All we hear about at the moment is content, content, and more content… And although content is very important for digital marketing, we must not forgot to listen to our customers. As Beth Rimmer explains, content needs to become conversation.
The idea of ‘conversation marketing’ has been around for a few years, but most recently came to light as a word to watch for this year.
Marketers have been driving engagement with customers since the dawn of advertising. But the crucial difference with conversation marketing is that the path of customer engagement has become a two-way street.
Your customers need to feel like you are really listening to them.
How well do you know your customers? What do you know about their lives? Their struggles? Jobs? What do they do in their spare time? Think of the local shopkeeper having a chat with customers about their day – the shopkeeper will know the customers personally, and more often than not, will know what they will buy as soon as the chime on the door sounds.
So how can your business incorporate conversation into your marketing?
- Know what content your customers want to read and adapt it to them.
- Define your target audience and appeal to them directly.
- Use surveys to ask your customers about themselves, and provide feedback on your business.
- Provide updates and promote your business through email marketing, but ensure this is opt-in only, and allow your customers to tailor the updates they receive.
- Encourage your customers to create content for your site themselves, which will provide trustworthy user-generate content – reviews are extremely influential and powerful.
- Implement a loyalty scheme for your customers, with rewards they want to receive.
Source: Mattes at Wikimedia Commons.
- Build relationships with customers and other businesses in your sector- attend events or even host events and get your customers involved.
- Be approachable – how can your customers contact you? Do you provide numerous ways for them to get in touch with any problems, advice or questions? Set up a help line to make your customers feel like they can always contact you easily.
- Reach out to your customers via social media, acknowledge any negative comments with solutions and reply to positivity with an appreciative message. Let your customers know you value them and what they have to say, in a personal way.
- Design your site with your audience in mind.
So get stuck in to conversation marketing and get to know your customers!