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Chatbots vs Webforms - The Lead Generation Standoff

The chatbots vs webforms topic has been carefully considered by marketers to give their lead generation campaigns that extra edge in performance.

Before we jump in, let me take a moment to address the elephant in the room. There are tons of chatbot software options in the market and they all have different bells and whistles. 

In this post, I’ll be sharing my experience generating leads with Quriobot and how I came to my conclusion on the chatbots vs webforms debate after capturing 8,552 leads so far.

​Now that I got that out of the way, here are 6 reasons why chatbots are better at converting website visitors into leads versus webforms.

1. Chatbots stay above the fold and visible to website visitors at all times

The main reason I have seen chatbots outperform traditional webforms when it comes to lead generation: Above the fold. Chatbots are fixed on your device’s screen and they remain visible without being intrusive to your browsing experience.

This means a website visitor can scroll up and down the page and the chatbot will be in its predictable place. This makes it easy to find once the visitor is ready to engage with whatever the chatbot has to offer.

Practice common sense when designing your chatbot. There’s a fine line between being compelling and annoying.

On the other hand, webforms stay static on a page. This forces your website visitor to remember where the webform was located once they navigate away to browse the rest of your website. 

Was the webform up or down the page? Maybe it was on a different page altogether? Finding the webform can become like an easter egg hunt - Not ideal.

2. Chatbots are dynamic, interactive, and programmable

If the fixed position of the chatbot is the main reason chatbots convert better than webforms, then the next most important factor is programming the chatbot to be interactive with your website visitor. 

Let me explain. 

Capture your visitor’s attention with a call-to-action

A shiny button on the corner of your screen is not nearly as effective as a shiny button with an invitation to an irresistible offer. The call-to-action prompt is there to tell your visitor what to expect if they decide to tap and engage with your chatbot.  

Add sound notifications to your chatbot

Another way to grab your visitor’s attention is with sound notifications. For example, when a chatbot initiates on your page, it can beep to tell your visitor there’s a chatbot waiting to interact with them. Don’t get carried away, you don’t want to become “that guy.” You know who I’m talking about.

Remember if your visitor is new or returning

With cookie tracking, chatbots can remember if you’re a returning visitor or a new one. Based on that information, you can change how the chatbot interacts with you and display a more relevant message to capture the visitor’s interest.

3. Chatbots have a familiar conversational interface

Yes, chatbots are newer technology than webforms, but that doesn’t mean we have to learn how to engage with them all over again. We’ve already been primed by our phones on how to send and receive messages and have become familiar with the conversational interface (Thanks Steve!).

4. Chatbots are funnels in your lead generation funnel

A funnel in your lead generation funnel. Please pardon my metaphor and bear with me for a moment. 

Chatbots are composed of a sequence of linear steps a user has to go through in order to complete the interaction. That’s exactly how funnels work. There’s a starting point and an ending point. 

What’s cool about chatbots is they usually have analytics built-in. That means you can see where visitors initiated the chatbot and where they fell off. With this information you can plug any leaks in your funnel based on the data and test different types of messaging, question types, and so on to remove friction in your chatbot experience. 

One more point for the chatbots vs webform debate to put the nail in the coffin on those webforms.

5. Chatbots are built on decision trees

Have you heard the term “logic jumps” before? Other fancy words like, “dynamic” or “smart” have been used to describe what decision trees do. 

Anyway, decision trees give your chatbot the ability to respond with relevant follow-up responses. For instance, I can program my chatbot to point you to a particular question or response depending on your input.

This makes the chatbot feel “smart” and not like you’re talking to a wall, I mean a webform.

6. Chatbots can be personalized

Nothing quite captures a person’s attention than hearing their name being called or their name mentioned in a story. People are self-centered, it’s human nature. 

Chatbots allow you to add personalization into your lead generation funnel to capture your user’s attention. You can do this in two ways:

  1. Ask for the user’s name and save it as a variable to be used elsewhere in the chatbot sequence.
  2. Even better, if you already have the user’s name, you can pass it into your chatbot as a url parameter.

If you see your name on a screen, you’re more likely to read it than not.

The verdict between chatbots vs webforms for lead generation

Chatbots vs Webforms

From my test, I got far better results with chatbots vs webforms.

After 8,527 leads captured out of 27,596 chatbot starts (30.90% conversion rate), I can confirm with a high degree of confidence that chatbots have outperformed the old webforms my client by an order of magnitude.

Are chatbots the silver bullet to all of your lead generation and conversion problems? No.

Are webforms dead? No

Lead generation is a multi-dimensional problem and needs to be approached as such. Here are the three pillars to make sure you get right before testing chatbots vs webforms for your lead generation campaigns.

Website > Traffic > Offer > Chatbot

Chatbots and webforms both have their rightful place in your lead generation funnel. For example, webforms work well in cases where you need to quickly capture information like a contact form to leave a message.

In any event, I highly suggest doing an A/B test to find out which is best for your particular lead generation situation.

If you would like to get a different take on the topic, check out lead generation: chatbots vs webforms.​

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.