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    04/09/2024 |

    Beyond the Chatbot: The Future of Conversational Marketing

    Think of those times at a party or conference when you went beyond small talk and struck up a conversation. Instead of the usual job/family/weather topics, you asked questions about their experiences and goals. They mirrored that information and shared ideas that resonate with you. And you stuck around to talk more.

    At its heart, this has always been the goal of conversational marketing – to listen, comprehend and respond to prospects’ specific needs to encourage engagement and conversions. And accelerating advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) make it possible to do this better, whether you get three leads a month or 3,000. 

    Let’s dig into how emerging AI technology can help you develop a more robust inbound marketing strategy and get you comfortable for whatever comes next.

    Be a Smooth Operator

    Conversational marketing can be extremely effective for tracking marketing performance and results. During many interactions across multiple channels, AI-powered tools help clarify and track your own needs and processes, so that you can: 

    • Integrate personalization throughout your inbound marketing CMS
    • Improve lead generation and qualification 
    • Harness data insights for targeted conversational interactions

    Across conversations, the data collected helps you know what information gaps to fill so you can find the right balance between personalization and a standardized, user-friendly (measurable) buyer journey. 

    Sparkling Conversationalists Know: Ask Questions

    To make the most of your AI tools, you need to know the questions your target personas ask at each stage of their buyer journey. That way, you can supply relevant responses and direct them toward the products and information they need. 

    The robots don’t think for themselves yet, so you need to provide initial information to help them start the conversation. Some good places to start include: 

    • Frequently asked questions 
    • Browsing or purchase history data
    • Website or e-commerce traffic 

    Over time, you’ll be able to expand your FAQs, with conversation threads specific to your personas’ behavior and preferences. Then you can test which are most effective for conversion. In many ways, your conversational marketing audience is your ideal audience to keep your personas accurate and up to date. You never have to guess what they’re thinking – they tell you!

    Your Conversational Marketing Co-Pilot

    The right AI tools can help you connect with people where they’re most active or comfortable seeking information. As you gather and refine user data, these tools become even more adept at anticipating customer needs.

    Here are some key AI tools and marketing opportunities shaping effective conversational marketing: 

    Chatbots and virtual assistants deliver immediate assistance and drive engagement in real (customer) time. Chatbots aren’t going anywhere, but if you’ve found them limited, the good news is they’re getting better. These intelligent tools (especially marketing-focused tools like ChatSpot) leverage natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to understand and respond to customer queries in real time, providing immediate assistance and driving engagement. 

    Omnichannel communication management helps your prospects engage with brands wherever they are, whenever they choose. Cross-channel tools help you provide a cohesive and consistent experience across platforms such as websites, social media, email and messaging apps. They continuously learn and adapt to shared data for more personalized and contextualized interactions.

    Voice search and conversational SEO connect you with an increasing number of consumers using voice-enabled devices to make purchases. Track the conversational queries and natural language patterns in search driving visitors to your site. Use this information to help develop long-tail keywords, local optimization and featured snippets to capture valuable voice-driven traffic. 

    Video transcription tools like Fathom and Otter.ai help you capture questions and feedback that come up in webinars or videos and incorporate them into your marketing data, to better answer your prospects’ questions as their needs and expectations change.

    Of course, the technology mentioned here continues to evolve. But if you become comfortable with current tools, you’ll be prepared to take advantage of the new capabilities that follow. 

    And if you feel like you’re at the party without a friend, find an AI-activated agency or partner that can help you pair proven solutions with human experience and expertise to accelerate growth.

    From Conversation to Conversion

    Bottom line: Your B2B prospects expect the same level of personalization they experience with their personal shopping.

    They don’t want to be talked to (or at!). They want a conversation, to feel heard and understood. AI tools should be part of your internal marketing conversation to deliver personal experiences in an agile, scalable format. 

    If you’ve already got your very own Rosie the Chatbot on your B2B site, know this is just the first step toward a robust AI-supported conversational marketing strategy. Stay current and experiment with evolving AI tools to find the best way to connect with your visitors, deliver value during each touch and encourage prospects to take action.

    Heather Bowlan, Copywriter headshot

    Heather Bowlan, Copywriter

    Heather Bowlan's writing and editing experience has ranged from B2B/B2C website copy to travel guidebooks and poetry reviews to nonprofit fundraising campaigns. Her background in creative writing and critical thinking keeps her inquisitive and interested. Whatever the message or medium, she loves the opportunity to develop content with impact.

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