The most effective targeting zeros in on a specific person’s wants, fears, needs, and desires.
Things get tricky fast when you try to target multiple segments. Which, if you’re a larger-than-small company, you probably do.
You’ve got multiple products or service lines. So you’ve also got multiple different types of people buying said products and services, too.
It’s a tightrope. One that threatens to dilute your results if not careful.
Here’s why along with three ideas to better target multiple segments (at the same time).
Everybody wants to feel special.
We’re all special snowflakes. Dainty, precious, thin-skinned snowflakes.
Like that email, direct mail piece, heck, even pop-up was hand-picked just for them.
The best ad campaigns laser-target these snowflakes.
Why the best Facebook ad campaigns target a single audience segment
While we should be reading or exercising (or, you know, being with actual, physical, 3-dimensional human beings), we are spending much of our free time on our phones.
The time goes up as the demo gets younger, too.
Teens spend a mind-boggling nine hours a day on social media. Because… well, what else in the world do they have to do?
On Facebook alone, we spend an average of 35 minutes every day. So it’s no wonder that ad spend on social media is predicted to hit $36 billion in 2017.
So there’s no shortage of new potential customers to target. But that’s also kind of the problem. There’s too many people. Too many potentials and possibilities. Too many segments and personas to target.
Not at the beginning, though. Things start off easy enough. Especially when you’re small.
You establish a ‘beachhead’ with one particular group. Exploit one underserved persona or segment. But as you grow, you gotta expand. (You have read your Crossing the Chasm, haven’t you?!)
And that’s where things get tricky.
For example, you upload an email list to match around 30-70% with Facebook users. Except you’ve most likely got multiple segments on that one list.
Different types of customers who have different interests, deal with different problems, and possibly even buy different products or services.
So sure. You’ve technically using ‘custom audiences.’ But in reality, you’re barely scratching the surface because you’re still forced to water-down campaigns.
Oh, almost forgot. All of the multiple segments on this one list are all at different stages of your funnel, too. So good luck with that.
Now you can see where the added stress comes from.
That’s a problem. Because custom audiences work best when targeting a tight, narrow group of people. And forcing multiple segments into the same one only causes dilution.
Ain’t nobody likes dilution. Whether we’re talking about campaign results, equity shares, or that damn ice in my whiskey.
The end result? “Lazy ass messaging,” as Joanna Wiebe calls it. Look no further than the dreaded: “save time and money” as a perfect example.
Some people want to save time. Some people want to save money. Putting them together just diminishes one side or the other and takes power away from the message.
“Time-related messages stir up warm-n-fuzzies. Money-related messages appeal to our more practical sides,” she said.
You can’t lump the two together and expect to appeal to everyone. So here’s what you should do instead.
Fix your multiple persona targeting problems with 3 easy steps
So many segments, so little time.
So how do you continue to target multiple groups, giving each the attention they deserve, and keeping your overall message clear?
Here are three simple tips to start with.
1. Help multiple personas self-select
Let’s say you’ve got the same product or service (more or less), that might appeal to multiple segments.
The easiest method might be to simply help those people self-select. Give them the option to ‘identify’ themselves to you, so everything can be properly recorded and segmented in your database.
For example, Work the System helps businesses implement, well, systems. So the service (and page) doesn’t change, but they present different options for different segments (brick-and-mortar vs. online-based) directly on the services page:
Before you’re allowed to sign up or opt-in, you gotta click on one of those big green buttons. And when you do, your background is saved and applied from here on out.
Software companies, like Wix, do an excellent job of this on their Pricing pages. Here they list five different buyer types, from VIP down to the most casual of users.
This persona-based pricing is in stark contrast to the nameless, faceless, (and meaningless) “Gold, Silver, Bronze” split you typically see. The same vague pricing plan problem used to plague Bidsketch in the past, too.
“Premium and Basic doesn’t mean anything to a potential customer, other than saying that one plan is cheap and the other expensive. Actually, looking at both price points, it’s more like cheap and cheap,” remarked Ruben.
However, after digging deeper into surveying his customer base, he was able to update pricing plans with feature sets and names that better reflected their actual needs (Freelancer vs. Studio. Vs. Agency).
And it resulted in the single biggest revenue increase his app saw (even larger than being featured by FreshBooks in front of a million people).
So now your job is easy. You just sit back, relax, and wait for visitors to tell you which ‘bucket’ they fall into.
(Unless you wanna be ‘that guy’ who’s running an agency but only paying for the freelancer plan. Don’t be that guy.)
Easy enough, right?
You’d think so. Except it’s not.
- Independent contractors (40% of Programmers)
- Moonlighters (27%)
- Diversified workers (18%)
- Temporary workers (10%)
- Programming business owners (5%)
So now even “Freelancer” isn’t good enough. Because if you’re going to whittle down personas as much as possible, you gotta differentiate between moonlighters who stay up late and work after their 9-5, from programming business owners who’re hustlin’ from 9-9.
You can even extend this strategy beyond the pricing page to case study pages. For example, you can highlight a bunch of different ecommerce stores and then see which ones result in the most signups.
Then you look up the Reverse Goal Path from your conversion event to see the previous pages visited. That way you can still see that Home & Beauty outperforms Sports & Outdoors by 2:1 – even if there’s no explicit option to select when signing up.
In AdEspresso, creating a custom audience based on where the user visited on your website is even simpler. You can select to create a custom audience of website visitors based on a custom combination based on a specific domain, path, event or url. Once your audiences are created you can include and exclude them from your campaigns to make sure your messaging is as precise as it should be to make sure users know why they need what you are offering.
2. Now personalize (as much as possible)
Once people self-select (to a certain degree), you can begin personalizing what they see (vs. everyone else).
Personalization just depends on that ‘trigger.’ That self-selection.
There’s no better example than Amazon.
You express interest in specific books (through product views and purchases) and site content gets tailored to the specific category (like business or memoir).
Other common options include online behavior and site history, visitor location, and even what kind of device they are using.
You can even use link clicks in an email, that automatically ‘tag’ or pull people into the proper list after downloading a topic-related lead magnet.
Your database information (i.e. lists for different segments) can then be tied back into Facebook ads to create (and update) unique custom audiences.
That finally allows you to tie ads back a tiny slice of your target audience. Like Bing targeting business advertisers.
THIS is personalization. Not the corny, hokey, “Hey $FNAME” stuff shoved into an email before it heads out the door.
But it’s complex, as you just saw. So here’s what you can default to just in case.
3. When all else fails, embrace funnel segmentation
True personalization like you just witnessed takes a lot. It requires a lot of interconnected steps.
We just saw how a central database picks up on site or app activity and even channel engagement (e.g. email link clicks), tying all the way back into retargeting messages based on funnel stage (e.g. awareness, consideration or decision).
There’s a lot happening. Tons of moving pieces.
Dedicated pages are created for a specific channel or medium. So that all of your variables (like text, design, etc.) can be appropriately aligned.
Jon Loomer’s doing a variation on this. Originally making his bones in Facebook Advertising, Jon’s recently started expanding into entrepreneurship-focused training products, too.
Those two topics, while adjacent and similar, attract very different people.
Which means he’s had to expand his ad campaigns into each realm: Facebook advertising ones and entrepreneur ones. Like water and oil, those two don’t mix.
Then those ad campaigns are then tied back to specific blog post views (by category, or more specifically, the word in the URL).
Of course, things get a little tricky based on funnel stage. It’s like another layer of context that takes you from ~two potential scenarios to six in the blink of an eye. (Two segments times three minimum funnel stages.)
The site listened to the user’s needs, attracted those looking for answers, conversed with those who wanted more information and nurtured new relationships. (In other words, altering the appropriate messaging and CTAs along the way).
The simple new layout of the page was able to cater to the needs of four different groups.
A tax preparer website was able to use a similar method, using the same page to target both those looking for a tax professional, and those wanting to do their taxes themselves. They were able to find where each group overlapped, where each group differed and spiked their conversions by 63%.
This company optimized by adding a sub-header to bring home their message even more and decreased their conversion paths from 5 to 2. Just these little changes caused a 32.4% increase in conversions.
That same medical company rewrote key pieces of their site to cater to a specific audience and increased their click-through rate by 49.5%.
The copy should take people through a four-phase thought process of your product or service:
- You understand what they need
- You know how to fix the problem/find a solution
- You are better than others at fixing this problem/finding a solution, and
- They should move forward with this solution NOW.
Funnel your different segments by sorting them from top to bottom. At the top, you’ll have those who are just reading and getting to know your content. Then, in the middle, you’ll have the users who will provide information, like their email address. At the bottom, users should be primed to convert or subscribe.
That’s one flow or path. And it needs to be repeated for each individual customer segment you have.
Tiny businesses might only have one target segment.
But you more than likely have at least a few. There might even be three to five customer personas already.
That’s tricky. Because you’ve just made your life exponentially more difficult when it comes to paid, performance-based campaigns.
You want those targeted audiences to be as small and defined as possible. But multiple segments makes that almost impossible.
So instead, you gotta get a little creative:
- You can have people simply self-select and tell you exactly who or what they are.
- You can also use personalization on steroids in order to pull in past browsing data and other ‘implicit’ information to figure out who’s who.
- And then you can use funnel segmentation to align your messaging based on channels/mediums, and/or funnel stage.
None of this is easy. Or straightforward. Or fun.
But ultimately, your ability to match an appropriate offer to each visitor’s intent has a far greater impact on results.