Conversational Content: How to Market Through Text Messaging and Chatbots

Conversational Content: How to Market Through Text Messaging and Chatbots

Conversational interactions between content consumers and brands – via SMS text-style messaging and chatbots – are redefining how marketing teams can engage their audiences. SMS messaging is great for reminders or follow-up, as you are more likely to know where the person has been or what their interests are. As such, it’s important that each message is valuable, relevant, consistent, and timely to justify your continued access to audience members’ phones. And now, Hyundai has an indicator of what content to send that person. To really capitalize on a conversational channel like this, you must immediately provide one piece of relevant content. After they respond, be explicit in your second message about how the value you’re offering (a link to an article, a discount code, etc.) Though SMS marketing should be text-based, short, and sent with appropriate regularity, chatbots keep the text shorter and often send multiple messages in quick succession. The Epic Reads bot boasts a 57% click-through rate, 35% user return rate, and an average of more than 50 messages per user from start to finish. In review Conversational content maximizes engagement when it uses questions to simulate choice and cultivates relationships by providing immediate, convenient, and relevant content when consumers respond to those choices. Join us for in-person conversations with thousands of content marketers – and learn a lot about content conversations – at Content Marketing World Sept. 4-7.

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Conversational interactions between content consumers and brands – via SMS text-style messaging and chatbots – are redefining how marketing teams can engage their audiences.

When communication technology provides greater immediacy and convenience to content consumers like this, changes in expectations are likely to follow — many of us who manage brands learned this lesson through the growth and evolution of social media.

And, as those of us who adhere to an inbound methodology know, when there’s an audience that actively wants to hear from you it’s important that you be prepared with the right content for that moment. Learn how to prepare your brand.

Messaging fits content marketing mission

Our raison d’être as content marketers is to craft content experiences that provide value while simultaneously amplifying our brand story to our audiences.

Messaging and chatbots represent the next logical extension of this mission, and you may not think about them as content distribution channels yet, but you need to be.

Marketing automation software provider HubSpot recently released functionality to make it easier to repurpose content for chat or messaging. That means a lot of marketing teams and agencies are going to be fumbling with how to make use of chat and messaging as a content marketing channel.

Other indicators come from the likes of Buffer, Gartner, eMarketer, Dell, Neil Patel, and this awesome resource from TOPBOTS (some of these bots are glorified “repeat past order” buttons, but some represent content delivery mechanisms).

Drive deeper relationships

Last year, Forrester wrote an article on messaging apps published in Forbes, which includes a quote that should resonate with all of us who subscribe to CMI’s content marketing methodology:

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.

Three phrases leap out at me from that quote: “interactive and contextual,” “replace ad broadcasting,” and “drive deeper relationships.” These concepts are the spirit of smart content marketing. You are creating value and building a relationship over time. You are not going for the quick and often fruitless hard sell.

We need to keep up with customer engagement norms, and, moreover, we need to capitalize on the opportunity for interactivity and personalization in a one-to-one content delivery channel.

How to adapt content in chatbot world

You can’t just duplicate existing content in your conversational scripts. Though the goals and methods are the same — contact by permission rather than interruption, create value to build a relationship, and use interactivity and personalization to drive engagement — their implementation looks different when you shift to conversational content.

Contingent permission

Chatbots are initiated by the audience, thus permission is automatic. SMS or texting, which require users to opt in, allows you to reach your content consumer via a native app on their phones. Though unsubscribe rates are close to 2% at best (far greater than for email outreach, which is well under 0.5%), SMS boasts an average open rate north of 80% and response rate of 45%.

To retain permission to access your audience through this high-priority channel, you need to be mindful of both content and timing. (Timing made the difference between 1.8% and 8.5% unsubscribe rates in the previously mentioned research.)

SMS messaging is great for reminders or follow-up, as you are more likely to know where the person has been or what their interests are. It can also be valuable for pushing out alerts, depending on the perceived value and timeliness of the alert. This brings us to how value looks different in conversational content.

Structure…

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