ActiveCampaign Conversations: A Better Live Chat?

I know, I know… another article about ActiveCampaign.

First, I covered Lead Scoring and then I covered talked about Site Messaging. If you haven’t figured it out by now, ActiveCampaign has a lot more to offer than just basic email marketing.

Today, we’re pulling the curtain back on yet another ActiveCampaign feature.

This one is called ‘Conversations’, and it’s a communications tool that lets you engage with your customers in real-time.

Here’s what I’m going to cover in this article:

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What Exactly Are “Conversations” in ActiveCampaign?

You already know that Conversations is a communications tool, but that’s hardly any different to sending emails or using Site Messages, right?

Well, not really.

Conversations utilizes a live chat widget on your website, allowing you to directly communicate with active website visitors and subscribers without a required opt-in procedure, and it even gives visitors a way to communicate back.

live chat widget

More importantly, unlike traditional live chat tools (such as Tawk or Olark), Conversations combine email marketing and the rest of ActiveCampaign’s powerful functionality into one seamless, unified inbox.

Marketing spiel aside, this allows you to see everything you have on your subscribers from within the chat interface because it all ties back to your existing subscriber-base.

What Are The Benefits of Using Conversations?

If you’ve spent any length of time on the internet, you’ll know how just how popular live chat solutions have become over the last few years.

And it’s hardly a surprise. Live chat is fast, efficient and super affordable to run for small to medium-sized businesses. But we’re not here to talk about the benefits of live chat.

As I touched on above, ActiveCampaign’s approach offers some unique and notable benefits over traditional solutions, so let’s expand on those now.

1. You Can See ALL Past Communication

Most “tack-on” live chat solutions have one major flaw. They rarely integrate well with your existing marketing setup, and more specifically, your email marketing.

That means when an existing subscriber engages you through live chat, you’re unlikely to know who they are without manually looking them up each time. (I don’t care how dedicated you are, nobody can keep that up.)

But that’s not even the worst of it.

While being able to identify whether a website visitor is or isn’t a current subscriber is useful, it’s still not enough data to work with.

A number of questions remain, such as:

Has that person entered one of your sales funnels?

If so, which sales funnel?

How far along in the funnel are they?

Are they already a customer?

Which products have they purchased?

What emails or chat messages have you sent previously?

Fortunately, Conversations incorporates both live chat and email communication so you get ALL this information from inside the chat window.

2. You Can Gain Valuable Insights

The ability to see all past communication is one thing, but there’s more to a potential lead than words exchanged.

That’s why Conversations provide additional data to help you get a better understanding of who you’re talking to. Because the more information you have on a prospect or customer, the better you’ll be able to serve that person.

contact insights

This data includes:

  • Where they are located by City
  • What device they’re using
  • What browser they’re using
  • The last time they visited your site
  • The total number of times they visited your site

What’s more, ActiveCampaign will also analyze both email and live chat communication to figure out which is the most effective channel on a contact-by-contact basis.

3. You Can Run Automations Using Live Chat

ActiveCampaign is well-known for it’s spread of automation capabilities, particularly when it comes to email.

You’ll be pleased to know that automation workflows can be triggered by Conversations, along with the same conditions and sending options you’re familiar with.

automations

That means you can do everything from create deals, run follow-up emails, add tags to contacts and even trigger other automations based on behaviour. Almost nothing is left out here.

We’ll cover some examples of automations being used within Conversations soon enough.

4. You Can Have Conversations On The Go

Worried about not being at your desk when the messages start flowing?

Fortunately it’s 2019, and thanks to those little computers in our pockets, our work can follow us wherever we go. YAYYYY!

Sarcasm aside, mobile applications still provide a ton of flexibility and ActiveCampaign wasn’t about to overlook this when it comes to Conversations.

conversation example

So if you’re looking to stay connected with your website visitors and subscribers on the go, well… there’s an app for that.

You can find the Android version here, and the iOS version here.

Practical Ways to Use Conversations

You know what the Conversations feature is, how it works on a technical level, and why it’s a useful addition to your website.

When it comes to actually using this in your business to drum up more business and improve conversions, the possibilities are endless.

Let’s cover a few practical examples that go beyond the obvious “talk with your visitors in real-time” aspect.

1. Capture Emails Through the Chat Widget

Most people these days tend to rely on popups to capture email addresses, and it’s understandable; they’re still very effective at converting cold traffic.

Conversations allow you to add another layer to this, however.

While some may respond well to the promise of free ebooks or training courses, others respond better to the prospect of talking to a human being.

Using the live chat widget, you can provide exactly that.

chat email capture

The best part? This process still allows you to capture the email address of the person on the other end, even when you’re away.

2. Manage Email Campaigns Through Live Chat

Using multiple channels to communicate with your audience is something all good marketers practice.

Since Conversations are able to pull both email and live chat channels into a single feed, you’ll always be able to switch freely between the two.

But ActiveCampaign takes this concept one step further.

Conversations comes with a specific email address that can be distributed for direct-to-chat emails, meaning you handle email replies directly through live chat widget.

email forwarding address

If you prefer to use the Conversation interface to communicate with your subscriber-base, you can also run your email marketing campaigns with your Conversations email as the reply address.

For those who hate working in the inbox and prefer the live chat interface, this could be a game-changer.

3. Automatically Follow-Up with Warm Leads

Picture this. Someone comes to your website and notices the chat widget. They open it up and start talking to you.

They like what you have to say, and they leave the chat pondering what else you have to offer — whether that be a service or a product.

In most cases, that prospect is never contacted again, and a conversion never actually takes place.

Instead of hoping they decide to come back and make a purchase, you can use an ActiveCampaign automation workflow to send a follow-up (or series of follow-ups) long after the chat has ended.

For example, you can set an automated follow-up:

  • A few minutes after the conversation, thanking them.
  • A few hours after, letting them know about a relevant product.
  • A few days after, reminding them about the product.
  • A few days after, offering a discount on that product.
  • A week after, reminding them about the discount offer.
  • You know what they say, the money is in the follow-up. 🙂

4. Provide Another Support Channel for Existing Customers

Despite the many ways you can use ActiveCampaign’s live chat feature on your website, it’s easy to forget about the most basic application of this tool.

I don’t care if you strip away the lead capture and the fancy automation capabilities, or perhaps overlook the ability to combine email and chat messages into one, seamless interface.

Even then, at its core, you have a fast, efficient and highly effective support channel to communicate with your existing customers.

That alone makes live chat a must-have these days.

How to Set Up Conversations in ActiveCampaign

Now let’s talk about the setup process of Conversations inside ActiveCampaign, as well as the implementation on your website.

Step 1. Get Your “Seat”

Unlike other features such as Site Messaging and Lead Scoring, Conversations isn’t bundled into any of ActiveCampaign’s plans.

It’s an add-on feature and you pay by the user, or what they refer to as a “seat”. A seat is currently $9/month during the introductory period, but this is set to raise to $19/month in the near future.

If you’re looking to manage the chat interface yourself or have a single employee in mind, a single seat will suffice. For multiple chat agents, however, you’ll need as many seats as you have agents.

You can add seats by going to the Conversations tab in the left sidebar of your ActiveCampaign account:

conversations trial

At the time of writing, Conversations also comes with a free 14-day trial so you can test-run in your business before spending a penny.

You’ll also notice an explainer video summarizing what Conversations is and how it works. It’s well produced and worth a quick watch before jumping in.

Step 2. Customize the Live Chat Interface

With your seat secured, ActiveCampaign will ask you to customize the text and appearance of your chat widget.

These settings include:

  • The main headline which appears at the very top of the chat window.
  • The description which also appears at the top of the chat window but below the main headline.
  • The logo which appears right beside the main headline and description.
  • The brand color which applies to the top section of the chat window as well as the widget button in the corner.
  • The chat position which simply moves your chat window to the left or right side of the screen.

customize live chat

You’ll also notice a live preview on the right side, and this will update in real-time as you make changes on the left.

Finally, you can switch between ‘Light’ and ‘Dark’ modes to see how the chat window will look on different website contrasts.

Step 3. Configure Auto Replies

Here’s where the magic happens.

Auto replies engage visitors in the chat when they first send a message. This is typically used to capture their email address when you’re away.

You can change this text if you wish, though ActiveCampaign will pre-fill this field with some pretty standard copy.

configure auto replies

If you do wish to capture email addresses through live chat (which you absolutely should), you’ll also want to enable the ‘Capture Form’ setting.

This will show an email field inside the chat window after your auto reply, so website visitors can input their email address right there and then.

Finally, the follow-up message will be the last automated message that goes through following the email capture, and once again, ActiveCampaign will pre-fill this with some copy for you.

Once again, all messages can be previewed on the right.

live chat preview

Overall, very easy to set up as it requires little to no input.

With that being said, I would’ve liked to see some more options regarding personalization and other variable data. It still wasn’t clear at this point how these are used in the live chat interface.

Step 4. Install the Code Snippet

Unlike ActiveCampaing’s tracking code, which is required implementation for many of the advanced features within the platform, Conversations rely on an entirely different code snippet.

This step helps you create that snippet, and it starts off by asking you which pages of your website you’d like to display the chat widget.

whitelist website

Of course, you also have the option to enable this on your website as a whole, either by checking the box or using a wildcard as explained.

After configuring your display settings, you’ll want to scroll down and copy the code snippet to your clipboard.

javascript code

This code snippet should go into the head section of your website. You’ll need a plugin like Embed Code to do this, or, if you prefer, you can simply download the ActiveCampaign WordPress plugin instead.

If you’re having trouble with this step, ActiveCampaign support should be able to offer a hand.

Step 5. Deploy on Your Website

If you’ve followed the previous steps, the widget should display on your website without any further actions.

Of course, it’s important to test new software, and unfortunately you can only test this feature in a live environment (a pretty big flaw if you ask me, especially on high-traffic websites).

In this case, I only whitelisted my course sales page, so I headed there to see if everything was working as expected.

test chat on website

From here, I entered my email address and received the follow-up message set in a previous step.

So far so good, but what about the backend?

Firing up the Conversations interface inside ActiveCampaign, I quickly found my own messages along with a contact profile.

live chat backend

Step 6. Create Automations (Optional)

This is an optional extra step, but one I recommend considering if you want to squeeze the most value from Conversations.

First, head over to the ‘Automations’ tab and create a new workflow from scratch.

from scratch automation

For the trigger, you won’t find any that mention ‘Conversations’ as ActiveCampaign counts these as form submissions.

Fortunately, you will find a Submits a form’ trigger here.

submit form trigger

From there, you’ll be able to sift through all the usual automations, including various sending options and actions.

As discussed earlier, if you want to send emails or chat messages, apply tags or create deals, this is where you’ll do it.

new action

The only drawback here is that sending a chat message (not a Site Message, that’s different) is not currently available as an automation.

For now, live chat only acts as a trigger. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until this is added as a sending option too.

Final Thoughts

The new Conversations feature allows you to go beyond the inbox, and engage with your website visitors and customers in real-time. If there’s one communication channel to add to your arsenal in 2019, this is it.

Best of all, if you’re an existing ActiveCampaign user, you can start using this for as little as $9/month per seat, regardless of which plan you’re using.

Not using yet ActiveCampaign? Take the free 14-day trial. (where you can actually test out Conversations on your site)

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Conversations Pros

  • Works with existing subscribers and anonymous visitors
  • Unified email and live chat communication
  • Utilizes advanced trigger and action automations
  • Valuable visitor insights within chat interface
  • Mobile application for live chat on the go
  • Full color customization to match branding
  • Custom auto-replies and follow-up messages
  • Can be used with all plans

Conversations Cons

  • Limited styling options outside of color and basic layout
  • No animation settings
  • No way to test without deploying on a live site
  • Can’t send chat messages as part of automation workflows
  • It’s a paid add-on, not inclusive of any plan
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