3 Strategies for Increasing Anonymous Opt-Ins

By Brennan Dunn

The 2017 State of Personalization Report determined that consumers are willing to spend more money when brands deliver “targeted” recommendations. And yet, 71% of consumers express a level of frustration due to a lack of personalization.

This basically means, brands are leaving money on the table. Because a lack of personalization leads to poor conversions.

Are you speaking directly to each visitor of your website?

Chances are, you’re not.

Most websites are static. They say the same thing to every visitor.

But what if you could “look” at the person visiting, make some assumptions, and change the way you speak to them?

You and I know that attention is in short supply.

Jakob Nielsen’s web usability study from 1997 showed that 79% of web users scan rather than read.

“Think about how you use the web. You’re in search of information. And if you don’t find it on the page you’re visiting, you click away and look elsewhere.”

In our digital world of competing tabs and devices, getting someone to hear us out is extremely challenging.

The easiest way to get someone’s attention is to speak to them and their needs, directly. In other words, make your content and marketing messages relevant, not to your overall readers, but rather, directly relevant to the individual person (or buyer persona) that’s reading.

But how does this work when someone isn’t yet in your system? What if the person visiting your website is totally anonymous?

You can tell a lot about somebody based on what website referred them and, if coming from a search engine, what page they landed on. And for those that have accrued a handful of page views, we can draw some conclusions based off of what they’ve read.

Below are 3 tactics you can use to increase your site’s relevance for anonymous traffic.

#1: Personalizing based off referral source

Nathan Barry runs converkit.com, en email marketing tool designed for professional bloggers. One of his biggest referrers is Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.

Pat refers ConvertKit from his recommended resources page along with a handful of articles on his blog, and sends massive amounts of traffic with the goal of turning some of those referrals into ongoing affiliate payments.

It’s in both Pat and Nathan’s interest to convert as many people as possible. To do that, they’re going to want to ensure that there’s continuity between Smart Passive Income and ConvertKit.

What if you could tweak a few parts of your existing marketing site?

  • You could change the headline that greets a referred visitor to be something like “The email marketing app Pat Flynn trusts.”
  • The very first testimonial visitors see should be from Pat
  • Since inbound traffic is interested in passive income, ConvertKit’s automation features should be prioritized on the features page.
  • If the visitor lands on the sign-up or pricing page, Pat’s smiling mug (a trust element) should be there too.

By making a few minor tweaks — swapping out a headline to talk about how Pat uses ConvertKit, by changing a single testimonial, etc. — ConvertKit could achieve the same lift in relevance that a dedicated landing page delivers and they could carry that theme (trusting Pat Flynn + interested in passive income) throughout the rest of their site.


Fortunately, with a tool like RightMessage and a few minutes of your time, you can increase how relevant your website is to the traffic you're already getting.

In marketing and advertising terms, we call this having a good “message match.”

Pat’s audience is made up of people who want to make passive income online, typically through affiliate marketing. Pat positions ConverKit as a tool that can help affiliate marketers drive their audience to recommended tools that, when purchased, provide an affiliate commission.

So when Pat sends someone to ConvertKit, the messaging and positioning of the product should be tailored to Pat’s audience. Practically speaking, this might mean changing the marketing copy to speak to affiliate marketers, include testimonials from other affiliate marketers who are crushing it with ConvertKit, and referencing how successful ConvertKit has made Pat (someone who is known and trusted by this traffic channel) throughout the site .

Why does this work? Because people want personalized content. They want to be told how the product or service that they’re looking at is relevant to them. If they can’t figure this out, they’re going to make a mad rush for the back button.

Takeaway: By understanding the audience of a referring URL or domain, you can make sweeping changes to the messaging of the site. You can also include references (like testimonials) to the personality or brand that referred you.

#2: Personalizing based off of entry pages from search

For better or worse, search engines don’t send keyword data along with search traffic any longer.

But for much of our organic traffic — especially those that stumble upon highly targeted blog articles — we can glean a lot about who someone is based on how they showed up on our website. 

If someone first shows up on a landing page comparing your software with a competitors, you can probably assume that they were looking for “$COMPETITOR alternatives” or “$YOUR_PRODUCT vs $COMPETITOR”.

And while the landing page you’ve created undoubtedly speaks to the differences between your software and a particular competitor, that continuity is likely lost if they move to the homepage, pricing page, features page, etc.

If you can track that they originally landed on a comparison article, your homepage can feature a testimonial from someone who moved over from said competitor. “I used to use $COMPETITOR, but since moving to $YOUR_PRODUCT…” You could also anchor your feature set and costs against your competitor’s should they end up on your pricing page. And so on.

Likewise, an organic visitor who lands on an highly targeted blog post or case study makes a great opportunity for auto-segmenting. If you run a product that helps creators sell their courses, and someone lands on an article targeting YouTubers, it’s safe to assume they’re a YouTuber. Is it a perfect science? No. But accurate enough? Yes.

Then you could tailor your blog’s call-to-action to speak directly to the YouTuber who wants to sell courses, provide testimonials on your marketing site from other YouTubers, and tailor your features to talk to the needs of YouTubers, you’re going to increase the relevance of your product. And you’re going to get more sales. 

Takeaway: When you’ve developed your audience personas, figure out the overlap between these personas and key pages on your site. When organic traffic lands upon one of these pages, assume the visitor is a member of this segment and personalize accordingly.

#3: Personalizing based off of the type of content someone's engaged with

You’ve heard how content upgrades perform 10x’s better than regular, end-of-article lead magnets. Why? Because they’re specific to the article the visitor is reading right now.

Again, relevance.

But what if you changed your article CTA’s, exit modals, homepage opt-in, and more depending on consumption trends?

On DoubleYourFreelancing.com, I used to have a standard call-to-action for Charge What You’re Worth, my primary lead magnet. Whether you’re on my homepage or reading an article, if you’re anonymous you’re going to be prompted to opt-in for this email course.

Results were pretty good. The homepage converted around 8% of anonymous traffic and individual articles usually netted around 2%. 

What was interesting was that articles on pricing regularly converted at around 4%, or twice as much as non-pricing articles. 

And it made sense: if someone’s reading an article on pricing, and up comes a call-to-action about an email course on charging more, it’s going to perform better than someone who’s reading an article on getting clients and sees the same CTA.

So I tried something...

I took the same lead magnet (Charge What You’re Worth) and tailored the call-to-action to reflect the highest read category over the last 30 article views.

The majority of anonymous traffic had nowhere near 30 article views, but many were sticking to reading one particular category. By changing both the blog CTA’s and the homepage hero CTA to reflect the most-read category of the viewer, we were able to get global article opt-ins up to closer to 3% on articles (50% lift) and around 11% on the homepage (38% lift).

Takeaway: Track what content type someone has consumed the most of, and assume that’s what they’re most interested in. Optionally weigh the landing page, especially for organic traffic, higher than most typical page views. Then, tailor your content - especially your call-to-actions, to reflect this (either by positioning your existing CTA or by developing unique lead magnets for each content category.)