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Written by What's the Word, Inc.
on March 14, 2019

Traditional marketing is flawed. One-sided advertising is impersonal, coercive, and even if it weren't, it simply doesn't work. 

This is especially the case for education. People don't just want to know about your school. They want to know why your school is right for their child. They have questions, and sometimes they don't even know what those questions are. They need guidance, information, and support. What they definitely don't need is to be sold. 

Enter "conversational marketing."

Conversational marketing or conversation marketing is a one-to-one approach to marketing that companies use to shorten their sales cycle, learn about their customers, and create a more human buying experience. Schools can use it to empathize with parents and build trusting relationships that turn into happily enrolled students. 

Unlike traditional marketing, conversational marketing uses targeted, real-time messaging to help parents identify and understand their pain points, find solutions, and make empowered decisions regarding their child's best interest. 

In the digital age, how do you create a conversational marketing campaign?

 

Keep It Personal

Of course you can't hand-type each email to each and every person on your list. That's just silly. But somewhere along the line marketers have gotten so caught up in the numbers that outreach - email, content, social media posts - have become cold and impersonal. 

Remember, each person who comes to you in search of answers is a living, breathing human being. Their concerns may be predictable to a pro, but to them those issues are unique and individual. It's important to create contact points with empathy and personalization even when you're working in bulk. 

 

Be Responsive

You can't always be available to answer parent inquiries right away, and you don't want to rely on impersonal mechanical responses instead of meaningful, personalized conversations. You also don't want to leave interested parents wondering what comes next.

The solution? Automate tastefully. 

You can't always be available to guide a prospective parent to the right page on your website, but you can create a tastefully automated bot to do it for you. Be sure to let visitors know when they are and when they aren't speaking to an individual. And always end each conversation with detailed next-steps so your new parent knows what to expect and when they'll be able to speak with you personally. 

 

Focus On Engagement

It's great to be able to know you're creating content and resources that draw prospective parents to your website. But how effective is that as a measurement of success? 

Frankly, not very. 

Conversational marketing is conversational because it has the two components of a conversation: timing and context. If you think of that juicy content offer as a tool for setting the stage with timing and context, you can move beyond hoping a portion of those downloads turns into happy students and start building on that momentum to facilitate more meaningful, personal interaction. 

 

People always have and always will expect conversations to be helpful, personal, and empathetic. The only difference now is we have the technology to have those conversations at scale. That’s the power of conversational marketing.

 

Conversational marketing is only one piece of the entire ethical marketing puzzle. To learn more about how you can start leveraging ethical marketing practices to fill your classrooms with happy students, click here to keep reading.  

 

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