Category Archives: Communications

What is conversation marketing?

Conversation marketing

Although the meaning of the term “conversation marketing” is self evident there is lots of confusion regarding what it actually means and what are its benefits. You must be wondering why I am talking about a marketing concept on a content writing blog. Content writing is basically a form of marketing:you communicate your marketing message to your readers so that they do business with you. In the same vein conversation marketing encompasses communication both ways; it is an exchange of ideas in real time. You are not only marketing your message you are also aptly listening to your customers and clients.

But listening and communication doesn’t just happen. Why would anybody be interested in knowing what you have to offer or in communicating what you want to know? To know people better and to make them know you better you have to strike up conversations. Interesting, direct conversations that make people think constructively. When they talk about ideas seeded by you it becomes easier for them to remember you and associate you with the service or product you provide.

These days I am closely observing companies and organizations indulging in conversation marketing through their social media and networking profiles. There are many few who get the hang of it. Most of them simply want to accumulate hundreds of thousands of followers and friends and dump their marketing messages upon them as if they are carrying out the usual advertising campaigns using traditional media channels. What is the use of broadcasting your message to those who don’t want to listen to you or have no idea what you’re saying?

They don’t realize that more than marketing they have to initiate conversations. The marketers call this the conversation age due to a plethora of social networking tools available on the Internet and almost everybody using them. You throw a stone and it will probably hit somebody having a Facebook or a Twitter account. It shows people are desperate to have conversations among their friends and new people to stumble upon on these websites. Okay, let us not use the negative word “desperate” but everybody wants to converse with everybody else. May it be common folks or celebrities everybody is talking to everybody.

Amidst all this talking you rise like an uninvited Sphinx and start blaring out your marketing message urging people to do business with you. Nobody cares. It’s not that people don’t want to buy but when they are interacting among their friends, relatives and the loved ones they don’t want somebody to butt in and make offers. It puts people off.

Conversation marketing helps you get over this psychological hurdle. Become familiar to your prospective customers and clients by striking up conversations with them. You need to be a part of the crowd, while standing out at the same time. You have to be interesting and useful. If you’re simply there to spout your marketing messages nobody is going to follow you unless you are targeting the MLM industry.

When both the sides talk you develop a rapport. People don’t take you as an irritating marketing person when you talk to them about their day-to-day concerns. Of course if you are a bigger company talking about mundane things may not be possible all the time and in this case it is better to stick to your brand but here too you can be interesting. Share interesting stuff about your business. Ask people how they prefer to use your product and so far what has been their experience. Be prompt in replying because people very soon lose the thread due to scores of other ongoing conversations.

The basic idea behind conversation marketing is to familiarize people with your presence without bothering them with too much marketing speak. It is a great opportunity in fact. If you are an adept conversationalist you can quickly develop a following and people begin to pay close attention to what you say and how you respond. The actual benefit manifests when people begin to talk about your product or service among themselves even without your presence. This is the actual essence of conversation marketing — people begin to converse about you or your business and preferably in a positive manner. I will talk more about this in my future posts

While writing content focus on the why part

“Why” is a very important part of your content writing and copywriting process because very often this is the first expression that crops up in your visitor’s mind as soon as you tell him or her to buy your product or service. When you focus on “why” you highlight the tangible benefits of your product or service and not superficial features.

Many of my clients, when they send their briefs for me to go through, they get so much embroiled with terminologies and rhetorical claims that sometimes I am not even able to make out exactly what they intend to offer to their customers or clients. This can be a big business killer. When you are not even able to tell your customers or clients what you’re selling how are you going to sell it? The end user is least interested in going through the nitty-gritty of your technology, he or she simply wants something that enables him or her do better in life and in business.

That is why in the page title and the first paragraph I focus on the problem and the solution my client’s business offers. It is not necessary to ponder over the name of the business or where it comes from or what a great team it has. I concentrate on, “Is this the problem you have? This is how we can solve it.” This is the “why” part.

This is the sure shot way of grabbing your visitor’s attention. Assuming that when people arrived at your website they are not fooling around and are looking for a solution it pays to straightaway come to the point and address the problem. If I am looking for an e-book reader I immediately want to know whether you have the one I’m looking for or not.

Is it really the end of email?

According to this Wall Street Journal article it is. It says people are becoming so used to communicating through Twitter and FaceBook (soon to be joined by Google Wave), but I think it is like the proverbial "jumping the gun". Of course I’m not denying that you can communicate faster using Twitter and FaceBook and some things you don’t even have to communicate through emails because you have already posted an update, there is nothing like "we’re always connected". I, for example, am not. Today I haven’t checked my Twitter and FaceBook streams simply because I was too busy working and replying to important email messages. If you are always connected one thing or the other keeps disturbing you and you cannot focus on work. It’s BS when people say they’re more productive when they are constantly checking Twitter and FaceBook updates and posting responses.

Of course you can get constant email updates if you’re using some sort of notifier (I sometimes use Gmail notifier or GoogleTalk to get instant email notifications) but it’s not like Twitter and FaceBook. When I’m in work mode and when I’m waiting for client response I’m not interested in knowing what sort of coffee you’re having or what’s the latest political gaffe the government is committing (I’m not saying these things are unimportant).

People immediately started discounting blogs when Twitter and FaceBook caught on but such a trend was obvious. It is so easy to post small messages and amusing links on social networking websites but writing a blog post on a continuous basis is difficult. The popularity of blogs hasn’t diminished, it’s just that fewer people are trying their hands at blogging because it’s easier to share thoughts on Twitter and FaceBook.

The problem with Twitter and FaceBook is that they are not as personal as an email. Things that you used to share with a select few are shared by everybody following you or befreinding you unless you take extra pains to exclude some people. In fact, this is the big difference in email and social networking apps: in email you have to include people if you want to communicate with them. On Twitter and FaceBook you have to exclude them — physically — if you don’t want to communicate with them. They’re more public. Email is private, and it is not going to go away easily. May be the form will change, but it’s here to stay for at least a few more years.