do you think conversational marketing could improve the most? Which segment of your audience would benefit the most from being in direct contact with your brand?
I’m excited to hear your thoughts!