The evolution of technology in telecommunications and the continuing increase in the sophistication of devices have changed the way we use media.
As we enter the thick of 2023, the telecommunications industry now boasts more cellular connections than people on the planet. This level of device ubiquity is changing the way brands interact with consumers and has changed how relationships are created between the two.
In the past, brands tended to own and dictate interaction, offering content to users according to their will. Over time, user behavior and expectations have changed .
People prefer authentic interactions in real time, and 75 percent of consumers would like to send messages directly to a company when they need help. This is especially the case with Millennials and Generation Z, who see sending a message to a company as the most convenient way to interact with it.
What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing is a customer-centered strategy that aims for highly personalized customer engagement and “nurturing.” In essence, this approach should mimic having a one-on-one conversation with another person. The goal is to put the customer at the center of the interaction to deepen the connection between the brand and the consumer.
Some of the most common ways to use conversational marketing are:
- Live chat software
- Messaging app
- RCS (Rich Communication Services)
Adopting this approach as part of one’s marketing strategy has numerous benefits for both brands and end users. Instead of having to fill out contact forms and wait for feedback, users can receive a response in real time. This helps to create a more favorable experience for the consumer, who is able to interact directly with the brand.
It is also one of the most effective ways to move a potential customer through the sales funnel, using the power of real-time conversions by understanding and identifying the exact needs of potential customers and possible elements that hinder conversions.
Conversational marketing is capable of transforming more traditional business-consumer interactions, creating an authentic experience for the customer and ensuring that the company has a complete overview of the consumer’s needs.
With the increased use of smartphones, users have become accustomed to having a myriad of options and features at their fingertips. This is especially the case when individual micro-moments are to be fulfilled to accommodate users’ needs and expectations.
What are micro-moments?
Micro-moments occur when users have a particular need and respond to it by using a device, usually their smartphone, as their first tool to obtain the information or service requested, discover something new, or even make a purchase.
These are the best times when brands should enrich user experiences and ensure that users receive all the information they require based on their position in the sales funnel.
During micro-moments, brands have the opportunity to show themselves and interact with users as they express their ideas and desires, confirming and implementing their preferences.
Using conversational marketing
Integrating conversational marketing within a broader marketing and communications strategy is the ideal way to amplify customer engagement, improve retention and increase return on investment.
There are several ways through which brands can include and use conversational marketing as part of their corporate messaging strategy. It is important to consider it as an approachapplicable to companies of all sizes, not only by large companies, but also by SMEs, to improve relations with their customers, generate more revenue and high levels of long-term return on investment.
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to create a more direct and immediate connection with your customers, SMS 2-ways are the ideal solution.
Two-way SMS combines increased interaction with the high levels of performance associated with SMS marketing, including 98 per cent open rates and an average response time of just three minutes: no other digital marketing channel can match these impressive metrics.
Text messages can reach any mobile phone anywhere in the world and recipients are able to reply in real time. The fact that this channel can be used on any mobile device means that it has 100 per cent market penetration compared to other channels, so you can be sure that you will enjoy faster delivery and reading speeds than other tools.
Using 2-way SMS you can send text messages to your customers via a Multi-Channel Messaging Platform and, in turn, receive instant replies from your recipients, creating an engaging two-way messaging experience between brand and consumer.
SMS can be used effectively to engage and receive feedback from your customers. You can then use these useful learnings to your advantage to refine your communication and messaging strategy. Two-way messaging can be used for a variety of purposes in a number of areas, including:
- Customer Service
- Service notifications
Another effective way to use conversational marketing is to develop and implement chatbots that engage, educate and inform users at every stage of the sales funnel.
Chatbots have evolved from being simple tools used exclusively for live chat purposes, or to convey messages outside of business hours, to intelligent and intuitive tools that can arouse curiosity among website visitors and ‘nurture’ leads and potential customers early in the funnel into loyal customers.
A well-designed and functioning chatbot will help you to understand your audience in more depth. The information can then be used to improve your broader marketing strategy, especially when it comes to segmenting your audience into lists for email marketing purposes.
Through the use of retargeting, it is also possible to resume a conversation with a website visitor from where it had been interrupted and continue the dialogue. If the chatbot is configured correctly, it can be used to supplement previous user journeys on your website with relevant material.
Live chat software
Most chatbots tend to have the functionality to incorporate connection with live agents to offerreal-time customer support and assistance. For small businesses, investing in a full-featured chatbot may not be financially viable; in these cases, live chat widgets are an ideal solution to provide higher levels of service through conversational marketing.
Your potential customers will feel reassured that they can always count on your live support or customer service. If you provide a service, this is very beneficial as it creates instant trust: it is estimated that potential customers who chat with a real person are 2.8 times more likely to convert than those with a more traditional website experience.
Noticing the presence of a live chat on a company’s website helps to build trust, even if the customer does not need assistance at that moment. It also enables the customer service team to provide higher service levels and increase productivity.
When taking a traditional approach to customer service over the phone, you only have to deal with one person at a time, whereas using live chat software you can converse with multiple customers at once. It also allows customer service to send screenshots or share screenshots with the customer to provide superior and more accurate service.
Messaging apps are one of the basic channels and are used daily by consumers for the purpose of sharing messages and media files. This has led to a change in corporate messaging and is now considered a key channel for brands to create more meaningful dialogues.
This is not surprising, especially if we take a look at the number of users of the most relevant messaging apps:
- WhatsApp: 2 billion users
- Facebook Messenger: 1.3 billion users
- WeChat: 1.3 billion users
These huge numbers indicate that if you are not incorporating messaging apps into your communication strategy, you are missing out on engaging with large numbers of users. By now, customers expect to be able to interact with companies on messaging apps to solve their customer service needs.
Rich Communication Services (RCS)
RCSs are the evolution of SMS and allow brands to create deeper and more memorable interactions with their customers. They essentially offer the functionality of a mobile app in a message and are powered by the Android ecosystem, resulting in a powerful corporate messaging tool.
In the long run, this channel will maintain the incredible performance of SMS, complementing it with a considerable amount of functionality to increase engagement. All these aspects can be customised to create an even more engaging experience for the user.
Android includes the functionality of Google Pay; this ease of payment, combined with high levels of customisation, is a powerful tool for brands to increase their revenue.
Similar to the security behind verified SMS, both brands and users benefit from increased levels of peace of mind thanks to the verified sender status that helps users identify that they are interacting with an authentic brand. This is a turning point in the fight against smishing and fraud.
How rdcom is addressing the evolution of messaging
Our internal quest for innovation sees rdcom constantly investing in research and development to improve our market offering. Conversational marketing is today a key point of an effective communication strategy, which is why we offer our clients RCS services and Messaging Apps including WhatsApp and Viber.