What Is Conversational Marketing

By September 5, 2019 April 2nd, 2020 One Comment
What Is Conversational Marketing

One of the newest forms of digital marketing is called conversational marketing. Sometimes it is known as chat marketing, chat blasting, or even chat app marketing. This post is going to help you understand what is online chat marketing and how to use chat for marketing. Here is exactly what we will cover:

What is Conversational Marketing?

Why Use Conversation Marketing?

How To Use Chat For Marketing

Further Reading

What is Conversational Marketing?

Some people call it conversational marketing, chat marketing, mass messaging, or chat blasting. All of these terms are founded around the same idea – using chats as a medium for digital marketing. Why are brands considering using chat app marketing? Messaging apps are where consumers are.

Chat application platform available for conversational marketing.

Chat applications are everywhere today. There is a 99% chance you have Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, or Telegram installed on your phone. Furthermore, chat is an untapped marketing channel. Brands that adopt chat as a marketing channel early stand to gain a lot more than those who do so later.

Although chat marketing can be used at any stage of the marketing funnel, we believe brands stand to gain the most from conversational marketing in the interest, consideration, intent & evaluation stages of the marketing funnel.

Conversational Marketing or Chat Marketing is a form of digital marketing that sits perfectly a the intersection of marketing and sales. Chat app marketing works best in the interest, consideration, intent & evaluation stages of the marketing funnel.
The Marketing Funnel

In other words, chat marketing sits perfectly at the intersection of marketing and sales. However, that is not the only reason conversational marketing is gaining so much interest lately.

Why Use Conversational Marketing?

In the end success in digital marketing is all about doing something new and innovative, consumer tend to respond to novelty. A simple way to think about why you should use chat marketing, is to think about the current digital marketing channels you use and which of those chat app marketing can supplement or replace.

Chat Marketing vs Display Retargeting

Display advertising has always been extremely popular, and it's obvious to see why. Using Facebook or Google display networks, you can reach out to an audience who has never heard of your brand even though they already have an interest in your product or service category.

Traditionally, display advertisement has also been used for remarketing, but lately, this has become more expensive. With nearly all brands taking advantage of this channel, the demand for display ads continues to grow. Additional problems are siphoning of precious ad traffic as numerous ad-blockers block up to 90% of display ads.

Due to banner blindess and the increase in cost for banner ads, chat blasting may be a viable solution to replace display remarketing.
Eye Tracking Used To Demonstrate Banner Blindness

Besides, those consumers who are seeing your display ads are experiencing ad fatigue. They have learned to ignore display ads altogether. This is called banner blindness.

Although display advertising still continues to provide the critical ability to create awareness for your brands, the increasing cost and decreased effectiveness of display ads make it a less than ideal solution for remarketing. This is why many businesses chose to retarget to their audiences using email marketing.

Chat Marketing vs Email Marketing

On the face of it, email marketing is much cheaper than display retargeting. After all, it doesn't cost much to sent emails. Businesses can collect email addresses for interested users and retarget them via email.

Although fundamentally a great idea, the overload of the email inbox as a catch-all for communications and notifications has reduced the usefulness of email as a remarketing channel. Because of the overload, email open and click rates have dropped to dismal levels.

Chat marketing has way higher open rates and click rates as compared to email marketing.
Emails Newsletter vs Facebook Messenger Newsletter

On the other hand, chat applications have astonishing open rates, due both to the novelty of chat app marketing and the interface of a chat application.

Using email, customers can contact you all they want, without ever opening marketing emails. Inside chat apps, if the user wants to have a brand interaction, they must open a single chat conversation.

The in-line interactions format results in unheard-of open rates. Facebook Messenger chat blasting has an open rate of 85%, while emails with an open rate of 20% or higher are considered an incredible success.

Aside from open-rates, chat marketing also has a higher level of engagement than both email and display ads. With display ads, you'll be lucky to get a 2% to 3% click rate, with email click rates hover around 2% as well. In the meantime, the click rates we have seen on Facebook Messenger are over 10%.

However, sky-high open rates and click rates are not the only reasons to adopt conversational marketing. Chat marketing allows you to push open rates and click rates even higher with hyper-personalization.

Conversational Marketing is Hyper-Personalized

Digital marketers all agree that content personalization is one of the critical success factors of any marketing campaign. However, the process of targeting and creating content with either display ads or email marketing is time-consuming.

Creating display ads targeted to niche segments increases the time and effort it takes to create collateral. The issue is similar with email marketing. It takes time to design, write, and proof an email marketing campaign. Creating ten variations of either is just not realistic for all but the largest companies.

Using Broadcasts based on past interactions

Chat marketing simplifies everything because messaging apps have straightforward interfaces. You have the option to send inline text, emojis, and images. To create ten variations of a chat marketing campaign only requires a writer, no designers needed.

Conversational Marketing Requires Engagement

When the marketing medium is just a chat UI, a marketing campaign engagement is relatively unique by default. The audience member can't just click through. They will need to craft a response, this creates a more exciting level of engagement.

An excellent example of conversational marketing driving engagement is the Ménage à Trois Campaign by Agent Provocateur. They used WhatsApp group to help customers decide the best lingerie for them from the Naughty or Nice Christmas collection based on their personality.

Engaging customers throughout the varying phases.

Out of the 112 conversations that took place in the UK, 31% of them visited the store, and 61% of them visited the website. Although the level of effort on the part of the brand was high in this conversational marketing example, the high-value product meant it paid off in the end.

Overall this campaign demonstrated the success of conversational marketing as a lower-funnel marketing tool and the level of engagement it can generate.

Chat Marketing Is Ideal for Customer Success Teams

Once you have a potential customer engaged, you're going to want to convert. Harvard Business Review research shows that businesses who can reply to the customer faster make the sale more often.

Leads Are 10x More Likely To Convert Within Five Minutes

If your potential customer is already in a marketing related chat, it's so easy to hand that chat over to a salesperson to complete the sales. Unlike other pipelines where the customers may be transferred from one channel to another when using Conversational Marketing the salesperson can enter the chat right at the perfect moment to finish the sale.

Now that you understand the benefits of chat marketing let's talk about how to implement it.

How To Use Chat For Marketing

There are so many different ways to use chat for marketing. Since chat is an upcoming new ways are being invented and discovered every day. To learn how to use chat for marketing you'll need a few examples to emulate and to open a business account on the messaging app channel you want to market on.

Conversational Marketing Examples

One of the easiest ways to get started with chat marketing is to create a version of your email newsletter in message apps.

Chat Newsletter

At Rocketbots, we send a monthly chat newsletter to all the contacts we've chatted with. It's easy to set up, all you need to create a free Rocketbots account, connect your messaging app business accounts, and create a broadcast. There is a full guide to creating a chat newsletter on Rocketbots here.

For more conversational marketing examples, check out the following posts:

Another essential aspect of chat marketing is deciding which messaging app to use as a conversational marketing channel.

Chat Marketing: Facebook Messenger

Embarking on Facebook Messenger as a channel for conversational marketing is a no brainer for most businesses. Facebook Messenger is the number one or two most popular messaging app in most English speaking countries.

Getting started with a Facebook business account is easy; just create a Facebook page. Once you have a page created, Facebook gives tons of options to drive traffic to your Facebook Page messenger including click to messenger ads, a live chat plugin for websites and more.

Facebook Messenger provide many UI elements to spice up your chat blasts but you'll need to connect an outside tool via API to facilitate chat marketing.
Facebook Messenger Marketing

Unfortunately, Facebook does not provide any out of the box tools to send broadcasts or create chat automation. The best way to enable Facebook Messenger broadcasts is to connect something like Rocketbots.

Chat Marketing: WhatsApp

WhatsApp is another channel that is easy to say yes to when it comes to conversational marketing. WhatsApp the most popular chat application in most of Europe, Latin America, and Africa.

Creating a WhatsApp Business Account is a little bit complicated. You'll need to choose between WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API. WhatsApp Business App is primarily for small businesses. WhatsApp Business API is mainly for large companies. Both of these accounts have different rules for messaging, make sure to choose between the two carefully.

Conversational marketing on WhatsApp consists of chat blasting on WhatsApp Business App or template messaging over WhatsApp Business API.
Broadcasting on WhatsApp Business App

Getting started with marketing on WhatsApp Business App is reasonably straightforward. WhatsApp Business App has a broadcast function built-in that allows you to send a chat blast to up to 256 contacts at a time.

Conversational marketing over WhatsApp Business API is a little bit more complicated. To send mass messages, you'll need to use template messages. Template messages are blocks of text that WhatsApp approves before you send them out. Once approved, you can fill in the blanks of the message with contact names and other information.

Chat Marketing: WeChat

Using WeChat as your chat marketing channel only makes sense if you would like to target an audience in China or target Chinese consumers around the world. Currently, WeChat is the most popular messaging app in China.

On WeChat, business accounts are called WeChat Official Accounts. Opening one is a little bit of a pain. Opening a WeChat Official Account is relatively simple. However, before you can do any meaningful activity on your account, you will need to verify your WeChat Official Account, which requires some business registration documents.

Chat Marketing on WeChat consists of chat blasting articles from the WeChat Official Accounts Platform.
WeChat Marketing

Broadcasts works a little differently on WeChat that they do on other platforms. Rather than plain text and emojis broadcasts are HTML pages, just like email marketing. There are additional limitations depending on the type of WeChat Official Account you have.

WeChat Subscription Accounts allow you to broadcast one article per day, while WeChat Service Accounts only allow you to broadcast four articles per month.

Chat Marketing: LINE

LINE is a very popular messenger in their four primary markets, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. It makes sense to adopt this chat marketing channel, especially if your audience is in Taiwan or Japan, where LINE is the most popular messaging app.

Business Accounts on LINE are called LINE Official Accounts, creating one is relatively simple, and there are no costs involved. You can read our step by step guide to creating a LINE Official Account here.

Chat marketing on LINE consists of chat blasting articles on the LINE Official Accounts Platform.
LINE Marketing

Like WeChat, LINE broadcasts can be sent as HTML websites that the user can view in the LINE app. Broadcasts can be sent on the LINE Official Accounts platform. With the Free version of a LINE Official Account, 1,000 broadcast messages can be sent. To send more, you will need to upgrade to a paid LINE Official Account.

Chat Marketing: Telegram

Telegram is very popular in countries with authoritarian governments and in the cryptocurrency industry. Telegram doesn't have business accounts per se, however does allow you to create Telegram bots.

To create a Telegram account for your business you can follow our step by step guide to creating a Telegram bot here.

Chat marketing on Telegram consists of sending broadcasts using your Telegram Bot of Rocketbots or using Telegram Channels
Telegram Marketing

Marketing on Telegram can be done in two very distinct ways. If you want to use the Telegram app only, you can create a Telegram Channel with your Telegram account. There, Telegram users can join your channel and read your posts. You can learn more about what a Telegram Channel is here.

Alternatively, you can connect your Telegram Bot to Rocketbots and send broadcast messages to all the Telegram users that have contacted you for support or any other reason.

Chat Marketing: Viber

Viber is one of the most popular messengers in Eastern Europe, in your target audience is located there, you should consider using Viber as a marketing channel.

To create a Viber account for your brand you'll want to create a Viber Bot. We have a step by step guide to creating a Viber Bot here.

Chat marketing on Viber consists of connecting your Viber Bot to Rocketbots and chat blasting using Rocketbots Broadcasts.
Viber Marketing

Viber doesn't offer an out of the box back end platform to manage your messages. However, you can connect your Viber Bot to Rocketbots to enable a world of capability.

Once integrated with Rocketbots, you can send unlimited messages without content restrictions, and you will not have to pay a dime to send those messages. The only caveat with Viber bots is users have to initiate the interaction by messaging your user bot first, but once they do that you have all of the freedom.

Further Reading

Once you've learned the basics of conversational marketing you'll want to learn more about each specific channel because each channel offers its own benefits and limitation. Here are some posts you will find helpful:

Iaroslav Kudritskiy

Iaroslav Kudritskiy

Iaroslav is the Chief Operating Officer at Rocketbots overseeing growth and operations. He is a graduate of the MBA program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his previous roles include positions at Kodak Alaris, Xaxis & Light Reaction.

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