The What, Why, and How of Targeted Messaging

Know thy audience is at the heart of any impactful communication. Whether you ask a toastmaster, a successful journalist, a great orator, or a marketer, they will vouch for how important it is to know your target audience. Having a clear picture of who you are communicating with can help with the right messaging. 

Take, for instance, Steve Jobs’ commencement address to the graduating class of Stanford University in 2005. The speech was well-crafted, short, and more importantly, well-targeted. The messaging addressed the fears and apprehensions that graduating students, or any person serious about their career, might have. Today, the speech has over 36 million views on YouTube. 

Targeted Messages


When you identify a target audience and craft a message centered around their needs, it captures your audience’s attention, and they remain engaged as long as the information stays relevant to them. Targeted messages have a powerful impact, sometimes exceeding expectations. This holds true for all forms of communication, including written emails, marketing campaigns, or pithy text messages. 

But, What is Targeted Messaging? 

Targeted messaging means creating content for a specific target audience. This will involve positioning the message for a group of similar people, for instance – those belonging to a specific demographic or homogenous group.  

Suppose a digital health service company wants to advertise a new app feature. The first question to ask would be “Who will use this feature?”. If it is for working-class millennials, the message would have to address their needs. The language would also have to fit their parlance: something breezy and perhaps, including emojis, making it easier for them to relate to it. 

If the feature is for a senior audience, then the messaging would have to differ. Emojis and gifs may not appeal to them. From language to the mode of communication, marketers would have to come up with a different strategy. Generic messaging in campaigns and advertisements often doesn’t have focus, and therefore gets lost in translation.  

In short, targeted messaging is communicating a specific message to a specific audience in a way that resonates with them.

The Two Parts of Creating Targeted Messages

Customer Segmentation

To deliver an impactful message, you need a clear understanding of your customers. If you can categorize customers based on their similarities, then you can craft a definite message with a clear CTA (call-to-action). Here are some aspects to consider when you want to work on messaging: 

  • Demographic Factors – Start with outlining your key customer’s age, gender, ethnicity, income level, etc. Take Coca-Cola’s Back to School campaigns, for instance. When Snapchat was still popular amongst Gen Z, Coke used the platform to tailor its message to fit a specific target audience: school-goers and university students. 
  • Geo-targeting – Geo-targeting means personalizing content for consumers based on their geographic locations. A 2019 Factual Report found that almost 9 out of 10 marketers said location-based messaging led to higher sales, a spurt in customer base, and higher customer engagement. 
  • Behavioral Analysis – Keeping an eye on customer tastes, preferences, and purchasing habits can also help with customer segmentation. 
  • Psychographic Factors – Another element to consider for customer segmentation is looking at customer values and beliefs. For instance, a growing eco-consciousness among consumers means green messaging can be a powerful way to get the attention of a specific group of customers, especially the younger generation. 

FMCG giant P&G is a staunch believer in careful customer segmentation. P&G shifted away from generic demographic targets like women of a specific age group to create more than 350 customer personas for whom messaging could be personalized.  


Personalized Messaging 

Once you have clear customer segments, the second part of a well-crafted targeted message, personalization, becomes easier. Personal messaging can make customers feel valued and important. 

Take a look at this email from Spotify:

Spotify messages

Phrases like “top listener” can make a reader feel special. This email also has a clear CTA, asking the customer to purchase tickets for a music tour. 

In 2020, roughly 306.4 billion emails were exchanged each day. If marketers using email campaigns want to succeed, then personalized messaging is non-negotiable. Personalization in any form of communication, from chatbot conversations to phone calls, is definitely a better way to deliver authentic customer experiences when compared to generic messaging. 

Let’s go back to the example of the digital health service app. If you know that you are speaking to a new millennial mother, the app could suggest pediatric services or health tips for new moms. Such personalization can lead to higher sales, engagement, and overall customer experience. 

3 Reasons to Use Targeted Messages

1. Lead Generation

A survey from B2B Technology Marketing Community found that 61% of B2B marketers feel that generating high-quality leads is a big pain point. Targeted messages can be a great way to improve lead generation. According to Experian, personalized emails can lead to six times higher revenue per email when compared to non-personalized messages while another report from DMA found that 77% of ROI in 2015 came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns. 

Targeted messages help with lead generation in another way: its weeds out bottom-feeders, the people who don’t really care about your business. This way, your message is tailored only for those who are genuinely interested in your product. This will automatically improve leads. 

2. Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement Messages

When you try to connect with everybody, you end up creating a real connection with nobody. 

With targeted messages, you can really work on nurturing customer relationships. By appealing to a specific target audience, you can encourage customers to engage with you. For instance, if you are trying to improve customer engagement through chatbots, create a separate messaging template for first-time visitors, repeat customers, and loyal customers. With first-timers, it could be a general introduction to your offerings. 

For repeat and loyal customers, you can use their purchase history to offer recommendations that reel them in. Messages targeted at specific groups of people are more:

  • Relevant
  • Engaging 
  • Valuable
  • Likely to elicit a response

3. Customer Experience

Central to a good customer experience is quick, effective, and relevant communication. Targeted messages are the perfect way to provide relevant information to the right audience. Since you understand the user, what they do, their likes and dislikes, and their preferred mode of communication, you improve customer experience. According to an Adobe survey, as much as 42% of customers find non-personalized content and messaging annoying. 

Imagine recommending leather products to a customer who you know, through past purchasing habits, is against animal cruelty! Not only would it be poor marketing, but it could potentially lead to lost business. Personalized, targeted messages improve customer experience. 

How To Use Targeted Messages

1. In-App Messaging

In-app messages, on a mobile or desktop application, are an excellent area to send hyper-targeted messages. Also called native app content, in-app messages can draw from past interactions to deliver relevant messages that are triggered by user interactions. When done right, you can improve engagement, enable easy onboarding, share relevant offers or updates and offer support. Here are some tips on how you can incorporate targeted messaging in your apps:

  • Make it personalized, from greetings to recommendations
  • Use user history to provide better personalization
  • Make it engaging
  • Use visuals, media, and emojis to keep it interactive
  • Have a clear CTA
  • Enable an exit option so the user can exit the conversation rather than quit the app
  • Ask for feedback on how to do it better

2. Website targeted messaging 

When a user is browsing through your website, it sets up the perfect opportunity for engagement. While live chat is an oft-used option for support, triggered messages using chatbots can be a great option to interact with customers. Here, using customer actions to proactively start a conversation can help. For instance, if you notice that a customer is spending an unusual amount of time at checkout, you could trigger a chatbot conversation offering help. The key is to trigger conversations based on certain actions (or inactions). Here are some tips to use targeted messages on websites:

  • Use analytics to understand your audience and engage at the right time.
  • Don’t interrupt a customer when they are in the middle of browsing or shopping. 
  • Set up the right triggers on heavy-traffic pages. 
  • Have a clear chat flow: in case a customer needs help that a chatbot can’t provide, make sure an agent is there to help. 

3. Email messaging

Email is still one of the most powerful ways to connect with customers. It also has the highest ROI among all other marketing channels. Some studies show that well-targeted email campaigns deliver 40X more converts when compared to social media. 90% of B2B marketers consider email engagement as the most important metric to track content performance. 

Targeted emails are different from cold emails. Sending targeted messages via emails involves customer segmentation and personalization for it to work best. Generic emails may end up sounding like a broadcast. Targeted emails should:

  • Be relevant to the customer you are reaching out to
  • Focus on nurturing relationships
  • Ideally have a CTA or aim at some response

Netflix uses targeted emailing very smartly. They send out frequent custom recommendations on email based on watching habits. A new show they think a user might like? There is the suggestion, waiting in their inbox! This ensures that customers feel valued, keeping using the platform, and ultimately, they have continued subscribers. 

Measuring Targeted Messages

Alright, now that you have the basics of targeted messaging down, you still need a reliable way to measure its outcome. As always, there are different ways to measure the efficacy of your messaging. However, some common KPIs or key performance indices to consider are:

  1. Open Rate: For a message to have reached your customer is one thing, for them to have opened it is another. Open rate tells you how many users or subscribers have opened your message, be it text, email, or in-app message. Measuring this is a good way to understand what kind of messages your customers are interested in.
  2. Click-Through Rate: You got your users to open and read your message. Great. Next, you need to measure if they take any action on it. Click-through rate measures the number of subscribers who click on a specific link provided in your message. It shows customer interest and engagement with your content. 
  3. Reply rate: Another measure worth noting is the reply or response rate. In case you have shared a poll, survey, or feedback form, measuring the reply rate will tell you how willing your customers are to engage with you. It can also be a good way to collect feedback on whether your messaging is working. 
  4. Unsubscribe rate: Unsubscribe rate measures how many users or subscribers have opted out of receiving your messages or emails. This is a good metric to understand the relevance of your content to a target audience. 

Targeted Messaging Checklist

  • Now that you get the what, why, and how of targeted messaging, here’s a quick checklist to keep in mind while creating targeted messages for any platform:
  • Do you have a crystal-clear idea of who your target audience is?
  • What message do you want to convey?
  • Is the message relevant?
  • What mode of communication do you want to use?
  • Is there a clear CTA?

Targeted Messaging with Freshchat

Targeting customers with the right message at the right time can be a great strategy for lead generation, customer engagement, and customer service. With Freshchat, create targeted messages that are contextual, relevant, and impactful. From onboarding messages and lifecycle marketing to getting feedback or making announcements, Freshchat makes sending targeted messages easy and hassle-free. 

Freshchat Targeted Messages

Freshchat also provides tools for customizing email campaigns, sending triggered messages through chatbots as well as triggered emails. 

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