Drift, Explained.

You may have heard about Drift or Conversational Marketing but you are wondering one thing. What the heck is that?

You are in luck today.

This is Drift, Explained.

What is Drift?

Drift is a popular chatbot application that can be added to your website in order to prompt website visitors to ask questions. If no operators are available, the Drift chatbot can have a scripted conversation with your leads and direct them to make an easy appointment with one of your representatives, but if someone is available, the chatbot can connect the potential customer with one of your representatives to have a synchronous chat conversation about whatever questions they have. 

Chatbots reach leads who are not interested enough to make a phone call yet, but who are having questions as they explore your website. Drift’s ability to field questions even when live operators aren’t available is a big expansion in lead outreach, and results in fewer delays that are usually standard in inbound marketing and other website-traffic-based marketing strategies.

Who is Drift For?

Drift tends to help a lot in industries where people are doing a lot of comparison shopping based on moderately complex specifications and needs. The comparison shopping issue is solved by creating an instant connection between the lead and a chat operator so that they get all the answers they need quickly and clearly without having to go searching for another alternative site; this dramatically reduces bounce rate. 

Having a lot of questions about the product also tends to make a chatbot beneficial. If someone who knows the site well can steer the customer to the right web page through sending a quick link in chat, there is less time for the customer to become frustrated and abandon his or her search. 

Finally, Drift is for companies interested in growth – many of the customers who implement Drift are quickly filling their calendars with qualified lead calls and conversations, and they have to hire rapidly and ramp up production in response. Read case studies on the Drift site; you’ll see that most companies see a huge jump in interactions with customers because the chatbot makes it so easy to sign up for a demo without complex scheduling or email delays.

Who Isn’t Drift For?

Drift does rely on you to bring the website traffic in to be useful, so if your main marketing push doesn’t revolve around your website, Drift may not be the solution for you. However, with their basic functionality available in a free form, it may be worth trying out their chatbot in order to determine if it is time to start investing more in bringing in web traffic and thus connecting with more leads through your site. 

Another group that tends not to need a chatbot are those whose products are so straightforward and whose sites are so transparent to navigate that visitors to the site don’t tend to have questions; for instance, if you sell t-shirts that have comprehensive product descriptions and transparent return policies. If you find that the majority of your customers are purchasing without asking questions, there is a chance that a chatbot won’t offer them much of a value-added and thus won’t increase your sales by as great a margin as a more complex product might see.

How Much Does Drift Cost?

Pricing packages for Drift start as low as their feature-rich free subscription, then move up to the standard $50/month, but they scale up based on the features you need and the amount of operators who will be responding to messages.

Pro and Premium accounts allow for many operators, complex playbooks, advanced routing, and custom bots;

Pro accounts start at $400 per month with additional chat seats at $40 per month and additional calendar seats at $20 per month;

Premium accounts have greater feature expansion moving toward full marketing integrations, start at $1500/month, and add chat seats at a rate of $80 per month and calendar seats at $40 per month. 

Drift Software Alternatives

While Drift is currently the industry leader, some software options that perform similar tasks include HelpCrunch, ManyChat, Intercom, and Chatterbot. Each platform has its unique strengths and challenges; smaller chatbot companies, for instance, may be less equipped to handle the large (1000+ employee) company accounts that Drift can serve.

Many people speak highly of these conversational marketing platforms, but one advantage to working with large and established conversational marketing platforms is that they have already been innovating in response to customer need for a while, rather than being comparatively new to the industry.

Pros of Drift Software

  • Widely regarded as the easiest-to-use, most-functional chatbot software available now; it was voted #1 for Conversational Marketing on the review website G2Crowd.
  • Many customers state that the interface makes it easy to organize and archive chats, not letting people get lost in the many text threads created by the chatbots.
  • The robust analytics elements of Drift allow your team to make new decisions about how to approach sales; chatbots amount to rearranging your schedule to suit your qualified leads, resulting in better sales in less total sales team work-hours.
  • Customer service team specifically works with you to figure out what will make your chatbot appealing to website visitors and what will help them ask the right questions. 

Cons of Drift Software

  • Users have experienced occasional glitches with the mobile interface after-hours.
  • Some customers express concern that the onboarding process is too rigid and could be differentiated more for different industries.
  • At the larger scale, with many features and operators, Drift is considered to be a high-end tool with a substantial price.

Drift Software API/Integrations

Drift has worked to maximize their Integrations so that your chatbot marketing efforts can seamlessly fit with your many other efforts. For example, Drift offers CRM integrations with popular products like Marketo and Salesforce so that your communications with potential leads can become prospects to follow up with in the future.

There are integrations with Google Analytics to be able to maximize your effectiveness and understanding of customer behaviors, as well as integrations with popular messaging applications like Slack in case you want to be able to respond to both internal messages and chats from leads in the same interface.  

Direct Messaging for Sales & Customer Success

We’ve talked quite a bit about live messaging and its impact on closing new business. You are looking for help with your Drift strategy, or operationalizing a messaging strategy for your company.

Looking for an Official Drift Partner? You are in the right place.

Looking for a kickstart? Try Icebreaker℠ for Drift!

Icebreaker℠ for Drift is a new program for those brand new to Drift who are looking shorten their time to value (and their sales cycle).

Learn more about Icebreaker℠ for Drift here.

Looking for even more help with Drift?

Shoot us a note in the chat or schedule a meeting to talk with us about building a strategy for your messaging program. We also perform conversion optimization and sales enablement services designed to help your sales team connect with more customers. The words on the page matter more than anything. Read more about microcopy.

Struggling with how to get started? We have workshops.

Often, you’ll need to get the buy-in from your team, and do a little training at the same time. We’ve been there. That’s why we’ve studied with some of the best in the business, and put together experiences to help your company’s live messaging program get kicked off the right way with the right team vibe.
Learn about Conversational Selling Workshops