What Is Conversational Marketing?

Woman texting happily with her golden retriever next to her, showing the impact of conversational marketing

Marketing has evolved past the digital era, and is now reaching what some industry mavens call the infinite experience era. Consumers expect personalized, tech-supported, person-to-person interactions with brands, and they’re not settling for less. Enter conversational marketing. 

What Is Conversational Marketing?

Conversational marketing is a new messaging strategy that fills leads’ and customers’ demands for fast yet personalized business communications. It’s all about marketing through—you guessed it—one-on-one conversations. There’s a good chance you’re already using some of its powerful tactics. 

Conversational marketing asks you to:

  • Send content that inspires (and allows) leads to quickly interact with your brand
  • Focus on answering incoming leads queries with indirect marketing techniques
  • Have authentic chats with lots of personality (or pass them to sales teams)
  • Prioritize the lead experience by making it convenient to interact and providing valuable content

Messaging complements conversational marketing well. The channel allows you to connect with leads quickly and empowers them to respond right away. Email is also convenient for leads, since they can reply to your content whenever they’d like. But email doesn’t offer the same personal touch as messaging, or the high read and response rates: 98% of SMS messages are read, and the average response time for a text is 90 seconds. Emails, on the other hand, have an 18% open rate.

With help from the above tactics and messaging, conversational marketing helps you promote your products or services in a genuine way so you can develop long-term customer relationships. 

Conversational Marketing vs. Conversational Sales vs. Conversational Support 

Conversational marketing is part of a family of strategies called conversational customer engagement. Conversational sales and conversational support are its siblings. 

Conversational sales is an inbound messaging strategy. It focuses on answering leads’ questions about products and services, and guiding them to make purchases that are right for them. It also focuses on sending personalized follow-ups to leads after interactions. 

Conversational support is also a primarily inbound messaging strategy. It helps customers get the most out of their products and services by providing a convenient, one-on-one support experience. It also encourages teams to send ample follow-ups to ensure they’re enjoying their purchases. 

The three conversational strategies all prioritize authenticity and making person-to-person connections. They also have the same end-goal: to develop lasting customer relationships. 

While conversational sales and support are nearly entirely inbound strategies, conversational marketing puts more of an emphasis on sending outgoing messages that encourage leads to interact. Even so, it’s still primarily an inbound strategy. 

Using Conversational Marketing in Your Messaging Strategy

Conversational marketing complements any messaging strategy—and it’s easy to implement. All it takes is a little out-of-the-box thinking. 

You should:

  • Encourage leads and customers to reach out by offering special messaging programs catered to their interests (e.g., text in for recipes, personalized movie recommendations, or wine suggestions)
  • Send product tips and unique real-life examples
  • Publicize fun or interesting customer photos 
  • Create opinion polls (and share the results)
  • Ensure leads and customers know that you’d love for them to reply 

When you’re replying to leads and customers, remember to sound like a person, not a bot. Use a polite yet casual tone, like you’re speaking with a new neighbor. Try emojis and GIFs to add some personal flare to messages. Include your leads’ and customers’ names, as well as any relevant loyalty numbers, so they know you’re specifically paying attention to them. 

SMS Conversational Marketing Templates

So what is an example of conversational marketing content? We’ve created some SMS templates to help you get a better grasp of it. Feel free to borrow and use the examples that you like! 

Hi {{lead name}}! VIP Gifts is offering a gift elf service during December. Tell us your relationship to your gift recipient and a few things they’re interested in, and we’ll recommend a gift for them! Text STOP to unsubscribe.

Hello {{lead name}}, the MovieFix team is happy to recommend something! What are the last two movies you watched and liked?  

Hiya {{lead name}}! Vintage Shoe Supply here. Did you know that you can clean your leather shoes with a simple solution of warm water and dish soap? Text HOW for more info or text STOP to unsubscribe. 

Hello {{customer name}}, Next Door Gift Boutique here. We want to hear your thoughts! What would you like to see on our treat table at the Fall Fest: pumpkin lattes or ginger muffins? Let us know, and we’ll tell you what’s winning so far! 🎃  Text STOP to unsubscribe.

Hi {{customer name}}! Tired of recycling your WineBox wine bottles? Turn them into candles! Text MORE to learn how. Text STOP to unsubscribe from WineBox tips. 


Want to explore another example of conversational marketing content? Check out our blog

As Heymarket’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Hailey Colwell creates texting resources that help brands make meaningful connections with their customers. Her background combines CRM software and journalism, including writing for American Public Media. When she's not editing, she's probably riding her bike.
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