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Q&A with Mikael da Costa, founder of lead generation company Leadoo

Leadoo is a chatbot platform that enables companies to engage more directly with website visitors and, in doing so, boost sales and recruitment. As part of its service, the company, which opened a UK office in October, designs, scripts, implements and optimises a variety of bots that go far beyond traditional customer service applications. James Goulding spoke to Leadoo founder Mikael da Costa to find out more about the company and its technology

Technology Reseller (TR): What inspired you to set up Leadoo?

Mikael da Costa: I was working in recruitment marketing before Leadoo and had the feeling that companies that spent money on employer branding to get better job applicants were not getting any more, or any better, applicants than those that didn’t.

The company where I worked ran the career sites of 120 medium-sized businesses in Finland and we found that the average conversion rate from an employer branding article to an actual job application was less than 0.2%.

I started analysing why the rate was so low and found that while articles explaining why people enjoy working at a certain company might be easy to read, to take it to the next stage the reader has to click the job vacancies tab, find an open position, be convinced that they want to apply and then deliver an application and probably update their CV. There are lots of points in that process when the user can jump off.

Before starting Leadoo we created an interactive employer branding article for a company in Finland and were able to raise the conversion rate to 17%. That’s a huge increase – one out of five people started a discussion with our bot and were converted.

We thought at first that Leadoo would be a niche recruitment solution, but quickly understood that what was happening with employer advertising also happens with content advertising. Most companies put out great articles listing five reasons why you should buy a certain product, but then the article comes to an end and the user has to scroll back up and click on ‘contact us’ to take it further. Instead of you as a company being active and going after a client, you are asking site visitors to contact you, which to me is insane.

TR: There are a lot of chatbots out there, how do yours differ from what else is available?

Mikael da Costa:To date, chatbots have mainly been used to automate customer service. Leadoo is different because, while 20% of our business comes from the customer service sector, 80% of what we do comes from lead generation. So Leadoo is more of a lead generation platform with various modules to make a company’s website more engaging and more interactive for visitors.

In 2014 or 2015, Arianna Huffington was in Finland speaking at a business forum where she was asked what made Huffington Post different to struggling traditional media companies. She said their biggest issue was that they hadn’t yet realised there are no longer passive newspaper readers – people want to engage and get involved. I believe there are no longer passive website visitors either.

Imagine you are a retail store owner and you take out a huge newspaper advert. Because you expect it to attract many more clients to your store, you will bring in more staff to serve those clients. In the online world, a company can run a huge advertising campaign to bring people to the store, but there is no one actually taking care of them.

Then, if the newspaper campaign got 1,000 people to the store and only 10 people bought something, you wouldn’t be too happy with the results. What’s funny is that companies that spend a lot of money on online advertising are extraordinarily happy when 1,000 people go to their website and 10 people convert into a lead. My question is why did 990 people who came to the site read something and not do anything? Typically, the answer is because the only action a person can take on a website is to fill out a call-back form and wait for someone to contact them.

TR: What’s the difference between the three modules you provide?

Mikael da Costa: The chatbot is typically what we offer our clients for customer support – it’s like a chatbot on the bottom right corner of the page that pops up. Then we have an in-page bot, a highly content-specific chatbot that appears halfway down the content. Instead of having something pop up in your face, so the first thing you do is close it, the in-page bot is part of the content and helps bring the content to life.

Take the example of a company offering demolition services. If someone is reading about those services, at some point in the middle of the text, the chatbot pops up and asks ‘It’s great that you are reading about demolition services, may I ask what kind of demolition service you are looking for?’. It is highly personalised to the visitor and can be modelled to ask the right questions at different points of the buying journey.

For me, good marketing has three elements: you need to capture the user’s attention; you need to personalise and win their trust; then you need to generate results. The way the in-page bot pops up captures the user’s attention – it has a six times higher engagement rate to a discussion than a traditional chatbot. Then it starts to win the user’s trust by personalising the engagement based on what they were interested in.

Our modal bot is a more visual type of tool. We have clients who have used it to create a car builder, where you choose the number of doors, the colour, the brand and it makes everything visual.

Leadoo is not just a technology, it is a platform and that’s one of the things that differentiates us from competitors like US company Drift. When a client sets up with Drift, they basically get credentials, some intro videos and are told to start building. With Leadoo, our customer support will contact you; they will go through your goals together; and the Leadoo team will then build the bot dialogues and optimise them on a monthly basis. It’s a full-service package.

TR: Typically, what sort of increase in conversions can people see?

Mikael da Costa: It depends a lot on our clients. When it comes to recruitment, we have clients that have gained five times more applications or have got five times more conversions than before. But on average, I would say between 30% and 70%.


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