Message Received: Why Conversational Text Marketing Works
by Sarah O'Neill, on 25 March, 2021
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Now, as mad as it sounds, SMS still has an average open and click-through rates of 98% for the first, and 19% for the latter. Who's opening texts anymore? I'm so young and hip, the only way you can reach me is in the Virtual McDonalds in a specific server in VR chat.
So, how can you get the SMS click-through rates up? In this customer centric world, you can't just send out a bulk message and a bunch of INVALID REQUEST INVALID REQUEST responses. You need that good stuff. You need...conversations.
So, what is conversational text marketing?
Using customer data, conversational SMS marketing tailors a special little interaction for each possible client. In the long run, it builds report with the brand, and focuses on true interaction with the person on the other side. It's based in empathy - each properly answered question, and person-specific question, means a chance to avoid a disappointed customer.
Basically, you're recreating the in-person shop experience. Remember shops?
You get the easy complaint line, you get the ability to ask about the product, and you get the friendly, easy going shop keep with a smile on their face. You know, like the opposite to shopping in Primark.
You can also guide your customer to complete their purchase, rather than having the product just sitting in their basket. And possibly kindle a friendship that lasts for life! Okay, maybe not the last one.
R.E.S.P.E.C.T...Find out what it means to me.
...and what it means is effectively driving conversations using empathy and personality. Easy as.
“Messaging apps will introduce a paradigm shift for marketers where interactive and contextual conversations will replace ad broadcasting. New conversational interfaces will drive deeper relationships between consumers and brands.” wrote Forrester in an article for Forbes.
That's the key - relationships. The trick to SMS messaging is to treat it like a normal interaction, warts and all. Don't send multiple messages in a sequence, and wait for a reply. It's better to leave the meat of the conversation to the second message, that responds to the choice they just made. And don't overwhelm them! You don't like being messaged by your least favourite great Aunt every day, so why do it to your customers?
Just like with politicians or rodeo clowns, the trick is personality.
Now which would you rather be trapped in a room with - Indiana Jones or a tax accountant? If you answered the latter, you must also be a tax accountant. What are you doing here?
Personality builds engagement. A great example of conversational marketing is the Epic Reads Chatbot. Yes, yes not technically SMS, but a good show of personality and person-like-behaviours.
Using images, gifs, emojis and colloquial speech, the chatbot mimics a real interaction. This bot even has a slight delay between them to mimic the time it takes for a human being to reply to a message.
Madi, Madison Reed's hair colour bot speaks exactly like your hairdresser would. Remember Hairdressers?
Madi is apparently “obsessed with finding your most flattering shade”. Plus, instead of waiting ages for a professional consultation, Madi is available 24/7.
Using compliments, x's and o's, and the audience's style of speech, Madi has improved audience engagement by a whopping 400%. Plus, she's resulted in a 21% click-through rate to the company’s website. Not bad for a bot.
Overall, it's mostly about making it fun for your customers. Yes, they get their answers in an easy to read, easy to find out manner. But the less robotic the interaction is, the more entertaining it is, the more likely your customer is to feel at ease with your brand. It gamifies customer service, something no-one enjoys.
BRB adding all my favourite chatbots into a WhatsApp group chat rn. I feel so popular.
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