April 26, 2006
Case Study

How to Get More Site Visitors on the Phone (So You Can Convert Them)

SUMMARY: As hair product (think help for baldness) maker Kevis discovered last year, radio ads drive a lot of traffic to your Web site. But what if you absolutely need to get consumers on the phone to close the deal?

Driving site traffic to phone is not so easy. Discover how Kevis cracked the challenge with live chat offers that are aggressive, without being annoying. Yes, includes results data.

So, you've got a European drug-free product that can reverse hair loss.  And it works so well your US company president (who comes from a family full of baldies) can show off his before-and-after headshots with pride.

Only problem -- your brand name isn't famous yet in America.  And, unlike the entrenched US competition, you can't afford to advertise on TV.

To get the word out about Kevis Rejuvenation Programs, Director of Marketing Drew Noel put 75% of his budget into off-peak radio ads and 25% into paid search ads with Google and Yahoo.

Every single ad had to pay for itself in incoming converted sales.  "We go for direct ROI measurement -- always." Brand building would be a side benefit. 

For radio tracking purposes, Noel's team set up more than 50 different toll-free numbers.  Each was assigned to a different station.  "We have spreadsheet after spreadsheet of tracking tables per station, per spot, ROI per day, ROI per week."

Kevis' in-house call center was located in the Beverly Hills office and staffed with trained, intelligent and enthusiastic reps. (Noel notes actors who work for him between jobs make the best reps.)  So, conversion rates for incoming calls was fairly high.

However, Noel began to notice that instead of calling in, many radio spot listeners were going to the Web.  "We see a direct correlation between radio play and Internet traffic generated from those geographic areas."  However, because Kevis' programs were complex and individually tailored, most required interaction with a live rep.  In fact, only a small selection of supplementary products was available via ecommerce.

What do you do when you have a room full of fabulous reps standing by to convert calls that don't come?


Obviously Noel asked his site designers to make the 800 number very prominent on every page of the site.  (Link to screenshots below.)  But moving visitors from Web to another channel proved tougher than expected.  "Very few people will call the phone number."

Noel needed to push phone interaction more proactively.

Last September his team launched a new test initiative -- live chat.  The program was far more aggressive than the typical live chat offer icon most online marketers test. 

Instead, the team created a floating DIV overlay (looks like a pop-up but isn't blocked by most pop blockers) opened chat box that appeared on Kevis' home page the instant a visitor arrived. 

First the empty chat box appeared, then as though someone live was chatting with you via instant messaging, over the next 30 seconds, the following script scrolled onto the chat screen:


Jessica says: Hi! I'm a LIVE online agent with Kevis.  We're conducting a brief 2 question survey and to thank you for your time you'll receive a free hair loss consultation.

Just let me know you are there.

Jessica says: Just type HI or HELLO in the space below and I'll be right with you.

Jessica says: And if you have any questions, I am happy to help!

Jessica says: Whenever you are ready say 'Hi' or 'Hello'.

Jessica says: Are you still with me?

Jessica says: Just type HI or HELLO in the space below, and I'll be right with you.


Visitors could choose to interact with "Jessica" (staffed by whatever call center rep was available at that moment), or to close the box and surf the site on their own.  A second identical chat request box appeared on several of the secondary site pages and "Take the Kevis Survey" was one of the main offers on the home page.

The goal with visitors who did interact with Jessica was to quickly qualify them as prospects and then move them onto the phone to begin the program customizing process.  Reps tried to answer every chat reaction within 2-3 seconds (12 seconds was the absolute maximum wait time).

If the visitor truly wanted to stay on the site instead, the rep could use the chat technology to guide them through the swathes of scientific and technical information deeper in.

On the days and hours when Kevis reps were not available, the chat functionality was erased completely from the visible site. (Nothing's more mom 'n' pop than a chat button that's "currently unavailable.")


"I worried about bombarding visitors with this chat box," notes Noel.  However, it's been a big success -- in fact so much so that now Noel is revamping his budget for far more direct-to-site search marketing.

Turns out 15% of site visitors on average will start chatting with Jessica.  28% of these chatters will then in turn give Jessica their number so they can speak on the phone.  (Consumers in this situation prefer being called to calling.)

Then 12% of these conversations turn into ongoing Kevis program customers -- a fairly high close rate.

Visitors who call the 800 number posted on the site or fill out other site forms deeper into the site tend to have an even higher conversion rate -- averaging 60%.   Noel assumes this is because they have used the site's information to educate themselves prior to the call.  (After all, you can't fit visuals and clinical trial info into a radio ad.)

However, this data doesn't mean that Noel will stop the live chat.  He believes the live chat serves the large demographic with short attention spans who want quick info NOW. They might not act without the chat invite. 

The phone number and forms deeper in serve the part of the public who want to browse for a longer time before contacting the company.  There are far fewer of these people.  You need to mingle both in your pipeline for healthy sales.

Useful links related to this article:

Creative samples from Kevis:


inQ -the live chat technology Kevis uses


Rigney Graphics -- designed (graphics, layout) the Kevis site


Web Studios West -- created the back-end user interface and additional programming for the Kevis site


Goldmine -- the CRM software Kevis' reps use to manage accounts


Fathom Online - the search marketing agency Kevis uses:


Kevis Rejuvenation Programs Inc


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