It’s almost impossible in marketing circles at the moment to avoid the topics ‘Content Marketing’ and ‘Content Strategy’, and not that you should. Now more than ever they are of paramount importance, however they are really just the first steps in your overall Inbound Marketing strategy. Once your content has generated interest and engagement, that’s when Conversational Marketing comes in to nurture and develop the relationship with your audience and ideally lead them to becoming a customer and an advocate for your brand.

Conversational Marketing isn't a new concept and is not exclusively related to digital marketing. Having said that social media does present an excellent opportunity for brands and businesses to ‘have a conversation’ with their target audience.

 
Google reports that according to a 2012 study conducted by Get Satisfaction a key reason users follow brands on social media channels is to get access to information and to give it. When a customer or potential client reaches out, the best thing a brand can do is listen. The Oxford Dictionary describes conversation as: ‘A talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged’

‘Exchanged’ is the operative word here. If your business has invested in a Facebook page, a Twitter profile or even a blog as part of your content marketing strategy, it is absolutely critical that you also have a conversational marketing strategy in place. The role of the ‘Content’ is to start the conversation. Then it’s over to you (or your marketing team or social media manager) to take it to the next level.

If you really want your Inbound Marketing strategy to work effectively, you have to build trust and confidence with the consumers you’re attracting. Trust and confidence in a brand or purchase is far more valuable than just one sale. It can potentially lead to viral brand awareness and increased market share from customers new to your brand who are outside the scope of your current marketing.

So if social media, content marketing and relationship building form part of your 2013 marketing strategy (and they should), don’t overlook the importance of conversational marketing as an integral part of your overall strategy. It’s a great way to get to know your customers and their needs and should be the starting point of something much bigger than you originally set out to achieve.

About the author: 

Matt Crawford is a marketing consultant specializing in social media and boasts an accomplished career in digital media sales. Passionate about connecting businesses with customers, Matt is also a social media coach helping businesses to launch and succeed with new media marketing strategies.

www.socialstrategies.net.au
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8 comments

  • XRumerTest
    XRumerTest
    23/12/13

    Hello. And Bye.

  • Guest Blogging
    Guest Blogging
    15/12/13

    Very nice post. In this world where almost everyone is using the Internet for a variety of purposes, there are still local businesses that operate as if the Internet has never been invented. They advertise their business and launch promotional campaigns without a care that they can encourage consumer interaction, something you need to do in this day and age if you mean to remain competitive. This is where conversational marketing enters the picture.

  • localrankexpert
    localrankexpert
    12/12/13

    In this world where almost everyone is using the Internet for a variety of purposes, there are still local businesses that operate as if the Internet has never been invented. They advertise their business and launch promotional campaigns without a care that they can encourage consumer interaction, something you need to do in this day and age if you mean to remain competitive. This is where conversational marketing enters the picture.

  • Lavera Poska
    Lavera Poska
    31/10/13

    How often should this kind of thing occur? Is this like a singular thing or should it happen all the time?

  • Copper Jewelry
    Copper Jewelry
    05/09/13

    An fascinating discussion will be worth comment. I’m confident which you require to write significantly more about this subject, could possibly not undoubtedly be a taboo topic but typically men and women are not enough to communicate in on such topics. To another location. Cheers

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  • Maxine
    Maxine
    04/12/12

    I couldn't agree more. Creating conversational posts and content encourages consumer interaction and social buzz, which is critical for companies (especially SMEs) to stay afloat in today's saturated industry. Consumers want to talk to 'people', not brands, and it is vital that corporations acknowledge this and create personable conversations that are both stimulating and relevant to their target audience. Corporations should have an individual strictly in charge of responding to consumer inquiries, whether on their social media page, blog or website. As you mentioned: "The consumer's voice is more powerful than ever". So these inquiries should all be responded to within a day if possible, as customer satisfaction leads to customer retention. A terrific example of this would be 'Wendy the Snapple lady'. Wendy Kaufman was the face of Snapple back in the 90's, and would respond to customer inquiries and fan letters. Giving the brand a persona made it more likeable, and Snapple was then able to reach out to their fans and create/strengthen bonds. Therefore, it is essential for brands not only to generate content, but also maintain a conversation with their users, differentiating themselves from competitors, and standing out.

  • vyna n
    vyna n
    26/11/12

    A very interesting read that was! I've learnt a lot in this blog post. Content and conversational marketing should go hand in hand. With content alone, you've only got spectators. You can't learn much about your audience. Businesses these days need to learn that a one-way conversation is not the end. The business with the most loyal customers today differentiate themselves by interacting, listening, understanding and conversing with their customers. If they love your brand, they will defend you. If they don't, they can potentially damage your brand image. The consumer's voice is more powerful than ever and so it is critical to listen and respond to your audience.

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