Friday, 25 May 2012

Tips for Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is a widely discussed topic. A lot has been written about the difference between paid and earned media, but does it mean you now flood social media sites with your content and advertising instead of writing for a newspaper /magazine?You do the same old things on new channels – like creating a mobile app for your website?

Being where your customers are is a great idea, but it is only the first step.
A conversation is all about meaningful exchange of information to satisfy needs and not just about publishing, advertising or watching videos and reading blogs (and posting comments on them).
 A conversation is also what you want to talk to your customer about.
It does not mean you press the play button on a video and turn up the volume. It is also important to help them, discuss a problem or answer a question.

Two way communications is good conversation:
Good blogs are great to read and follow. While we love the comments people post on blogs, we can see that people are trying to involve themselves in a conversation. They are also trying to establish their brand, views and beliefs. If you are successfully able to sell a product to them, you can consider it as a good conversation.
 A meaningful social media conversation has four elements to it:
  •  Need
  • Information
  • Collaboration to match the information and the need
  • Collaboration to improve the information

 Defining the right metrics
Counting on links, bounce rate and time spent on a page means you are advertising, not conversing with your audience. While these metrics can help you to improve conversation, they cannot be considered as your final metrics. Some good final metrics are retention, acquisition and spending share of customers. This means that you know your customers from their clicks. You know, and are learning about how to meet their needs better with your products and services. That’s what a conversation gives you. If you cannot explicitly link conversations with actual customer identities (if permitted by law of course), and if you are just publishing, you need to rethink your strategy.

Making a good conversation?
While content is an important component, how you apply it becomes the crucial aspect. Making good money from advertising is not really a corporate model for a business with products other than content (think bank, retailer, services, etc.). What conversations can they start without getting all mushy about it? Think of the needs and information framework above. That’s the place to start. For example, consider visiting a bank’s website. You have to really search for how their product helps to meet your objectives. Most banks don’t even list your objectives. That’s an easy one. We call it a low hanging fruit. There are probably a lot of low hanging fruits out there to satisfy world hunger.

Next steps
It is important to remember the needs and information framework and focus on it. Once the foundation is ready, social media and e-commerce pundits can help you build upon it. But without that solid foundation, you’ll be advertising, not conversing.

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