by Mark Hayes
November 8, 2018

It’s not often I can sit here and say that some ‘buzzword’ has significantly changed the way Rocketshp does business in a short period of time.

But when it comes to conversational marketing, I can.

About a year ago, Rocketshp began exploring the idea of conversational marketing.

We met with the team at Drift, heard their passion for having better conversations with customers, and decided to get it a crack.

Twelve months on, and hand on heart, I can say it’s changed our business.

Conversational marketing: Behind the buzzword

It’s easy to throw words like ‘conversational marketing’ around, without actually stopping to define how this approach differs from your ordinary marketing approach.

The essence is simple: Conversational marketing leverages AI to have better conversations with your customers, meaning a more engaging experience for inbound customers, and fewer leads lost.

Here at Rocketshp, this has looked like using a Drift chatbot on our website to engage with site visitors.

Anyone who’s on our website will have a personal chatbot walking them through their experience, answering questions in real-time and directing them to the content most relevant.

Sounds pretty simple? It is. Yet here’s how it’s impacted our business:

Our customers now have a better experience

Think of a typical business website.

A landing page, a few background pages, and then a myriad of products, case studies and marketing content.

The standard customer would arrive after having searched for your services, then from there it’s a lottery whether or not they actually engage in business with you (in fact, there’s only a 2.35% chance they will, based on the latest landing page conversion statistics).

Some will be looking for specific information and not have the patience to hunt through all of your content, others will get lost and not understand your business’s value proposition, and still others—the worst result—will have questions, which go unanswered for days after they fill out a shonky contact form.

We like to think this didn’t happen to too many of our customers 12 months ago, yet the reality is, it probably did. But not anymore.

Now, with a Drift chatbot, our customers have a significantly elevated experience.

First of all, our customers engage with us when it suits them. Rather than waiting for us to respond to our contact form, customers get answers to their questions immediately, while they’re in buying mode.

Plain and simple, this means customers spend less time being frustrated, and we lose fewer time-sensitive leads to our competitors.

Secondly, conversational marketing allows our customers to have a personalised journey through our website.

Instead of having to navigate for themselves, they can share what they’re looking for and our chatbot will direct them to the relevant page.

Thirdly, our chatbot tailors content to meet the needs of each site visitor.

If a customer is asking questions about our experience in the field, we can email them a series of relevant case studies.

If they’re wondering about our value proposition, our bot makes sure they’re reading the right blogs that articulate what Rocketshp delivers.

The right people speaking to the right people

Personally, one of my biggest pet peeves is spam.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to be spending your time talking to the right people, not filtering out all those messages from people interested in selling you something else, researching, or tagging along to your brand for their own gain.

Don’t get me wrong—I love to give back, and believe it’s important to foster relationships where we help others in the industry but for crying out loud, not every couple of hours!

What conversational marketing does for Rocketshp is ensure that all of this crap is filtered out.

Our chatbot is programmed to direct students towards a couple of key blogs and videos for their research, and sales people to where the sun don’t shine—or some other relevant area.

For us, this means less spam, less frustration, and more of the conversations that matter.

Not only this, but our chatbot also gauges which genuine leads should be speaking to which team members at our end.

Say it’s a Mandarin-speaking customer—they won’t be coming through to me, they’ll be sent straight to Amanda. Again, this just means everyone’s time is maximised—no one bounces around between reps, and we only speak to those who there’s value in speaking to.

We’re having better conversations

Looking at the difference between a year ago and now, the kicker for me was seeing how conversational marketing elevated the calibre of conversations we have with our customers.

Get this: A chatbot can detect where your customer is enquiring from, and customise their greeting accordingly. ‘Hello’ becomes ‘G’day’, ‘G’day’ becomes ‘Howdy, partner!’… Gabriel has assured me that this isn’t actually how people speak in the US, but you get the idea.

Sure, it’s not earth shattering, but these kinds of small features are what has really sold me on using a chatbot—with today’s AI, you’re not getting static, pre-scripted answers.

Speaking of AI, if you really go deep with conversational marketing, you can monitor common questions that come through to your chatbot, and create a set of answers based on these.

For example, we found we were often getting asked about customer lifetime value—so we programmed a series of different responses our bot could use to address different questions on the topic (and created some value-add content to drive them to).

Conversational marketing for us also means more leads are being funnelled towards conversion, naturally. Rather than immediately trying to make a sale, our chatbot understands which stage each customer is at, based on their time spent on our site, and number of visits.

Say, for example, a customer has spent 15 minutes reading our content and is on their third visit to our site, they might be prompted with a cheeky, “Hey, you’ve been here three times now! Why don’t you have a chat to a real person?”

The difference between this and a stale contact form hidden somewhere in the back of your website is polar.

Making the most of your data

As we’ve moved into the age of data, it’s critical that we leverage everything that’s available to us.

We’ve found that having an AI-powered conversational marketing bot is a straightforward way of reaching that low-hanging fruit. Each customer receives a personalised experience of our business, service that is instantaneous, and guidance in the right direction, minimising wasted time and frustration at both ends.

With this kind of tool available (and free for the basic version of Drift), there’s really no reason not to be leveraging conversational marketing.

The upside is massive, while the downside is pretty much non-existent.

Compared with altering your whole pipeline or website design, which is a significant investment, engaging with a chatbot takes only a few hours to set up, and a couple of minutes to tweak.

Right now, conversational marketing gives us an edge over our competitors.

As much as I’d love it to stay that way, for the sake of the industry, I can’t help but urge that you follow suite and elevate your customers’ experience too.

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