Until 2022, it seemed like operating an online business was all figured out. Most invested in targeted ads to drive traffic and profits, with additional advantages for newsletter signups and return visits.
But the landscape shifted when customer acquisition costs skyrocketed and put the survival of many businesses at risk.
So, many try to use all the tools to engage visitors (live chat, chatbots, popups, widgets, push notifications, etc.), often without any strategic approach. Add the mandatory cookie consent and the website experience can be easily ruined:
Successful businesses, on the other hand, are aware that selling is essentially a form of human communication. They recognize that humans are not mere robots but rather complex individuals filled with aspirations, uncertainties, and sometimes a propensity to forget.
Onsite marketing is the strategy that incorporates this nuanced human layer into your website.
This strategy uses extensive segmentation data that maps your customer’s journey from discovery to purchase and beyond, fostering loyalty by crafting personalized experiences that make your customers feel valued and understood.
As a result, businesses find out that they don’t need more traffic to start getting more sales. They often need to focus on the experiences of their existing customers.
In this first-ever guide, you’ll learn how onsite marketing can help you engage and convert your customers at that best possible moment: when they are on your website.
Definition of Onsite Marketing
Onsite marketing is a strategic approach to engaging and converting website visitors with campaigns based on their behavior and data: how they found the website, what they bought there during previous sessions, what pages they are viewing, etc. These campaigns create personalized experiences on websites that lead to more conversions.
A unique feature of onsite marketing is that it combines all website visitor engagement tools (popups, bars, the notification feed, chatbots, landing pages, embeds, etc.) into one cohesive plan that focuses on meeting the needs of specific visitor groups or even a particular visitor.
|Traditional way||Onsite marketing way|
|Show all marketing messages right away after visitors land on your page, to maximize the reach||Show messages that are timed to be meaningful and engaging for each customer journey|
|Display the same marketing campaign to all visitors||Run several campaigns with personalized messages for different visitor groups, based on their behavior, buying history, and devices they’re using|
|Use all the onsite tools (chatbots, popups, etc.) at the same time, often offering the same deal||Mix and rotate onsite tools to create personalized onsite experiences and maximize conversions|
|Look to competitors for new ideas of campaigns to convert visitors||Look at customer behavior data (including from onsite tools) to understand your customers’ goals and find engagement opportunities|
|Use basic formats to try to convert your visitors (like, a newsletter signup popup on all pages)||Use fun and interactive layouts that engage visitors with experiences they'll appreciate more|
As a result, onsite marketing empowers marketing managers to experiment with different strategies that integrate seamlessly within the website’s experience, without requiring any developer’s assistance.
"The past definition of onsite marketing was very broad and touched mainly SEO, content creation, landing page copy, etc. Though still crucial aspects of successful inbound marketing, they don't follow the new needs and trends we observe on modern websites.
Now, with the acquisition costs and competition skyrocketing, focusing on website experience and new strategies to convert visitors is as crucial as ever.
That's why we decided to define what onsite marketing is and is not—to make it easier for marketing folks to plan, execute, measure, and improve their onsite marketing strategies and grow their businesses."
Understanding Onsite Marketing
Importance of Onsite Marketing in Today’s Online Business Landscape
With the constantly evolving online marketplace, it has become increasingly important for businesses to focus on engaging visitors on their websites rather than relying solely on external channels.
There are several compelling reasons why this shift in focus is crucial for the success of online businesses:
Customer acquisition costs. They have skyrocketed in recent years: if you want 100 buyers, you just need to increase your traffic to 5,000. Assuming that CPC in Google ads is $1, you must spend $5k to get those 100 customers. By prioritizing engagement on your own website, you can make the most of the existing customer base and reduce the need for costly customer acquisition.
Need for a better brand experience. Customers today expect more than just a static set of pages—they need a great brand experience. By focusing on engaging visitors on their websites, businesses have the opportunity to deliver better experiences: personalized and engaging. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also strengthens brand loyalty.
Opportunity to personalize at scale. The digital ecosystem has evolved to enable online businesses of all sizes to do marketing personalization at scale without complex setups or coding. Through data collection and integrations, businesses now have access to valuable insights about their customers' preferences, behaviors, and demographics. This data can be used to personalize the website experience for each visitor, providing them with relevant content, product recommendations, and tailored offers.
Onsite Marketing vs. Offsite Marketing
Onsite marketing and offsite marketing are two distinct approaches used by businesses to promote their products or services, but they differ in terms of location and strategies employed.
Onsite marketing refers to the activities and strategies that businesses implement within their websites. This includes marketing done with website banners, popups, onsite notifications, landing pages, etc. Onsite marketing primarily focuses on converting visitors into leads or customers as well as enhancing the overall brand experience.
Offsite marketing involves reaching potential customers through channels and platforms that are external to the business's own properties. This includes tactics like social media marketing, influencer partnerships, content marketing on third-party websites, and paid advertising on Google, Bing, Facebook, etc. Offsite marketing aims to increase brand awareness, reach new audiences, and drive traffic to the website.
Combining onsite and offsite marketing techniques can result in a well-rounded strategy that maximizes visibility, engagement, and conversion opportunities.
Core Elements of Onsite Marketing
There are three key aspects of onsite marketing:
1. Data about visitors
What are they looking for on your website? How did they find you? What have they bought from you already?
2. Onsite browsing behavior
What products/pages did they visit? How did they interact with your store? What sales funnel stage are they at?
3. Engagement tools
What do you engage your visitors with? Popups, banners, onsite notifications, custom landing pages, chatbots, etc.?
You need to combine these three aspects to create onsite campaigns to display the right message at the right time to the right visitors:
And when we create such campaigns and target the right people, this combination will become much more strategic. It’ll become clearer which campaign format and offer might be the most effective in specific scenarios.
Benefits of Onsite Marketing
Combine onsite tools into one strategy
Businesses use many tools to engage visitors: signup forms, live chat, bars, popups, etc. But they often treat them as separate channels. That makes websites pushy in the way they communicate with visitors.
Onsite marketers, on the other hand, make those tools work together.
For example, the notification feed can share a product announcement, which, if clicked, leads visitors to that product’s page. There, if the visitor adds a product to the cart, a popup can appear and display upsell offers or free shipping threshold reminders:
This way, you can:
Get a sale
Increase the average order value
Make customers explore more of your products
Ultimately, you can create unique journeys for first-time and returning visitors, paid and organic visitors, etc.
Make shopping experience more personalized
About 71% of customers want personalized experiences from businesses.
Onsite marketing gets you started by allowing you to target your visitors (creating personalized experiences at the segment level):
Paid (from paid ads)
Organic (from Google)
Also, you can also target visitors who:
View X pages on your website
Click on a page element (button, image, etc.)
Add a product to the shopping cart
Have a specific device
Come from a specific location
By creating custom campaigns for these segments/customer categories, you can greatly improve the shopping experience for your visitors.
See how other businesses are using the feed to the fullest:
Get more sales and conversions
About 78% of online shoppers who had a positive and engaging experience are more likely to come back to your site.
If they keep visiting, their repeat interactions with your onsite campaigns will give you first-hand data to use to make ever-more relevant experiences.
Suppose you run paid ad campaigns to drive traffic to your store.
You can display a popup campaign ONLY to those paid visitors with a specific incentive to buy. A/B test different incentives to find out what converts better and you’ll get a higher conversion rate:
Onsite Marketing Case Studies & Examples
These examples will show you how online businesses are using the principles of onsite marketing to achieve diverse marketing goals.
1. OddBalls: Building a waitlist and getting sales with the onsite notification feed
OddBalls created two campaigns in the onsite notification feed.
The first campaign’s goal was to build a waitlist for a product they were about to launch (the look from inside Wisepops):
The second campaign was designed to promote a discount code to encourage visitors to buy (the look from how it looked on the website when opened):
If the brand had done this promotion the traditional way, there would have been a single campaign to share the code and a website banner for the product announcement.
But OddBalls already had other campaigns for newsletter subscription and generating sales with a product giveaway running. So, they made dedicated, non-intrusive campaigns in the onsite feed.
An interesting aspect of this onsite marketing example is that the team OddBalls engaged visitors who are at different stages of the buying journey by letting them explore the store on their own.
The visitors who opened the feed and saw the messages turned out to be high-intent shoppers, as the performance of both campaigns demonstrated.
Here’s what Dan Mitchell, an ecommerce manager at OddBalls, had to say about the campaigns:
“The product announcement campaign collected nearly 700 emails—in comparison, the Facebook post got only 150!
As for the second campaign, roughly 50% of all orders made use of this code on our online store. The code that was used in this notification has helped to generate around £50k revenue for OddBalls.”
Installing the onsite notification feed is easy.
Here's a quick video tutorial:
2. Soi Paris: Getting more sales with a gamified Easter egg hunt campaign
This example is simple and brilliant: one popup announcing that there are three eggs with discounts on the website (below) and three egg-shaped popups on product pages.
Shoppers were invited to join the egg hunt on the homepage by this campaign:
The three “eggs” were beautifully designed and easy to notice (all visitors had to do is go to a few product pages, which also helped with product exploration):
When shoppers found eggs and clicked on them, they saw a discount code in a small popup (below). Also, there was a countdown timer (since this was a 48-hour sale):
In the end, this engaging onsite campaign was a huge success:
“We are really satisfied with the results of this campaign, it exceeded our expectations. In three days, it helped generate 42% of our revenue (month to date) with a nice average order value. We also received a lot of positive feedback from our customers. They really enjoyed our egg hunt!”
If you’d like to know how this onsite marketing campaign was made, here’s a video with Lisa, our head of customer success, recreating it:
3. Charlotte Bio: Increasing engagement with time-limited sales and getting more orders
In a traditional way, promoting a sale with a popup means just posting it on the homepage. In many cases, a campaign like that would lead to subpar results.
Charlotte Bio, however, combined three campaigns into one. Instead of the traditional popup, they did the following:
Announced the upcoming sale on social media and email
Let visitors know that the sale started with separate popup campaigns for mobile and desktop users
Made sure that the discount code was always accessible (even for those who closed the popup) by adding it to the top of their store in a website bar
Here’s how this campaign worked:
The shoppers who visited Charlotte Bio’s website during the sale saw this popup with the discount code (that they could easily apply to the cart with one click).
The desktop campaign:
And the mobile campaign:
If visitors chose to close the popup without applying the code, they could still get it at any time.
As mentioned, a website bar appeared to the visitors who closed the popup without copying the code (below). Also, note that the bar had a countdown timer to generate a sense of urgency:
So, when customers found something they wanted to buy and were ready to make a purchase, they were able to access the code again.
The results of this campaign:
“The campaign generated six times more customers in six hours than we get on a full regular day, which we really did not expect.”
Now, you can still use a traditional way: make one popup to share discounts.
But, if you personalize it for desktop and mobile shoppers and add a bar with a countdown, you can get more sales, as you’ll allow customers to buy when it’s most convenient for them.
4. 4Murs: Combining the onsite and brick-and-mortar experience to get leads and sales
Another creative product giveaway campaign that involved:
QR code on a piece of furniture in a physical store (Lucerne buffet, priced €299,90)
An onsite campaign that appeared on the 4MURS website only to those customers who scanned the code in-store
Julie Azorit, one of the architects of this creative campaign, explains:
“We wanted to set up an in-store campaign to work on lead acquisition and contact enrichment through a competition. We therefore set up an in-store communication relaying the pop-up via a QR code to encourage visitors to take part in the competition to try and win a piece of furniture.
The pop-up was only displayed on the website to people who came from this QR code. This campaign allowed us to acquire new email OPTINs and to enrich our 1st party data (with the date of birth) in an omnichannel way.”
Instead of going the traditional way, they made a campaign for high-intent customers: those who were looking at the buffet (and probably considering buying it).
This was the popup created to appear on 4MURS website after scanning the code:
The result was an impressive 81.7% conversion rate, proving that the campaign attracted and converted high-intent customers:
5. Zola: Personalizing landing pages to different visitor groups to increase website engagement and lead generation
Zola offers us a great example of onsite marketing with landing pages. Their website displays different landing pages to visitors coming from different sources to convert different segments of customers.
Take Zola’s two “wedding website” landing pages as an example. The website displays this page to direct and organic visitors (in other words, potential customers with some awareness of Zola):
The design is different for paid ad visitors (those who are interested in building a wedding website but not aware of Zola).
In the version displayed to paid ad visitors, the page features more prominent CTA buttons, a different copy, and lists website templates above the fold where it’s easier to spot them:
Also, if the visitors spend about five seconds on the page, they will also get this popup campaign, sharing even more benefits of trying Zola:
Note that the popup mentions QR code integrations. That’s also relevant for couples planning a wedding. It also means that Zola is using this campaign to introduce visitors to the broader wedding planning toolkit they provide.
That campaign is a great example of how you can additionally motivate paid visitors to try your product or service by giving them more reasons.
Onsite Marketing FAQ
1. Can you summarize onsite marketing in a few sentences?
Onsite marketing is a way to convert more website visitors and increase sales. Unlike traditional ways, it combines all the onsite tools of visitor engagement (website popups, bars, signup forms, live chat, etc.) into one cohesive strategy. Using onsite marketing allows to create more personalized shopping experiences on websites.
2. Do I need to be an experienced marketer to use onsite marketing?
Not at all. All onsite marketing tools are beginner-friendly—even a one-person marketing team can achieve major results. There’s no need to have design skills to create campaign designs, either.
3. How many apps do I need for onsite marketing?
You can run most campaigns with Wisepops, the first dedicated onsite marketing platform. It includes popups of all kinds, the notification feed, bars, and embeds. For other tools like chatbots and live chat, you can find an all-in-one app, too.
4. How does onsite marketing differ from traditional ways of engaging website visitors?
Onsite marketing uses more data and analytics to create a personalized, relevant experience for every type of website visitor (new, returning, cart abandoner, paid/organic visitor, etc.). That’s why onsite marketing can help businesses convert more website visitors compared to traditional, one-size-fits-all strategies.
Pawel is the Head of Growth at Wisepops and an expert in lead generation, popups, and onsite marketing.
With over a decade of experience in digital marketing, he has both build marketing teams from scratch and led strategic business growth projects.
Pawel has worked with countless online businesses on marketing strategies and is now sharing his knowledge on the Wisepops blog.