Don’t Get Left Behind
It’s 2019 and businesses are starting to jump on board the conversational content marketing bandwagon but there’s still a debate about the topic.
If you’re not already familiar with conversational content, it basically means writing content as though you are talking to someone, versus at someone.
Content marketing is one of the oldest forms of advertising. I mean hey, Johnson and Johnson, Michelin, and John Deere all loved it in the 1900’s… The problem is, most traditional marketing involves a lot of jargon that can be difficult to understand; or portray aggressive demands to buy, which can be perceived as intimidating. Aggressive marketing used to work really well but today evidence shows that conversational content not only feels more natural, but also has higher conversion rates.
When I go shopping, I enjoy wandering around the store on my own and asking questions if I have them. I loath when a sales clerk is not-so-subtly watching me and constantly asking if I have any questions, or rambling on about whatever sale is going on. The latter feels aggressive and makes me want to do an about-face and leave. That’s a difference between content marketing and traditional marketing.
Conversational content helps the consumer make an informed decision about who they give their money to. (Not to mention statically; conversion rates are actually six-times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters.)
Consumers know they have all the control. Gone are the days of spending money because they feel pressured. Today’s the day people want to feel connected to the businesses they buy from and want to know you’re authentic. You need to be able to communicate in a way that resonates with your audience.
The reason this approach works so well might better be explained by looking at how our brains work.
Allow me to break it down:
Inside your brain is what’s called the Amygdala. This area is responsible for the fight or flight instincts we have. It dates back to our caveman days and is partially responsible for how we have survived as a species.
When you use the more aggressive old fashioned way of selling, it causes the Amygdala to light up. Which means you are now seen as a threat. (consciously or not)
By using a less intimidating approach and more of a conversational tone, the amygdala stays quiet… while the prefrontal cortex illuminates.
The prefrontal cortex is what’s responsible for moderating social behavior, personality expression and decision making. In other words, it’s the thoughtful area of our brain. Your goal should be to engage with this area. If done successfully, your reader will subconsciously lower their guard and you’ll be viewed as non-threatening.
Evolution of Our Communication
Humans are social creatures. We strive to be heard and feel connected. Luckily for us, the not so new invention of the internet provides that ability. After all, the internet is a two way communication medium.
As a society we have grown from the days of telegraphs, to the fax machine and telephone to voicemail and then email followed after that. At this point connections became even more convenient and we invented instant messaging on AOL Instant Messenger. (oh, the hours I would spend chatting online). Around this time the first SMS messaging came into play with the increase in people using cellphones.
Finally, we get to today, the days of instant gratification and knowledge. Today we no longer have to wait around for someone to get back to us. In most cases we can expect a response within an hour or two at most. Instant response and gratification is no longer a luxury but an expectation.
Why it Matters
This is fantastic in a lot of ways. Today’s instant response era helps family stay close even while living far apart, it keeps people connected amongst their busy days all over the world, and provides businesses the ability to interact with their consumers easily.
This may feel intimidating but it’s really no different than we’ve always been. We are humans. Humans, who long to feel connected through communication and conversation. It only makes sense that we would incorporate this in marketing.
Social Media would be the first obvious option to incorporate conversational content. If you want to make the most of social media marketing, you can’t use it as a broadcast system.
Social media is interactive. It is not a one way communication like TV or radio are. If you use it with that intention you won’t be seeing the results you’re hoping for. You may even think it’s pointless.
If you use social media correctly, you won’t just be posting conversational copy, you should be conversational. Use social media as a way to find out more about your clientele. You can see what interests them most by seeing what posts get the most likes. You can interact with your audience, create polls or surveys, or post questions so they can answer them in your comments.
Using social media correctly will increase your sales by helping to form a connection with your audience. (In turn, increasing sales.)
A lesser known motivation for using conversation based content is the improvements with chat bots. It is not uncommon to go to a website and see a little box pop up with someone offering to answer questions through a chat screen. However, most of the time it’s a bot you’re talking to.
As technology continues to progress, it makes it easier for this bot to sound like a human. Instead of having cold emotionless responses, it will be like having a conversation with a human.
If a chat bot is going to progress to having the ability to actually have a human like conversation. Why are we still using old fashioned style?
Now here’s the kicker. A lot of writers are in danger of being left behind. There are way too many companies that are still hung up on the old-school and formal approach to sales copy because most (especially larger businesses and corporations) believe conversational content is more time consuming. When in fact it is actually faster and cheaper than sticking to traditional means. In increases engagement, provides higher levels of trust, and better conversations lead to high sales conversions and customer loyalty. Make sure you don’t get left behind.
Want to know more? Check out this blog post about having an inbound content strategy!