Targeted Messages

How to develop language to reach key buyers.

Diana Lillicrap 10.6.2021


The best brand stories, messages, and taglines should feel relevant to all of your audiences. If you have that in place, great. Now you’re ready to move on to targeted messages that can speak a bit more directly to each buyer segment you are trying to reach.

The goal with a targeted message is to make a specific audience or category of buyer feel like you understand their pain points and wants. A targeted message should build upon your overall brand messages, not repeat them. This is the opportunity to get into more details and proof points, and emotionally connect with what matters most to that audience.

How do you decide which messages you need?

Start by defining and prioritizing your goals. Do you want to enter a new industry segment? Do you need to hire more employees? Do you want to get repeat business with existing customers? Once you are clear on what you are trying to accomplish, you can easily determine which audiences influence success. Most organizations land on 3 – 5 targeted messages as a reasonable amount to create, communicate, and manage.

What should you include in the message?

Next, spend some time thinking about each target audience. What do they care about? What fears or stress points do they have? What might be influencing their decision? Here’s a helpful empathy map exercise to guide your thinking. Once you’ve defined what they want, determine how your brand can specifically deliver to them in a way that is relevant and different from other options. Make sure you use first-person language that speaks directly to them, not at them. Incorporate emotionally connective phrases that will make them feel like you really understand and empathize with what they care most about. And don’t forget a call to action or ending that drives the message home and guides them to take a next step with your brand.

It’s also a good idea to test the messages before you start using them broadly. A quick qualitative study can uncover any tweaks that might be needed to be more relevant, avoid odd word choices that may not resonate, or just validate that the message is meaningful to your intended targets.

Where and when do you use the messages?

Once you have your targeted messages in place you are set to start using them. The opportunities are broad. It might be in direct communications (like a proposal letter), targeted campaigns (like social media, radio ads, or mailings), or even in sales dialog (train your sellers to use the new language). However you apply them, think holistically about the brand experience so your new language aligns with the right channel, tool, and design that reinforces your message and understanding of the target audience. The outcome will be a more effective communication and a more meaningful brand experience.

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