I’m going to be straight with you. Conversational marketing isn’t rocket science. It’s essentially having a conversation with your customers and asking questions, rather than achieving the same thing by having them fill out a lead form. Basically, it’s a fancy way of referring to live chat tools, chatbots, and the sales and marketing folks who leverage these tools.

But just because conversational marketing is easy to understand doesn’t mean it’s not powerful.

So far, I’ve done about 15 tests at 15 different companies, and every time, implementing conversational marketing has led to a 30% or greater increase in leads. Not only that, the quality of the leads has improved as well, since conversational marketing lets you qualify prospects in a more casual way before getting them to the right workflows and nurturing sequences.

How to Get Started with Conversational Marketing (Without Annoying People)

It probably won’t surprise you to hear this, but a lot of people who are using conversational marketing are being really annoying about it. Have you ever been to a website that pops up a chatbot messenger saying “How can I help you?” immediately after you landed on the page? That drives me crazy. I need to browse through the website for a minute before I’ll know if I need help!

Be smarter than that.

Time or Trigger Your Conversations

At the very least, make your live chat tools or chatbots wait a few seconds before popping up. Even better, use smart triggers that only intervene when certain conditions are met. For example, you can use Drift, Intercom and other tools to only launch a chat window when someone has returned to your website for a second time or when they’re visiting priority pages.

Make It a Cohesive Conversation

I did an experiment recently, when I was filming a video for Hubspot. I was planning to sign up for Zenefits, and I wanted to see if I could get to a salesperson faster through live chat or through the company’s standard lead form.

I went to the Zenefits website on a Saturday and filled out the contact form. At the same time, I went on live chat, where I was able to give information about my name, my company size and my revenue. I wound up being able to set a call with a salesperson for first thing Monday morning, after which I signed up, went through the onboarding process and got my employees set up with new accounts.

That lead form I sent? I got a response later on Monday, but wasn’t able to schedule a call until Wednesday – long after I’d already gone through the full sales process through live chat.

The bottom line is this: if you’re going to use conversational marketing alongside other lead capture strategies, you need to understand how it fits in and how it can be part of your prospects’ broader engagement with your company.

How to Leverage Live Chat for Marketing

Here’s one example of the way we’ve used live chat on Mailshake. We give away plenty of free, ungated content – things like ebooks, masterclasses and playbooks. We tested adding live chat there, because simply being on that page means the visitor is engaged with our topic and services.

From these pages, we can ask people if they’d like to receive PDF versions in order to capture their email addresses. Or, we can ask questions to see if they’re interested in our software, in which case they can be routed into the right lead funnel.

We can also use conversational marketing to begin to segment out potential enterprise users. For example, we know that a session involving hits to the home page, the pricing page and our features page is indicative of enterprise user behavior. By knowing and tracking that, we’re able to use live chat to steer these visitors towards different conversations and sequences than standard users.

Friction points are another good place for conversational marketing. Take your ecommerce checkout page. If someone balks when it’s time to add their credit card numbers, you can still capture them through live chat, turn them into an MQL and nurture them until they’re ready to become a customer.

Are you using conversational marketing in your business? Share what’s worked and what hasn’t by leaving me a comment below:

Image: Pixabay

  1. Awesome article Sujan! Tools like Intercom & Drift rock. They’re anonymous, easy, and don’t have the “sales pressure” that other channels might have.

    I think they’re also great for collecting qualitative research too. You can learn a lot with live chat transcripts.

    Lastly, I’d say tools like Mobile Monkey (facebook messages website integration) are the future. Dare I say the next email marketing. You can do drip funnels, etc with 70-80% open rates.

  2. Thanks for the great article on conversational marketing. My company builds AI powered lead capture agents for multiple industries ranging from complex AI powered bots to simple menu driven chat. We’re learned a couple things. First it’s very difficult to program ai to correctly respond correctly to every user input. Secondly, if a site visitor is interested in the product or service they tend to convey they problem, issue, question and buying intent early in the conversation. Our most successful chatbots use limited AI and simply let the user describe their problem or need. Then we ask if they would like to book and appointment or just get their questions answered. In either case, the chatbot gathers contact information and routes the new lead to the business. Like most everything, the KISS principle most always works best.

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