The Growth Marketer’s Guide to Getting Started With Conversational Marketing

Look, we totally get it:

Adopting a new marketing strategy — and learning how to use the new tools and tactics that come with it — is no easy feat.

So if you work at one of the thousands of companies now turning to conversational marketing, an approach that replaces lead capture forms and follow-ups with real-time, one-to-one conversations, don’t worry:

We know exactly what you’re going through. Because we’ve been making the switch to conversational marketing here at Drift, too.

But truth be told, we do have one unfair advantage — one “magical” asset that’s been giving us deeper insights into how to implement a conversational approach.

And that’s our VP of Growth / mad scientist Guillaume Cabane. We call him “G” here at Drift.

G has been here for two months now, and he’s been digging into how our top-performing customers have been using Drift to capture, qualify, and connect with leads.

He’s already uncovered a TON of conversational marketing best practices, so we decided that — starting with this post — we’d share all of G’s findings with you.

Let’s dive in.

Getting Started: Understanding Your Website Traffic & Average Deal Size

So, you’re logged into your conversational marketing platform and you’re ready to start having conversations with your website visitors…

But how do you know which visitors you should be talking to? (All of them?)

And how do you know which pages of your site you should be having those conversations on?

To figure out the answers to those questions, G recommends focusing on two key metrics:

  1. Website trafficHow many visitors is your website receiving? (And which pages are receiving the most traffic?)
  2. Average contract value (ACV)What’s the average amount of revenue you’re generating per deal?

Just to be clear: Those aren’t the only metrics you should be looking at. (There’s also the number of leads you’re generating, conversion rate, time to conversion, etc.)

But when you’re just starting out, looking at traffic and ACV is the simplest way to get the ship headed in the right direction. From there, you can refine and make adjustments to ensure you’re staying on course.

So without further ado, here are four lessons from G on how you can use traffic and ACV to kickstart your conversational marketing strategy.

1) When traffic is low, G says: “Engage with everyone.”

When your website isn’t receiving many visitors, it makes sense that you’d want to maximize engagement with the people who do drop by.

In order to achieve this, you should use minimal filtering (so the majority of your visitors are able to start conversations with you) and you should display an all-encompassing welcome message (or chatbot) on every page of your site.

That way, you’re casting a wide net and proactively encouraging visitors to start conversations with you.

But here’s the thing: Simply following this guideline isn’t going to guarantee that your engagement will go through the roof. Another crucial factor, which a lot of us tend to overlook, is the copy you write.

To quote G, when crafting welcome messages and chatbot questions, you need to ask “a question that people want to answer.”

Most people’s welcome message or first chatbot question is not a question people want to answer! Let’s use Drift as an example. We sell to marketers, but a welcome message of, “What marketing challenges do you have right now?” would be too much of a leap to get someone into a conversation. Imagine walking into a store and someone immediately asked you that? Instead, start simple: “Hey there – anything I can help with?

Here are some more tips for writing effective welcome messages.

2) When traffic is high, G says: “Use more filtering.”

It’s an objection we’ve heard before:

Conversational marketing won’t work for my company because we have too much website traffic — our sales reps would be overwhelmed.

These days, that’s no longer an issue: You can simply filter out the visitors you don’t want your sales reps talking to.

Your first line of defense: targeting.

By setting up targeting rules, you can control who sees your messages and is able to start conversations on your website to begin with.

For example, depending on who your specific buyer is, you could target just those visitors who are from particular states or countries, or just visitors who are using certain devices (mobile, desktop, or tablet), or just visitors who work at companies of a particular size.

You can also target particular pages with your messaging, like your pricing page and other high-intent pages.

As a result of displaying messaging to a targeted audience, you end up filtering out a lot of the “noise” that might otherwise end up wasting your sales team’s time.

But targeting, as I mentioned, is only the first line of defense when you have a lot of traffic. You can also use tools like MadKudu and Clearbit to score your leads coming in through messaging so you can filter by lead quality.

Your highest-scored leads — the top 20% of leads, for example — should get routed to (human) sales reps, while chatbots can qualify the rest. That way, only your best leads get a direct line to sales, but no leads are ever in danger of falling through the cracks.

True story: G has seen some companies where the top 20% of their highest-scored leads end up accounting for 80% of their revenue. That’s why it’s important to give your best leads the royal treatment and assign them sales reps whenever possible.

3) When ACV is low, G says: “Let chatbots do the qualifying.”

Of course, when your average contract value is low, it doesn’t always make sense from a cost perspective to assign sales reps to those deals.

With low ACV deals, sales costs can end up outweighing what your reps are bringing in as revenue, which means you end up losing money.

The solution:

Use chatbots to automate the lead qualification process for those lower ACV deals. That way, your best leads can still get a conversational buying experience, but it’s also an experience your marketing and sales team can afford to deliver at scale.

For example, you can use LeadBot to ask your website visitors the same qualifying questions your sales reps would ask (just like RapidMiner does).

Qualified leads can get routed to designated sales reps (e.g. based on territory) and LeadBot can even help leads schedule demos with those sales reps — right from within the conversation window.

It’s an on-demand buying experience, delivered at scale. But behind the scenes, a single marketer can be pulling all the levers and scheduling demos for dozens of reps.

4) When ACV is high, G says: “Salespeople are key.”

When you’re on the opposite end of the ACV spectrum, and you have much larger deal sizes, having salespeople (human salespeople) on the front lines is crucial.

Ultimately, you want to use the same approach here as you would if your website had low traffic (see lesson #1): You want to maximize engagement.

And you also want to get salespeople engaged in these conversations as much as possible.

From a cost perspective, it’s worth it to assign human reps in high ACV situations, because, as G explained, “the ROI of each lead will definitely cover the cost of having those reps engage in conversations.”

Remember: while chatbots can help you deliver a conversational buying experience at scale, closing high ACV deals is always going to require a human touch.

Final Thought: Keep It Simple

The biggest mistake G sees companies make with their conversational marketing?

They try to do too much, too soon.

Or, as G put it:

They try to get too damn complex. Instead of improving on an existing way of capturing leads and booking meetings, they try and do some CRAZY stuff and end up with a 75-question chatbot.

Listen to G: Don’t do crazy stuff.

Pay attention to the lessons I shared with you here and you’ll be off to a good start.

See why thousands of businesses are using Drift to generate leads and close deals faster.

P.S. Join 20,000 of your peers. Subscribe to the newsletter for hypergrowth.

Every Sunday evening we'll send you a roundup of the best content and events from Drift and around the web. Make sure you're ready for the week! Subscribe now.

Subscribe Here