Five Tips to Keep Marketing Conversations Going
- Posted in Sales & Marketing
Yesterday, I started a discussion about conversational marketing and its relation to conversions.
Today, I want to give you a few tips on how to make the most out of your conversational marketing attempts.
How do five tips sound?
Well, then read on….
Repeating points is not conversation. It almost borders on aggressiveness or argument. The art of marketing often consists of not appearing too pushy. True conversations keep moving forward- they don’t stay in the same place or keep going back to the same points. This means letting go of your overt and non-stop pitches.
To be clear, I’m not just talking about interest in what you are saying. Drive your conversation in ways that will retain the interest of the prospect as well as yours. You can do this in a number of ways, but the fail-proof one will always be related to finding value in each other’s contributions. Are you giving your prospects information that they can apply somehow? That they appreciate? Are they learning from you?
What can your prospects teach you?
Listen to your conversation partner
This could easily be the most difficult task for any marketer to do. Let’s face it- we’re all wrapped up in our own agenda. We have products to sell and we have to sell them now! Somewhere in that mix, we forget that we’re actually trying to sell to people…people with whom we’re supposed to be engaged in a mutually satisfactory conversation. Whether it’s pride (“Our target markets don’t know what’s best for them- we do!”), tunnel-vision (“We have a deadline to move these products!”) or simple neglect (“Why should we listen to our prospects? They should be listening to us!”), marketers tend to let their conversation responsibility drop to the wayside.
This is probably the worst thing they could do. Prospects have the answers. If they’re willing to engage in conversation with you, they’re also willing to share them.
Anticipate the future of communication
Communication methods, like language, change over time. Don’t even think about developing a “script”, unleashing it onto the world and hoping it will stick. That’s like being blindfolded in front of a wall painted with a bulls-eye and being told to throw darts until you hit the target. It’s a waste of time…unless you know where to aim.
Your target market’s communication methods could be different tomorrow. Consider the difference between blogs and micro-blogs- both are cut from the same communication cloth, but both function entirely differently. You have to be aware that your conversations will need to be fine-tuned to correspond to the communication method du jour.
If you understand that the new age of communication and its participants are mobile and counter-authority (and I don’t mean that in the sense that they’re anti-establishment…rather, they’re simply tired of being talked “at” instead of “with”), then you’ll understand that there will always be a new way to communicate and a new medium to communicate through.
Prepare for this by keeping your marketing conversations completely adaptable. Think about it this way: new communication methods and means should always be your third “converser.” Take into account what potential the mediums can contribute to the conversation and it can inform yours.
Let go of old assumptions
I can’t blame marketers for holding onto their notions of “mainstream media.” It’s safe and orderly, after all. It makes their jobs easier by neatly segmenting markets and framing techniques so that they can be easily referenced in dusty textbooks.
The fact is this: mainstream media, as we’ve all come to understand it, is on its way out. It will be surpassed by what we’ve now come to deem as “new media”- that terrifying, current no-man’s-land abyss that no one really has a handle on, but everyone really loves to postulate about and argue over.
We’ve got entirely new, young generations on our heels who are bored by or simply indifferent to the “passive consumption” of media.
You may fondly remember taking turns at an arcade game with a neighborhood friend. Today’s generation is sitting in their living room, playing multi-player games with people half across the world.
For forward-thinking marketers, this presents potential. For the dinosaurs, it presents problems. But anyone who willing to shake off those old assumptions will escape a cruel, Darwinistic fate.
Even if you don’t believe in conversational marketing, you better believe that people are talking about your brand. And they will continue to do so with or without your blessing and input.
I think Brian Solis said it best. We simply have to:
[acknowledge] that brands are evolving from catchy slogans and artistic logos to living, breathing personalities that are defined by the people, principles, and community-focused activities behind them.
What business owner wouldn’t want to have their say in that?
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