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5 Ways Conversational Marketing Can Improve your Sales

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5 Ways Conversational Marketing Can Improve your Sales

Conversational marketing focuses on growing a business’s sales funnel over personalized real-time conversations with customers. Conversations, in this approach, make or break a customer-business relationship. 

With the increasing use of affordable AI and ML based technologies, conversational marketing becomes accessible to businesses of any size which are looking to grow their sales funnel without an astronomical budget. In other words, what sets conversational marketing apart from other sales-oriented marketing strategies is its focus on resourcefulness in finding the right customers and delivering a personalized experience to them. 

So, how does it work?

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The strategy basically has two elements:

  1. Customers determine the logistics

Consumers are impatient, HubSpot research says. Customers and prospects must be able to reach out to you and get a timely response whenever it’s convenient for them. Because 82% of them say it’s important to get an immediate response regarding a sales or marketing question. Immediate means ‘’within 10 minutes’’, for 62%. This means you have to offer 24/7 live support, with the help of a combination of conversational marketing tools such as conversational AI, chatbots, live chat and more.

It’s also important that they can get in touch with you via messenger apps and social channels. Make sure your social accounts are active and accessible to everyone in your target market, regardless of their location or device type. 

A good example of this is how Learnsyt, an online course platform, uses a simple WhatsApp click-to-chat button in their blog. Once you click on the icon, you’re connected to their Whatsapp account and could start a conversation with them. 

If tracking every interaction seems too hard, using a customer success tool like Intercom or Zendesk would help in monitoring every interaction and touchpoint from across channels. These tools have features that’ll help you seamlessly deliver personalized messages to your customers and prospects, and drive them through the sales funnel.

  1. Conversations should drive results

Regardless of how well a conversation is held, the important thing is that it leads to somewhere. It holds true for both you, and your customers or prospects. “If a customer or lead comes to you with a question or problem, the conversation must lead you to the right answer or solution. You have to extract data, analyze the issue, and come up with a response, either in the form of knowledge, or action,” says Boris Jabes, CEO and Co-Founder of Census. That’s how it comes to a result.

If the conversation is initiated by you, it must lead your target to take action. The action can be visiting your resource center to learn more about your products, making a demo request, or buying a product. When this is the case, you have to look at customer data to understand their preferences, interests, and awareness stage. It’s the only way to tailor your message to customers at different stages of the buying journey.

5 ways conversational marketing can help you boost sales

1- Shopping assistants increase engagement

47% of consumers say they’re comfortable buying an item directly from a chatbot. So if you’re worried that conversational AI might come across as creepy or unnatural to customers, we’re in a different age now. 91% of consumers say that they’re more likely to buy from brands that remember their preferences and offer relevant deals and recommendations. In other words, they’re expecting a personalized experience, and brands must deliver it.

Source: https://martech.zone/ecommerce-virtual-shopping-assistant/

Take Sephora’s virtual shopping assistant, for instance. It welcomes the visitor, which is something that resembles an in-store shopping experience. Then it asks a question, to identify visitors that need help from a customer service representative—which saves time for the customer service agents. 

Finally, it encourages the customer to try on looks, which’ll increase their likelihood of making a purchase. Use a recommendation engine, internal or as a service, to offer personalized recommendations based on customers’ historical data and real-time responses. 

Building an internal engine can be difficult. You need to use an app, pluggin, or use several tools, such as NLP datasets, together to get the same result.

2- Loyalty programs work much better with conversational marketing

Loyalty programs have been around for a long time. However, the consumer is changing. Recent McKinsey study found that discount-based loyalty programs are not enough to keep customers today. Customers expect different experiences and to feel connected with the brand⁠—value beyond transaction.

Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/preparing-for-loyaltys-next-frontier-ecosystems

So instead of siloed discount-based loyalty programs that offer nothing but monetary benefits, McKinsey suggests that businesses should create their own loyalty ecosystem, providing customers complementary product and service offerings, from which they can choose the best that fits their needs.

Check out Citibank’s loyalty program, for instance.

The company allows its customers to use their points the way they want, rather than forcing them to use it for a single predetermined purpose. Use conversational marketing tools such as live chat, chatbot, and messenger apps to learn what customers are actually interested in receiving in return for their loyalty, and offer reward options that they can choose from.

3- Chatbots automate processes 

Both B2B and B2C businesses now create content that helps their brand resonate with their audience. However, not all businesses are able to effectively turn that attention into sales. Chatbots could be used to automate some of your business processes such as lead generation and customer service. 

Insert chatbots in your homepage, blog posts, knowledge base, report pages and more. “When a visitor lands on those pages, these tools automatically start conversations that’ll drive them to make a purchase,” says Ben Rollins, Co-Founder of Axon Optics. Combining chatbots with email marketing could be fruitful as well. Barbora Jassova explains how this match could be useful in her email marketing vs. chatbots article. 

Say you have a web form that has seen some results but needs optimizing. You could replace it with a chatbot, which has been set up with a series of qualifying questions, based on the fields of your web form . . . . On the front end, the user is having a seemingly innocuous chat with a support agent/bot. In the background, the system is sorting their information based on preferences, requests and needs. . . . With the data collected, you can then use these to create segmented lists, which allow for an extra layer of personalized content – guaranteed to increase conversion rates.

Chatbots for customer service are pretty popular these days, and have features such as artificial intelligence, visual flow builders, omnichannel messaging support, live chat handover, detailed analytics,etc.

Say for instance, you’re selling outdoor sports equipment. On your blog, you just published an article that talks about the importance of using a headlamp when trekking, for safety reasons. A visitor, who’s a newbie in outdoor sports, just found out its importance.

You can add a CTA to the blog, and ask the readers if they have questions about LED Torch and headlamp equipment. If they click on it, the chatbot can pop up and offer information about the product with a link that goes to a product page. This way, you’ll be able to have a conversation with someone who didn’t have an intention to do so, and streamline their buying journey.

4- Conversational display ads drive results

A problem with generic display ads that account for the majority of the ads we see everyday is that they’re not the best at keeping our attention, even if they manage to capture it at first. Conversational display ads overcome that problem. Auto giant Ford tested conversational display ads’ effectiveness by running them using AdLingo—a Google platform—and saw a 38% relative increase in purchase intent with a 40% reduction in cost per micro-conversion vs. the company benchmark.

Run conversational display ads to lead prospects into visiting your product pages. Ask them a few questions to understand their intentions, but keep it simple. Try for instance, to capture what drives them to make a purchase. If what they’re looking for is affordability, direct them to more affordable products. If they value sustainability over affordability, make sure to recommend products that stand out with their robustness, durability, and sustainable production processes.

5- Social conversations build trust

Back in the days of mom-and-pop stores, shop owners would have to be present in their shops, to make sure the customer is well taken care of, and is happy with the experience. At the same time, they were socializing with their customers. Customers would trust the store owner’s capability to answer questions around and resolve issues in their area of expertise. In return, the store owner would benefit from that trust and communication, which are two pillars of a strong customer-business relationship.

Today, that level of intimacy between customers and shop owners is mainly transferred to social media. The connection is not exactly physical anymore, but it is still needed. That’s why 70% of consumers say they feel more connected to a brand whose CEO is active on social media. If you want customers to feel connected to you, regardless of how physically far they are, you’ll have to show them there are real people behind the brand.

Source: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/social-media-connection/

The important thing to remember is, you have to be genuine. Your brand’s tone of voice must reflect its values, and must be coherent across channels or your community software. Find your brand’s unique tone of voice, get inspiration from what you think differentiates you from all the other brands that race for the same attention. Take these two fashion brands for example:

Notice that their target markets separate from each other on so many levels, and these brands’ purpose is to appeal to their audience. This will not come to you overnight. You’ll start from somewhere, and consistency will be the key to building your own audience. With time, and using the right tools such as IG tools, you’ll get closer to your customers, better understand their agenda, and become their go-to address in matters related to your business. 

Finally: 

Customers are more at ease to express their concerns through engaging conversations with brands. So apart from the benefits listed above, conversational marketing channels such as messenger apps, social media conversations, sms, live chat and chatbots are all cheap but effective ways to gain customer intelligence. 

Brands typically consider these channels ideal for running their voice of customer (VoC) programs. Conversations could be started to elicit your customers’ feedback on particular issues such as their opinions about your new feature. The data could be organized and even visualized using visual reporting tools to give you a clearer idea of how you should optimize your customer journey. So make sure to use your conversational marketing channels to get to know your customers as well.  

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Content Operations Framework: How To Build One

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Content Operations Framework: How To Build One

More and more marketers of all ilk – inbound, outbound, social, digital, content, brand – are asked to add content operations to their list of responsibilities.

You must get your arms around:

  • Who is involved (and, I mean, every who) in content creation
  • How content is created
  • What content is created by whom
  • Where content is conceived, created, and stored
  • When and how long it takes for content to happen
  • Why content is created (the driving forces behind content creation)
  • What kinds of content does the audience want
  • How to build a framework to bring order and structure to all of this

The evolving expectations mean content marketers can no longer focus only on the output of their efforts. They must now also consider, construct, implement, and administer the framework for content operations within their organizations.

#Content marketers can no longer focus solely on the output. It’s time to add content ops to the mix, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

What exactly are content operations?

Content operations are the big-picture view of everything content-related within your organization, from strategy to creation, governance to effectiveness measurement, and ideation to content management. All too frequently at the companies – large and small – we consult with at The Content Advisory, content operations are left to evolve/happen in an organic fashion.

Teams say formal content operations aren’t necessary because “things are working just fine.”

Translation: Nobody wants the task of getting everyone aligned. No one wants to deal with multiple teams’ rationale for why the way they do things is the right/best/only way to do it. So, content teams just go on saying everything is fine.

News flash – it’s not.

It’s not just about who does what when with content.

Done right, content operations enable efficacy and efficiency of processes, people, technologies, and cost. Content ops are essential for strategic planning, creation, management, and analysis for all content types across all channels (paid, earned, owned) and across the enterprise from ideation to archive.

A formal, documented, enforced content operation framework powers and empowers a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible customer experiences throughout the audiences’ journeys.

A documented, enforced #ContentOperations framework powers a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible experiences, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.

What holds many content, administrative, and marketing teams back from embracing a formal content operations strategy and framework is one of the biggest, most challenging questions for anything new: “Where do we start?”

Here’s some help in high-level, easy-to-follow steps.

1. Articulate the purpose of content

Purpose is why the team does what it does. It’s the raison d’etre and inspiration for everything that follows. In terms of content, it drives all content efforts and should be the first question asked every time content is created or updated. Think of it as the guiding star for all content efforts.

In Start With Why, author Simon Sinek says it succinctly: “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”

All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year, says @SimonSinek via @CathyMcKnight and @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

2. Define the content mission

Once the purpose of the teams’ content efforts is clear (and approved), it’s time to define your content mission. Is your content’s mission to attract recruits? Build brand advocacy? Deepen relationships with customers? Do you have buy-in from the organization, particularly the C-suite? This is not about identifying what assets will be created.

Can you talk about your mission with clarity? Have you created a unique voice or value proposition? Does it align with or directly support a higher, corporate-level objective and/or message? Hint: It should.

Answering all those questions solidifies your content mission.


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A hands-on primer for marketers to upgrade their content production process – by completing a self-audit and following our step-by-step best practices. Get the e-book.


3. Set and monitor a few core objectives and key results

Once your content mission is in place, it is time to set out how to determine success.

Content assets are called assets for a reason; they possess real value and contribute to the profitability of your business. Accordingly, you need to measure their efficacy. One of the best ways is to set OKRs – objectives and key results. OKRs are an effective goal-setting and leadership tool for communicating objectives and milestones to achieve them.

OKRs typically identify the objective – an overall business goal to achieve – and three to five key quantifiable, objective, measurable outcomes. Finally, establish checkpoints to ensure the ultimate objective is reached.

Let’s say you set an objective to implement an enterprise content calendar and collaboration tool. Key results to track might include:

  • Documenting user and technical requirements
  • Researching, demonstrating, and selecting a tool
  • Implementing and rolling out the tool.

You would keep tabs on elements/initiatives, such as securing budget and approvals, defining requirements, working through procurement, and so on.

One more thing: Make sure OKRs are verifiable by defining the source and metric that will provide the quantifiable, measurable result.

Make sure objectives and key results are verifiable by defining source and metric, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

4. Organize your content operations team

With the OKRs set, you need people to get the work done. What does the structure look like? Who reports to whom?

Will you use a centralized command-and-control approach, a decentralized but-supported structure, or something in between? The team structure and organization must work within the construct and culture of the larger organization.

Here’s a sample organizational chart we at TCA developed for a Fortune 50 firm. At the top is the content function before it diverges into two paths – one for brand communications and one for a content center of excellence.

Under brand communications is each brand or line of business followed by these jointly connected teams: content – marcom, social/digital content development and management, center of excellence content – creative leader, center of excellence PR/media relations, customer relationship management, and social advertising.

Under the content center of excellence is the director of content strategy, manager of content traffic, projects, and planning, digital asset operations manager, audience manager, social channel and content specialist, creative manager, content performance and agility specialist, and program specialist.

Click to enlarge

5. Formalize a governance model

No matter how the operational framework is built, you need a governance model. Governance ensures your content operations follow agreed-upon goals, objectives, and standards.

Get a senior-management advocate – ideally someone from the C-suite – to preside over setting up your governance structure. That’s the only way to get recognition and budget.

To stay connected to the organization and its content needs, you should have an editorial advisory group – also called an editorial board, content committee, or keeper of the content keys. This group should include representatives from all the functional groups in the business that use the content as well as those intricately involved in delivering the content. The group should provide input and oversight and act as touchpoints to the rest of the organization.

Pointing to Simon Sinek again for wisdom here: “Passion alone can’t cut it. For passion to survive, it needs structure. A why without how has little probability of success.”

6. Create efficient processes and workflows

Adherence to the governance model requires a line of sight into all content processes.

How is content generated from start to finish? You may find 27 ways of doing it today. Ideally, your goal would be to have the majority (70% or more) of your content – infographic, advertisement, speech for the CEO, etc. – created the same or in a similar way.

You may need to do some leg work to understand how many ways content is created and published today, including:

  • Who is involved (internal and external resources)
  • How progress is tracked
  • Who the doers and approvers are
  • What happens to the content after it’s completed

Once documented, you can streamline and align these processes into a core workflow, with allowances for outlier and ad-hoc content needs and requests.

This example of a simple approval process for social content (developed for a global, multi-brand CPG company) includes three tiers. The first tier covers the process for a social content request. Tier two shows the process for producing and scheduling the content, and tier three shows the storage and success measurement for that content:

Click to enlarge

7. Deploy the best-fit technology stack

How many tools are you using? Many organizations grow through acquisitions, so they inherit duplicate or overlapping functionality within their content stacks. There might be two or three content management systems (CMS) and several marketing automation platforms.

Do a technology audit, eliminate redundancies, and simplify where possible. Use the inherent capabilities within the content stack to automate where you can. For example, if you run a campaign on the first Monday of every month, deploy technology to automate that process.

The technology to support your content operations framework doesn’t have to be fancy. An Excel spreadsheet is an acceptable starting place and can be one of your most important tools.

The goal is to simplify how content happens. What that looks like can vary greatly between organizations or even between teams within an organization.

Adopting a robust content operations framework requires cultural, technological, and organizational changes. It requires sponsorship from the very top of the organization and adherence to corporate goals at all levels of the organization.

None of it is easy – but the payoff is more than worth it.

Updated from a November 2021 post.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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SEO Recap: ChatGPT – Moz

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SEO Recap: ChatGPT - Moz

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?

Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.

Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:

Video Transcription

Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.

The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”

So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?

No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.

Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.

Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?

So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.

It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.

But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?

I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.

It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.

What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.

So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.

My favorite use case so far though is coding. So personally, I’m not a developer by trade, but often, like many SEOs, I have to interact with SQL, with JavaScript, with Excel, and these kinds of things. That often results in a lot of googling from first principles for someone less experienced in those areas.

Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.

It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.

That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

The definition of a whitepaper varies heavily from industry to industry, which can be a little confusing for marketers looking to create one for their business.

The old-school definition comes from politics, where it means a legislative document explaining and supporting a particular political solution.

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