Drift Chat 2018 Review

Posted by Joe Jerome on 3/16/18 10:36 AM

Drift Chat vs Gated Content?  Which one works best?  In the past 10 years we've learned that content marketing is a great way to drive business.  However content marketing and live chat on sites have not normally been viewed as solving the same problem.  Drift chat has shown us that live chat can be the most powerful driver of leads on your website.

After 800 conversations Drift Chat with some simple playbooks has increased our business.  Where did we start?  From the beginning... literally.

Our team of brand builders have been using Drift from its start. Brand Builder Solutions was in the first 100 websites with Drift installed on our site.  Now there are over 50,000 websites using Drift! (source builtwith.com)

As Drifts customers have grown so have the amount of features.  Drift has a ton of them and every month they have a major feature release.  You can see the countdown timer for the next one here.

As Drift has grown, we've grown with them. Our adoption of added features like chatbots, Drift email and Inbound and Outbound playbooks has been a part of that success.

The "not-so-secret" secret (Drift will even tell you) is that you can start with the free plan first and see a result.

Drift promotes the concept of "land and expand."  This means start simple and grow.  The founders of Drift, David Cancel and Elias Torres have "unlocked" the secret for their customers. Keep it simple at first so users don't get overwhelmed and will see instant results.

If you've "landed" here on this post, then you're most likely looking to get started.  Here's what I've learned from our success even with the most basic feature of Drift that is free and available to anyone.

Drift chat is the first thing we used and will be the first thing you use.  We saw instant results. If you have a website and if it has traffic, then you have people trying to buy from you.  But you can't see them.  You'll find them soon with Drift. 

Here are 10 things you should know.

  1. Drift Chat is free and ungated.

    That doesn't mean free trial.  It is "straight up" free.  You don't even need to consider paying for it until you add 100 new contacts by using it.  If you aren't getting new contacts, you are either not using it or it's just not right for your business now.  Maybe you don't get any visitors yet or the visits you get aren't looking to talk to you.  Those are things that can be fixed, but it's not something software is going to solve.  That's up to you.

  2. Getting Started is Easy.  Anyone can do it.

    Drift Chat is probably the easiest software we've implemented.  Especially since it's such a powerful tool.  You can signup on their site in a few clicks, and all you need to do is add one simple script in your website (as easy as installing Google Analytics).  Even if you don't know how to do that, the instructions on their site are extremely easy to follow.

  3. Your team will love using it!

    Anyone can use it. It's easy.  If you know how to type you can use it.  There are a lot of ways to login to Drift.  All you need is a browser,  we prefer Chrome.  When a visitor on your site starts a chat you get a notification.  With Chrome that notification will show up on your screen.  Once you get the notification you click it and it brings you to the Drift Window.

    It's also fun to use.  You can use emojis!  Who doesn't love emojis?  The friendly interface leads to friendly conversations.  When people enter the chat happy you'll be happy too!

  4. Your customers will love it too!

    Drift has a friendly little conversation bubble at the bottom right corner of your page.  The user sees it but has to opt to use it, meaning they choose to click it.  Most chat just pops up on screens with some fake picture of a fake person.  Usually I close them and find them annoying.  Not with Drift.  When you "choose" to engage as a visitor, the experience is smooth and pleasant. 

    You can try it right now on this page to see what I mean.  The screen takeover is awesome for the end user and it is extremely user friendly on mobile.  So much so that it deserves it's own section.

  5. Your visitors will feel like they are texting.

    A great mobile chat experience is key because so many visitors come to your site via mobile.  Web designers and web marketers still don't focus on this fact enough.  Websites are designed on a computer.  That usually means the designer has a "computer first" mentality.

    However, users are on phones too.  Mobile traffic to sites is sky rocketing.  What most people don't realize is that those mobile statistics climb for landing pages using social advertising like Facebook and email marketing.  If you send those visitors to a landing page, forget it!  No one is filling out that form.  With Drift, once a visitor lands, they get an awesome experience with a "mobile first" interface design.

    If you want to see this on you phone email a link to this page to yourself and open it on your phone.  It's awesome!

  6. Drift has been developed using a "customer first" mindset.

    This is totally overlooked by software companies.  Cancel and Torres, Drift's founders, are customer obsessed.  Cancel is famous for saying "whoever is closest to the customer wins".  He also has an awesome podcast called Seeking Wisdom with his VP of Marketing, Dave Gerhardt.  Cancel often shares his lessons learned after building over 4 companies and from his experiences working at the world's first Inbound Marketing Company, HubSpot.

    He's learned that you can never obsess too much over the buyer.  The buyer first focus is the core of the culture at Drift.  This mindset is built into all parts of the product.

    The biggest thing I learned is this.  To get closest to the customer, you've got to let the customer be empowered.  This means don't trap the customer by gating content.  Don't overuse and abuse technology! This is why they say land and expand.  Thinking about others first is the best way to start a conversation.  When you do that their success becomes your own.  With this mindset built in, your conversations and engagements will increase and be more meaningful.

  7. Drift Chat, there's an app for that.

    What impressed me a ton in the early days with Drift is that I'd be programming on a Friday night, when everyone else was having fun, and I'd be able to goto Drift.com and start a chat.  As I type this I realize that sounds sad.  Most founders reluctantly may admit the same.  What was cool, was that when every other site said "we'll be back on Monday", a Drift team member was always there even when they weren't at their desk.  Maybe they were at happy hour!  I don't know but it was always nice to have someone friendly helping me.

    After seeing how they did it, it was easy to start doing the same.  My site visitors loved it! The ability to answer chats when I'm not at the computer has led to a ton of new deals I would never have had.

    I remember closing two deals in one weekend using my phone.  Both of them were projects for software startups.  In the chat I asked them why I didn't hear from them during the week and they gave a super realistic answer.  They said it was because the weekend was the only time they could get with their head down, and it was when they were making their big decisions too.

  8. Drift Reporting is always improving.

    Drift reporting has gotten a major upgrade for all users.  It wasn't always awesome.  It's way better now.  It's built-in functionality is especially good for Salesforce users.  They have closed loop revenue attribution.

    You can also get great reporting with by combining Drift with Databox.  We were so excited about both products we made a free reporting template for Drift.  The great news is that Databox is also free so you can start with Drift Chat, a Databox subscription and our dashboard without paying a single dollar.

  9. Take your conversation offline and outside of the chat window.

    Having such a visitor and user friendly  interface leads to a lot of dialogue.  This will lead the visitor to ask to take the conversation to a meeting, a call or an email.  Drift has you covered with a free feature called Drift Email.  I'd like to review that soon as well, in the meantime, you can learn more about it here.

  10. Get closer to your customer!

    Marketing funnels have brought us further away from our customers.  Traditionally, funnels have been setup to create engagement following a predictable pattern. Content is gated through a form. Then an email is sent out (sometimes to another form). Then the prospect is put into a nurture sequence or drip campaign.  On and on it goes...

    The goal is to continue to "work" the prospect through the funnel until they are ready to buy. This is often unnecessary and misused.

    With Drift Chat, you can take a visitor who who might be TOFU aka "Top of Funnel" and let them engage on their own terms. For example a person visiting an FAQ who doesn't find the answers starts a conversation. Instead of bouncing they engage.  This is a true Sales Acceleration Formula.  It is eliminating all of the other stuff that gets in the way in a traditional funnel.


    This is where we've been the most successful!  Over 800 conversations have started on our site with Drift.  These conversations have created sales we otherwise would never have had. It has also made things so much better and faster for our buyers and our team. 

Drift Chat reduces the friction between the visitor and your team.

Adding conversational marketing to our inbound marketing mix has been awesome.  One simple rule applies, make it easier for the buyer and the rest will happen.


How do you get started with Drift Chat?

Just go here and login for free to get started.

Come back and comment and let everyone know what you've learned by using Drift Chat.

Remember you can test out Drift Chat right on this page.  Just click the chat bubble in the bottom corner.


Topics: drift chat, drift, chat, conversational marketing, free drift

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