Blog Posts

The Key to Converting Website Visitors Into Customers

Casey Morgan
June 18, 2020

Your website is one of your most important properties. If you’ve built it right, it provides your visitors with valuable information about the goods and services you offer. It should also give them a glimpse at how you’re different. Apart from online reviews of your business, your home page might be one of the first places prospective customers interact with your brand. If they arrive on your web page, you’ve piqued an interest. Not only are they looking for something, they’re evaluating you as a provider of something they want. They’re quickly moving from being aware of you to considering you, or moving on to someone else. Are you helping them make that final decision to work with you? Are you actively building trust, answering questions, and ultimately converting visitors on your website?

For many businesses, the answer is no. According to RocketFuel, the average bounce rate for a website (i.e. the percentage of people who land on your site and leave immediately) is right around 45 percent. That means almost half of all the people who visit websites don’t navigate beyond the first page they see. They’re not digging deeper to get info, and there’s no saying whether they’ll be back to visit later. Customers are impatient. Fail to give them what they need right away, and they give up and go somewhere else. That’s a problem, and the way we see it, it’s in large part caused by lack of engagement.

Does Your Website Have an Engagement Problem?

Most websites house static information. A visitor can browse and learn about products and services, but there’s rarely anyone on a website to help offer insight—they’re on their own. At best, prospective customers must do one of the following just to get info:

  1. Call your company for info (something they are increasingly less likely to do)
  2. Invest time searching your website for answers (something they are also increasingly less likely to do)
  3. Fill out a form and hope for a response eventually. Nobody likes wondering whether they’ll get a reply.

According to SuperOffice, the average response time for a business is 12 hours. Even if you’re ok with that, most customers are not—and your competition knows it. In 12 hours, your customers will have found what they’re looking for from someone else. Lack of engagement leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of your prospects and customers. That’s why so many businesses are using a web chat to engage with customers on their website.

Why Web Chat Is a New Standard

These days, your customers expect to be able to communicate with you via any method they choose. Some may call you. Some want to text. And when someone arrives at your website, an online chat is the most convenient way for them to get the answers they need. It’s also a simple way for you to provide customers with exceptional service from the first moment they interact with you. Not convinced? Here are some of the great things a web chat can do:

  • It Helps Improve Conversions – According to Wordstream, the average website converts just over 2% of visitors. Give visitors what they need fast, and you’ll see this number climb.
  • It Helps You Satisfy Customer Expectations – According to a report by Salesforce, 54% of customers think companies need to fundamentally transform how they engage. These days, your customers expect to be able to reach through any method they choose. That makes a live web chat a must.

Engage or Convert: Web Chat Best Practices

Before you add a web chat to your site, you need to think about how you’ll use it effectively once it’s up and running. In general, your approach will depend on who you’re talking to. Typically, it’s one of a few kinds of people.

Prospects: Engage to Build Trust

In some sense, web chats should be treated as sales discussions. You should be thinking of how to adapt your current process to one focused on web chat engagement. The goal of a web chat isn’t to have a long, drawn out conversation, but rather, you should answer questions quickly, create some rapport, and move them to the next phase. If a subject becomes a little too complex to handle via chat, set up a phone call or an in-person appointment. Note that some of your prospects may not be in the mindset of buying yet (they’re kicking the tires), while some are ready to buy now or schedule an appointment (ready-to-buyers). It’s important to have a consistent sales process for each:

Tire Kickers – Many of your site visitors are casually exploring options. At this phase, they might be doing research or trying to understand more about your offering and your competition—they’re kicking the tires. A web chat will help you engage with these customers and give them a taste for what it’s like to work with you. And even if they don’t love what you have to offer, if they know you’re answering questions, they’re more likely to keep coming back to you to get those answers, which might lead to a conversion down the road. The speed of your response matters as much as the caliber of your answers. Your job is to give them the info they need, so they choose you instead of the many others they might find online.

Remember, your ability to engage, respond, and intrigue your prospects will impact your conversion rates. For these curious customers, you may not see a conversion immediately, but if you do your job they’ll be back.

Ready-to-Buyers – Some of your visitors are actively solving a problem and they’re ready to buy goods or services. In these cases, your job is usually to answer a few questions specific to goods, services, and even pricing and promotions. Understand their needs and help them understand how you solve their problems with minimal fuss. Address their concerns. Offer your best price or include a promotion to sway them, then give them a compelling reason to buy now, or visit you in person. Unlike the previous category, these are visitors that will convert because they’re ready to buy. All you need to do is make the choice to buy easy for them.  

Customers: Solve Problems ASAP

Many visitors are already your customers. For these folks, your goal should be to get them what they need fast to continue to earn their loyalty. Some might want to schedule their next appointment. Others might have questions about a bill or their last visit to your business.

Depending on your solution (we’ll get to this in the next section), you should be able to allow customers to select which category their problem relates to (e.g. accounting vs. sales), while also giving them the ability to request appointments. For current customers, it’s all about making things convenient for them, and live chat helps you be unbelievably easy to work with.

Making them stumble once is enough to get them looking at the competition. In fact, PWC reports that one in three customers will leave a brand they love because of a single bad experience.  

Setting Up Your Web Chat

Next, it’s time to find a web chat, set it up, and put it to work. Here’s what to do:

  1. Find a Solution – There are a number of web chat solutions out there. Some are focused on just the web chat portion but offer few other compelling features. Others blend a number of features into a single app, to give businesses things like text messaging, or even review solicitation. As you evaluate solutions, be sure to look for something easy to use and manage, but also something that gives you everything your business needs to grow.
  2. Implement It – Implementation varies from one solution to another. Many options are even easy for non-code-savvy folks to install, and some vendors will even help you do the heavy lifting. This means you can get the necessary code added and get up and running without much time or effort.
  3. Set Up Greetings – Many web chats let you leave a greeting for visitors who click the chat window. You can use this to share news, promote new offers, or leave a few question prompts. This lets customers instantly ask their questions, while you get the account info you need to be helpful.
  4. Set Up Message Routing – After a quick set up, solutions like Swell WebChat make it easy for visitors to select a department they’d like to chat with (e.g. support vs. accounting). On the back end, messages get routed to the right people so they can answer questions in minutes, if not seconds.

From here, it’s just a matter of monitoring notifications alerting you that someone has a question on your website. Your team should be ready to answer questions immediately during office hours. It’s also helpful to have a second person ready to help out, just in case you get multiple inquiries at the same time.  

Making It Easy With Swell

If you’re still reading this, you’re probably interested in adding a web chat to your website (for good reason), and few web chat solutions are as easy to implement and maintain as Swell WebChat. But if you’re hoping to grow your business using online engagement, you need a little bit more than that. Swell helps businesses grow by giving them powerful tools for understanding and connecting with customers, so they can use their online reputation to grow. Here are a few ways local businesses are using Swell:

  • Engage with customers on your website Setup Swell WebChat in minutes, even if you’re not experienced with coding.
  • Bring all your messages together – Bring messages from Swell WebChat, Facebook Messenger, and SMS text into one clean view, so you can save time and respond fast no matter how prospects reach you.
  • Easy appointment requests – Swell gives your customers an easy way to request an appointments right on your website, freeing your staff to focus on other things.  
  • Increase your online review scores – Send customers an invite to leave you a review, so you can watch your online reputation (and search rankings) climb.

Take a look at the full Swell app for more info, or to see the app in action, sign up for a free demo and we’ll walk you through it.  

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