A Little Personality Goes a Long Way

If you read my last post on advanced keyword research, you probably thought that there was no way you could look deeper into your search visitors’ desires. Well, think again. I want to share a clever technique I’ve been using for several months now to drastically improve the conversion rates of some of my projects.

The technique I am going to present is useful for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing like Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing. As you will see, you can later leverage the results for your SEO efforts.

From millions of personalities to just 4

Have you ever taken a personality type quiz? I did, and it helped me understand my personality better. I got to know my strengths and my weaknesses and focused on the areas I needed to improve. The assumption behind these tests is that human beings can be classified broadly according to our psychological functions. There are multiple classification systems; a couple of popular ones are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Big Five personality traits.

In essence, these tests try to find answers to at least these four questions:

  1. Are you introverted or extroverted?

  2. Do you sense or intuit?

  3. Do you think or feel?

  4. Do you judge or perceive?

Obviously, the answers don’t imply that an individual has one trait or the other. The goal is to define which trait is the prevalent or dominant one.

Imagine that you could apply the test automatically to all your search visitors without them even knowing. Understanding their personality will help you craft a more persuasive message. You will be able to tell them exactly what they want to hear and how they want to hear it, ultimately leading to more conversions.

Appealing PPC to each personality type

Ads are in essence a persuasive offer that you are presenting to searchers. The more enticing the offer, the more likely they are to click. To take advantage of this, we simply need to create ads that appeal to each personality type and see which ones get clicked the most often.

In order to simplify things, let’s create an ad for each of the four personality types described in the excellent book Call to Action – Simple Formulas to Improve Online Results. (If you are ambitious, you can extend the idea by creating ads for the 16 personality types of the MBTI system.)

Type: Methodical

Wants: Accuracy or proof

Ad Strategy: Provide hard evidence and superior service.

Ad copy: Tested by experts. Outstanding results and a 100% money-back guarantee!

Type: Spontaneous

Wants: Acceptance

Ad Strategy: Address immediate needs with relevant, credible options.
Ad copy: Be the first on your block! First 10 customers earn a free gift.

Type: Humanist

Wants: Applause, to be part of something

Ad Strategy: Offer testimonials and far reaching incentives.
Ad copy: Go green! Receive great products, join a community and help others too.

Type: Competitive

Wants: Accomplishment

Ad Strategy: Provide rational options, probabilities and challenges.
Ad copy: Got what it takes? Three easy steps for guaranteed results. Start today.

It’s not possible to give persuasive ads without identifying an actual product, so don’t pay much attention to the actual copy here and only try to grasp the idea. Deliver a message that appeals to a specific personality type and direct the searcher to a landing page that delivers on that specific offer and meets that customer’s needs.

The real benefit comes when you split test the ads and see which ads generate the most click-through. That tells you which is the dominant personality type among your visitors. When you know that, you can set the copy on your default landing page (the page your visitors from organic searches come from) and drastically improve your conversions.

Have you tried something like this? Please let me know in the comments.

9 replies
  1. Jez
    Jez says:

    Hi Hamlet,

    I have taken a number of these tests, they are surprisingly accurate / revealing.

    What you describle is a really obvious thing to do… but I had not thought of it… nor read about it anywhere else…

    Creating adds / sales pages is not something I have ever done so tips like this are going to be really useful…


  2. Hamlet Batista
    Hamlet Batista says:

    What you describle is a really obvious thing to do… but I had not thought of it… nor read about it anywhere else…

    I guess that is why this blog is so different 🙂 I am glad you liked it.

  3. David Hopkins
    David Hopkins says:

    Hamlet, this is one of the most inspirational posts yet. Shame that you would probably rather not give us a case study 😐 ; got to keep low on the radar 😛

    In the same area, one thing I have been looking into lately is using Google Suggest, Google Sets, Google Keyword Suggester and Overture Keyword Suggester to tell me what it would be best to put on the homepage. For example: If I have an online rug shop and I am looking to increase the conversion rate I will go to the aforementioned tools and find out what ‘rug niches’ people are searching for. Let’s say that the top niches are ‘cheap rugs’, ‘designer rugs’, ‘discount rugs’ and ‘wool rugs’, I would them change the website so on the homepage it shows one item from each of these categories. The reasoning behind this is that when people type in a broad search term such as ‘rugs’ they are probably going to be looking for something more targeted, such as discount rugs or Persian rugs; so when they come to the site they are more likely to be instantly turned on by the fact that you have presented them with what they really want. Also, from another angle, these nieches are probably the best sellers, so it is likely people who are not sure what type of rug they are buying are more likely to want to buy one from the top niches. Thanks for the free market research Google 🙂

  4. Mark Galloway
    Mark Galloway says:


    When you get a chance, you might want to check out http://www.1-to-you.com. We thought of this idea of couple of years ago and actually built a system and platform that allows clients/agencies to implement and execute a personality-driven campaign automatically with full close-loop measurement. We couldn't believe that no one had thought of using this very old soft-science to drive marketing conversations either, that's why we applied for a patent on the process. Let me know if you would like to know more about our clients who are already using this approach and getting some incredible results.

  5. Andy F
    Andy F says:

    This is great advice for PPC campaigns.

    But how do you incorporate this into actual web design? Short of creating 4 versions of each page to address each personality type, how do you manage to appeal to each?

    Or are you saying to decide which personality is likely to visit each page and then write the copy accordingly?


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