What Is Conversational Marketing? 5 Examples for Your SMS Strategy

What Is Conversational Marketing? 5 Examples for Your SMS Strategy

a woman holding her phone for conversational marketing

Updated March 3rd, 2023

In the fast-paced world of social media and the 24/7 news cycle, it’s becoming all the more common for customers to want — and even expect — immediate communication. While more traditional marketing methods like email still have worth, your strategy needs to evolve if you want to remain competitive. 

SMS conversational marketing, also referred to as conversational commerce, allows for instant, two-way communication — and it may be exactly what your customers are looking for. 

Wondering what exactly conversational marketing is, how it works, and why you should consider it? We’ve put together everything you need to know, plus some conversational marketing examples to help you get started. 

What is conversational marketing?

Conversational marketing is a customer engagement strategy that uses real-time conversations to build relationships, improve customer experience, and move potential conversions down the sales funnel. The primary goal is to provide personalized interactions with customers where they can ask questions, find relevant products, read reviews, and more.

Unlike conventional marketing methods that focus on one-way communication, conversational marketing aims to engage customers in two-way conversations, which allows businesses to better understand customer needs and preferences. This strategy also allows companies to provide customers with immediate responses, which can increase customer satisfaction and retention.

While conversational marketing has mostly taken place through email or AI chatbots on websites in the past, its immediate nature makes it a perfect fit for text message marketing.

Why SMS?

First, why choose SMS conversational marketing over a more traditional method like email? In short: the numbers speak for themselves. 

  • Email open rates hover around 21%
  • SMS open rates average 98% within three minutes of sending 
  • Email click-through rates are around 6%
  • SMS click-through rates sit at about 36%

While email marketing can still play an important role in your marketing strategy, mass texting can take your business to the next level. 

How does SMS conversational marketing work?

The key to conversational marketing and conversational commerce is automation. With the help of text message automation, you can set up detailed chat sequences that guide customers through personalized exchanges based on their responses. 

The conversation begins when a customer initiates a chat or takes a certain action.

Using the customer data you have on hand and any cues they give you as the conversation goes on, you can tailor the chat to the customer’s needs and preferences. You can build out several different chat flows and conversation branches to account for different customer intents. This could include recommending products based on previous purchases, supporting specific issues, or answering questions about a particular offering.

From there, conversational marketing allows businesses to ask follow-up questions, provide additional information, or address concerns in real-time — and thanks to automation, you don’t need to use precious time or manpower to do so. 

That does mean that you’ll need to build out chat flows that will fully satisfy the responses you’ll receive, but you can also direct customers straight to a representative if needed. You can even use SMS AI tools like ChatGPT if you need help getting started with your replies. 

Benefits of conversational marketing

There are plenty of benefits to implementing a conversational strategy, but here are the top five. 

  • Gain customer insight
    • Conversational marketing and conversational commerce give you an inside look at a customer’s purchasing journey. By hearing directly from customers about what they need, you can provide tailored solutions and products that meet their unique requirements. Plus, you gain valuable information on potential pain points, preferred products, and how they move down the sales funnel in the process. 
  • Improved customer experience 
    • SMS conversational marketing allows businesses to provide customers with immediate responses — no more waiting in long call queues or refreshing email inboxes for a reply. The ability to engage customers in real-time adds a level of service and satisfaction to your interaction, which often leads to higher customer loyalty and retention.
  • Increased engagement
    • When you open up the floor for interpersonal communication, you add an additional human touch to your business. Not only does this increase the odds of a customer interacting with you, but you’ll also learn more about them and can then make informed, data-driven recommendations. Plus, thanks to automation, you be available to your customers 24/7.
  • Cost-effective
    • Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of SMS marketing is how cost-effective it is. With chatbots and messaging platforms, you can automate customer interactions without using extra time and resources. Additionally, you increase your odds of recovering revenue that would otherwise be lost due to abandoned carts.
  • Competitive advantage
    • In a world where customer experience is critical, conversational marketing can provide businesses with a competitive advantage. It allows you to get to know your customers better, build rapport, and keep them engaged until they make a purchase. Then, you’ll also have more personal data on hand to follow up with them afterward. 

Tips for conversational marketing

  • Use a conversational tone
    • SMS is a personal communication channel — it’s how people stay in touch with friends, family, and those closest to them. Because of this, customers expect the messages they receive to sound like they come from a human, not a robot. Avoid using formal or stiff language. Instead, speak in a way that matches your brand’s personality and meets customers where they’re at.
  • Provide personalized experiences
    • Personalization is key to effective conversational marketing. Thanks to tools like merge tags and segmentation, SMS is the perfect medium for personalization. Use customer data to tailor messages to their specific interests and preferences, and consider including text promotions as rewards. This will make customers feel valued and improve the chances of them engaging with your brand.
  • Optimize messaging frequency
    • SMS can be an intrusive channel if it’s used excessively. Optimize the frequency of your messages to avoid overwhelming customers with too many texts. Use customer data to determine the best time and frequency to send messages. This might include sending promotions during off-peak hours or sending appointment reminders a few days before the appointment. We’ve found that sending 2-6 messages per month is the best number for keeping engagement high and opt-outs low. 
  • Provide clear calls to action
    • SMS messages have limited space. It’s essential to provide straightforward calls to action that encourage customers to engage with your brand. Use action words, such as “reply” or “click,” and provide clear instructions on what customers need to do next.

Conversational marketing examples

At SlickText, our Automated Workflows make it easy to build out any kind of flow, whether it’s for customer support, data collection, abandoned carts, or whatever else you need. 

Here are some examples of how you might use Workflows to automate your marketing.

  • Abandoned cart recovery

A phone screenshot of an abandoned cart SMS conversational marketing chat flow

  • Support chat

A phone screenshot of a support chat SMS conversational marketing flow

  • Product recommendations

A screenshot of a product recommendation SMS conversational commerce chat flow

  • Data collection

A phone screenshot of a data collection SMS conversational commerce chat flow

  • Review collection

A screenshot of an SMS conversational marketing review chat

Start SMS Conversational Marketing with SlickText

Ready to start implementing conversational marketing in your SMS strategy? Start your free trial with SlickText, or get in touch with our team to learn more.