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Wondering which way to collect leads is better: online forms or live chat? If you still haven’t used a chatbot for lead generation, you’re losing your opportunity to boost on-site conversions by 33%. Learn below why you’re missing out. 

 

Do you recall the times we had to fill paper forms almost in any facility? Decades ago, we did it always whether it is checking in the hotel room, depositing money in the bank, enrolling in the driving school, or even leaving small feedback in the cafe. Can you even imagine doing this again? To me, it feels absolutely horrendous. 

Later, this sluggish nightmare was finally eliminated. Thank you, almighty technology! After the world wide web had emerged, paper forms were replaced by online forms. They were advancing over time, changing their design and improving convenience for the customer. Yet, the main concept behind them remained the same. They are still FORMS that need to get filled by hand, only by different means. 

The truth about forms is tough to be faced. Most of your leads end up abandoning the form, despite all the sweet words you told them in your sales copy. And that’s the major obstacle on the way to effective lead generation.

They do it because filling a form takes a lot of time. I personally conducted an experiment, a long form takes me 2 minutes 23 seconds to complete. You can say it’s not that much, but why the heck the average Joe will spend 2 minutes of their life on something such as boring as an online form? 

Actually, 2 minutes wasted on a tedious activity are A LOT in the modern world. Meanwhile, your leads could watch half of a TED-Ed video, scroll through 8 Instagram stories or do 10 push-ups. 

Speaking for myself, I abandon 4 out of 5 forms. If the form is especially intimidating (very long, requires personal data, asks too many complex questions) I even don’t start filling it out and leave the site to find what I need elsewhere. If I don’t find it elsewhere, I postpone this unattractive duty to a very later point unless I don’t get distracted. 

Being in a web user’s role, you will likely agree with me. And don’t even dare to believe that other Millenials are much more forgiving than we are. They aren’t. 

Slowly but surely, contact forms are turning into the same obsolete grind, as paper forms did decades ago. 

 

Well, then how to survive under the reign of this impatient, data-hungry, and easily distracted generation? — you may ask me now. 

Switch to a live chat and start generating real leads. 

And if you still don’t believe that live chats aka chatbots outperform contact forms in lead generation, there are 5 actionable proofs of their superiority. 

1. Live Chats Generate Leads Rather Than Waiting for Them to Generate Themselves 

 

An online form is a passive asset which is just resting there and waiting for somebody to notice it. It’s the same dead sheet of paper, crafted from code instead of woodpulp. Drawing another funny yet fair analogy, this feels like you’re entering a land-based store with all its staff sleeping. 

Live chats, by contrast, are very proactive in lead generation. They don’t expect things to happen, they ask you outright whether you need help or whether you are interested in something specific. Here is the example of how our chatbot built with Collect.chat reacts to the lead’s visit: 

Nothing intimidating, it’s just a humble request to help. That’s like good consultants act in the offline stores. First, they request their help. If you deny it, they’re still around and open to your questions. No need to run after them. 

Chatbots are the same. Instead of waiting for you to locate the form and self-generate as a lead, a live chat generates leads itself. 

2. Live Chats Possess a Power of Conversation 

 

Once you engage in the conversation with a live chat, it fully embraces the power of face-to-face communication. Most of the modern chatbots imitate talks with a customer support specialist and ask suggestive questions. Such personalized approach evokes interest and minimizes bounce rates. 

When live chats have just arrived at the market and I didn’t really know there could be chatbots on a website, it seems to me that this chat is handled by a real person! I even rarely engaged in the conversation during occasional visits, as I feared to hurt the consultant by suddenly leaving the chat. 

That’s not the case now. Most of us know that these pop-up windows in the right-bottom corner are bots. However, our subconscious still hesitates to acknowledge it as AI due to its impeccable ability to mimicry. 

That’s the major reason why chats are so good at lead conversion. 

It’s much easier to give out your mobile number or a company you work at while somebody is asking you for it in a conversational manner. Would you mind leaving your number to a salesperson with whom you had a nice long talk about product benefits? Would you mind leaving your number to a soulless form at a random website? 

You got the difference. Chatbots are much closer to salespeople in that regard. Humanizing the sales process, they encourage leads to convert better and faster. 

3. Live Chats Provide Answer Buttons

 

Typing letters by hand in 2019? Nah, that’s obsolete. As the world is heading to more automation in our daily lives, we become too lazy to type our emails and password each time we log in. God bless autofill! 

With forms, however, we still need to type a good dozen of words for completion. And that’s just frustrating.

Chatbots excel at generating leads because they streamline this process as well. Most of them provide answer buttons on common questions as well as buttons that skip some stages of the conversation. Even though you still need to type your personal data by hand, live chat makes it more bearable by keeping you engaged.

The CNN chatbot shows you how you can get the daily update without typing a word into a search engine. The same can happen with a live chat on the website — you just use predefined answers to lead your customer to the product they need. Without searching for ages this option on the website, they get there outright. Isn’t it a miracle? 

4. Live Chats Help Scoring Leads 

 

The best lead generation chatbots allow you to set goals for each conversation. For example, your goal can be a blog subscription or a specific page visit. The live chat analyzes whether the designated goal was achieved and assign tags for each lead. Thus, you not only get a lead’s contact but also segment your audience on the spot. 

Aside from goals, you can activate on-site tracking and see for how long people keep talking with bots, which pages they visit afterward, and whether they are ready to make a purchase. 

The feature comes bundled with marketing automation software, which I highly recommend you to use along with a live chat. My favorite tool to date is ActiveCampaign. It offers tons of sales & marketing solutions for small businesses, being priced relatively affordable. You can use another one if you wish, but be ready that site tracking rarely comes in the cheapest basic package. 

With site tracking, you can trigger automated emails and other actions. This is how it works: 

So, let’s say, the lead starts a conversation in a live chat. After that, they visit the product page and almost proceed to the payment. I say almost because abandoned cart doesn’t count. At the moment when the leads get distracted, your automation software detects it and sends an automated email with a reminder to finish the purchase. 

Most of the platforms still use outdated forms to identify visitors. However, I have a unique method to skirt Activecampaign’s online forms and use a live chat instead. Check it out! 

5. Live Chats Skyrocket Customer Satisfaction 

 

Yes, live chats are not only good for leads generation. They also work equally amazing for increasing customer retention and boosting their satisfaction. Here are the results of the research that studied the effects of live chat integration into eCommerce on consumer behavior. 

The era of never-ending queues for getting customer support is gone. Now each customer can contact the brand in a matter of minutes. Live chats aimed at leads generation foster two-way, informal communication which definitely resonates with human beings. 

Boosted levels of trust and satisfaction result in more repurchases, as more leads fall in love with your business. People also tend to recommend your company more frequently while they are completely enjoying what you do. 

The Best Chatbot for Lead Generation: Collect.chat 

 

Now you’ve learned that live chats are much better than online forms. But their superiority also has a downside: it’s much more complicated to develop a chatbot from scratch rather than a form. 

Am I getting you upset? Good news for you: today is 2019, not 2009. There are many tools which allow you to build a chatbot for your website without hiring an IT guy. The market is replete with them, but the one I personally use for my business is Collect.chat

Collect.chat is a neat chatbot builder with a handy drag and drop editor: 

You have numerous templates at your fingertips to diversify answering options and turn the conversation into a truly interactive adventure for your lead: 

After building a bot you can submit it on your website using a WordPress plugin or JS copy-paste snippet. 

The edge of this builder over competitors is that even in the free version you have an unlimited number of bots to build. Other cool things are free basic analytics and appointment booking. The latter one means the chatbot automatically schedules sales calls, counseling sessions, etc. Being marketing automation consultants, we at Automate Online are especially pleased with this feature. 

More advanced packages come with such amazing features as conditional flows of questions (they change accordingly to user’s answers), webhook and native 3rd-party integrations, and campaign tracking. 

Another advantage of Collect.chat is its affordable price for the same opportunities. Compared to its major rival Landbot.io’s $112 price tag, the company charges you $99 per month for a standard plan. The fee for the unlimited package differs even more: $299 Collect.chat’s versus $563 Landbot’s. 

All Right, Are You Ready to Say a Final Goodbye to Online Forms?  

 

Even if not, you’ll have to do this in the following years. Live chats, chatbots, and AI in general will rise to enormous prominence during the next decade. And so will do all the other technologies aimed at making brand-customer communication faster, friendlier, and more effective. 

So if you only start learning the topic, don’t hesitate to ask us anything you want about live chats, marketing automation, and their integration with each other. 

Let’s automate your business and generate 33% more leads as we speak. We are always ready to answer your questions during a FREE 30-minutes consultation. Book now!