Usually considered the domain of customer service professionals, live chat has big potential for content marketers.
Your tried-and-tested methods of collecting and analyzing website and social data still involve a lot of guesswork.
Live chat has big potential for #content marketers, says @IamAaronAgius via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
Why are prospects quickly bouncing from the home page? Why do they keep adding to basket but never converting? Why do they keep downloading that one super popular e-book, but clicks from its subsequent email campaign are low?
You can take an informed stab with a lot of A/B testing and trial and error.
Or you can add live chat content to your data mix.
The statistical and anecdotal information from inbound prospects reveals their pain points – pain points that can be addressed with content to smooth and shorten their journey.
According to Intercom research, website visitors who engage in live chat are 82% more likely to convert than non-chatters. And those converted customers spend 13% more than those who didn’t chat. This means your chat data usually comes from your keenest, most high-ticket potential customers.
How can you use live chat to drive new, resoundingly relevant content ideas and make your content marketing more effective? Let’s look at five opportunities.
1. Identify gaps
Customer experience is the top priority over the next five years for 45.9% of businesses surveyed by Super Office in 2020. Why? According to PwC research, one in three customers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.
Given the customer service focus of most brands’ live chat, you can use that data to learn what pain points arise in a customer’s journey. (And you can imagine how many others drop off the journey before opting to chat.)
Here’s how to address the customer experience pain points.
First, segment your chat tags into categories, for example:Pricing Operation of product/solution Delivery Complaints
Second, see which categories come up time and time again.
Third, dig into the chat scripts for the most frequently cited categories to get to the root of each issue.
Which questions are commonly asked that could be answered by content queued at the right time in the user journey? At what point in the user journey are these questions typically asked? Is this the prospect’s first visit to the website, and if so, what led them to land there?
With that understanding, you can create content such as a product demo, an FAQ page, a pillar page, a blog post, etc., – and you can deliver it in a variety of ways.
2. Improve segmentation
By raking through chat data and subsequent communication with the chatters, you can derive rich insights into how your customer base is divided.
For example, if your brand serves multiple industries, you can segment your chat audience into a pie chart. Then, you can see if one industry connects with your brand more often than another. You also can look for common themes among the industry’s questions.
For example, a B2B SaaS company could find that people in the manufacturing industry pop up more often in its chat and often ask about a product’s feature. That knowledge would lead the company to personalize content for that audience and on that topic.
The intended audience likely will find content customized for it to be more valuable and helpful than general content from your brand.
You also can use your live chat segmentation to better understand how (and if) your audience operates online. That data can help inform your content distribution channel plans.
3. Target new sectors
Alternatively, imagine that the chat volume from prospects in a sector is low, but those who do chat all have the same or similar questions. You may have found a content opportunity to grow your audience.
In this case, you can create content that answers their question and personalize it to that customer journey. You could tweak your product demo, write awareness content with keywords used in that industry, and publish social ads designed to bring in that sector. You could take it further with guest blogging on sites in that industry or crafting pieces from your CEO for industry publications.
Once you’ve got your foot in the door of a new industry, it’s easy to learn more about it and further personalize your content.
4. Create a bank of content
A lot of the queries in live chat are similar. You can address this in several ways, such as by making the commonly requested information more prominent on the website or creating a simple FAQ page.
Yet often, these questions may require a more consultative, advice-driven approach. Create a strong, engaging bank of content that deals with each common query. Not only can your prospects consume it, your sales team can use it too.
Now, the question is how to best respond to the questions. Product questions are often best answered through video tutorials, while blogs and e-books are more useful for complex queries.
Want to level up? Leave room for an element of personalization within these assets, whether automating the prospect’s name or business into the content or developing an e-book series targeted to specific industries.
You also can use your content bank in the live chat itself. Set up automation so that when one of those consultative questions is asked, the reply asks for the chatter’s email address. A sales rep can then send the relevant asset in an email, possibly triggering a productive sales cycle.
Finally, analyze the common chat questions with your keyword tools. Is the question also frequently asked on search? If it is, it may be useful to create a robust pillar page on the topic.
5. Jump into data-driven account-based marketing
Account-based marketing (ABM) can be a high-risk model. You spy a moonshot and spend a lot of time creating highly personalized content for the decision-makers at that one company.
What if you knew that targeted company was already interested in your product or service? What may have seemed unrealistic – even a waste of time – suddenly gets a whole lot more achievable, right? Live chat can give you that confidence.
In each chat interaction, ask what company the chatter represents and create those tags in your chat log. Not only will this information be gold dust to your sales team for day-to-day outreach, but when you spy a particularly large or exciting opportunity on there, you can justify spending the time on account-based marketing tactics – and you’ll have all the information from the chat to draw on.
Get in the feedback loop
Generally, the live chat feedback loop goes from the customer service team to the product or service teams who use that information to tweak and improve the product or service and fix any bugs or annoyances.
A more valuable feedback loop includes the content marketing team. The information – even if it’s not clear cut – can be helpful to identify content ideas, better target your content, grow your audience, and more.
A final piece of advice: Make friends with your company’s live chat team. While you have access to the chat logs and data, they likely have a better grasp on overall chatter sentiment and can point you in the right direction or highlight any trends you missed.
You can chat live every week with the Content Marketing Institute and its featured guest and topic. Join us for Twitter Chats at 12 p.m. EST Tuesdays using the hashtag #CMWorld. See the upcoming lineup here.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute