Conversational marketing has become an important and effective tool for businesses connecting with their customers, especially in the B2B space. With the social and economic changes forced upon us by the global pandemic, businesses trying to compete and stay relevant will see positive returns from adding conversational marketing to their marketing strategy. One way to take advantage of the benefits of conversational marketing is through the use of onsite chat and chatbots, a popular and productive feature in many modern websites.
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing is the endless feedback loop that comes from engaging with your customers on a one-to-one basis. Despite the name, this type of marketing is not merely about taking customer service calls or shaking hands at a trade show (theoretically, if we ever go back to shaking hands). It’s about being available for questions, feedback, and engagement wherever your customers hang out at every stage of the sales cycle.
That means anything from having a 24-hour customer service to replying to every tweet that mentions your brand to letting people track shipments through Facebook Messenger. And it means chat.
According to a 2019 research study conducted by Drift and SurveyMonkey Audience, 86% of people surveyed would prefer a chatbot over a website form to connect with a brand. 86%! That’s a compelling statistic.
Where Chat Fits In
Person to person chat is not new. Anyone who sat at a computer waiting to hear their dial-up modem connect was able to access AOL instant messenger (AIM), the grandmother of online chat. AIM used to be virtually the only player in the game but people have a lot more options now. And chat, in one form or another, is the preferred method of communication for many, many customers.
One of the easiest ways to leverage chat is by installing a chat add-on to your website. This type of add-on can utilize a bot to answer customer queries or direct users to the information they’re looking for and can also be set up to have real people from your team engage with your website users.
As a B2B company, chat functionality can be extremely useful for your business in a few different ways, all of which culminate in providing the excellent customer experience that consumers have come to expect.
Onsite Chat Generates Leads
When a new prospect comes to your website, your main goal is to capture their contact information. A static “contact us” page or a lead generation form on gated content may work well, but chat can add an entirely new dimension to your lead generation strategy.
Think of your website chat bot as an interactive contact form. Your branded chat bot can prompt a prospect with questions they might have about your business and then collect their contact details so that you can get back to them with an answer.
Onsite Chat Promotes Engagement and Nurturing
In 2017, Business2Community reported that the buying cycle for B2B products and services was longer than it was in 2016. In 2020, with budgets slashed and B2B buyers stretched thin, it’s quite likely this timespan is even longer. This means your sales team needs all the help it can get in nurturing leads.
According to the RAIN Group, on average, new prospects require at least 8 touches with a brand before they make a purchase. Because your chat tool can discern when a visitor to your site is new or returning, it can specifically engage returning visitors with a unique message, like a discount offer, or a targeted piece of content that indicates they are already somewhat familiar with your brand. Targeted engagement like this, when done correctly, can be very successful with nurturing leads through your sales funnel.
Onsite Chat Enhances Customer Service
The way many of us engage with brands leveraging chat is through customer service. The fact is that virtually no one prefers to call customer service lines on the phone anymore. Too many of us have experienced total frustration trying to get connected to an agent, having to repeat ourselves several times and waiting on interminable holds. Most users prefer chat for customer service, hands down. In fact, one study found that live customer service chat scored a 92 percent on a customer satisfaction scale.
Not only is chat easy to engage with on mobile, even if there are wait times, you can easily do something else while you wait. You can even email users a record of their chat conversation once it concludes so they have it for their records (and yours).
Ultimately, conversational marketing, and onsite chat specifically, is one more compelling tool to engage effectively with your prospects and your customers. The better prospect and customer experience you are able to create, the better able you are to grow your business.