Conversation marketing has been around since a long time, people have been communicating in person to do a transaction, to make a deal or simple just to share information. Communicating in person and sending letters were the only two ways of communicating in the old days. But since then we have come a long way, from letters to landlines, from landlines to mobile phones, from mobile phones to smartphones, technology has evolved.

Due to this very evolution in technology most people in the 21st century rely on various different tool in order to communicate with one another. Gone are the days when people used to communicate over letters & postcards. The world has gone digital and its evolving every day with AI coming into the picture.

Due to this technology evolution, the traditional way of marketing has been replaced with inbound marketing, that goes same for the educational institutes. Inbound marketing is a marketing methodology that is designed to draw visitors and potential customers in, rather than outwardly pushing a brand, product or service onto prospects in the hope of generating leads or customers.

Education institutes are marketing on every platform from Google ads to Facebook ads, it works, but you know what will make it even better, giving it a personalized touch. Most institutes don’t consider this factor while marketing.

Whenever a prospect comes across your institute, they would have some burning questions that need to be answered. The information may be such that couldn’t be delayed. When the criticality of the information is such, asking the prospect to fill in an application form and getting back to them in your preferred time won’t work.

This is where conversation marketing can help your institute. Right communication at the right time can help you when it comes to engaging with your prospects and making them comfortable with your overall process providing them helpful information.

 

 

What Is Conversation Marketing?

HubSpot defines Conversational marketing as the ability to have 1:1 personal conversation across multiple channels – meeting customers how, when, and where they want. It is more than just live chat – it extends to phone calls, texts, Facebook Messenger, email, Slack, and more — basically any channel in which a customer wants to communicate with your brand.

One of the most widely used tools for communication is Chatbot – LiveChat.

Chatbot and Live Chat are rule based engines which engages with prospects in real time answering their concerns.

This tool can help education institutes to –

  • Help prospects with their questions related to your institute or courses.
  • Real-time problem solving instead of delayed follow up emails
  • Answer FAQs quickly compared to other channels
  • Get additional useful information and resources
chatbot - university of memphis

Source: University of Memphis

 

Conversation Marketing through Chatbot

Chatbot can play an important role when it comes to conversation marketing. Most chatbots have just the basic fields asking students about their details like Email address, contact number, course they are interested in, though this works it doesn’t do much when it comes to engaging with the students at deeper level. By having a conversation and getting to know what they are interested in can help you increase the chances of them enrolling as you are being helpful to them in a more organic way.

This is especially important in the wake of 2 macro phenomenons :

  1. Advent of chat based messaging platform being defacto communication tools e.g. whatsapp, snapchat etc.
  2. The special inclination of Age Group 18-27 & their reliance on chat as a default early adopter cohort

Choosing the right institute is the most important decision a prospect has to make, so selling throughout the communication process would just feel daunting.

Your prospects want to be valued, so you have to give them what they need. Ask them about their interest in the chatbot itself. After asking them about their email address, give them something valuable, like a resource or useful links to your blogs. You can also ask them about their interest and give them options to choose from. For example, it can be sports, technology, entertainment, events, etc.

Whenever a prospect selects one, you can take them to your website stating your institute’s achievement in that particular field, and it can also help them to know if your institute is hosting any particular event in the coming days. This way they can connect with your institute on their interest level.

chatbot-mit

Source: MIT

 

Conversation Marketing through Live Chat

Live chat is an extension to a bot. Its like use automation & algorithms till a point wherein subjectivity is required & a human takes over. Think of a call to a bank & when do you get to speak to an operator.

Conversations and communication should happen when the prospect prefers it.

Live chat can be a great medium to talk to your prospects in real time according to their preference.  This gives educational institutes a chance to get ahead in competition by giving prospects a personalized experience. You can solve most of their queries through live chat and qualify them according to their conversation with you.

Making it interesting by including GIFs has been proved effective in other sectors. Since GIFs and Memes have a lot of fan following on social media platforms, you can include it in the Live Chat as well. But it should be used where it fits instead of using it everywhere. You can insert the Live Chat on your website and on facebook as well.

 

 

Conversation Marketing through Social Media

Currently, there are 4 billion people who are using internet of which 3 billion are active social media users. And most of them fall in the age group of 16-29. So making use of this data and making your social media part of your conversation marketing can help you to create brand awareness, reach out to prospects, and engage with them.

Social media can be your advocator when it comes to attracting prospects. Your prospects would obviously visit your social media to see what’s going on in your institute. Now it’s your job to keep them scrolling through your feed and engaged.

You might be thinking how does conversation marketing happen on social media?

Well, it’s simple, live videos.

Going live on Facebook brings in more engagement. According to Mark Harbert, Facebook live videos are viewed 3X longer than recorded, and Facebook live grabs up comments at 10X the rate of recorded videos.

Live videos need to be informative, it can be Q&A sessions where an important entity from the college answer questions that prospects ask in the comments section. Apart from the Q&A sessions, education institutes can go live with alumni students and their life after passing out from your institute, prospects would love to hear what people who have studied at your institute have to say. Prospects hearing positive things from the alumni and their experience in your institute can push them a step further towards enrolling.

 

The most important thing here to do is send email campaigns to your prospects mentioning the time and date when you are going to be live with an option to set a reminder so that they don’t miss it. You can do that by scheduling an email campaign through a CRM software so that you won’t miss it in your busy work schedule.

Another method is by running ads on social media or Google Ads, but this method is a bit expensive as you have to put money into it, and some keywords that you want to target might have a high CPC.

 

Conclusion

Education institute needs to start having a conversation with students and make them feel valued. This cannot be done with landing pages, and contact us page. Sure they help you to bring in more prospect information, but making your prospect wait and getting back to them after 2 or 3 days or even a week can make them explore some other options.

But with conversation marketing you can engage with your prospects in real time, through your website Chatbot, Live Chat, and by doing live sessions on social media platforms.

Any marketing strategy needs to factor in the changing times, buying behaviour patterns, how people consume information & make choices.

In the words of legendary poet & singer Bob Dylan :

If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

 

 

About ExtraaEdge:

ExtraaEdge is a VC backed pioneer in Admissions & Marketing Automation software for the education industry. We are the category leaders when it comes to understanding education marketing & technology that powers educational enterprises. This blog is an effort to share our learnings from the Industry and help education marketeers, admissions counselors and all associated stakeholders of education enterprises learn and grow together.

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