4 Reasons Why It Pays to Personalize Everything

We're moving into an age where we have the ability to personalize every interaction with customers. Every page they see, every email they get can speak directly to them and their challenges.

Yet most companies are only using this wealth of data and techniques in the most cursory way. Though 85% of organizations in a recent Evergage study were implementing some personalization, most of this was only basic email personalization - the customary “Hey {{first_name}}!" merge tag.


Most marketers only give themselves a “C” grade for their current personalization initiatives. They're more worried about making mistakes than seeing the fantastic potential of these techniques.

You're missing out if you don't take advantage of these methods. Here are four reasons you should be personalizing every stage of your customer interactions.





It Makes Tech Way More Personal


Personalization makes tech more personal? Say it ain't so!

But the nuance of this can be lost in the pursuit of higher conversion rates. Personalization is about value to the customer, not about value to the company. As John Bonini at Litmus says:

Personalization is about so much more than a [first_name]. It’s about understanding what drives a person’s decision making process, where they are in that process, and placing all of it within the context of their specific challenges.

Personalization should be more than just personalized messaging. Much more. Everyone that comes to your product has their own specific challenges that need to be addressed. If these problems aren't solved by your product, the customer will not see the value and will churn.

Each interaction you have with your customers is a potential point of personalization:

  • First visit: Where are they coming from? Who referred them? A new visitor clicking through a PPC Facebook ad about a specific feature should receive a tailored experience around that feature.
  • Onboarding: If all new users are bucketed in the same onboarding flow, then you can't be addressing their individual challenges. By personalizing your onboarding flows by the role of the customer, you can highlight features that will expressly help those individuals.
  • Upgrades: If you are tracking customers throughout their lifecycle you can personalize the cadence of upgrade emails depending on their usage within your product. If you know they are hitting the limits of their current tier for one feature, then you can start to drip emails to them about an upgrade.

Behavioral email tools (we use and love Customer.io) allow us to do exactly that. We can reach out to certain groups of users and not only personalize according to their profile data, but also to their behavioral data. This allows us to get value to the right people at the right time.





It Increases Conversion Rates


If you are one of those C-grades hoping that a personalized greeting in an email is good enough to get increased conversion rates then you're out of luck. Clichéd personalization doesn't work. Personalization can produce higher conversion and retention rates, but these are a byproduct of the great personalized experience you are providing for your customers.

The same study which taught us cliched personalization doesn't work also showed that consumers can have a positive response to more useful personalization, such as product preferences. This is true out in the field as well:

Here is what Panaya’s homepage looked like when a prospect from an organization using Oracle came to the website. Notice the messaging, videos, and logos — all are personalized to target Oracle users:”



In all these cases the personalization worked because it allowed the companies involved to target more relevant information to their customers.

Relevance is motivating. If you can present CTAs that guide a visitor to information relevant to them (personalized for their role, for instance) then you provide more value and get more customers.





It Provides a Competitive Advantage


A personalized site is always going to have the advantage over a non-personalized site.

Take pricing. This might seem like one of the few elements of your site you can't personalize. However, almost every SaaS company does this as a matter of course. They segment pricing across tiers for each of their buyer personas.

But the personalization of pricing shouldn't stop there. As Patrick Campbell of Price Intelligently says:

We’ve seen time and time again through our customers where those who localize their prices are often growing at a quicker rate overall, and definitely growing quicker in their localized regions - sometimes at levels of 30% or more than their counterparts.

This is personalization through localization. Not every customer is going to come from Silicon Valley. You can determine the locale of your visitors through IP address or geolocation, and knowing this gives you information specific to their location.

With pricing, this type of personalization can take two forms:

  1. Cosmetic personalization: This is a matter of changing currencies from dollar amounts to euros, sterling, or yuan depending on the location of the incoming visitor. It could also include changing certain elements of your page, including the actual language it's presented in. This reduces friction for the users.
  2. True localization: Pricing localization can go further than cosmetic currency changes. You could consider changing your actual price depending on the willingness to pay in different markets. Developers in Europe are willing to pay 20-30% more for a product than their US counterparts. By localizing pricing you could take advantage of this differential.

By personalizing your site like this, you have that advantage. Not only are you reducing friction for customers, therefore making it more convenient for them, but you are also potentially tapping into differences in price sensitivity depending on where your customers are from.





It's The Future


Just like riding Elon's rocket ship to Mars, personalization is something we'll all be doing in the future. So you should start now.

Currently, most customization is through segmentation. But segmentation is still only broad categorization, not true personalization à la Savile Row suits. The future will see a shift towards tailor-made 1:1 personalization. Some companies are already doing this:

  • Segment uses data to identify strong, high-value leads during the sign up process and then reaches out to them before they transition into onboarding. This means the team can uncover the specific challenges of these important customers and guide them through the value of Segment personally.
  • Drift uses their own product, a real-time chat widget to chat with their customers and help them learn the tool. They can have in-depth conversations with customers when they are using Drift, finding pain points and personally guiding them through the setup process.

Adding these full-on personalized touches requires significant effort and a dedicated customer success team. The next step then is to automate this 1:1 personalization.

This is where algorithmic personalization may start to take over. As visitors with specific traits visit your site and interact, your site could “learn” what they like and start pushing that content forward. By using all the data points available on your customer you can dynamically serve content specific to them.

Your site could pull the right content for a 31-year old account executive at a microbrewery in Manitoba. A 56-year old solopreneur from the Seychelles. A 15-year old Wunderkind developer from München.


There are almost no limits to personalization. The data is available. By looking for every avenue of personalization, you not only increase your conversion rates, but you also give your customers a better experience. Their journey will be tailored to them, and fit them as well as a Savile Row suit.

About the Author:


Matt Sornson is on the growth team at Clearbit where he hacks on marketing, sales, and data loops. You can find him on Twitter @mattsornson or the old fashioned way - matt@clearbit.com.