Better ways to communicate with your customers and leads mean more opportunities for your company to grow. By leveraging customer data and product activity insights, you can send targeted messages that talk to the right people at the right time on the right channels.
Today your customers get exposed to a tsunami of message blasts across Facebook ads, Google ads, emails, notifications, physical advertisements, junk mail, and so on. According to Forbes, most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day, which excludes any personal and non-promotional messages.
This poses a serious challenge for smaller brands and early-stage companies. Targeted messaging is not an option today — it is the only chance for these companies to get seen through the huge garbage of words, images, and sounds.
Incorporating a system that enables you to send cohesive, targeted messages across different channels is essential for all startups, but that’s easier said than done.
In this guide, I’ll try to give you a top-level overview that will help you when thinking and designing your targeted message campaigns.
What are Targeted Messages?
Targeted messages are one of the components of a successful transactional model of communication.
The transactional model of communication is the process of using words, images, emojis, sounds, or other cues to supply information to your customers.
“The communication process was once thought of as having the source of the message, which is then encoded, put through the chosen communication channel, which is then decoded by the recipient and then received.”— Wikipedia
Once your audience receives the message, they then provide feedback to you (the original source of the message). Based on this feedback, you find out whether your message was successful or not. The feedback can come in many forms: qualitative feedback like responses and reactions or quantitative — opens, clicks, purchases, etc.
The transactional communication process is composed of the following elements:
- Source: This is you and your company, the original sender of the message.
- Encoding: The intended meaning of the message. Is it your goal to get more people to your landing page, convert leads to paying customers, get customers to adopt a new feature, increase brand awareness, make more sales, etc. The receiver must interpret the encoding correctly for the message to accomplish its goal.
- Message: Apart from the actual content, the message is the meaning and the information that you aim to convey. Messages come in many forms: a landing page, a nurturing email sequence, a Facebook ad, a chatbot greeting, a banner, a promotional push notification, etc.
- Channel: This is the method by which your message travels from you (the source) to the intended receiver (your customers, leads, etc.)
- Decoding: This is the process when the receiver interprets what is being communicated by the message. For your campaigns to be effective, the decoding of the message must match your encoding.
- Receiver: the person or people who receive and decode your message.
- Noise: External factors and interruptions that interfere with the communication process.
- Feedback: the receiver’s feedback to your message.
A targeted message is a message that conveys the correct meaning to the person receiving it. It resonates with the receiver and delivers value to him or her.
To send targeted messages, you must understand and segment your target audience and use the right content, channel, timing, and frame of reference.
Benefits of Targeted Messages
A successful targeted message will result in positive feedback from the audience that you’re sending it to, and ultimately help you achieve the goals of your marketing campaign.
Several studies that prove the effectiveness of targeted messages have been published across the web.
- 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement. – eConsultancy
- Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue. – DMA
- 81% of online shoppers who receive emails based on previous shopping habits were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase as a result of targeted email. — eMarketer
- 77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns. — DMA
- Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% — Aberdeen.
- Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates. — Experian
- 53% of marketers say ongoing, personalized communication with existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact. — DemandGen.
- Highly targeted push messages are 293% more effective — Marketing Land
- Leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% sales increase in sales opportunities — DemandGen.
- 31% of consumers are more likely to make purchases if they were offered personalized experiences such as tailored content — BloomReach.
- Personalized website CTAs resulted in a 42% higher conversion rate than generic CTAs — HubSpot.
- The main reasons for email users to unsubscribe from a business or nonprofit email subscription are too many emails (69%) and content that is no longer relevant (56%) — Chadwick Martin Bailey.
Still, according to a study by MarketingProfs from 2016, 42% of marketers do not send targeted email messages. I would assume it’s even worse when it comes to other mediums like push notifications and in-app messages.
Sending targeted messages is complex. At the same time, customers expect personalization and relevance in your emails. So how do you raise the bar with your messages?
It all starts with segmenting your audience.
Importance of Customer Segmentation in Targeted Messaging
Whether you’re sending an email, in-app message, push notification, or running a new ad, your message needs to be targeted to the person receiving it. In order to do that, you need to segment your audience.
Customer segmentation is the practice of dividing your customer base into groups of individuals that share common characteristics, such as location, language, acquisition source, customer value, preferences, app activity, and others.
The 4 pillars of segmentation are:
- Geographics: Country, regions, cities.
- Demographics: Age, gender, sex, family, education, income, occupation.
- Psychographics: Lifestyle, social class, personal interests, preferences, values, personality, concerns, problems, opinions.
- Behavioral data: User activity, lifecycle stage, user status, intent, engagement with your app and your messages, loyalty to your brand.
Source.You need to uncover data and insights about your customers, how they operate, what places and communities they circulate, what are their challenges and concerns.
You can begin with your current data and identify the right segments, based on your existing customer feedback. Still, if you lack any audience intel or customer data, then creating a full-fleshed hypothesis for the segments you want to target is a good point to start with.
With that in mind, here’s a list of the tools and methods that you can use to collect information about your potential customers.
Demographic insights: Alexa and Quantcast
Alexa and Quantcast are excellent resources to extract demographic information about a website’s audience.
This works really well if you have an established competitor with heaps of traffic and user activity. You can uncover a lot about your competitors from these reports.
In Alexa, if you type in https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/ and the URL of the competitor. For example https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/evernote.com
You’d get metrics such as:
- The Alexa site rank
- Audience Geography – where the site audience comes from.
- Audience Demographics like gender, age, and so on. (premium access only).
And this is how a demographics report looks like in Quantcast:
Search demand: Ahrefs
Ahrefs is an SEO suite of tools that you can use to explore competitors, research keywords, and search volume. It is powered by heaps of big data.
Ahrefs reports are a great way to estimate the search demand for your product and the overall landscape. But most importantly, they give you a lot of ideas about the things your customers and potential customers are searching for, and the questions they have.
Ads insights: Google Ads In-Market Audiences
Google Ads In-Market Audience is a way to target potential customers at the bottom of your marketing funnel. It’s a relatively new feature that Google rolled out to help you identify people with a “high commercial intent” based on their past search and browsing history. Google factors in a number of data points like topic and content of specific pages they visit, how often they visit these pages, clicks on any relevant ads, and others.
Psychographic and behavior insights: Facebook Audience Insights
Facebook Audience Insights give you aggregated data about groups of people connected to your Page and people on Facebook. You can see demographic data like age, education level, job titles, as well as psychographic data like hobbies, interests, and lifestyle.
Anonymous website visitor insights: Leedfeeder
Since just a small portion of your website visitors will actually leave their emails, you need a better way to identify the rest of your visitors. Leadfeeder is a sales intelligence for anonymous website visitors. Leadfeeder identifies companies that visit your website from your Google Analytics and then enriches them with company and contact data, so you can connect with key decision-makers.
Customer data enrichment: Clearbit
Clearbit is a data-enrichment platform that helps you uncover tons of data attributes for your audience. All you need is the customer email — Clearbit will enrich it with more than 20 different data points like location, job title, seniority, social profiles, company funding, employees.
Defining and Creating Customer Segments
With the customer data collected, you must identify the key segments that you want to target in your messaging. Use existing customer data attributes to spot patterns in order to identify your ideal customer profiles (ICPs) or use the data that you uncovered using the insight tools from the previous section to establish ICPs for potential customers.
Creating specific segments allows you to:
- Have a clear view of your users, customers, and leads. Most tools will provide you with a list of all of the people that belong to the segment.
- Create sophisticated flows that get triggered when a person enters or leaves the segment. Let’s say you have a segment for High-value customers — when a potential customer enters that segment, you can automatically add them to your CRM where your sales reps can take over.
- Send targeted automated emails and targeted messages across other channels.
Creating new segments in Encharge is as easy as one-two-three. Once your user data is flowing to Encharge, you simply go to the People’s section and select the attributes that you want to create a segment from.
Types of Targeted Messages
Messaging in Account-based Marketing
Account-based marketing (ABM) is personalization and segmentation on a whole new level. Instead of grouping people into segments of ideal customer profiles, ABM is one-to-one marketing to a segment of one.
ABM concentrates resources on a specific set of target accounts within a specific organization and allows you to engage them with hyper-personalized targeted messages.
Your approach to targeting a specific account will depend on your goals and the particular attributes of that account. You might reach to some accounts via email while sending in-app messages to others.
Targeted Action-based Messaging
While in 2005, you could only send one-off email blasts, in 2020, you can use messaging tools to segment your audience, personalize your content, and automatically send targeted action-based emails, text messages, in-app, and push notifications.
Action-based messages or triggered messages are messages that are fired by a specific action or actions performed by your website visitors, users, or customers. A lack of action could also fire action-based messages.
Unlike newsletters and promotional emails that are sent in bulk to your whole user base, action-based messages are personalized and typically sent to individuals one at a time.
By using behavioral data, action-based emails and notifications allow you to send the right message to the right person, at the right time, and in that way, deliver a more effective marketing automation strategy. I won’t go into the weeds here, but you can always go through our guide on action-based emails to dive deeper.
Choose the Right Channels for Your Messages
When designing and building your targetted message campaigns, you need to communicate with your customers and leads across all channels that are relevant to them. Think about what channels is your audience using and where your people hang out.
If you’re in a traditional industry like restaurants or hotels, you probably don’t want to communicate with your leads via Facebook messages — targeted text messages might make more sense for this audience. Conversely, if your user base is Generation Z people accustomed to using social media, Facebook Messenger might be a great fit for your campaigns.
Below is a brief rundown of some of the channels that you can use to deliver personalized targetted messages across your brand.
Targetted ad messages can help you streamline your lead generation efforts, attract more customers, and improve the customer lifecycle value. It’s crucial that you avoid irrelevant ad campaigns and impersonal ad messages.
Google and Facebook ads already provide capabilities that allow for the dynamic personalization of your ad content. For example, with Google Ads, you can create up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, the platform then creates combinations of the headlines and descriptions and tests for the best results automatically.
- On Facebook, use Custom Audiences to get back in touch with people who have engaged with your business and Lookalike Audiences to reach new people whose interests are similar to those of your ideal customer profile.
- On Google use In-market, Custom intent, and Remarketing to improve your audience targeting.
Web Summit’s Facebook ad uses location-based personalization to deliver a hyper-targeted message.
Relevant landing pages allow marketers to maximize conversions and deliver delightful user experiences.
It’s essential that your ads and the landing page content (headlines, subheadlines, branding colors, and so on) convey the same message.
By creating a more targetted post-ad experience, you unify efforts across different channels into a streamlined flow of initiatives focused on one stage in the funnel — converting ad clicks into conversions.
Let’s say you search for “social media monitoring”, instead of going to a generic homepage, the user ends on a targeted landing page with a meaningful message that messages the message of the ad.
- Instapage allows you to create targeted landing pages at scale.
- RightMessage shows surveys on your website, segments your visitors, and personalizes the opt-in forms on your pages. That way making it hard for people to ignore your lead generation forms.
A personalized email message can do something your site can’t — get your users where they are and pull them back into your website. That’s why it’s essential to create a highly targeted customer experience that goes beyond the landing page and the first conversion.
Targeted emails nudge trialists to upgrade their accounts, help existing customers adopt the features, and understand the benefits of your product.
Users get segmented based on what choose (e.g., click) in the welcome email message.
- We’ve put together a step-by-step guide that will show you how to execute a lead nurturing campaign like the one of Sleeknote.
- In Encharge, you can use merge tags and advanced liquid tags to personalize your emails and fetch dynamic content in your automated emails.
In-app and Chat Messages
In-app messages are extremely impactful as they allow you to communicate with your users and customers when they’re most engaged — the moment when they’re browsing your app or your website.
As put by Intercom, you can accomplish 3 things with targeted in-app messages: start a conversion with your userbase, get your users to do something in your app, or help them understand your product more deeply.
The 3 types of Intercom in-app messages below:
Thanks to our native integration with Intercom, you can now orchestrate targeted messages across the whole customer journey, on different channels, and with a number of different triggers.
Web and Mobile Push Notifications
Web and mobile push notifications are a great way to promote discounts for your products and services, deliver your latest blog posts, engage customers that are currently on your website, or restore abandoned carts for eCommerce companies.
Netflix uses mobile Push notifications to announce and remind viewers about new series. Again, it’s essential that these messages are tailored to the preferences of your customers and reflect their past interactions with your product.
Social Media Messages
Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, and text bots are used as support tools to send transactional information about deliveries and updates, but they can also be used as a part of your lifecycle messaging campaigns. Especially with users that are not responding to your email messages or ads.
Spotify’s Facebook Messenger bot makes it easy for its customers to search for, listen to, and share songs. It gives you personalized playlist recommendations based on your mood or any genre of music you want.
Create Your Targetted Messages Campaign — Action Plan
Creating precise segmentation and executing an effective messaging campaign is a whole lot of complex work. Still, messaging is one of the foundations of your business. You must invest time and effort to get this right. To help you with this challenging journey, I’ve put together a step by step checklist for you.
- Define the goal(s) of your campaign.
- Collect customer data from your existing database.
- Research external insight tools for customer data.
- Define ICPs (ideal customer profiles).
- Build your segments in your marketing tools based on your profiles or more granularly.
- Choose the massage channels.
- Write your messages.
- Create versions and sub-versions of your messages that are aimed at specific segments. Think about how the segment will feel about the message, are the people going to resonate with the language? Does the message help accomplish the overall goal of the campaign? Is there a call to action with a meaningful next step?
- Create flows with your messages and segments. Use merge tags and dynamic tags to personalize your messages.
- Turn on your campaign!