Do you want to know how you can reach your customers? – This question to start with is already dialogue marketing. Because we don’t hear your answer, but we are as good as certain: At least you thought: “Yes!” That is the most important idea in dialogue marketing, and it has been working extremely well for 40 years. You can benefit from this idea practically all fronts, in online marketing and traditional advertising or face-to-face customer discussions.
What is dialogue marketing? – At least more than direct mail!
Don’t dwell on the details of the definition of “dialogue marketing.” Yes, it’s true: Dialogue marketing is also part of direct marketing. But, in principle, it works via any channel that enables a connection to the (potential) customer. Here companies and other organizations specifically address individuals or groups. And dialogue marketing is always about receiving a response, i.e., an answer or reaction that is as measurable as possible and that corresponds to the marketing objective. The more precisely and appropriately defined, the more likely the addressee will deliver this response.
But this understanding of dialogue marketing still falls short. Your company is only smarter when it is clear what dialogue marketing measures must look like to generate high response rates.
What does dialogue marketing bring you?
“Why dialogue marketing at all?” You may ask yourself – in times of scarce resources and high personnel costs; it is important to minimize additional work! The answer is simple:
- Only with dialogue marketing do you get the feedback that gives your company the knowledge to plan and implement marketing measures and other decisions in a more targeted and, thus, more efficient manner.
- You are most likely already engaged in some form of marketing activity that, according to Statista, is part of dialogue marketing. You only have to systematically classify or plan, methodically refine, and evaluate these activities to use the full potential.
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What do you need for dialogue marketing?
Correct understanding, first of all, includes: Dialog marketing is an attitude – namely that it is up to the company to create attractive opportunities for customers to interact and structure the resulting “dialogue” helpfully. And dialogue marketing is a method – with a hundred faces, depending on which target group you are addressing and via which channels.
The possible channels for dialogue marketing are unlimited! The only condition is that you set up a return channel for the customer’s responsibility. The return channel can also run over a completely different medium. In this way, even a poster can be used for dialogue marketing: a printed QR code with an attractive promise already generates a response. But, of course, it would help if you made the response measurable.
Something like this is possible in every channel: newsletters and customer mailings; Radio and TV commercial; Social media posting; Print ad; Website; classic direct mail via letter/reply card; Couponing campaigns in catalogs, customer magazines, brochures, etc .; Search engine ads; Live chats and telephone marketing and yes, also the customer conversation in the salesroom or at a trade fair. Given the variety of these options, it is recommended that you seek professional online marketing advice.
Which response incentives are used in dialogue marketing depends on the objectives of the measures (acquisition of new customers, customer loyalty, seasonal sales, etc.), the type of your company, and the target group. Frequent motivators include vouchers, discounts, early bird offers, samples or trial subscriptions, etc. Of course, the incentives and the types of addressing also differ depending on whether you use the dialogue marketing measure as part of real direct marketing – i.e., personalized to towards individually designed offers – or address them to a broad audience.
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Five examples from the method arsenal of postal dialogue marketing:
- The personal sales pitch of a well-trained sales representative shows significant parallels to communication in dialogue marketing. Above all, it is about a real dialogue in which a cascade of questions generates small yeses from the addressee, which in the end lead to the targeted “big eyes,” for example, to an order. At the same time, it is important to avoid negative filters that irritate the addressee or trigger rejection.
- The corresponding yes and no signals come from body language in a personal conversation. In dialogue marketing, previous user behavior, the customer journey, or other customer or user data available online is used to design the content of dialogue marketing measures in such a way that a “yes cascade” arises.
- The classic door openers can still be found in the all-important first seconds. You want to avoid the search engine ad that has been clicked away, the deleted newsletter, or the landing page swiped aside. Here, too, it is about a captivating answer to the anticipated very first question, which will usually be: Who is this, why do I get it, why should I deal with it? Anyone who thinks they can skip this is already out of the window.
- Layout, web design, and bounce rates: The layout of the print media used by Vögele (advertising letters, brochures, etc.) was already determined by the eye-tracking processes that were just being developed at the time: the order in which elements are viewed, for example in a letter text, was measured; then the placement of the content was based. Taking eye tracking into account in online marketing is particularly useful in the dialogue method because it determines how response requests have to be placed, such as a response button or a call to action.
- Text design is another central point in dialogue marketing. The KISS rule (“Keep It Short and Simple!”), Which was propagated 40 years ago, is likely to have become even more important given the dramatic reduction in attention. At the same time, a discreet, conversation-like text style must be retained to bring about the desired “dialogue.” And every statement must show the addressee a personal advantage so that the dialogue can continue. A whole range of technical tricks is added to support these goals. For example, Vögele already knew that the legibility of a text depends even more on how few syllables the words have than on how short the sentences are.
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Success with dialogue marketing through targeted and focused implementation
Dialogue marketing is not rocket science. Anyone who, as an experienced salesman, reads definitive work again today will probably not find much that he could not have come up with himself, at least as far as the principle approach is concerned. In detail, however, you will have to do “translation work” if you want to use dialogue marketing.
Because the stages of a successful customer journey look different with a Facebook campaign than with Instagram or your newsletter, but even questions that seem so old-fashioned, such as the cases in which a postage stamp on the envelope makes sense, is based on a passionate and knowledgeable customer orientation that will be just as effective in almost all channels of online direct marketing.
The strategy for any form of dialogue marketing begins with the fact that you formulate realistic goals, estimate the corresponding capacities and resources, and, based on this, decide which channels you want and can use. The same applies here as with marketing on social networks: all efforts are in vain if you cannot pick up the response and turn it into an actual business. On the other hand, with a targeted and focused customer dialogue, you create a successful basis for sustainable customer relationships and long-term customer loyalty.