The top 3 things to personalize on your website

If you’re thinking about personalizing the content of your website, chances are you’ve asked yourself:

What, then, should I personalize?

Remember that at the root of all personalization efforts there’s input data — i.e., what we know about the individual viewing our website.

Some of this we can pick up from what the browser tells us about how they’re behaving:

  • Where they came from (referring sites or specific ads)
  • What they’re doing (content consumed)
  • What their headers or IP tell us (location, preferred language, screen resolution)

And if we’re signing customers up, to our list and/or our app, we also can tell:

  • Whether we know who they are
  • Information we’ve collected about them (name, business type)
  • Their past interactions with us (products purchased, webinars attended)

The fun begins once we have sufficient input data to work with.

#1: Catering to known visitors

If someone is on your list or is a customer, they should not see any opt-in forms on your website — embedded, exit intent, or otherwise.

And if they’re a customer of your SaaS, they shouldn’t be asked to sign up for a product they’re already a customer of.

When someone opts-in to your list or creates / signs-in to their account, write a cookie that doesn’t expire.

#2: Dynamic opt-ins

Content upgrades, or showing an opt-in specific to the page or article being viewed, typically outperforms (often at 10x+) standard site-wide lead magnets.

Before going out and creating custom content upgrades for each article of yours, take a second to think about why they work so well.

Content upgrades work because they’re typically more relevant than more general lead magnets.

If I’m reading an article on how to make sure my invoices get paid, a “Getting Paid On-Time” checklist is probably going to outperform your general “Never miss a new article” call-to-action.

But can we find some middle ground?

Absolutely. I’ve had a lot of success taking my sitewide lead magnet, an email course called Charge What You’re Worth, and personalizing how I pitch it to the individual.

If I know you’re a web designer and struggling to win projects, the call-to-action you see will appear as if it were designed just for you:

But this gets me most of the way there in making sure what I’m delivering is highly relevant to the person on the receiving end, and this continuity of relevance started the first time she saw my call-to-action at the footer of an article.

Doing this is a bit trickier. You’re going to need to do multi-pass personalization, which means taking one data point and changing things, and then taking another and changing more things, etc.

#3: Showing relevant testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to overcome the doubt of “will this thing actually help me?”

“Ah, this product has helped people like me. Therefore, it can probably help me.”

Highly niched websites with narrowly targeted audiences have it easy with testimonials (assuming they have a few good ones!)

If their customers are largely alike, it’s easy to see how a product can help you if it’s already helped a lot of people like you.

But what happens when you cater to a diverse customer base?

Does the freelance copywriter really have all that much in common with a 30-person software consultancy? Maybe not — but there’s a good chance they can both benefit from, say, invoicing software.

But if the freelance copywriter is seeing only testimonials from large software teams, is he going to feel like this product was designed for him (which is all anyone really wants)? No.

And if the project manager at an international software consultancy is scanning through a smorgasbord of success stories: designers, marketers, writers, developers, and so on… is she going to feel like this product was designed just for her team? No.

What needs to happen is the viewer needs to reconcile the half-baked sales copy and the spread of testimonials to determine: “But can this really, really help me?”

A few make it through that internal funnel.

By taking into account what you know (or think you know) about someone and changing your testimonials accordingly, you’re going to end up with less doubt and more relevance.

You’ve probably heard of “product/market fit”.

Displaying highly-relevant testimonials from people who demographically align with the viewer and have solved a similar problem the ones the viewer has goes a long way to create “product/individual fit”.

And that’s what we want: fewer opportunities for the individual on the other end to think, “But is this right for someone like me?”

Technically, showing relevant testimonials is similar to showing relevant opt-in CTAs. At the end of the day, it’s all just webpage content.

But you’re going to want to have a database of testimonials, segmented by demographic, need, etc., and have the ability to generate a unique set of testimonials that you can display on your website given what you know about the visitor.


We’ve put a lot into RightMessage to make all of this simple to do — even if you’re a non-developer.

I haven’t talked much about this yet, but our multi-pass personalization filters allow you take the confidence scores of your segments, along with other more empirical data, and create highly personalized content.

For example, if we’re entirely unsure about who someone is, we’ll help you show a diverse list of testimonials. And as we begin to learn more about the viewer via their actions, we’ll start to refine down that list…

If we thought “they’re either a designer or a developer”, the testimonials list will become populated with only designers and developers.

And if we learned that they’re most definitely a designer, the list can be further refined to just show designers.

Personalization is just common sense. Offline, it’s the norm. It’s time we made it easy to personalize your online “static” content.

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