Intercom's 6 strategies to convert customers on their website
Breaking down the strategies that Intercom uses to solidify their positioning, personalise their messaging and convert customers on their website.
By Sumit Hegde
We get it. Intercom is huge.
They've got over $80 million in annual recurring revenue.
They have 100,000+ active monthly customers. Their website traffic grows like WILD watermelons, every month.
Intercom changed how support worked. It made business personal. It made strides in customer messaging and automation.
But our focus for today isn't the IMPACT of Intercom so much as HOW they show this value in their messaging.
Today we'll be looking at what the whole deal with their website and marketing is—how do they get so much traffic to their website? What did they do to solidify their positioning? How do they convert visitors? What does the fox say?
I don't need to convince you to read this article, right?
Intercom's strategy to figure out the right messaging
The year was 2011. A lot of important things were happening all at once. Twilight's Breaking Dawn. The Royal Wedding. The Occupy Wall Street Movement.
But especially...Intercom's launch.
And Intercom's co-founder Des Traynor had the most amazing, mind blowing, crazy strategy in mind to acquire customers.
Emailing prospects by hand. One by one. Yep.
He could have used automation. He could have taken a different route.
But nothing beats knowing your customers first-hand.
To really understand what each of your customers needs, you need to get to the root of their problems.
By talking to your customers.
You don't even have to talk to every single customer you have. You just need to find your best customers, and understand them.
The ones who love your product and have used it consistently. The good reviewers.
They will tell you who your product is best for, and why.
When you do thorough customer research, you understand why your product appeals to your audience. You tighten up your messaging. You learn what to say to make them convert.
In the words of the mythical creature Des Traynor:
There is no big secret to identifying what your customers need.
The secret is YOU ASK THEM. You talk to them, and you find out.
When you understand these common confusions, you address them—in your marketing, in your emails, on your website. You make sure all objections are answered, and all use cases covered.
And when you speak to them personally, you figure out what works for the segment they belong to. You find common patterns among your audiences, you segment them and you show the segments what helps them most.
As Des says—
This was on a very hands-on level.
Every email was personalised, specifically written for the reader.
But when you take this same technique and scale it, you get messaging that applies to a whole section of your audience equally.
The Jobs to be Done Approach in marketing
Showing why you're the best product in the market
Intercom used this framework to position their software and nail their marketing.
What is the job that Intercom is doing in its customers' lives? What are people 'hiring' your software to do?
Intercom answers this in three, sliced segments. Lead Generation. Customer Support. Customer engagement.
Intercom vows to do nothing more, nothing less than these three jobs that customers hire it for, and this is what makes it such a great tool.
Your customers are using your product to perform a particular job, to solve a very specific problem.
Look at it this way: Why do people buy pencils? If you REALLY put your mind to it, a pencil can be used quite creatively.
Your pencil could have a hundred different uses: but which is the ONE use people buy your pencil for?
Do they buy it to write? To sketch? To twirl their hair around? To use as chopsticks? To drum a table with?
What is your product best adapted for?
Perhaps your pencil is the perfect length and material for scooping noodles and you don't even know!
Your task is to decide:
Which of these many jobs is your product best at? What is the job your best customers hire you for?
The JOB that Intercom really does is making customer communication easier, faster and more human.
Before Intercom, there were support forms. They were emails. There was the boring ticket system. (I'd rather watch 3 Adam Sandler movies back to back than talk to someone through the ticketing system).
Intercom made communication a way for businesses to build relationships with their customers.
It helped qualify leads, engage and support customers in a dynamic, fresh way.
The job Intercom does is help you talk to your customers. It solves the problem of bad, slow, inefficient and robotic customer communication.
Intercom works for all kinds of businesses, no matter the size. But one size does not fit all. So what does Intercom do?
Create landing pages with specific messaging that tackle each particular audience's needs, anxieties and desires.
The above-the-fold section for Intercom's Early Stage Startups landing page talks about growth and illustrates 'building':
The biggest concern for early stage startups is....you guessed it...money.
Intercom offers new startups a special discount to get them to convert, knowing that within a year, all their data will be fully integrated and the users will develop an attachment to the product, at which point they are not going to leave.
It's like a roommate you get used to. You're not going to leave just because they've started vaping??
For mid-sized businesses, Intercom has a different message. It's all about the next big thing, the upcoming goal and the illustration shows a wide sky of potential:
Notice the change in the CTA?
The offer completely changes when we're talking to two different types of audiences, and that is what your website should be doing too!
At the mid-stage, businesses are focussing on expanding, retaining and acquiring more customers and making sure their growth does not STOP.
And that's what Intercom's landing page focusses on.
With 'Intercom for Enterprise', Intercom goes for the 'make personal conversations, but at scale' angle—you know it makes sense!
The big question here is:
What different kinds and sizes of businesses benefit from my software the most?
Your audience can probably be split into different segments, depending on the size of the business and the kind of business they do. Use it to craft messaging that hits home for them, specifically.
Why different use-cases need different pushes and prices
You thought this was just about 'WHO' was using your product?
Think again, cowboys, because it's also about 'HOW' they're using it.
Remember, the job stays the same. For form-builders, it'll be collecting and displaying data.
But what is the end-result of all this collected data?
What outcome are we heading towards?
These are the mini-jobs within the main job.
And these are the questions your use-case landing pages answer for your different audiences.
Let's go back to the form-builder—the reason your marketing team creates forms is not the same reason your customer success team makes forms.
The function of your product differs for different people. You need to tell visitors how your product can help them do THEIR specific job better.
Intercom's landing page for customer support focusses on how you can provide faster and better support, with the almost the same features.
It shows the benefits of using the software on customer happiness and problem-resolution:
But marketers don't care about happier customers. They don't care about customer issues and fast response times so much.
They care about increasing the revenue by bringing in more customers. They care about features that help them close prospects.
So why treat them the same?
Intercom shows this section of their audience the outcomes they want:
Everything on the page is designed for that specific use case, including customer stories, like these for lead generation: