What Are Targeted Messages? How to Convert More Visitors with a Message That Stands Out
The days of "spray and pray marketing" are long gone.
A one-size-fits-all approach might have worked 20 years ago when most people were still using AOL and dial-up Internet.
But today, having an overly generic website that tries to appeal to everyone is a surefire way to seem boring and attract no-one. The only way to stand out and convert more visitors into leads (and sales!) is to deliver the right message at the right time to the right people.
In other words, you need to make use of targeted messages.
By understanding your visitors' goals and pain points and meeting them where they're currently at, you'll be able to connect and help them move through your customer journey.
It sounds simple enough.
However, when you get into the weeds, it is more complex than it might seem. So in this post, we're going to share what targeted messages are, the different ways you can target people, and how you can use them to convert more visitors into customers.
What are targeted messages?
Why use targeted messages?
Ever feel like Netflix just knows what you want to watch as soon as you open the app? Well, targeted messaging allows you to create this "Netflix-like experience" for your website visitors at scale.
You can send personalized messages and recommendations by segmenting your audience with attributes like:
- Website activity. Such as if they viewed a specific page, read a blog post, or clicked on a particular call-to-action.
- Location. Such as country, city, area code, or even exact GPS locations.
- Demographics. Such as gender, marital status, age, preferred language.
- Consumer behavior. Such as what they've viewed on your site, shopping history, past purchases, etc.
- Psychographics. Such as personal interests and lifestyle preferences.
On-site vs. off-site targeted messages
The great irony is most marketers do a better job with off-site targeted messages on platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, or Youtube, than with targeted messages on their own website.
If you've logged on to Facebook in the last 24 hours, you've probably seen dozens of targeted messages in the form of ads. Like this one:
If you click on "Why am I seeing this ad?" you can even see why you're being targeted:
This makes sense seeing how a well-targeted Facebook ad will gain more clicks than a generic or poorly targeted ad and lower the overall cost to run your ads.
However, off-site targeted messaging on ad platforms (such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads) are expensive. (According to Spyfu, ClickUp spends over $100,000 per month just on Google Ads 😳 )
With advancements in personalization tools, you can take this off-site marketing strategy of developing highly targeted messages, and apply it on-site in a much more cost-effective manner.
Targeted messaging strategies
From ecommerce brands to SaaS startups, here are four strategies for how you can use targeted messaging on your website.
1. Target by visitor segment/buyer persona
Targeting by visitor segment or buyer persona allows you to focus your message on their specific goals and pain points. When you understand your buyer persona, you'll have a better sense of their purchasing decisions, interests, and content types that appeal to them.
Let's say you have a SaaS app that helps photographers market themselves on social media. You might have three personas:
- Freelancer Freddy. These are the customers on your platform working a 9-5 job and building their photography business on the side.
- Hustling Heidi. These are the photographers who just went out on their own and are actively looking for more clients.
- Enterprise Eddie. These are established photography powerhouses that employ hundreds of photographers.
The goals and challenges that Freelancer Freddy and Enterprise Eddie have are vastly different. Trying to market to both of them on the same page would be ineffective.
2. Target by intent
Intent data can help you refine your message and identify where your prospects are in the customer journey.
For example, are they looking to:
- Learn more (i.e. education)?
- Shop for a solution?
- Make a buying decision?
One simple way of deciphering someone's intent is by the kind of page(s) they're browsing.
Scrolling through your blog indicates they're likely in learning mod, whereas looking around your product pages indicates they might be shopping for a solution. And then visiting your 'book a demo' pr checkout pages suggests they're close to the making a buying decision.
The sales CRM Close does a great job with this.
Scroll to the bottom of one of their product pages and you'll see this targeted site message in the right corner:
If you've scrolled to the bottom of the page, this indicates you're interested. So the offer of a webinar to see the product in action is a great offer to potentially push people into becoming a customer.
Try it yourself by customizing this template:
By understanding the intent, you can surface the relevant information, increase your conversion rate, and nurture the relationship.
3. Target by funnel stage
Targeting your prospects by their funnel stage allows you to send the right kind of messages to move them through your sales funnel:
- Top of the funnel (TOFU)
- Middle of the funnel (MOFU)
- Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
Going back to our photography SaaS app, you can segment visitors not only by persona but also by how likely they are to convert.
For example, if a lead visits your website after searching Google for a "social media marketing app for freelance photographers," you might assume they are problem-aware and actively looking for a solution (i.e. BOFU). So, you might display a targeted popup with a case study.
Whereas, if someone else lands on your blog post with seven best Instagram photographer accounts, that's TOFU. You might steer them to download an educational free ebook that your team created.
4. Target by specific campaign
Targeting by specific campaigns can be especially effective if your company does account-based marketing (ABM).
Let's say you want to run a campaign to get more "Enterprise Eddies" using your app.
Once you've identified the critical attributes for this persona, you might build out your dream 100 (à la The Ultimate Sales Machine style) list of 100 large photography businesses that you'd love to have as customers.
Then, you can build out personalized ABM campaigns for every company on that list.
How to get started with targeted messages
Targeted marketing allows your brand to stand out and provide a more relevant experience for all of your visitors and customers.
Before deciding the details of how you will target your messages, take time to identify your overall goal.
- What is the result you're trying to achieve?
- What's the desired action you want visitors to take next?
Once you're clear on the overall 'macro' outcome and the smaller 'micro conversions' you want users to take along the way, you can then start thinking about creating those targeted messages as part of a broader conversion marketing strategy.
Here are the three key steps to take:
1. Identify how you want to target
The first step is to decide how you want to target your messages. As we alluded to above, you can target by:
- Funnel stage
- Specific campaign
You can choose to focus on just one of these. Or mix and match according to the specific situation.
E.g. the Close example from above uses 'intent' targeting by having a message that appears toward the bottom of product pages. They could combine this with 'funnel stage' targeting by showing a different offer depending on whether the visitor is an unidentified contact, a subscribed lead, or paying customer looking to upgrade.
2. Set up necessary segmentation of visitors
Next, you need to set up your systems to segment visitors into groups based on the targeting you want to use.
To segment by buyer persona, you'll need to have your CRM set up with the right custom fields, tags and/or automations. Basically a way to clearly identify which buyer persona any contact entering your CRM falls into.
Or, going back to our SaaS photography example from above, you might choose to build a BOFU segment for anyone who reads a case study.
3. Create specific messages targeted at each segment
At this point, you should have your targeting plan mapped out and the necessary back-end systems set up.
So now it's time to actually create and launch those targeted messages.
The medium is up to you: popups, site messages, chatbots, sticky bars, dynamic content areas, embedded forms. It could be one of (or a mix of) anything—so long as the message can be targeted to only show to specific types and segments of visitors to your website.
If you have access to a team of developers and designers, creating everything in-house from scratch here is an option.
Examples of targeted messages
Now that you know what targeted messages are and why they are beneficial, we're sharing a couple of real-life examples of brands that have used targeted messages effectively.
Cuddle Clones is an ecommerce store that makes it easy to memorialize your beloved pet with a stuffed replica.
They use a time-delay triggered popup targeted at first-time site visitors (who haven't bought anything) to capture email and SMS leads over two steps:
With this information, they can nurture, build trust, and convert many of these subscribers via text and email marketing campaigns. They can also track what pages these subscribers view and items added to the cart, then show much more targeted messages back to them the next time they visit the website.
While targeting first-time visitors is a widespread use case, targeted messages can be just as powerful for a SaaS company's blog.
Let's use AWeber as an example.
The company has a really strong online presence and has driven a lot of traffic to its blog for several years. But, one thing they struggled with in the past was converting that blog traffic into leads and customers.
AWeber did two things, in particular, really well:
- TOFU educational articles
- BOFU case studies
The problem was connecting these TOFU visitors with the content further down the funnel that was most relevant to them.
So, AWeber built out a network of targeted messages throughout the different articles. Each one had a call-to-action highly relevant to the post in question:
Then, each subscriber is nudged further down the sales funnel by seeing a targeted message every time they come back to AWeber's blog:
So rather than keep pushing the same PDF download, a returning visitor is guided towards webinars, trials, and demo requests.
In sum, investing the time upfront in creating on-site targeted messages can pay off in spades.
You'll be able to surface the right content at the right time, which builds trust. The key is to think about the most effective CTA based on the visitor's persona, intent, and funnel stage.
This, in turn, can lead to higher conversion rates and more customers. Not to mention, you'll be less reliant on paid ads 😉
Ready to create your own targeted on-site messages?
Jessica is a copywriter and content strategist with over 10 years' experience in SaaS marketing. Her work has appeared on industry-leading websites like Social Media Examiner, SEMRush, CMX, The Next Web, Databox, Help Scout, Convince & Convert, and more. When she's not writing something epic, you'll usually find her watching Master Chef or schooling people on 90s pop culture trivia.