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How to build brilliant chatbots with Drift playbooks

If you’ve read up on conversational marketing and decided you want to integrate Drift into your site, it’s time to think about building your first bots. And Drift Playbooks are the best-practice, tailored prototypes that you’ll find incredibly useful. 

Essentially, they are bot templates that have been created with the most common bot functions in mind, informed by the many marketers who have gone before you. They are there to ensure every Drift customer has the best chance of increasing engagement with customers. I use them all the time when I’m creating bots for ESM Inbound clients who are new to Drift.

Each playbook has been created to achieve a specific action: either to capture an email address, or to spark a conversation with a human consultant. When I’m working with our customers, I customise Drift playbooks to meet each business’ needs. Once I have agreed the customisations to the templates in Drift, inputted these in the platform and created copy to populate them, it’s easy to set them live on a customer’s site. 

There are a range of playbooks to choose from, ranging from ‘request a demo’ to homepage and pricing page bots. There’s plenty of evidence that customers are more willing than ever to chat to a bot. Drift data shows that across their customer base, bot conversations went up 79% in 2020 compared with the same week in 2019. 

All of these bots can be customised according to your needs, and at ESM Inbound, our specialist team can help you get efficient, on-brand bots up and running in minutes. Here’s the lowdown on five of the most useful templates, and what they could do for you.

The ‘skip the form’ playbook

This playbook is great for inbound marketing as it reduces hassle for the customer; there’s no need to fill in a contact form to receive a piece of content. Instead, when a customer has spent a while on a page with a lead capture form and not filled it in, a chat box pops up to ask the customer whether they’d like the content without filling in the form, simple as that. 

There is always an element of lead capture — we take away the friction of having to fill out a whole form to receive a piece of content and instead we offer the content, weekly newsletter and other valuable assets in return for just an email address via the bot. It’s a method which reduces the steps for the contact and gives them more incentive to present their email address.

This ensures more of your prospects get to read and digest the lead-capture content, and you turn a static communication that requires effort on the part of the customer into a conversational interaction. You can deliver the content there and then as an attachment in the chat pane once the bot has ensured the user ‘qualifies’ as a lead by asking a couple of simple questions. 

The landing page playbook

These turn your whole landing page into a chatbot, so that when a prospect clicks on an ad and finds themselves on your site, they are automatically immersed in a conversation. So rather than landing on a conventional web page, a link may take them to a bot where they can chat straightaway.

The bot uses small amounts of information provided by the customer within the chat to gauge their intent, and can route them to a live chat quickly and efficiently. One of Drift’s customers, SalesRabbit, used a landing page playbook to help create a bot for their site. By replacing their landing page with a chatbot, they increased their demos by 40%.

At ESM Inbound, 37% of customers landing on our Account Based Marketing page who received a bot message started a conversation with it. It’s set to display on our targeted accounts — which is a great feature because it allows us to tailor specific bots to specific audiences. 

The ‘book a meeting’ playbook

This playbook is designed to qualify leads and book meetings with your sales team on your website, without customers having to fill in a form and receive a callback. It can operate 24/7, ensuring you don't lose any customers browsing your site outside of normal office hours. 

You’ll need your sales team to connect their calendars to Drift, and set up the bot to ask qualifying questions that are relevant to your business. Drift recommends using two or three questions. Once the lead is identified as qualified (in a position to buy), by the bot, the customer is automatically presented with a range of meeting slots, whether they are browsing in office hours or not. The bot then connects the customer directly to your sales rep’s diary. At ESM Inbound, this has upped our meeting bookings significantly. 

The pricing playbook

It’s really important to put a chatbot on your pricing page as this is where your highest-intent prospects are likely to be found. This chatbot then asks people on your pricing page what they are looking for, directing them to helpful content.

It can also be set up to route customers to live chat more quickly so that you don’t lose the opportunity to close a sale. Unlike bots on other pages, pricing page bots tend to bypass the email capture stage as they assume the customer has moved beyond the MQL (marketing qualified lead) stage and has moved straight to the SQL (sales qualified lead) stage.

As such, its objective is to introduce the customer to a human as quickly as possible. In office hours, this might route the customer to live chat with a rep, and outside of office hours, it may present them with a ‘book a meeting’ bot.

The VIP playbook

Drift describes this as the digital equivalent of ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for your most desirable prospects. By importing lists of target and previous customers into Drift, you can ensure that when they land on your site, they are recognised and greeted with a personal message that might say something like: “Hi Sarah, great to see you again. Would you like to speak directly to Alex?”  

This customisation can work at a company-wide level, even if there aren’t specific individuals who have contacted you before. At ESM Inbound, we recently trialled this. ESM Inbound’s Chief Executive, John Kelleher picks up the story:

“I’d been wanting to work with a particular company for some time. When one of their marketing team visited our site, because we had programmed Drift to recognise anyone with an email address at that company using reverse-I.P technology, a chatbot popped up welcoming them. 
We programmed the message to say:  ‘Oh, wow! I was hoping to speak to someone from [Company Name]. Would you like to chat?’ This is a great way of making VIP prospects feel valued from their very first interaction.”

With the wide range of purposes you can fulfil using Drift playbooks, we cannot recommend using them on your website enough. No matter what your goals, a chatbot adds an excellent customer experience, regardless of which human in your team is available at any given time. And if excellent customer service is what we’re all striving for, don't be left behind your competitors when it comes to getting the most out of chatbots. 

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