Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from IDS, a Drift partner based in Santiago, Chile.
IPLACEX, a leading education provider in Chile, aims to be the country’s number one online education resource by 2025. How do they plan to do that? The organization set out to increase enrollment in their online courses. To do so, they turned to IDS, a Drift partner, to implement conversational marketing on their site.
IPLACEX runs a lean, mean inbound machine. After three years of lead gen work, they’ve driven up organic leads by 350%.
But leads aren’t enough. You have to convert those leads. All without spending more on online ads and other marketing activities.
The buyer’s journey in higher ed is very particular. While websites are an important source of curriculum-related information, prospective students like to chat in to learn details around application deadlines, financing, etc.
And failing to provide answers to simple questions is the second most common frustration for 31% of all website users.
The Solution: Conversational Marketing
Enter conversational marketing. According to BI Intelligence, messaging applications are today’s main real-time communication channel. So when a business ignores conversational marketing and sticks with old-school static forms, friction is introduced to the buyer’s journey in two ways:
- Users can’t control response times, so they have to wait for answers
- Forms by their nature are static and thereby don’t create meaningful dialogue
Conversational marketing solves a pain users and marketing teams are used to living with. And artificial intelligence-powered bots can eliminate contact forms and long wait times.
The outcome is a new communication channel that allows potential customers to connect with the brand at their own pace, while exploring the site.
Diagnosing The Challenge
To address this challenge, IDS focused on the root problem affecting conversion rates on the IPLACEX website: unnecessary, increased friction caused by having to fill out forms.
The IPLACEX website was like a campus for prospective students. But before closing an enrollment, visitors first had to fill out a form.
To remove the friction, IDS suggested chatbots.
Bots are like hosts for your website. They greet visitors, answer questions and refer them to a specialized rep if they need more information. They do all this while holding many simultaneous conversations, something even the best SDRs can’t do.
The Implementation Strategy
IDS had recently replaced all of its own forms with bots and saw an 8% increase in conversion rates and sales meetings requests. So this experience was e a first-hand proof point for IPLACEX.
The IDS team analyzed the conversion rates of IPLACEX’s most visited pages and started there with Drift.
The implementation steps were as follows:
Traffic Analysis vs User Queries
IPLACEX was the ideal candidate for conversational marketing. Why? The sheer number of visitors to its website: almost 70,000 organic sessions per month, and more than 100,000 visits via direct traffic.
Next up? Identify which websites pages concentrated more visits from prospective students – like the homepage and degree-related pages.
IDS then implemented bots with specific use cases on these pages. A use case is a list of actions or events that define user-system interactions, for a specific goal. For instance:
- Homepage conversation starter
- Conversion of paid traffic
The bot’s mission is to answer basic questions that do not require the intervention of a human and refer the conversation to a rep based on certain user responses.
Creation of Conversation Flows
IDS then gathered information with the IPLACEX team about the most frequent queries from site visitors.
Based on this research, the IDS team designed the bot’s conversation flows. Since there are several paths that the conversation can take, IDS designed the flows using yes / no decision trees to bring the conversation to the end of the use case.
The goal with these trees is to help the user get what they want from the website – usually answers to basic questions about careers, financing, etc.
Bots are awesome, yes, but they have limitations. While Drift bots use artificial intelligence to recognize users and learn from conversations to offer better answers, the flow of each conversation has to end at some point.
It’s this end point that’s critical. If users don’t get what they want, the risk of them leaving the site rises, consequently resulting in lost leads.
To reduce this opportunity cost, IDS structured the conversation flow to get contact information from the visitor at the beginning of each interaction – but in an organic, conversational way.
When it’s clear that a person needs to be brought into a conversation, SDRs jump in. But how does the IPLACEX team know which users are a good fit? By clicking on the contact detail, reps can make sure the prospect is worth talking to.
If the visitor doesn’t meet qualification criteria, the bot tells the user the rep is not available and will get in touch with the information provided at the beginning of the conversation. If the prospect qualifies, but the SDR assigned to the contact is not available, the bot automatically assigns the conversation to another team member.
Integrating with IPLACEX’s CRM
Since IPLACEX already uses HubSpot’s CRM to gather business intelligence on contacts, IDS integrated the Drift bot with HubSpot so all contacts generated by conversations could be stored in the latter.
This way executives can follow up on leads without having to change platforms.
Meanwhile, all leads generated through Drift are stored in the backend to resume conversations at any time, if necessary (by mail or live chat).
Drift’s dashboard shows all bot-generated conversations, emails and leads.
This shows the performance of the bot and provides data to optimize conversation flows, test new use cases or install bots on new pages, among other improvements.
After implementing conversational marketing and Drift, IPLACEX saw a 518% lift in lead generation in just 30 days.
Putting The Conversation In Marketing
The current marketing paradigm focuses on content, SEO, keyword optimization and conversion rates. While these remain important elements of any good marketing strategy, marketers often overlook the importance of connecting with people how they want, when they want. Conversational marketing fills this gap, connecting humans in real-time without friction.
Ready to learn more about how conversational marketing is helping drive conversion for modern businesses? Read the 2019 State of Conversational Marketing Report here.
As ids Agency’s CEO & Cofounder, Ismail Aly helps companies from all over-optimize their demand gen, sales acceleration and client retention processes to grow better and increase revenue in today’s hyper-competitive market. He has a background in systems engineering and extensive experience in the Inbound methodology. He likes to Google stuff.