Let’s be honest, there are surely more than three reasons to include real-time messaging in your design. But even if the only reason was to create a better experience for an existing or potential customer, then it is a feature that deserves serious consideration.

You might wonder, what does real-time messaging have to do with design? Well, as Steve Jobs once said, design is not just about what something looks and feels like. It’s about how it works.

Real-time messaging helps people navigate your site and if it’s not already a part of your arsenal, then here are three important reasons your next iteration should include this useful feature.

1. Improves Conversion Rates

Getting new customers to identify, engage and trust your business quickly helps move relationships forward with more ease and with a higher likelihood that they will buy from you again and again.

The best way to do this is to speak to them directly and make them feel like your business can cater to their needs. Using real-time messaging, you can increase the relevance of your web content based on who is viewing your site, in the moment.

This method has been proven to increase engagement and conversions. The more relevant your content is, the more likely it is to convert.

The context of your web content also matters with being more relevant and driving conversion. Real-time messaging puts the right message in front of the right visitors at the right moment, and in the right place (right in the web experience while visitors are using your site.)

By understanding your visitor and customer personas, and delivering separate messaging for each persona, your message will resonate more for each segment. There is a strong advantage in creating this real-time relationship than generic messaging for a large and varied audience.

2. Provide Proactive Customer Service and Guide More Customers to Success

By incorporating personalized real-time messaging based on the behavior of each user into your customer service, you can guide your customer through each step of the customer lifecycle, proactively engaging them as they need assistance.

Trigger-based marketing like real-time messaging makes it possible for your to proactively engage your customers the moment they experience their pain.

People don’t like asking. They don’t want to have to pick up the phone or write emails to you explaining what problems they have and asking for help.

What’s worse, if you wait for customers to ask for help, you are more likely to lose them. If they face a problem with your service, rather than ask you or search through your FAQs, they’ll simply go to a competitor who has a solution readily available.

That is why your customer service needs to be proactive. By reaching out to the customer first, you save them the frustration of going through that. This can massively enhance their user experience.

If your business is a web application, you can use personalized real-time messages throughout the onboarding process as well. If someone has recently signed up for your app, send him or her a personal welcome message. If you notice a customer spending too much time on a page, promote live chat in a behavior-based popup to politely ask them if they need help with something. If a user is using a new feature, use tooltips to guide the user to success.

Personalized customer service is the difference between a faceless corporation looking to make money and a human company that actually cares about its customers and sees them as people.

3. Increase Visit Duration

Attention might be your first goal, but engagement should be an ongoing mission. Without feeling engaged, visits are likely to bounce and that is literally money walking out the virtual door.

By using real-time messaging and personalizing every aspect of your homepage, you will capture the interest of visitors and engage them.

Engagement directly impacts visit duration. Research shows that the first 10-20 seconds of a page visit are extremely crucial. If a visitor doesn’t find your site relevant or engaging, he or she is not going to spend long on it.

The longer you can keep visitors and u you have a higher chance of converting the visitor. And, of course, real-time web personalization makes the most sense in this scenario.

Doggyloot, for instance, first asks for the size of your dog before getting an email address from a visitor, enabling them to segment their visitors and send out personalized emails based on the type of dog, making the message much more relevant and hence resulting in higher conversions.
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Initially, you will want to make the distinction between a first time visitor and a returning visitor. With a first-timer, you may not have enough information about the person but you can still customize your content based on the search terms or referring sites that lead them to your site.

With a returning user, it’s much easier to customize your site because you have already collected statistics about this person before. You know what they clicked on last time and which features they spent the most time reading about, so you can highlight these on your website.

It can be fairly easy to grab someone’s attention by understanding their patterns of behavior. The more information you collect, the more personalized your visitor’s experience becomes. The more personalized your visitor’s experience, the longer they can be expected to stay on your site.

Customers have grown to expect more and more out of companies and even web design. Generic content can only take your business so far. With websites acting as the first touch point for your customers, it is becoming increasingly important to create a great impression with every visit.

Behavior-based, real-time messaging can turn your website into your best consultative salesperson, and your most helpful customer service rep. Read these 12 reasons why real-time marketing matters to learn even more reasons why you should look into how you can integrate real-time messaging into your next redesign… or right away.

What other benefits have you seen by including real-time messaging in your design?

photo credit: bitzcelt via photopin cc