Conversational Marketing and the Role of SMS

The marketing landscape is constantly changing. The pandemic has shifted the focus for companies not only to greater digitization, but also to a more personalized customer experience in digital marketing. Perhaps you too have adjusted your marketing strategy and stumbled upon the term Conversational Marketing. In this post, we talk about what Conversational Marketing is and why SMS are strong partners in this form of marketing.

What exactly is Conversational Marketing?

Conversational Marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on conversations with customers. It potentially accompanies all phases of the customer journey and is focused on enabling a two-way conversation.

In order to implement Conversational Marketing in a meaningful way, it is necessary for companies to decide to offer their customers several communication channels to contacts them in. This way, they can choose the channel that allows them to have an authentic and enjoyable conversation. Opportunities for direct communication, such as in live chats or through chatbots, are just as important as opportunities for asynchronous communication, such as via SMS.

Conversational Marketing needs to be based on reliable data, but it’s also great for querying first party data.

Why is Conversational Marketing so important?

The trend toward addressing customers individually has been evident for years. Today, personalized offers are nothing new, but a basic service that your customers expect. Conversational Marketing is the next logical evolution: focusing on your customers moves further into the spotlight. Conversation is perhaps the most natural way to get information – especially for your customers.

Give your customers the opportunity to use this way of communication.

It should be clear to you: Conversational Marketing is a growth factor that should not be underestimated. Especially in Germany, many companies have not yet jumped on the bandwagon. Yet it has long been clear that business messaging has come to stay.

Important: Marketing conversations must also be meaningfully integrated into a marketing mix; they cannot exist on their own, because then both context and foundation would be missing. Simply implementing one chatbot is not enough.

What role does SMS play in Conversational Marketing?

Conversational Marketing can be offered in many ways and in many different media.

SMS are a logical part of successful Conversational Marketing strategies, because:

  • SMS are easy to use and implemented quickly

    Your customers don’t have to install an app, they don’t have to click through your website to find a form, they don’t even necessarily have to be connected to the internet. If they have a cell phone, they can receive SMS. For you as a company, scalable SMS sending is also easy to implement: with a reliable SMS gateway.

  • SMS are crisis-proof

    SMS aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. While many messenger apps have to deal with scandals, outages or other problems time and again, SMS are virtually indestructible. They are also very reliable and are opened and read quickly by your recipients.

  • GDPR compliance is easy

    It’s not new that customers want to be able to contact companies via text message. For many companies, however, one question arises during implementation: How do I make sure my communication is GDPR-compliant?

    With a GDPR-compliant SMS gateway, you are on the safe side and still offer your customers an option to text you.

  • SMS are personal

    A conversation with your customers should take place at a personal level. One of the reasons text messages work so well for your Conversational Marketing is that they are very personal messages. Your customers are used to communicating with friends and family via text messages. Talking to you in the same place strengthens their bond with your company.

    By the way: our placeholders make it particularly easy to personalize text messages.

Think of SMS as a logical complement or rather the logical foundation for your Conversational Marketing. If all other mediums don’t work, SMS is the foundation you can return to. Also keep in mind that not all of your customers will want to use certain messenger apps. Let them decide for themselves how they want to contact you.

Receive SMS online?

With your own inbound number, you receive your incoming SMS conveniently in your login. Of course, you can also forward incoming SMS.

Conversational Marketing Examples

Domino’s

A well-known example of Conversational Marketing is Domino’s AnyWare. Here, customers can create a favorite order in their profile and then trigger it by sending a pizza emoji to Domino’s via text message. 🍕
As can be seen in the linked video, however, the order can also be triggered via Twitter, smartwatches and smart TVs. In fact, even more communication channels are available for quick ordering.

Of course, this example shows only a small part of the Conversational Journey. Nevertheless, it’s a nice example: Domino’s lets customers choose how they want to get in touch, effectively shortening the conversation exactly where customers would have to repeat themselves unnecessarily.

Conversational Marketing begleitet idealerweise alle Phasen einer Customer Jurney

Many options – Which one will your customer choose?
(Image source: Vlad Hilitanu via Unsplash)

LEGO

The use of chatbots as virtual shopping assistants, as seen in use by LEGO, is also interesting. In this example, a conversation is created between the customer and the bot, in which the chatbot uses questions to find out which product could be the perfect LEGO Christmas gift.

This type of advice does not generate the same customer loyalty as a one-on-one conversation, but it effectively helps customers to help themselves – even if no employee is available.

Develop a Conversational Marketing Strategy

Most companies will probably not be able to avoid Conversational Marketing even if they do not see the benefits and would therefore prefer to do without it. Customers are already actively demanding this type of communication, and the generations that will become the most affluent customers soon want to be able to reach companies flexibly. So at best, make a plan now: how can you make conversations with your customers a strong component of your marketing strategy.

Including SMS as a component of your Conversational Marketing strategy is a good idea both short term and long term – SMS reach every cell phone without extra effort, they are crisis-proof and easy to integrate.

Give it a try and book your own inbound number.

All the best
Your sms77 team

Illustration in header by sesame via iStock, edited colours and crop.

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