PPC Advertising Hack: Super-Targeted Live Chat Prompts

How do I get potential customers to engage on my site?

If you’re trying to run a business online, this is a critically important question to answer—especially if you’re running any sort of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Clicks and site traffic simply aren’t enough. If you want your business to succeed, you need conversions and sales.

Now, hopefully, since you’re here on the Kissmetrics blog, you already know that. You’re constantly improving your PPC traffic and optimizing your landing pages for maximum conversion rate.

But still, you want more out of your site. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to get even more people to engage on your site and convert?

Well, fortunately, at Disruptive, we’ve come up with a PPC advertising hack that uses live chat prompts to quadruple chats and increase conversion rates by up to 20%.

Here’s how it works:

People Love to Talk

Whenever someone visits your site, it’s because they need something. Maybe they have a problem they need fixed. Maybe they have a question they need answered. Maybe they simply want to feel understood.

No matter what the reason, people come to your site because they need something. If you can get them to talk about what they need, they are much more likely to feel connected to and engage with your business.

In fact, if you can get people talking, you’re much more likely to win their business—half of leads choose the first company they speak with.

The good news is, people love to talk and they especially like to talk about their problems, concerns and frustrations—the exact things that brought them to your site! All you have to do is find a good way to start the conversation.

Vanilla Chat Prompts

To better understand this, pretend you’re a guy who’s going to propose to his girlfriend soon. You enter a local jewelry store and start looking at the diamond engagement rings. A salesperson walks up and greets you with a cheerful, “It’s a pleasure to see you today! What can I help you with?”

How would you respond? Odds are, if you didn’t already have a specific question in mind, you’d probably just shrug and say “Oh nothing, I’m just looking.”

That’s not very helpful to either of you, is it?

Well, guess what? Most chat prompts start with generic questions like, “Can I help?” For example, check out the chat prompt below:


This doesn’t really do much for them or you, unless you show up on their site with a burning question you’re dying to ask.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this sort of chat prompt is great if you’re in the customer service department, but we’re marketers. We’re trying to start a conversation, not fill a troubleshooting queue.

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Useful Chat Prompts

So, what sort of chat prompt start a conversation? Let’s go back to our engagement ring example.

After a somewhat underwhelming experience at the first jewelry store, you check out a second place and a new salesperson appears. This guy, however, asks you a specific question that relates to what you’re looking at, like “Is there specific cut you’re looking for?”

This is a much better conversation starter now isn’t it? It’s an open-ended, specific question that shows the salesperson’s interest in helping you.

Let’s apply this to chat prompts.

Instead of leading with “Can I help you with anything?” consider leading with something more directly relevant to your business. For our answering service, that might look like this:


A chat prompt like this uses something the answering service knows about their visitors (they are probably there because they need a high-quality answering service) to try and start a conversation.

After all, if you want to prove that you’re a high-quality answering service, what better way than to let people try before they buy?

It’s a great idea, but the problem with this prompt is that it still doesn’t really draw people into a conversation. If someone is seriously considering this service, they’re probably going to chat in, but a lot of those people probably would have converted anyways.

Engaging Chat Prompts

Truly engaging chat prompts aren’t just focused on meeting customer needs—they actually get people to talk about those needs, wants and desires.

Back to our engagement ring salesperson example. You still weren’t sold in store #2, so you head to jeweler #3. Here, the salesperson came up to you and said, “I noticed you’re checking out our engagement rings. When are you popping the question?”

The answer to that question will give the salesperson everything he needs to get a conversation started, steer you to your ideal ring and close the sale.

For example, if you answer, “I want to ask her in a couple of weeks, but I wanted to see what my ring options are,” he might respond with:

“Great! Congratulations! I asked my wife to marry me in December, too. Do you have any idea what sort of cut she likes?”

Look at that! You’re only a few sentences into the conversation, but the salesperson has already identified your needs, made a connection with you and shown that he’s on your team.

Assuming each salesperson has a ring and a price that fits your needs, which store are you more likely to buy from? If you’re like most people, the answer is jeweler #3!

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Crafting a Conversation Starter

Now, all of this is great advice for jewelry salespeople, but how do you start a conversation like this online?

Well, the secret to salesperson #3’s success was the fact that he used what he knew about you and why you were there to draw you into a conversation. Your PPC ads tell you the exact same information—all you have to do is use it!

For example, let’s take a look at how I ended up on that call answering service page. I found their page by searching for “virtual answering service” on Google.


The search term I used and the ad I clicked tells them a couple of important things about me:

I’m looking for a virtual answering service. The fact that I typed in “virtual answering service” means I know what a virtual answering service is, what it does and I think I might need one.
Their ad resonated with me in some way. Quite a few selling points appear in this ad (call recording, price, family owned, etc), but the main message seems to be “24/7- Never Miss Another Call!” Clicking on their ad tells them that this idea probably resonated with me.

Taken together, these two points tell a story about me that the answering service can use to create a great conversation starter—possible something like this?


Odds are, if I’m looking for a virtual answering service and clicking on an ad that tells me “never miss another call,” missing calls is a real problem for my business. I’m probably frustrated, angry and would love to vent to someone about it.

What better way to get me talking than to ask me about the very thing that brought me to their site in the first place?

Not only will this start a conversation, it will also tell the chat operator a lot about what I am looking for in an answering service, which will allow the operator to emphasize the selling points I really care about.

For example, if I talk about a valuable prospective customer that I lost because no one was there to answer the phone at 3 in the morning, then the operator can emphasize that their service can respond to calls at all hours of the day.

See how powerful starting a conversation can be?

How To Customize Chat Prompts

Now, at this point, you may be thinking something like, “Well, that’s all great, Jake, but how would I ever even start customizing my chats like this?”

It’s actually pretty simple. All you have to do is use your UTM parameters.

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Setting Up UTM Parameters

Hopefully, you’re already using UTM parameters to track marketing performance in Google Analytics.

If you’re not, don’t worry, it’s easy. Google has an online URL builder that’s quite easy to use. All you need to do is enter your landing page’s URL, put in the info that you need tracked and then Google will generate the UTM parameters for you:


In addition to helping you track your PPC results, UTM parameters also create a unique URL you can use to customize your chat prompts.

Using Your UTM Parameters

Personally, I find that the easiest way to set up custom, highly targeted chat prompts is using Olark (note, I don’t have any financial relationship with Olark, they just have a great tool). So, for the purposes of this article, I’ll show you how to set things up in Olark.

To set up customized chat prompts, all you have to do is log into your Olark account and choose Settings, then Targeted Chat, then +New Rule.


Once you’ve done that, add a UTM parameter that’s specific to your ad to the “Current URL contains” section and change “Expand the Olark chat box” to “Send this message to your visitor” as follows:


Last of all, add your conversation starter and hit “Save Rule.” You’re good to go!

Once you’ve got this in place, when someone clicks on your PPC ad and arrives on a page with your UTM parameters, your custom, targeted conversation starter will pop up and get them talking!


Remember, as you’re getting used to this, you may not get a ton of chats right off the bat. As with site optimization, you’ll probably need to test a bunch of different prompts until you find one that really catches your traffic’s attention.

Still, in our experience, creating targeted, conversation-starting chats can be a tremendous way to boost the conversion rate of your page.

So, take a bit of time, come up with some chat prompts that address the real reasons why people are on your site and start testing!

What do you think of this strategy? Does it make sense to you?

Once you’ve tried this tactic, let me know what your results were in the comments!

About the Author: Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO and fearless leader of Disruptive Advertising, an online marketing agency dedicated to using PPC advertising and website optimization to drive sales. His face is as big as his heart and he loves to help businesses achieve their online potential. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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