The Free Guide To Using Drift



Just a quick note about this guide before we dive in…

It’s completely free.

You don’t have to fill out a form to access it.

And you won’t get a call from our sales team to “follow up” after you read it.

Drift is free and easy to use, and our content should be too.

So anyway — we hope this guide is both enjoyable and helpful, whether you’re new to Drift and want to get the most out of your account, just kicking the tires and want to learn more about how you can convert more leads with live chat, or are curious to see how you can have better conversations with people when they are using your product.

Oh and if you don’t have time to read this whole thing right now, I won’t be offended.

Skip around, figure out the things you want to know, and feel free to ask us any questions on chat.

– Dave

PS. If you’re not already using Drift for Conversational Marketing, you can get your free account right here.

Getting The Most Out Of Drift

Convert more leads, delight customers, and grow your business.

OK, here’s what we’re going to cover in this guide — feel free to skip around; you definitely don’t need to go through this in order.

Just click on each title below and you can jump right to that section.

The Basics

Your brand is the most important thing you have as a business — and it shouldn’t feel any different when you start using Drift. This section will cover everything you need to make sure Drift matches your brand so you can make a great first impression.

Live Chat: Everything You Need To Know

From routing, to setting an away message, and keeping conversations going after someone has left your website, this section will cover everything you need to know about live chat with Drift.

Connecting Drift With The Tools You’re Already Using

You shouldn’t have to change the way you work when you start using Drift. That’s why we connect to the tools that you’re already using today. We’ll run through all of our current integrations in this section.

Contacts And Segments

Even though Drift can easily connect to the tools you’re already using, you will also want to see your contacts inside of Drift, too. In this section, we’ll cover our CRM — aka where your contacts live inside of Drift — and what you can do with them.

Sending Targeted Messages

Live chat is great, but sometimes you need to be proactive. With Drift, you can always get the right message to the right person at the right time — and that’s what we’ll talk about in this section on sending targeted messages. We’ll also cover the different types of messages you can send from takeover campaigns to email capture.

Is The Way We’ve Been Doing Marketing And Sales Broken?

To wrap things up, we’ll take a quick look at the state of marketing and sales, what’s in store for the future, and what it means for your business.

We didn’t want to just make this a really long help doc or FAQ, but something to get you thinking. So if you have any questions while you’re reading this guide, just holler at us on chat in the bottom right corner here and someone can help you out (plus you’ll get to see how things work on the other end).

The Basics

There are two main reasons that your business would use Drift today:

  1. To talk to the people that are visiting your website — which is a great way for marketing and sales to generate more leads (the result of starting conversations with people in real-time vs. waiting for them to fill out a form).
  2. To talk to the people that are using your product — which is the best way to make sure that you are always there for your customers to give them the help they need. And this is a great way to drive product adoption and engagement.

In either case, the most important thing you can do is make a great first impression.

You want to let people know that you are there.

It’s just like when you go to a store, and as you’re looking around, one of the employees asks you if they can help you with anything — or suggests some of the most comfortable, breathable socks to go with that new pair of running shoes you’re eyeing.

And with Drift — basically the online version of that — making a great first impressions starts with the basics, and getting Drift setup to match your brand’s look and feel.

So here’s what will happen when you go through onboarding after creating your Drift account for the first time.

Immediately after you’ve created your account — just go to and enter your email address — you’ll get dropped into our dashboard so you can make Drift feel like, well — you.

You’ll be able to customize the design of the chat widget to match your brand when it’s on your website or inside of your product:

Customize Drift Live Chat

Once you spend a minute to get the look and feel squared away, the next thing you will set up as part of onboarding is your welcome message.

A welcome message is the single easiest way to increase engagement on your website — you’re giving everyone that comes in touch with your business a way to say hello.

We give you some default text you can use, or you can change the welcome message to say whatever you’d like:

Drift Live Chat Welcome Message

And a welcome message always feels more personal when you show your face:

Drift Live Chat Welcome Message

Much better.

Here’s an example of a welcome message in action on


Once you set up your welcome message during onboarding, then you will be able to add a few details so people will know exactly who they are talking to:

Drift Live Chat Welcome Message

From there, the last step you’ll find in onboarding is actually installing Drift:

Install Drift

If you’re going to be using Drift to talk to people on your website, all it takes is a little copy and paste job — just like you would install Google Analytics or any other app on your site.

By the way, no worries if you’re not comfortable with that — it’s super easy to send the instructions to a teammate who can help.

And if you’re going to be using Drift inside of your product, you’ll want to check out this help doc and get a little help from a someone who knows their way around some Javascript.

Live Chat: Everything You Need To Know

OK let’s fast forward a little bit and talk about things after you’ve installed Drift, and what you need to know about live chat.

If you have any website traffic at all (I’m talking like, as little as 100 visitors/month) people are going to start writing in shortly after you turn on Drift.

So what do you say when a new lead comes in via live chat?

Say Hi

I know I know. This one sounds so obvious, right? But people rarely do it.

You have to remember that a lead isn’t just an email address — they aren’t just a lead in your database somewhere or a conversation in Drift — they’re a real person just like you.

So reach out and say hey, and try to get a little more information. Start a conversation.

What would you say if you were waiting in line at a coffee shop or passing someone in the mall? You’d say hey. Reaching out to a lead who is live on your website is no different.

Be Human

There’s no better way to start a conversation than by showing you’re a real person too.

Don’t try to be too formal or buttoned up – be yourself. Start a conversation. Try and get them talking.

To help you start more conversations, we try and give you as much context for each new conversation as we can.

For example, here’s Andrew, one of our engineers:

Drift Contact Sidebar

And if you connect Drift to Slack — more on that in a little bit — you’ll be able to see all of that information right there, too.

For anonymous visitors (people who have not given you their email address yet), you’ll be able to see the page they’re on, their location, IP address and local time:


And for people who’ve already identified or given you their email address (this is where it gets awesome) you’ll get enriched data for that contact, including their name, location, job and company information, links to their social profiles and more:

Drift Live Chat Slack Card

You can use any of this information to have a better conversation with your new leads, like “Hey Andrew – saw you’re on our pricing page. Anything I can help with?

A Few Other Things You Should Know About Live Chat

Just a few more things on live chat before we move on…

It’s called “live” chat but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be there for people 24/7.

If someone writes in on your website and you’re not in Drift at that moment, you’ll get an email with their message — but you can also let people know when you plan on being offline by setting your hours and availability.

Think of it like an away message for your website.

I’ll just use our away message at Drift to give you a quick example.

We do show and tell every Friday from 4-5 PM (everyone at Drift shares what they worked on that week) so we set our away message during that time:

Drift Live Chat Hours

If someone comes to our website and clicks to start a conversation during that time, they will be greeted with an away message that pops out and looks a little something like this:


And then after show and tell, we can go respond to any of the messages that came in while we were away.

That’s one example of how live chat doesn’t always have to be 24/7 and real-time.

We also have you covered if you’re talking to someone and they leave mid conversation — or don’t stick around by the time you respond.

If someone hasn’t seen your message after 15 minutes, they will get the entire conversation emailed to them (and you will get a notifcation that the chat has been converted to email):



And if you’re manning live chat, but there’s a question for someone else on your team, you can assign people to conversations:


So if someone writes in to me with a technical question that is better for our CTO Elias to answer, I can just assign him (for example) — and he will also get mentioned in Slack:


Oh and speaking of assigning conversations, we just launched something new that is going to help here.

We want to make it super easy for any person outside your company to talk to anyone person inside of your company — but that only works if you can get the right message to the right person at the right time.

And that’s where Drift 2.0 comes in (the new thing).

With Drift 2.0, we launched Driftbot — which brings the power of Artificial Intelligence to the most important part of your business: the relationships you have with your customers.

Driftbot is able to understand all of the conversations your customers are having with your company, and help do exactly what we mentioned earlier — get the right message to the right person at the right time.


With the help of machine learning, your business will be able to deliver a personal customer experience at scale — that means no more worrying about sales reps wasting time with support questions, or angry customers going unanswered for days.

There’s one last thing worth mentioning right now about live chat before we move on:

The leads that you’ll get from live chat are going to be different than the traditional inbound leads you might be getting today.

Why? Because these are people that reached out to you.

These are people with specific questions who want an immediate answer while they are live on your website — not someone that you had to hunt down to try and sell to.

PS. Click here to get started with Drift for free.

Connect The Tools You’re Already Using

When we started building Drift, there were two things we heard loud and clear about all of the existing live chat products out there:

  1. Pricing has traditionally been confusing.
  2. The existing tools force people to change the way they work.

And that’s exactly why we’ve been building Drift with integrations in mind since day one (we’re not going to cover pricing in this guide, but we think our pricing is pretty straight forward).

Drift connects to many of the tools that you’re already using (I say “many” because there are some integrations that we’re still working on and there will always be more).

Integrations not only make Drift easy to set up, but they also make it super easy for you to bring Drift into your existing workflows.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of our most popular integrations.


If you’re already using Segment, then this is one of the fastest ways to install Drift on your website and inside of your product. Our Segment integration is one click and will automatically load up the Drift chat widget on your website and start sending data from Segment into Drift.


With Drift’s Slack integration that we mentioned earlier, you’ll never have to leave the app that you use the most to talk to your customers and prospects, even if you’re on the go.


Whenever someone writes in via Drift, you’ll get an alert in Slack — whether that’s a customer who needs some help inside of your app, or someone with a question on your website’s pricing page.

And if your team is like ours (and over 2 million other people) you probably spend the majority of your day right inside of Slack — so you don’t even need to leave the building to talk to your customers.


If you have a WordPress site, all you need to do to get Drift up and running is download our WordPress plugin, grab the widget code from your Drift account:

Drift WordPress

And then copy the widget code into the snippet section of the plugin:



Zapier is a little secret weapon for web applications — they’ve made it super simple to connect Drift to 500+ business applications (aka just about any tool you’d ever want).

So whether you want to turn new conversations in Drift into leads in Salesforce, or log an entire live chat conversation in Zendesk, you can do it with Zapier. To give you some more inspiration, here are some of the pre-made Zaps that you could use:

Drift Zapier Integration


With Drift and HubSpot, not only can you talk to people while they’re live on your website with live chat, but you’ll be able to see all of that activity and the source right inside of HubSpot’s contact timeline.

That means that sales reps can tailor their outreach or follow up based on a certain activity, like viewing your pricing page — and marketers can create workflows or send emails based on conversations that have happened via Drift so every prospect gets a personal touch.

Drift HubSpot

Oh and if you’re using HubSpot’s COS to host your website and landing pages, you can install Drift in one click right from our integration settings:

Drift HubSpot Integration

Contacts And Segments

One thing we haven’t really talked about yet is your contacts — you know, what happens after you start talking to all of those people that are flocking to your website and raving about your product.

This section should actually be called “the side of Drift that you see” — and it all starts with the dashboard:


Anyway, our engineers and designers did a killer job on the dashboard, so I don’t want to spend a ton of time there (plus you can click around and see for yourself).

But the main thing to cover here is segments.

Whether you’ve imported all of your contacts from another tool, set up one of the integrations we have, or just started capturing email addresses via chat using Drift on your website, you will be able to search, sort, and filter through all of your contacts inside of Drift.

And the most valuable tool here is the ability to create segments.


You can select a group of existing contacts and make a static segment, or you can create segments that are based on specific criteria and things that are always changing. We call these dynamic segments inside of Drift.

Most of our customers use dynamic segments for things like nurturing campaigns, onboarding messages, or sending announcements to a group of people that might change frequently.

For example, you might want to create a special message for new users inside of your product, or maybe one of your sales reps wants to target a message to upsell customers on the enterprise plan.

You can also create dynamic segments for tags that you’ve set up in Drift.

Right now we have a tag for people that want our mobile app, and so anytime someone mentions it, we add the tag — and then we’ll be able to send a message to that segment of people:


One little prop tip here before we end this section: you can use our API or nearly any of our integrations (like HubSpot, Segment or Zapier) to send data to Drift, too.

That way you can create segments based on all of your customer data — like leads in HubSpot or opportunities in Salesforce — not just the things that are currently in Drift.

Now, all of this talk about contacts and creating segments is great, but it means nothing unless you can reach the people in those segments.

So let’s talk about sending targeting messages…

Sending Targeted Messages

Message Types

With live chat, people send messages to you. On your end, it’s reactive — you reply to people as they write in.

But one of the most powerful features of Drift is the ability for you to proactively reach out to people — whether a sales rep wants to trigger a message to a lead who has just visited your pricing page for the third time.

In Drift, these targeted types of messages are found under the
Playbooks section of the dashboard. You can choose from Get More Sales Meetings, Get More Leads, Engage Your Visitors, Outbound Prospecting, and Send an Email:

Get More Sales Meetings

The Get More Sales Meetings Playbooks enable your Sales Team to book more meetings and fill out their calendars easily.

The Book a Qualified Meeting via LeadBot Playbook allows you to decide how to route a conversation with a customer to a member of your team, and guarantee quality leads are dropped into their laps!

Get More Leads

The Have More Qualified Conversations via LeadBot Playbook allows you to use our LeadBot to make sure the people you are talking to are Conversation Qualified Leads (CQL’s).

The Build a Blog Subscriber List is like a pre-packaged campaign template for your team to use to nurture blog visitors and qualify leads and ultimately, close those deals!



Engage your Visitors

With our Engage your Visitors Playbooks, you can greet your visitors and show them targeted messages based on who they are. Run promotions, nurture repeat visitors, drive paid traffic, and more.

Have Sales Conversations on Your Pricing Page Playbook allows you to reach out to your customers when they’re most interested in buying!

Drive Traffic via a Targeted Message Playbook lets you setup targeted automatic messages to visitors with a CTA can drive engagement and views to that specific page!

Run a Promotion With a Full Screen Takeover Playbook allows you to run an effective promotion for a specific amount of time that can drive more sales!

Send an Email

You can also use Drift to send out a one-time email to communicate a promotion, sale, product update or change and make sure your customers and leads are caught up with new changes that might affect them! Send an Email Playbooks allow you to do just that!

And that does it for the product overview. If you’re looking for more, you can always hop over to our help docs.

The State Of Sales And Marketing

We just walked through a few examples of how you can use Drift, and I just wanted to wrap up this guide with a final thought on the state of sales and marketing — which is something we’ve been talking about a lot at Drift lately.

See, traditional sales and marketing work something like this:

  • Get people to your website.
  • Get those people to convert on a form.
  • Nurture those people with emails and phone calls until they buy from you, unsubscribe, or just do absolutely nothing, forever and live in your CRM.

But if you’re anything like me, I’m willing to bet that when you’re thinking about buying something, the last thing you want to do is fill out a form or talk to a sales rep.

We avoid those things at all costs.

Because these days, we can find out just about everything we need to know before making a purchase, and many times, we can buy things or get the information we need without ever having to talk to sales at all.

But in our jobs in marketing and sales, we stick to those traditional methods.

That’s how we do marketing and sales every single day — because that’s how it’s always been done. That’s how everyone does it.

Now think about the way that you talk to people today: you might use iMessage to talk to your family, Facebook Messenger to connect with old friends, and Slack to talk to your co-workers all day.

Yet when you want to talk to a business, you have to fill out forms and wait for a response or talk to a sales rep on the phone — you have to do all of those traditional things we just mentioned.

And that’s exactly why we built Drift — so your business can connect with customers in a modern way.

As Dustin from Jostle puts it, “We implemented Drift on our website a few months ago and it’s not only been a good source of leads, it’s just generally allowed us to take a more human to human approach vs. a business to business approach. Sitting on the bus during my morning commute and chatting with someone who is visiting our website is super refreshing and helps me make an immediate 1-to-1 connection with the visitor.”

A more human to human approach. How about that?

So, we think that there are two paths forward for businesses from here:

  1. They can stick to their guns, keep doing what everyone else has been doing, and wait for that threshold level to get higher.
  2. They can follow the lead of those modern businesses and change the way they do marketing and sales to match the way that people actually want to interact with a business today.

Which path will you choose?

Learn more about how you can get started with Drift for free.

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