Written By Henry Walden - Digital Marketing Expert
Intercom in a nutshell
|User Accounts:||One with the ‘Start’ plan, 10 with higher-level plans|
|Segmentation and Geo:||Yes|
|Delivery by Time zone:||Yes|
|Means of Use:||Supported on most devices|
|Industry:||Marketing, Media, Technology|
What is Intercom?
Intercom is the first CRP (Conversational Relationship Platform) that helps businesses deliver messenger-based, conversational events across customer journeys through one combined platform for marketing, support, and sales teams. Mainly this platform shows you who is using your website or product and simplifies personally communicating with them, using targeted content or behavior-driven messages.
Intercom Pros & Cons
- Knowledge base: Intercom’s articles and help center are diverse and continually growing. Additionally, there is a blog, podcasts, books, webinars, forums, and courses so that you can fully familiarize yourself with everything this platform has to offer.
- Campaigns: with this platform, you can create campaigns with both chat notifications and emails simultaneously.
- Integration: you can merge Intercom’s software within your website with relative ease, which allows you to enter the data from your webpage directly into its servers.
- Set-up: setting up and implementing this platform takes only a few minutes. Once you sign in, helpful notifications guide you towards creating your first email or chatbot.
- Expensive: Intercom’s features are best suited for a successful enterprise-sized organization that can afford its high price plans. Additionally, this platform’s pricing guidelines are incredibly vague and confusing, as you can’t work out how much you’ll be paying at first glance.
- Learning curve: when wanting to do anything with this platform, whether creating an email or a chatbot from scratch, you need to look up a tutorial of some kind. Either that or make use of the 24/7 live rep available to help you fully make use of and understand all of its features.
- Templates: you can’t create your templates from scratch through Intercom. Instead, you’re stuck having to use seven preset, basic templates that aren’t very customizable either.
Who is Intercom Good For?
Intercom is a good fit for you if:
- You’re part of a sales team: and you want to contact logged-out guests on your website to answer questions and help them become paying customers.
- You want to see your customers and what they do with no restrictions: with this platform, you can track, filter, and segment each customer for free.
Intercom Isn’t Recommended For:
- Someone who has no domain: you can only sign up to Intercom using a legitimate business email address with a domain, which adds additional costs to the already costly software.
- Someone looking for a simple, cheap CRP: this platform is incredibly pricey for what you get. It is complicated enough to need consulting of a tutorial before implementing all the features Intercom offers.
This platform’s pricing guide is especially confusing. Here's what I managed to work out after much research:
Twitter, Salesforce, Facebook, Zendesk
From additional $199/month
Advanced Lead Generation
From additional $499/month
Advanced Customer Engagement
From additional $499/month
Advanced Support Automation
From additional $249/month
Intercom’s pricing guide isn’t user-friendly to any degree. I had to go to third-party websites to find the relevant information I needed for this article. The price to use this platform sky-rockets quickly once you start gathering active contacts and adding optional add-ons for basic features you need. Intercom also allows you 2000 contacts free per month, and then you have to pay an added $50 per 1000 new active contacts. Additionally, all subscription plans have a limit of 50,000 new customers a month.
You have to give 30 days’ notice before canceling your account with this platform. Intercom also reserves the right to cancel your subscription if you violate their terms of service (most notably, not paying their fees within 30 days of your bill releasing). However, you can cancel your subscriptions at any point through the billings page on the website, but you must email firstname.lastname@example.org and request they cancel your account.
Intercom has eighty-five total features available for you to use, but going about paying for full access to all 85 is still something of a mystery. Here are a few exciting features that caught my eye:
With this platform, you can set up automated, targeted outbound messages using templates or designing them from scratch without any previous coding knowledge necessary. As well as text, you can embed images, videos, and emojis into the message. Intercom also integrates with third-party email marketing software to record email addresses for follow-up campaigns.
This platform allows you to create a self-service option for your customers with a knowledge base. You can customize it with your company's logo, your domain, or branding. Intercom also has an easy-to-use built-in editor for creating content. It allows you to add images, videos, and Call To Action buttons to tailor your messages to a specific audience.
Ease of Use
After much difficulty (without a business domain email address, Intercom doesn't allow you access to its website), I was finally able to sign in. The home screen has a simple design with a white background and tutorials on how to get started with Intercom that can range anywhere from a few steps that take a few minutes to implement to lessons that last forty-five minutes. Everything you need is down the left side of the screen, and if you get stuck, there is a chatbox with a live rep to ask for help on the right.
This platform provides built-in reporting on leads, the performance of your team (e.g., your team's responsiveness to customers), and conversation volume. You can also track your busiest periods, most significant customer changes, campaigns (e.g., your leads generated and which messages work best for your customers), and new inbound conversations.
Creating Email Campaigns and Managing
Controlling your campaign is quite simple with the following features.
Emails sent/opened and links clicked
There are regularly updated graphical reviews of your current success rate
Deliverability rate and delivery by time zone (spam)
You can automate delivery time based on recipient time zones
Creating and importing email lists
Import your existing contacts from CSV, Mailchimp, or Mixpanel
Split tests and A/B tests
A/B testing and a control group feature help you to choose the optimum email based on customer response
It’s possible to personalize most aspects of your campaign, including aesthetics and delivery options
Intercom provides four optional features for an additional fee:
Reporting and Analysis
There are various useful functions for analyzing your success rates.
Engagement reports (Email open rate and CR tracking)
Customer Engagement reports let you see how your ongoing messages are performing, and even asses who’s receiving too many emails
You can segment your contacts into recipient groups whatever way you’d like
Social media tracking
The engagement report also views and assesses your social media broadcasts
A free support team can talk you through your current prospective ROI
This platform allows you to make product tours to increase customer traffic. This particular feature includes an easy-to-use builder that maintains templates, audience targeting, and video content.
Advanced Lead Generation
Intercom allows you to grow your customer base with advanced lead generation features like account-based marketing if you're a Marketing or Sales team.
- Advanced Customer Engagement
This platform allows you to increase customer growth with multichannel (excluding SMS) automated campaigns using software like A/B testing and push messaging.
- Advanced Support Resolution Bot
Intercom’s resolution bot gives your customer searchable answers, which allows your support team to focus on more severe problems. You can choose the bot's responses based on standard requirements like business type or customer spend. This platform's bot can give answers in up to seven different languages and support multiple time zones.
This platform has various automations, including A/B testing, drip and triggered campaigns, ROI testing, lead scoring, and segmentation by using its "Inbox Rules" feature. What Intercom is well known for, however, is its Task Bots. Here's some of what the bots can do:
- Shows the availability of your team
- Identifies anonymous users and automatically directs them to where they need to be
- Qualifies leads
- Suggests articles to your customers
- Invites contacts to rate their experience
- and asks your customers for their contact information.
Task bots come already built-in and fully accessible within Intercom’s software. All you have to do is choose which task you want to have active at any one time.
Intercom offers automation of almost every function that it provides. While some technical knowledge is certainly needed, there are also books, guides, and videos to assist those that are new to this type of programming.
Intercom offers three hundred and thirty total integrations split over twelve categories, including analytics, automation, CRM, lead capture, scheduling, and feedback. This platform also offers its own API and a place for you to create your own app to integrate. Intercom allows you a few free apps to incorporate into your messenger bot, including Twitter, WordPress, Google Calendar, and Google Meet. However, a few of the apps you have to pay for are Salesforce, Slack, Zapier, HubSpot, Facebook, and MailChimp.
The most basic Intercom plans still offer many options for integration.
Even those with little experience can use API to integrate third-party software
Integrations with these platforms: Ecommerce, Shopify, Magento, Bigcommerce and Woocommerce
All the above platforms are supported except Magento
The app store has several CRM integrations, such as the well-regarded Pipedrive
Social Media integrations
There are several major social media integrations available, like Facebook
The app store comes preloaded with dozens of useful apps
Aside from API, there are also options for many more integrations to be plugged in, like ChargeBee, which helps to manage your subscriptions
Omnisend is a superb platform for companies that want to opt-in and out of paying subscriptions as new contacts per month are limitless on the free plan. User-friendly, easy-to-use, and affordable prices for Omnisend start at $16/month.
HubSpot was founded in 2007, and since then, over 87,277 companies use its straightforward set-up and affordable prices that are suitable enough to fit any budget. HubSpot’s free version is also incredibly comprehensive, unlike some of the other email marketing software available.
AWeber was created over twenty years ago and is an easy-to-use platform with no hidden fees. Price plans start from $19/month, though a free version that requires no credit card is available if you have less than 500 contacts.
There’s a free mobile app where you can get support 24/7 through a messenger feature. You can also email for help at email@example.com.
I found Intercom incredibly difficult to use. If you don't have a business email address with its own domain, you won't even get past the login page. The website was confusing and overwhelming before I got used to it. However, despite its faults, Intercom does have its upsides, like the sheer number of integrations you can incorporate and some of its beneficial features. Whether Intercom's advantages can justify its expense or not is entirely up to you.
If you’re looking to streamline your current operation and need to automate some aspects of your approach to email marketing, Intercom could definitely provide support. However, you’ll need some IT expertise, and the price is quite high for what you’ll receive.
A cheaper but equally responsive service is SendX. This provides most of the same features and users benefit from even more pre-integrated apps. Plus, the starting cost is just $7.49 per month.