How to Generate Leads with Live Chat: A Guide

Your business can have a strong online presence, high website traffic, and impressive click-throughs, but let’s face it unless these translate into leads, they don’t add much value. In a world that thrives on instant gratification, businesses that pander to this instinct of immediacy among customers by incorporating real-time engagement are more likely to draw a loyal customer base. 

A 2019 study found that businesses that follow-up with online leads within 5 minutes are 9 times more likely to become paying customers. Live chat is an excellent tool that can help in this regard. While a majority of businesses have incorporated live chat software into their websites for customer service, they miss out on the marketing and lead generation benefits of using chat. 

What is Lead Generation and Why Is It Important?

People may show interest in what your business has to offer by engaging as website visitors, regular blog readers, or even as social media followers. However, not all of them will become paying customers. 

Lead generation is a process that will help you identify, target, and convert potential customers into actual, paying customers for your business. Essentially, it is a marketing endeavor that puts qualified leads into the sales pipeline. 

Without a growing customer base, any enterprise is bound to go kaput, whether it’s a small business or a multi-billion-dollar company. Focusing on good-quality leads brings in customers who are likely to stick with your business for the long haul and hence, contribute steadily to your profits. Apart from adding to customer conversion rates, a strategy for qualified leads also helps you:

  • Collect key information about your customers that you can use to improve the quality of your product or service
  • Define your target audience more clearly
  • Gain deeper insights into the market you are operating in
  • Improve your brand awareness 
  • Elevate the overall customer experience offered 

How Does Live Chat Fit into Lead Generation?

A few decades ago, cold-calling prospects were hailed as the holy sales-and-marketing strategy. Sales executives could pick out numbers from a Yellow Pages directory and catch a completely-unaware person by surprise on the phone. More often than not, this worked. 

Today, people have far fewer hours to spare engaging with strangers on the phone; in fact, many people find it annoying. Just think about this: are you more likely to find a millennial or GenZ picking up the landline to make a call or are they more likely to send out a text message on their smartphone? It really isn’t shocking to hear certain statistics peg the success rate of cold calls into converted leads at less than 1%.

As communication has shifted to a digital screen, businesses also need to update their marketing and sales strategy. Some businesses try to combine both, by collecting contact information of customers via a form on their website or mobile app and then assigning sales representatives to talk to qualified leads. However, many people are cautious about sharing their details online for fear of misuse. A chat channel cuts straight to the chase, engaging customers who are already interested in your business. 

Live chats engage with customers the way they want, at times that are convenient, and most importantly, they do this in real-time. Customers too seem to prefer this channel the best, given that live chats have logged in the highest customer satisfaction rate, at 92%, when compared to other engagement methods. In fact, 63% of customers who have a live chat experience on a website are more likely to return to that site. 

Benefits of Live Chat in Generating Leads

When it comes to lead generation, the success of live chats cannot be underestimated. Here are six reasons why live chat works as an excellent tool for marketing and sales:

Live Chats Are Instant and Convenient 

Real-time chat is quicker than phone calls but more personalized than form-based data collection. There is no need for long waiting periods or small talk to break the ice. They’re also perfect for multi-tasking as a single agent can resolve multiple issues at once. Live chat also allows you to interact with the customer when they are ready, making them a convenient option. The chat widget usually sits in a corner of the screen, activating only when customers are ready to engage. This balance of instant response combined with the right timing improves overall customer experience.

Chat Channels Can be Customized 

A live chat software that is integrated with your CRM software helps you store all interactions with customers and pull them up at required times. Even if the initial communication is automated chatbot responses, they can be tailored according to a customer’s background. Based on this history of engagement with your business, your AI-driven chatbot or assigned chat executive can then make personalized product or service recommendations that will not only make your customer feel valued, but could also potentially lead to a purchase. 

You Can Clarify Misconceptions Instantly

Consumers can make snap decisions about your brand story in 1/10th of a second after visiting your website. Fortunately, with a live chat, you can clarify any misconceptions instantly. Live chat works as a powerful method in dictating your brand narrative. FAQs and support sections help customers be self-sufficient for surface-level queries. However, a live chat can dive deep and provide suggestions that can paint your business in a positive light.  

Live Chat is Proactive

Having a chat widget on your website also gives you the opportunity for proactive communication as opposed to reactive messages. Setting up real-time triggers on different webpages based on how and when website visitors interact with your page can generate qualified leads. Once the customers begin to engage, you can switch to a targeted chat that allows you to make suggestions based on customer information. 

They Provide 24/7 Engagement 

Customers from different geographical locations or simpleton night owls may want to contact your business at odd hours. In this case, providing 24/7 is possible by either creating a shift-based schedule for your customer service team or creating teams that work out of different time zones. However,  this can be a stretch for small companies. Live chat solutions that are coupled with chatbots can step up and fill in this gap, ensuring no potential lead is lost due to poor timings. Chatbots can also help reduce the load on your team by directing only those customers whose queries a bot is incapable of answering are routed to an executive.

Live Chat Provides Easy Feedback 

Since the information collected from the live chat is usually concise and precise, it can be utilized to analyze customer experience. Live chats integrated with CRM and analytical software can also determine which strategies work for customers and which don’t, thereby improving the lead qualification process. 

Six Ways to Use Live Chat for Lead Generation

Strategize Chats on High- and Low-Traffic Pages

On average, a website visitor spends about 15 seconds on any website. That is the time you have to make an impression on a customer and convince them to stay and interact. Since some pages have more traffic than others, they hold more decision-making power. For instance, customers tend to spend more time on the home page, product pages, or the pricing page of a website. Strategizing your live chat placement to be more prominent on these pages can be a make-or-break your sales strategy. Identify the high traffic pages of your website where customers click the sign-up or demo buttons. Focus your lead generation strategy on these pages. 

Proactive Messaging

Now that you have deployed a chat widget, it is time to get customers to notice it. Instead of activating the channel when a customer posts a query, programming your live chat for proactive engagement can improve customer experience and engagement. Set up a trigger campaign that pops up with an informative message once the visitor starts reading through the page. This will grab their attention at the right time without distracting them from the purpose of the page itself. 

Engage with Visuals

A live chat does not have to be verbose and boring. It’s no revelation that the human brain processes 90% of the information in visuals. So why not use this in your live chat sales strategy as well? Live chat software like Freshchat gives you the option to embed different media sources, like images, GIFs, or an avatar that are attention-grabbing. However, make sure that the visuals do not detract from the actual goal of the live chat, which is to inform the customer about the various resources your business has to offer. 

Use AI to Handle Workflows Better 

When handling customer chats, it’s important to manage the effort expended on customer conversations, especially if agents are wasting time on repetitive queries. An AI-based chatbot can be deployed to handle initial greetings and routine engagement, clearing up the chat queue for sales reps to dive into more intent-driven questions. With chatbots, responses are instantaneous and uniform. It may also be worth considering setting up custom bots for each page. For instance, having a generic bot response for the About Us page may work, while the chat on the pricing page drops messages on offers and discounts. 

Incorporate Omni-Channel Engagement 

Customers engage with businesses on multiple platforms. It is not sufficient to have your messaging game on point only on your website. Customers today reach out to businesses on instant messaging channels like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, or other communication platforms. Integrating your live chat with all your communication channels allows for seamless communication and quick responses, irrespective of which channel they use to reach out to you. 

Choose Your Integrations Wisely 

As you may have already guessed, live chat in isolation is probably as effective as an electrical socket without electricity. For a live chat to be effective as a sales strategy for strong lead generation, it needs to be used in tandem with other systems in a business. CRM integration is a must. but apart from that, calendar integrations, email and discount integrations, and add-on features like live translate can elevate the chat quality. 

Third-party support providers can often do a more efficient job of managing your business resources in a way that would work best for your business. 

Freshchat for Lead Generation

Freshchat is a multi-channel customer messaging software that helps you seamlessly generate leads from with live chat, chatbots, and messaging channels. Our chat is designed to integrate easily with the platforms you use to manage your sales so that you can track how fast visitors turn into leads, and then into deals. Here’s a case study of Instantprint, an online printing company that increased its order value by 24% using Freshchat for lead generation. Get started with lead generation today with Freshchat.

Illustrated by Swetha Kanithi