Get Real Engagements With Conversational Marketing
Professional writers and people who enjoy reading understand that language is continually evolving. We recently sent an email from our social enterprise about shoe drive fundraisers, and someone schooled the team that the word "whoa" doesn't exist.
However, marketing professionals and nonprofit fundraisers understand that language is something that's living and breathing. It doesn't stay static. Otherwise, we'd be talking as Shakespeare did hundreds of years ago, and we'd be using words such as "ye, thou, shalt, etc." Instead, we find ourselves using emojis and memes that express lots of emotions and thoughts! All of it is language and communication.
Language and communication are dynamic, living, breathing constructs that allow us to form familiar narratives and share information. Enter conversational marketing! You've got to admit that things have gotten a lot more informal, personalized and immediate. A lot of it is driven, because social media is informal and intended for on-demand, transparent social engagement. Those forces helped create a space for conversational marketing.
What Is Conversational Marketing?
In short, conversational marketing centers around your supporters. It's donor- or customer-centric, and it means that your marketing efforts meet them wherever they happen to be (e.g. social media, conferences, messaging, emails, remote meetings, digital publications, etc.).
Moreover, conversational marketing means that your brand speaks to its donors and supporters in transparent, clear and engaging ways. Think of it as how you would communicate with your friends and family. As a brand, you want conversations with donors to become real, relevant and engaging in their lives.
How to Ensure You Engage in Good Practices
Again, conversational marketing centers on your donors and supporters. You want their experience with you not just to be OK, but outstanding. During a team marketing meeting recently, we spoke about our responses to people who wanted to see what we were about on social.
- With conversational marketing, when someone speaks to you, you respond — right away. Remember, we live in a world of on-demand services. And that means that if people want to comment or have a question, they're going to forget about it if you take a week to reply. So one of the best practices for conversational marketing is to engage quickly in conversations. Don't wait to communicate. One of the best things you could do for yourself is to set up chatbots to answer questions on-demand. No one wants to wait for days to get an answer.
- Conversational marketing also means that you need to inform your supporters. As you engage, you have to be ready to answer questions and offer insights and information about your cause. First, listen to understand, and then inform. Today, people have so much information at their fingertips, and sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. Still, if they are curious about your organization, you want to convey what you do — and the impact you make — in the simplest of terms. However, you want to listen and understand their question first. When answering, keep the information light, clear (non-academic) and insightful. Be friendly in your communications and also informative.
- Make sure everyone on your team is speaking from the same script. As mentioned earlier, language continually changes. And so does how brands represent themselves. In conversational marketing, everyone on your team — including any chatbots — has to speak from the same script. If your brand describes itself as an authoritative and serious one, chummy and everyday language might not cut it. Conversely, if you run a youth organization, you want to demonstrate vibrancy, energy and fun. Whatever your brand voice is, you have to make sure everyone (including artificial intelligence) is modeling it.
If you engage in conversational marketing, you're going to love it. You're going to have the chance to learn more about your donors and supporters, which will only bring them closer to you. You'll also find new prospects and create a more donor-centric experience. So remember, language is always changing, and your donors want to get into a conversation that matters with you!
Kristy Fontelera is a creative professional in corporate and nonprofit social media advertising and brand strategy. As the chief marketing officer at Funds2Orgs and Elsey Enterprises, she works with a suite of global fundraising brands and manages national campaigns for her clients. She hosts a monthly webinar with Funds2Orgs, teaching nonprofits how to make an impact with their social media strategy. Kristy is a passionate individual that loves nothing more than to help others make an impact in their market and the world.
Kristy also contributes monthly to her NonProfit PRO blog, “Marketing IRL.”