When ads first hit the internet, birthing digital marketing along the way, there was a lot of hope from marketers, writes Ryan Falkenberg, co-CEO, CLEVVA.The ability to track ad performance felt like it would bring an end to the old adage of knowing that half of all advertising spend was wasted, but not knowing which half.

It soon became apparent, however, that things wouldn’t be quite that simple. Take conversion rates (the rate at which a click on an advert turns into a sale), for example. Across all channels, ranging from search engine optimisation (SEO) to webinars, none currently rise above 3%.

These days, there are technological shifts that could completely change the game when it comes to conversion rates.

Using virtual agents to qualify and convert leads

Virtual agents, for example, can be incredibly powerful when it comes to qualifying and converting leads.

When someone clicks a digital ad, most of the time they will be redirected to the advertiser’s site where they can request a callback.

The trouble is, the contact centre agents tasked with making those calls are unlikely to know what stage in the buying journey the prospective customer is at. Are they ready to buy or just curious and looking for a little more information? This means they spend more time on calls and convert fewer leads than management hopes for.

With a virtual agent added into the equation, things start looking starkly different. Now, when someone clicks on an ad, they can immediately engage with a virtual agent. That virtual agent interacts meaningfully with the customer and confirms whether they’re actually at a decision point.

If they are, the virtual agent can schedule a call at a time that’s convenient for the customer. This not only improves the customer’s experience (who wants to get a sales call while they’re in the middle of a meeting or sitting down to dinner?) but also reduces the pressure on overworked contact centres.

Most digital marketing organisations find it too expensive to have agents on call 24/7 and struggle to manage spikes in request volumes. Virtual agents change that, and leave the contact centre agents to spend their time on customers that are ready to make a purchase.

Virtual agents improve the algorithm

Using virtual agents in this way has other benefits too. Through their engagements with prospective customers, the virtual agents constantly gather information and data. That data can then be fed back into the algorithm, to help marketers create material that’s more relevant to each person who sees it.

Done properly, this can further help drive up conversion rates and ensure that contact centres are even more likely to only call people who actually want to make a purchase. It also means that organisations are more likely to get full bang for their marketing buck.

Constantly improving conversions

Of course, no one is ever going to achieve a 100% success rate even when it comes to turning qualified leads into paying customers. But virtual agents can make the process a lot more efficient, saving time and money and ensuring that contact centre agents are really able to hone in on the leads most likely to lead to conversions.

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