In this day and age, just about every business is looking for a way to gain a competitive edge when it comes to digital marketing. More leads, more site traffic, and better search engine rankings are at the top of everyone’s priority list. But making those three things happen is usually easier said than done. There are so many variables that go into creating an effective website and digital marketing strategy that it can be hard to decide what’s worth your time, and what just isn’t. If you’re looking for a way to keep site viewers on your web pages for longer, and boost your conversion rates, then you might want to look into live chat.

That’s right, live chat is quickly becoming one of the more effective ways to help nurture quality client relationships and encourage conversions. Since it’s so new, and primarily used by e-commerce sites like Amazon, it might not be immediately clear why live chat could be helpful for your small to mid-sized business.

Essentially, live chat helps to boost any customer’s user experience. It’s a quick and easy way for them to seek answers to their questions and frustrations, and it’s an effective way to keep people on your site. The longer a site viewer remains on your site, the more likely they are to make a purchase. When you improve your user experience, and encourage consumer engagement, you’ll be doing a lot to boost your conversion rate. To clarify what we mean when we say that live chat can help your website generate more leads, here’s 5 specific ways that live chat helps boost your website’s conversion power:

#1 No one wants to talk on the phone anymore

It should come as no surprise that the modern consumer is reluctant to pick up the phone. Automated phone answering services and long wait times have made consumers wary of phone numbers. The threat of talking to yet another machine is a real one, and consumers are more likely to simply head to another website than they are to pick up the phone for a solution. Live chat removes this issue by providing a convenient way for consumers to get their questions answered, immediately. There’s no navigating a long automated voicemail menu, and there’s no waiting in line. They simply type in their question, and voila! An answer. This improves a site viewer’s user experience, which makes them more likely to stay on your site and make a purchase.

#2 Adds a personal touch

In the same vein, an accessible live chat makes your company seem more personable than a bland robot voicemail. When you or one of your employees is personally addressing a client question, that site viewer receives personalized responses that legitimately help to solve their problem. This is a great way to build a positive relationship with new potential leads, and according to the infographic below from Zendesk, 62 percent of consumers report that they’re more likely to buy from a company that offers a live chat. A helpful live chat session leaves a lasting, positive impression in the mind of the consumer. When they have positive impressions of your company, they’re likely to return and make a purchase.

#3 Offers a quick solution

Just as consumers no longer want to talk on the phone, neither do they want to wait for their solutions. Live chat offers the opportunity for an immediate solution to whatever problem they might be having. This has proven very successful for e-commerce sites; for example, if a consumer is surfing through a clothing store’s website and wonders about sizing on a particular shirt, they need only to ask about that particular shirt on the live chat to get the answer they’re looking for. The person running the live chat can offer them a picture of their sizing chart, and reference what reviewers have said about how that specific shirt fits. Boom, the customer’s question is answered in under two minutes, and they’re able to make a purchasing decision.

These same benefits can be applied to nearly any website out there. When live chat is immediately available, consumers don’t have to go searching for an answer to their question. They can simply ask, and move on with their buying choice, generally in your favor.

#4 Taps into pain points

Live chats are also an incredibly useful tool for the marketing end of your company. When you implement live chat into your website, it’s likely that you’ll start to get repeat questions. These repeat questions or regular frustrations that you hear from customers can easily be labeled as “pain points” and then addressed as you continue to optimize your website. If your clients are constantly asking about the same aspects of your business, whether that’s your lead times or how your process works, you can further optimize your website to address those pain points and create a better user experience for clients in the future.

#5 Provides helpful metrics and tracking

Not only does live chat help you tailor your site to specific customer pain points, it gives you a better idea of what areas of your website are working, and which are not. A live chat feature will tell you which pages are getting the most chat requests, and what those requests are about. If a page is getting a moderate amount of requests, that’s a good indicator that people are at least staying on that page, but it might also be a sign that there’s some information that’s missing from the page. By looking at chat transcripts, you can identify what consumers are having issues with, and fix that problem easily.

On the other hand, if a page is getting absolutely no chat requests, and is making no conversions, then that’s a fairly good indicator that you could use a bit of reworking. No chats, and no conversions mean that users are quickly bouncing off the page because it’s not enticing enough, or it’s not offering customers the information they’re looking for. Live chat can help you identify where these problem areas exist, so you can revisit them and optimize them for a better user experience, bumping your conversions in the long run.

Live chat is an excellent tool for any website, regardless of industry or business size. It helps answer client questions and frustrations, and moves them closer to converting. But live chat only works if it’s used effectively. If you’re thinking of implementing live chat into your website, there are two major points to keep in mind:

To implement live chat, you have to be there

Decided to bring live chat in to help boost your site conversions? Awesome. But you can’t do it unless you have employees dedicated to answering the live chat. During the day, you should have someone at the office dedicated to answering live chat requests when the pop up, or you’re not actually offering the immediate solutions that consumers are looking for. Now obviously, you have to sleep at some point. Not all live chats need to be 24/7.

If you want to implement live chat, but don’t have the manpower to have someone sitting at the computer all night, then it’s a good idea to at least set up your live chat tool to capture a consumer’s contact info—name and email address—while you’re away. Then you can get back to that contact as soon as you get back to the office. So long as your live chat is operable at least during business hours, you’ll start seeing those conversions you’re looking for.

Don’t let your live chat message box be creepy

It’s important to note that live chat message boxes aren’t effective 100% of the time. As you might expect, there are those consumers who are afraid of, or feel creeped out by live chat message boxes. They’re worried that someone is watching them shop around your site, and sure, that is a bit of a creepy feeling. To avoid these negatives, you need to set up your live chat so that it’s helpful, but unobtrusive. Don’t have a message box on every single web page, and don’t have it follow the user as they scroll through a page.

It’s a good idea to limit your live chat message box to only the pages where users are likely to have questions. For example, you don’t need a live chat option on your “About Us” page. That’s not relevant to a consumer’s buying experience. You do need a live chat option on your “Our Work” page, however, in case a consumer wants to know more about what type of work you’ve done in the past, and how that may apply to them. By being selective about the pages that feature the live chat option, consumers will feel less “watched” and more helped.

Live chat is a unique website feature that can do a lot to improve client relations and boost conversion rates. It’s simple to implement and it requires no A/B testing to optimize. If you have more questions about live chat, or about optimizing your digital marketing strategy, be sure to get in touch with the experts at HA Digital Marketing. And for more information about marketing in 2017, check out our 2017 inbound marketing forecast, located below:

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