11 platforms & tools for effective conversational marketing

Having a conversation in the digital world is one of the most effective ways to secure a sale and build a more meaningful relationship with your customers. It’s actually a win-win situation for both customers and brands. Here’s why.

Communication is built on a conversation – this is how we understand and help each other. People want to be able to ask a simple question such as “When’s my order arriving?” and have it answered straight away. That’s why 68% of customers prefer customer service chatbots because they provide quick answers regardless of the usual operating hours, and if needed they can forward them to a real person. So whether it’s an AI or a person, people like to have conversations to handle their problems and satisfy their needs.

For a brand, conversation marketing fulfils lots of objectives. First, you start engaging with the customer through dialogue instead of a one-way conversation like it happens on newsletters or social media. But here’s the main catch: 55% of businesses that use conversational marketing generate better quality leads.

Why? Because those leads are not from the top of the funnel, they are most likely at the consideration stage. This means that by talking to them you can understand their personal needs and offer solutions accordingly.

As a result, you can take them to the next level – the decision stage. Moreover, by generating more leads, you can collect more data about your customers and implement a more data-driven marketing strategy. This will also help you to accelerate your marketing efforts and other marketing technology tools such as your CRM platforms.


How conversational marketing helps your business cta


In this blog, we’ll introduce you to some of the best conversational marketing tools and platforms in the market.

Conversational Marketing Platforms & Tools

Let’s start

1. Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger logo 2013

Facebook Messenger Chatbot is an effective customer service tool for various brands. According to Accenture, 57% of businesses state that chatbots deliver higher ROIs with less effort. With Facebook Messenger, you can provide shopping facilities, customer service support, order tracking, and many more. For instance, you can add a “Buy Now” button within the Messenger app to allow customers to shop directly in the app without having to visit your site. This is quite important for customers because it shortens their buying journey and as a result, it helps you to increase conversion more quickly.

Here is an example from Next. Being the biggest clothing retailer in the UK, Next wanted to increase its online sales. Yet, they needed to provide a friendly and personalized experience to keep building one-to-one relationships like they’re visiting their physical store. To do this, they built a Facebook Messenger bot that guided customers through their buying process. Customers are able to start a chat and ask about the jean’s colour, how it would fit them, how they can combine the selected clothes and more through the chatbot. This then enabled Next to deliver retargeted campaigns and optimize their customer journey.

2. Instagram Messenger

Instagram

Since the end of 2020, Facebook has updated the Facebook Messenger API and made this available on Instagram too. Previously Instagram accounts with more than 10k followers were able to create a chatbot but starting from August 2021 all brands can now easily integrate their Instagram messaging chatbot with their technology stack. This help brands on Instagram to drive more meaningful conversations.

We recommend using Instagram DMs to provide an exclusive customer service, make product recommendations and direct your followers to your site.

3. Google Business Messages

Google Messages logo

Today 75% of consumers prefer to engage with a brand over private messaging channels versus traditional channels. That’s why Google enables you to directly start a conversation via Google Maps, Search, and brand websites, creating a frictionless path to purchasing.

When customers google your name, they can directly see a “Message” button. If customers click on the “Message” button, it’ll automatically start a conversation with them. Then by only using keywords you can help your customers and engage with them. This will also allow you to collect more personalized data about your site visitors. You can then re-engage with those customers via segmented and retargeted messages.

4. HubSpot Live Chat

Font Awesome 5 brands hubspot

HubSpot is a platform that offers inbound marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM solutions. HubSpot states that “today’s buyers want information — and they want it now”. Conversational experiences on landing pages (such as customer service chatbots and live chat) convert 3 to 4 more than a traditional landing page. And that’s why they provide a free live chat software. They want you to use live chat to directly connect with your visitors, prospects and customers in real time. This will then allow you route customer inquires to your customer support team, and pass your leads to your sales team to close deals faster.

HubSpot’s Conversational Marketing Manager Connor Cirillo says,

“Your conversational marketing audience is much more insightful than your other channels. They’ll tell you in their own words how they want to interact with your business. There’s no inferring or guessing, like with web traffic.”

This means that you can collect data and insights at scale especially from messaging channels such as chatbots. This can help you to optimize your customer interactions, improve your product offers, create more personalized content and recommendations.

Here’s a great chatbot example from CNN. They use their HubSpot chatbot to engage with their customers through tailored content based on keywords. So visitors simply send a message with a topic they want to learn more about and then the bot sends them the related news and stories. With every single chat, CNN collects user data and insights helping them better understand the trends.

5. WhatsApp Business App

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“WhatsApp has become the center of gravity for billions of users around the world. It’s where we
message the people we care about most.” says HubSpot’s Head of Conversational Marketing, Connor Cirillo, and then adding that, “Businesses always want to build relationships and meet customers where they are. WhatsApp can become one of the most important marketing channels.”

Yet, today only 7% of marketers use WhatsApp for business purposes. If you want to be accessible to your customers, then we highly recommend using WhatsApp for your business. You can use WhatsApp Business for more than customer support. For instance, when you have a new product or collection, you can promote it on WhatsApp as well.

One of the examples that we loved most is from Hellmann’s Brazil. What did they do differently? Well, they used WhatsApp for creating story-based chatflow conversations. You can text WhatsCook about the recipes or even send photos of progression and then receive video-based instructions. The app also reminds you when the dish is done too! By using chatflows and labels, they also provided a choose-your-own-adventure story to engage with customers.

6. Intercom

Intercom is a conversational marketing software that helps sales and marketing teams convert site visitors into paying customers with chatbots and live chat. What differentiates Intercom from other platforms is that their intelligent bots allow you to create routing rules. With this feature, your site visitors can get a better experience. You can also connect Intercom with the rest of your marketing technology stack such as Salesforce, Marketo, Stripe, and more.

Let’s see an example from Intercom. Living Spaces, a leader in the home furnishing industry, was trying to bring the in-store experience they’ve carefully cultivated over the course of almost two decades, online. Pete Franco, VP of Ecommerce at Living Spaces says,

“We’re very focused on the experience of our customers. There’s a lot that goes into the buying experience, and we want to make that as stress-free as possible.”

To bring that personal and stress-free experience into online, they needed to follow a conversational approach. With this in mind, they implemented Intercom into their marketing, sales, and support tools to create a unified customer experience. For instance, through their chatbot they informed customers about the new promotions, made product recommendations, and also delivered exclusive customer support.

A tip from our team: Intercom also helps you to generate further leads by allowing you to include your downloadable reports – this is especially useful if you’re within the B2B industry.

7. Drift

drift logo

Also known as the “revenue acceleration platform”, Drift is a conversational marketing and sales tool designed to make buying easier for customers. They state that your site visitors are your most engaged customers and prospects (we definitely agree on that). So why ask them to fill out a form or wait for them to return to the site, just start a personalised conversation with them. In this way, you can engage, qualify, and convert them into pipeline in real time, day or night.

Thanks to Drift’s rich integration ecosystem, when a visitor interacts with you, you can instantly see detailed information about that customer. This enables you to provide a more personalized experience.

Here’s how GoCardless, the leading global fintech for recurring payments, used Drift to accelerate their revenue. Rupert Brenninkmeijer who leads Growth Marketing at GoCardless says that even though they have an amazing website with a strong SEO, they noticed that they weren’t converting 97% of their site traffic. So they needed to find a business solution that helps them to increase their conversion rate.

GoCardless began to ask “Since we’re a payment platform, which annual revenue range would you like us to process for you?” in their bot. The larger prospects were directed to their sales team for live chat and the smaller prospects were directed to sign up.

Then they began to share specific playbooks within the bot based on the visitor’s location and the page that they’re visiting on the site. As a result, GoCardless began to generate 20% of their incremental revenue from conversational marketing.

8. Telegram Bots

Telegram logo

Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed. As they reach more than 400 million active monthly users, they also become one of the most important communication tools for marketers. The number of Telegram users is still expanding so it is highly likely that your customers will also be there. With Telegram Bots, you can provide 24/7 customer support that can save a lot of time and money.

Here’s a real-life example from Skyscanner. They used Telegram Bots to create a chatbot called Eddy Travels. This chatbot helps travellers to explore places to visit, check accommodations, flights, tours and even plan group travels. So instead of only providing customer support, Skyscanner also turned their chatbot into a travel inspiration tool and travelling body.

9. Attentive

Driving an average of 18.5% of total online revenue for ecommerce brands, Attentive is a comprehensive personalized text messaging solution. You need to create valuable touchpoints at every stage in the customer lifecycle to build longer-lasting relationships with your customers. And, this can be achieved through two-way communication, not one-way communication. This is why conversational marketing works much better. Attentive engage customers with highly relevant text messages that drive loyalty and revenue.

For instance, you can create personalized product or promotional campaigns, inform them about the process, and show them that you are there for them. Let’s see an example. TGI Fridays, the casual dining bar, is known for bringing people together to socialize and celebrate the freeing spirit of “Friday”. To reach mobile-first diners and increase their order frequency, TGI Fridays implemented a conversational marketing strategy.

First, they integrated their SMS program with their loyalty provider to send highly personalized messages. Jasmine Hajjari, CRM Manager at TGI Fridays says, “We’re creating a smarter SMS program by integrating it with our CRM and loyalty platforms to deliver relevant, meaningful, and compelling messages to our subscribers”.

Then they started using dynamic segments to send hyper-targeted messages. For instance, they provide updates about their new and seasonal dishes to create further excitement and encourage subscribers to order. By using appealing visuals and links they increase their click-through rate by 78.4%.

“We always include images when we promote new items because our subscribers may not be familiar with them,” Hajjari said. “It entices them and piques their curiosity. We want them to wonder, ‘How does it taste? Is it like my other favorite items?’”

10. Birdeye

Birdeye is all-in-one customer experience and reviews software for multi-location businesses. With Birdeye, you can collect reviews, run surveys, text customers, get referrals and convert your leads. Here’s what we love about Birdeye, they start every conversation by collecting the real phone number and name of the customer. This helps you to generate more qualified leads and close the deals. Furthermore, their Webchat functionality allows you to text your leads even they are not on your site. In other words, they direct the message to their mobile phone so that you can keep in touch with them.

You can also use Google Analytics to understand how your site visitors are interacting with your brand through the webchat. This can support you to optimize your messaging and communication channels. For instance, Exclusive Furniture, Houston’s fastest growing furniture chain, wanted an easy way to interact with site visitors and customers.

“Customers need to talk to somebody to make sure they get their questions answered. They want human interaction. They don’t just want to just add to cart and click to buy.”

says Jeremy Belland, Website Developer at Exclusive Furniture. By integrating conversational marketing into their marketing strategy, they began to connect with more leads and provide a better customer experience. In only 3 months, Exclusive Furniture saw website visits up 61% and Google searches up 16%.

11. Apple Business Chat

Apple logo dark grey

Apple Business Chat helps customers connect with businesses through the Messages app in iOS, macOS, watchOS, and iPadOS. In other words, customers can find your brand and start conversations with you from touchpoints like Safari, Apple Maps, Search, and Siri. Similar to other messaging apps, they can then get support, schedule appointments or make payments with Apple Pay.

Freshly, a New York-based prepared meal delivery brand, uses Apple Business Chat and provides a personalized experience. First, they ask multiple-choice questions to gather data and offer a tailored experience. Based on the answers, customers access a fully-personalized service and support. This also enables the brand to understand about their customer’s preferences and gain insights about individual buying behavior.

Which conversational Marketing Software should I use?

With so many platforms and tools in the market, you might wonder which platform is best for you. The answer, surprisingly, is that it depends on what your specific needs are as a business. However, you should use a mix of them to achieve your marketing goals. For example you can have a HubSpot Chatbot for support on your website and use Facebook Messenger, Google Business Messages and WhatsApp for your social commerce goals. The possibilities are endless, but it is important to consider these as a new technology to help your overall marketing and sales goals.

The Covid-19 has accelerated both the speed and scale of digital transformation, even boomers are using online services to shop and order. To accelerate your marketing efforts and revenue, you need to build an effective digital infrastructure for your business. Implementing a conversational marketing strategy and then finding the right conversational marketing platform accordingly is one of them. As you can see, there are various conversational marketing tools and chat support services to generate leads, improve customer service and satisfaction. They all have their own unique features and functionalities.

Yet, in the end, it’s all about providing the right messaging and following a tone of voice that is consistent with your brand identity. Keep in mind that through those chatbots your customers are having a conversation with your brand. That’s why it’s critical to provide an on-brand experience. Want to know more about which conversational tool suits you and how we can help you to build your brand online?

Our conversational marketing experts can help you get the most out of these tools. Contact us for a chat.