Did you know that live chat can be utilized for marketing, especially inbound marketing? If you have an established online marketing strategy and live chat isn’t part of that mix, you need to read this post on how live chat can help marketing. But first, let’s define the tasks of marketing vs. sales when it comes to helping the businesses generate more customers and see where live chat can help.
In a typical company with clearly defined marketing and sales teams, the marketing funnel ends where the sales funnel begins. This is the handover of MQL lead or marketing-qualified leads to sales, which in turn aims to convert these leads to buyers. That means, the tasks around marketing are all about nurturing leads in a way they’ll be receptive to selling by the time they’re turned over to sales.
There are plenty of lead nurturing techniques, and at the heart of these ways is the goal to build credibility and earn trust of prospects. And the way to achieve this is to engage prospects early on at the initial buying stage, even when they’re only browsing your website for content. This is where live chat can help: identify web visitors who can be leads, engage them continuously with varying offers, until they’re ready for sales.
HubSpot, a leader in inbound marketing, plots the stages from visitors to customers and the role of marketing and sales across the journey:
It goes without saying that in order to use live chat as a marketing tool, especially for inbound campaigns, you’ll need a lot of value content, not about your product, but anything of importance to addressing the prospect’s problem or issue. These can be whitepapers, webinars, articles, e-books, video tutorials, etc. The aim is not to sell, but, as pointed above, to build trust and credibility around the areas that your product addresses, that instead of going after prospects to sell, prospects come to you for help. Case in point: an ATG Global Consumer Trend Study showed that 90% of customers said that live chat was helpful, while 42% preferred live chat to solve issues.
With these stats in mind, you can leverage live chat as an effective support channel, but behind the scene, a marketing tool for lead nurturing.
Imagine the live chat window as a fish hook that you leave dangling in the water to catch potential leads. You can place it on strategic pages like the homepage, product page, pricing page, etc. Web visitors who uses the live chat, outside of complaints from existing customers, may indicate interest at varying degrees. But by merely having a live chat distributed across your web pages, you already have set up a lead-qualifying tool.
Not only that, the source of traffic of the chat query also helps qualify prospects. Conversely, this means where your chat window is placed is critical to identifying the kind of lead you’ll get and the right message to send. For example, someone contacting you from the pricing page is a good indicator of a sales-ready lead versus someone inquiring from homepage or blog post. The latter may be fed with more content for nurturing, while the former may be endorsed already to a sales rep for product-specific conversations.
Another way a live chat can qualify lead is the kind of query being asked. The query tells a lot about the lead’s potential. If someone is asking a product-specific question, then that lead is more ready to be turned over to sales than a prospect who queries about general issues. In fact,it is in the latter where marketing plays its role: guiding these prospects towards the funnel and down through it by offering value at every stage of engagement.
When using live chat as a lead-qualifying tool, it is important to engage prospects with the right message. You don’t want to respond with general answers to specific questions; hence, you need smart features that give you the ability to frame questions and send appropriate answers. This is possible now with smart functions, like the one you find in HubSpot Live Chat (this tool is integrated with the HubSpot Sales, which you can easily check for free when you sign up for the HubSpot Sales free trial here.
This live chat enables you to set up unique phrases based on the chat’s URL source. Likewise, the app can match the chat source with your contact smart lists (a feature in HubSpot CRM that is also integrated with HubSpot Sales), allowing you to personalize your messages.
The marketing team can use live chat to attract web visitors with an offer, not yet the product, but something of value that can be used to solicit prospect’s information. For example, a white paper related on the web visitor’s question can be sent through email, compelling the prospect to give his or her email address.
As a marketing tool, live chat becomes an enabler of a mailing lists. It gives you the excuse to ask for someone’s email address in exchange for sending your content as the answer. As you proceed implementing this process, it is important that your live chat box is linked to a CRM database.
By having the live chat box integrated with your CRM, you can pass data between platforms and consolidate them for a better picture of each prospect or customer. For example, someone is asking for additional information, your CRM identifies him as a returning visitor. This helps you define that this lead is warm and can be moved to the next stage in the marketing funnel. The CRM gives you more details about this lead, allowing you to personalize the conversation. Hence, it is important that whatever live chat platforms you plan to use, it can be integrated to a CRM system. It’s even better that the integration is native to avoid third-party glitches. This is where using a live chat app as part of a multiple-stack but single platform like the Hubspot Sales, Marketing, CRM suite gives you better integration.
Live chat that is primarily used to address customer problems or queries can be useful, too, to marketing. In no time, it’ll generate volumes of chat transcripts of a mixed bag of curious, annoyed and even angry conversations. That’s a goldmine of raw data on user behaviors, motivations, needs and wants and market data waiting to be tapped for your next strategic planning or campaign. Here are a few ways chat transcripts can unravel insights on your market:
Personalization is becoming a critical component in marketing. According to an Adobe study, 9 in 10 consumers admitted personalization has an impact on their purchase decision. Buyers are more demanding now of answers that quickly address their question.
The good news is, you’re faced with an ever increasing customer data volume today that equipped you with details for crafting unique messages for individual prospects and customers. But what if you’re handling hundreds of queries daily? This is where automation and rules-based messaging can be used together to help you personalize chat.
To give an example, HubSpot Live Chat allows you to add an automation layer with chatbots for the initial response. The chatbots can also be configured to initiate the engagement, cutting down the wait time for reply. A good case is when someone is browsing too long on your product page, the chatbot can kick off a question with something like: “Would you like a free trial to further learn our app’s features?” Without you having to man the live chat 24/7, it can engage prospects at the right time using the right context.
As the question becomes more specific, the chatbot can be configured to relay the message and its context to the right person, in such case, your rep, allowing bots and humans to tag team. Your rep can take it from the chatbot for a more personal interaction. The beauty of having a chatbot is your live chat is always “live” while your reps are busy addressing other messages.
Generally speaking, that is. Because live chat enables you to catch the prospect at the right time, when he initiates the engagement. That’s something no CTA on your landing page or ad can match. With smart tools like HubSpot Live Chat’s messages, you can now respond with accuracy to each query. That means you can give different prospects with different content at the same time.
As we’ve shown above, smart messaging and automation allow you to lay down a pipeline where prospects are nurtured with an offer at every stage of the marketing funnel. Generally speaking, the more offer a prospect accepts the more ready the lead is. It doesn’t mean though that live chat replaces your ad and landing pages. It merely supplements them with more leads.
Live chat is no longer a customer service channel. You can leverage it as a marketing tool following our tips above. Today’s live chat technologies are especially designed to allow marketers to optimize chat conversations as a goldmine for potential leads. So when considering of getting a live chat app, also remember its many uses for your marketing team. A quick way to implement our tips above is to get a live chat app with smart tools and is CRM-integrated. For starters, you can sign up for the HubSpot Sales free trial here to start practicing how live chat can be a marketer’s best friend.
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