Maybe you’ve heard of this tradition before or even participated in it. You choose a single word or short phrase as the theme for a new year. It’s your guiding light, your north star, your point of focus. Ideally, this theme influences all your choices and decision making.

So here’s the Skipio word for 2021: conversation.

This has always been an important word at Skipio. More than anything, we want businesses to engage in conversations. The power and potential in those exchanges ultimately make or break a business.

When you understand that power, and the related importance of conversational business messaging, you help your team and every lead or customer you hope to reach.

So let’s first narrow down what conversations really are, and then we’ll explore exactly why conversational messaging matters in business.

What even counts as a conversation?

It’s important to get specific! So think about what makes up a conversation.

A conversation is…

– A back and forth.

– Sharing information and ideas.

– People interacting — at least two but sometimes more.

Now think about what doesn’t count in conversations. It isn’t…

– Just one person repeatedly talking while the other doesn’t respond

– An information dump

– A single message

With that context you can now start reflecting on how conversations happen at your company. Is your team focusing on interactions with prospects? Are they going back and forth with customers? Or does one-way communication through generic emails and cold calling take up their time? Do short code messages make up a lot of the outreach?

Because with all the points we mentioned above, it’s clear that conversations can’t be started through short code or push texts. (There’s no way to genuinely respond to those types of messages.) It can’t be automated email blasts or scripted calls either. (Both are too impersonal.)

To start a conversation, you must first start with the intention of getting responses and giving responses. You must prioritize conversational messaging.

Why care about conversational messaging?

People want to talk with other humans. They want individual attention and to see that people care. They want conversations.

But phone calls have been on their way out for a long time and emails are so easy to ignore. Even 1-to-1 emails have their limits. Methods like short code texting aren’t made for any sort of personalization, even though it’s fast and convenient for you.

So that leaves texting through unique 10-digit numbers, aka long code. By texting prospects and customers with the intention of starting conversations, you communicate how they want. Conversational messaging done right is fast, personal, authentic, and engaging.

You already know that prioritizing engagement makes good things happen. So, for example, taking the time to have a back and forth with people instead of just pushing out information helps you build trust and increases sales.

Conversational messaging doesn’t mean that you can’t schedule messages for the future or use templates. You should definitely do those things. Just make sure that you fully personalize those scheduled messages in a way that people know there’s a real person sending it. Then, always be ready to respond and do so as quick as you can.

Will you commit to conversations?

Skipio’s commitment to conversations and conversational messaging should be clearer now than ever before. But would this really be a new year post if we didn’t also ask you to make conversations your goal?

Commit to conversations and you commit to more responses, better relationships, and increased sales. Commit to conversations and you commit to a customer retention strategy that fully benefits customers. Sounds like a great theme to 2021.