When it comes to understanding the inner-workings of Drift, and how we use the product ourselves, Sara Pion is the expert.
As part of her role on Drift’s Growth team, Sara is behind the creation and maintenance of Drift’s 177 (and counting) bots. She rolls out the red carpet for each and every site visitor to Drift.com, making sure our bots are a “living” case study of how conversational marketing works in the wild. Put simply, she runs Drift on Drift.
As a new member of the Drift team, I made a beeline for Sara to get up to speed on all things Drift. She let me in on some of her tried and true strategies for conversational marketing done right. Here’s what she had to say:
1) Start small.
When Sara took over all of the bots on Drift.com, her first move was to check out our top performing site pages on Google Analytics. Why? Because she knew that the highest-traffic pages would be the pages where our bots could help the most – starting conversations and driving conversions. Sara’s pro tip is to start small.
“The homepage is the natural starting point for your first conversational bot. Putting a bot on just one page may sound negligible, but I promise that when you set it up and launch it, you’ll start getting feedback immediately. Feedback can be frustrating, especially when you worked on something and it winds up delivering an outcome or an experience you didn’t expect. But that’s the beauty of Drift. By starting small and putting just one bot on your site, you get real-time feedback, and then you can go right into Drift, make changes, and iterate immediately.”
If your site is anything like Drift.com, you’re likely seeing around 80% of the traffic on 20% of your pages. But remember, don’t get ahead of yourself. As soon as you launch your first bot, you’ll have a lot of learnings to work through, which is why Sara recommends starting small and iterating as you go.
2) Make your pricing page more friendly.
One page that gets a lot of high-intent traffic is our pricing page. Whether you’re a company that publishes pricing or prefers to take a more customized approach based on use case and customer, Sara suggests adding a bot to your pricing page so you can provide a better website experience for all visitors.
“Whether your bot helps answer FAQs, directs high-intent leads to a conversation with your sales team immediately, or disqualifies leads who might not be the right fit for your business, the best place to start having sales conversations is on the pricing page.”
It’s a simple, yet strategic way to connect your sales team with people who are ready to buy now. And for those not ready to buy just yet, it shows them that the bot will be ready and waiting to help when the time comes.
3) Welcome back repeat visitors with retargeting bots.
Personalization can be hard to get right. But launching a retargeting bot on your site is a quick and easy way to welcome back past visitors – and provide a custom experience based on their behavior.
When you set up a retargeting bot, you cookie your visitor and track how many times they’ve visited a specific page. So if someone visits your culture and careers pages every day for a week, you know there is a very good chance they’re looking to get a job at your company, not buy your product. For this type of visitor, you can serve up a personalized message asking if they’d like to sign up for job alerts or a company culture newsletter.
On the flip side, let’s say you have a visitor who looks at your pricing page every day for a week. Sara says this is a chance to zero-in on the behavior and create the most personalized conversation possible.
“If someone is regularly checking out your pricing, there’s a higher chance that they have more questions about your product, how it could work for them, and what kind of value they would see from your product. If you just ignore them on that page, they could convince themselves they don’t need your product and leave. But if you proactively reach out to them with a targeted and personalized message via the bot, you can answer their questions, prove your value, and close the deal faster.”
Here’s a look at how retargeting works on Drift’s pricing page.
4) Personalize for each stage of the funnel.
This next tip dovetails with the retargeting bot. While you’re collecting information on visitors to your site, it’s important to keep track of how far along a given visitor is in the funnel. For instance, once a lead gets passed over to sales and is engaged with that team, you need to treat them differently than a brand new visitor who’s yet to interact with the sales team.
That’s where the Drift sales-engaged bot comes in.
“Our sales-engaged bot (we call it Open Op Bot) will serve this type of lead with a more specific message that lets them know that we know they’re already working with one of the humans on our sales team, but that the bot is there to help answer any questions or to connect them with the sales rep they’ve already been chatting with.”
Personalizing the conversation with your site visitors doesn’t mean you need to put on the full-court press at all times. A sales-engaged bot provides a better way to interact with opportunities that are further down the funnel.
5) Show some personality.
One of Sara’s favorite things is working with our product designers to build custom bots around holidays. We’ve made special bots for Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years, International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, and even the Boston Marathon.
“Making festive bots has been a great way to get people’s attention and represent our brand personality. And for our customers and potential customers, it shows them how flexible Drift is – it’s not this static thing that just lives on the bottom corner of your website. The world is always changing and we can help you change with it.”
If you want to get really creative, you can even insert Easter eggs into your bots.
“Easter eggs make your conversation feel more like a conversation. It adds a layer of fun and helps to keep things light when discussing topics that aren’t as sexy, like product features, pricing, use cases, etc.”
Remember – your brand personality extends into all facets of customer interaction. Make sure your bots are part of the fun, too.
6) Fail gracefully.
At the end of the day, know you’re not going to get everything right. Conversational marketing as a practice is still new. And even though we wrote the job description to help you hire your first Conversational Marketing Manager, Sara says even she’s constantly learning about what works and what doesn’t.
One lesson she learned early on was that even though a page on your site may be pulling in a ton of traffic, it doesn’t always mean a bot belongs there.
“I’m learning about our bots every single day. In any account, Pro or below, we put an icon at the very bottom of the chat window that says Chat⚡by Drift. This links back to Drift.com. While this page gets a lot of hits every day, very soon after putting a bot on it, I learned that most of the traffic was unqualified, not seriously buying, or didn’t know why they ended up on our site in the first place. It wasn’t what I expected, but that’s why testing is so important.”
Afte rall, good marketing is all about testing and optimizing. It’s all about getting better every single day. You look at what went wrong, iterate, and move on to the next thing.