$500 million and counting


Brennan Dunn, Founder of RightMessage

For this episode of Wytpod, Harshit Gupta, Director of Business Alliances at Wytlabs interviewed Brennan Dunn, Founder of RightMessage. Dive into the world of personalized marketing with Brennan Dunn’s ‘This is Personal.’ This transformative guide unveils the strategic intricacies of crafting compelling customer experiences. Dunn shares his expert insights, revealing the art and science behind personalized messaging, customer segmentation, and engagement strategies. Unlock the power of tailored communication and elevate your marketing game to new heights. ‘This is Personal’ is your key to understanding and implementing the next frontier in successful, customer-centric marketing.

RightMessage is a platform, which helps make automated segmentation and website personalization accessible to any online business.

I have has recently launched my new book, “This is Personal”

Brennan Dunn
Founder of RightMessage

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Wytpod. My name is Harshit and I’m the Director of Business Alliances at Wytlabs. We are a digital agency specializing in SaaS and E-commerce SEO. I’ve got Brennan Dunn with me, Founder of a SaaS company, RightMessage, which is helping make automated segmentation and website personalization accessible to any online business. Plus, Brennan has recently launched his new book, “This is Personal” which is doing well and most of today’s session will be around it. So big welcome to you, Brennan, and congratulations on your first book. I’m so happy to have you with me.


Thank you, man. Yeah, Harshit, thanks for having me. It is a bit surreal, but it came out about exactly two weeks ago, so it’s still very new, but it’s been wild seeing it just, Yeah, people reading it.

Now, before we dive into your book, can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey in SaaS and marketing altogether?

Yeah, so about 15 years ago, I started a web development agency, and that was my first time working for myself building up a team, and doing business stuff. That did well. I was able to scale that up to 11 employees. I decided in about 2011 that I didn’t want to work with clients any longer. I wanted to build software because we built software for clients, and I wanted to build software that we could sell to people directly. I started a company called Planscope, which was a project management tool for agencies and freelancers. This dovetails into what we were just talking about. But to get people to use it, I quickly learned I couldn’t just have a website up for plans because I had to get people to that website somehow. I started writing about everything I knew about consulting. How do you write proposals? How do you price yourself? How do you get clients? All that thing. That did well. It did better than I thought because I think it was, again, this was 12 years ago, so there wasn’t a lot of competition on blogs about that.

I got a lot of people from Search. Unfortunately, a lot of them didn’t turn into RightMessage or Planscope customers, which is what I wanted. I wanted people to read the article on how to write proposals and then see the project management tool that was on that blog or sponsored that blog if you will. Then I was hoping that they’d buy. Some did, but most people wanted more. They wanted more content, they wanted more training. That turned into a separate company or a company I started called W Freelancing. That email list took off to about 50,000 subscribers. We ended up with more than 10,000 customers who had bought courses, and gone to conferences that we hosted. Did well. But then while I was building that up in 2016, I sold Planscope because I couldn’t do what became DoubleYour Freelancing, which was the content site with Planscope. I sold that in 2016. Then a few years later, I wanted to do software again, so I started a company called RightMessage. I’ve got a co-founder. We raised money and built up a team. That’s more or less what I’ve been doing ever since. Now at this point, double your freelancing, which was that site that did well for me for the last decade.

I’m not day-to-day involved in that. I still own it, but I’m not running it. Now my focus is on writing messages along with, you mentioned the book, which just came out, and helping people with all things personalized marketing.


Got you.Talk about the book. I would love to have a brief overview from you about this as personal and what exactly inspired you to write it.

Truthfully, I ended up speaking at a lot of different conferences about the subject over the last few years. Then I just felt like maybe since I was saying the same thing again and again on stage, in my newsletter, and so on, that maybe I should just write a book that I could say if somebody’s interested in it, I could get them the book and say, spend a few hours reading it, and then that’ll give you everything you need to know, at least foundationally. It was mostly that. It was also a bit of a challenge for me. I just thought it would be nice to say I have a book. I did traditional publishing. It’s not self-published. I have a publisher, and I had to learn how all that worked, which was very new to me. I started the book project in 2018, and now five years later, it’s finally on the shelves of bookshops. It’s been a very long, drawn-out process. It’s a very new process for me. But ultimately, I’m very happy that I did it. But yeah, the book, what it’s about is the people who I think ultimately have done best with the advice that I give them, the sales background.

You’re an agency owner. You probably don’t get clients who go to your website and click buy now. They probably talk to you first or book a call or something like that. My background when I had my agency was similar. We never sold anybody through a sales page. We met with them, we wrote a proposal for them, and so on. The focus of the book is why that does well because what I just described does well because I can converse with the person, I can learn about who they are, I can take into account what they’re saying, and I can change how I describe my thing to make sense to them. But then on the other end, you have online marketing or billboard-style advertisements, and they intentionally are saying the same thing to everyone. Everyone sees the same web page, they see the same email campaign. The focus of the book is how can you, using modern technology, find a middle ground between the two where you can, at scale, with email marketing, with your website, speak more individually to the people who are reading your material. The book is just a framework for how to go about doing that.


Let’s talk about mainly personalized marketing because your book, like Challenge, is a traditional marketing approach.

I’d love to know why is personalized marketing so important in the modern age.


It’s one of these things. Truthfully, it’s not critical. What it is, it’s an optimization layer that makes it so the work you’re doing is more performant. The quintessential example I gave would be, as you mentioned earlier before we hit record, you do SEO work for e-commerce and SaaS. If I’m a SaaS business, which I am, and I’m looking at your website or I’m getting your emails, I honestly don’t care about the e-commerce work you’ve done. I just want to see how have you helped companies like me. I don’t care about… It’s good that you work with the online stores. I don’t run an online store. I don’t care. What personalization would let you do would be to find out that, I’m a SaaS owner, maybe you find out other information like my company size or what I’m doing or not doing. Then when I look at your website, I want to see the case study of the SaaS. I want to see the language that speaks to me. I don’t want to get distracted and start doubting you maybe because I’m like, Maybe they’re better at e-commerce. Maybe SaaS is a thing they want to do, but maybe they do too much and they don’t know enough about SaaS.

The idea would be, how can you make it so that when somebody like me is looking at your marketing, you are fully all and on SaaS for me? But then somebody else is looking at your website at the same time, they run an online store, and they don’t care about SaaS. They might not even know what SaaS is or means. They just want to know how are you going to help me get more people to buy, I don’t know, whatever they’re selling in their shop? That’s the idea of it. That’s what you would do anyway. If you and I were talking about you doing work for me, you probably wouldn’t include many examples of e-commerce clients you’ve worked with because I don’t care. That’s the idea, is how can you… Personalized marketing done well allows you to niche your business without actually niching your business.

Makes sense. Can you share some of the key takeaways from your work that can help business improve their marketing strategies?

Yeah. I think the big thing is for companies that are building their email list, which a lot of them are, typically they collect a name and an email address. With just that information, you really can’t do all that much. You don’t know if I’m a sassy, you don’t know if I’m an e-commerce company or anything like that. What I teach in the book is that what you should be doing is when people join your list, you should be surveying them in a way that is them-focused. I want to find out about you so I can serve you better. It’s a bit like, thinking of it as you walk into a shop and the person asks, How can I help you? Are you looking for anything specific? You want to do something like that when you capture leads. Then from there, I outline a complete system for email marketing that’s personalized. How do you welcome them to your email list? When you deliver your newsletter and you have a promotion for an offer product or service, how do you change that up depending on who’s reading that newsletter? How do you pitch in a way that makes it so that when I see a product, I’m getting the right product pitch to me, but I’m getting it described to me in a way that makes sense for me and my needs?

Maybe the benefits I care about are different than the benefits somebody else cares about. It lays out a complete framework for how to go about thinking through that so that ultimately what you’re sending or what you’re putting in front of your audience is more relevant to them. If it’s more relevant to them, they’re going to read more of your emails. If they read more of your emails, they’re going to click more of your purchase buttons or whatever, and that leads to more sales. Yeah, the book just walks through an entire framework on how to do that.

Got you. What technology are you recommending basically? I’m sure I know a lot of people might be leveraging AI to do the personalization bit and feeding them AI again is something maybe using ChatGPT for an example. So stuff like that. And what technology do you recommend to achieve that level of personalization? Or is that something that writing a message could do?

For example? That is what writing a message does, yeah. That’s another reason I did write the book because I own a company called Write Message where we do that. Some tools do this in the enterprise. Optimized does this, visualWebset Optimizer, and VWO does it also. The difference with us, though, is all of those products tend to be more enterprise-focused. They tend to focus, they’re expensive, they’re more up-market and everything. We’re going after more smaller businesses, so SMBs, who are not going to spend $1500 a month on software. We’re a lot more competitive with those products. But we do all that. We do like they do. They’re able to say, Oh, yeah, you can plug in your data warehouse into Optimizer or something, and then you can do account-based marketing and things like that. We allow you to do that, but with more of the software that e-commerce or not e-commerce, SMBs use. The bigger tools will play with Marketo and these big, expensive enterprise tools. We work with Active Campaign and ConvertKit and things like that.

That’s brilliant. Okay. On your website, I did check write message that for pricing bit, though, it’s something that you have to contact the sales team. Can you give us a little bit overview of your pricing model? Yeah.

What you’re seeing is new. We used to show all the pricing on the pricing page. We have two tiers. We have a tier that is just for people who want to do surveying and want to use us for lead generation. Then we have the other tier, which is that along with the full site personalization. The minute the full site personalization is called for pricing, but that’s very new. The reason we did that is if you were to sign up today and want to buy, say, the personalized plan, it’s exactly $100 more per month than the call-to-action plan. If it says it’s $79 a month, the personalized plan would be $179 a month. But we’re changing that. The reason we’re changing that is that the $ 179-a-month plan we currently have is functionally identical to the $ 1500-a-month optimize plan, but it does more. I’ve been thinking maybe we should raise our prices. Our way of doing that is to put the call for pricing in a minute. Right now, when people do sign up, we’re selling it at the price I just told you, which is $100 more than the call to action plan.

But we are planning on making it so… Because the people who need full-size personalization, tend to be bigger companies, more organizations that have… They’re the sort who do A/B testing, which A/B testing you typically wouldn’t advise for a smaller company that has no traffic or anything like that. We’re going to be trying to close the gap. We’re not going to go up to optimize VWO’s pricing, but we’re going to be at least two or three times more expensive. At the minute, we don’t know what that pricing is going to be yet, so we have the call for pricing.


All right. Brent, what I understood basically from a conversation so far could be around the platform or even the book. It’s giving me the impression that the help that people get is like businesses get, basically on the activities are on top of the funnel, the first touchpoint, and all of those things. I would love to know your opinion. Is it something like are you catering to the middle and the bottom?

The funnel? We are doing… That’s really where we shine, I think, is we can do top-of-funnel things like the top-of-funnel legion, top-of-funnel segmentation. But where we shine is when somebody’s back on your website and pulls all their tag and custom field information out of their email platform, out of the email platform that you have about them. Why that makes sense is let’s say somebody’s on your website, they visit again, and since the last time they went to your website, you have tagged them as a customer in your email platform. They bought the thing, they signed up for a trial, they signed up as a customer, or whatever. They’re not a tagged customer. Write message. We’ll pull that information back down from your email platform. We treat your email platform as your data warehouse. We pull it down to your website so that when I’m back on the website and I’ve tagged the customer, you don’t show me the Sign-Up button. You show me the upgrade button or something like that. For the middle funnel, further down the funnel types of things, that’s actually where I think we shine because you can say, Oh, Brennan is back on the website.

He’s in SaaS. He’s already started a trial. He canceled the trial. Why don’t we make it so the hero on the homepage is, Brennan, we’d love to have you back. We’re here to start a new trial or something. Some people don’t want to do that because it’s a bit creepy to say somebody’s name on a website. You could use us to do that, though. But yeah, it just depends on the use case. But a lot of people are using us for the middle funnel.

Got you. That makes sense because they’re catering to all business users and across the industry. They’re usually likely to be a bit longer since I give a lot of re-usage and all that stuff. Then good to know that the platform- That’s what we turn on the platform.

And that’s what we… For instance, when we email or email list a blog post that we publish to our website if you were to go to our website if you were to go to one of our blog posts in Cognito or a new browser, you would see the opt-in form because we don’t know who you are. And so we’d be trying to get you on our email list. But if you go back to that blog post after you’re already on our list and you’re not a customer, you’re instead going to see a call to action there that tries to get you to sign up for a trial because we already have your email address. We don’t need it again. We know you’re not a customer, so we don’t need to start a trial. When we email our list, we have people going to the blog post to our customers. We have people who used to be customers. We have people who are on our list but not customers. We want to show them a specific call to action at the footer of the blog post, depending on who they are.

Got you. Let’s talk about the new framework you have included in your work. Could you please explain that and how exactly businesses of all sizes can implement it? I understand the platform terms, but yeah, can give us a little bit more credit about it?

Yeah. Let’s say somebody joins your email list today. What I talk about in the book is now finding out why they joined, who they are, and why they joined. I’m going to use you as an example with White Labs. Somebody joins your email list, maybe they read a blog post, they came from Google, saw a blog post, they’re like, Oh, I like what this company does. They join your list. You capture information about, in your case, it’d probably be, Are you SaaS? Are you e-commerce? Or something else? I choose SaaS. Then maybe you ask about, Are you currently… The questions you were asking me earlier, are you generating traffic through Search? Are you buying traffic? Or how do you get people? You could find that out. Then what would be ideal would be, okay, I joined your email list and said you can email me. I’ve told you a bit about me and my goals. Now, when I get the first few emails that you sent me through your email marketing platform, I don’t want those to be generic emails. It’s the goal. I want to say, hey, welcome to White Labs. Here’s our plan to help you.

You said you’re a SaaS company. You said you currently don’t do anything with SEO or whatever. Over the next few months, we’re going to be sending you original content that’s going to help you start to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, grow, get more trials, get more whatever through search. Then you do that and I think, Oh, I’m on the right email list. This person is saying exactly what he’s saying to me. Whereas if somebody else joined your list at the same time as me, but they’re an e-commerce company, maybe they sell… I don’t know what you can capture. Maybe they sell cosmetics, you talk to them and you’re talking to them about how you’re going to help them get… They wouldn’t use the word trials. I use trials. They would say customers or buyers or whatever language they would use. The idea is how do you do that? How do you show them they’re at the right place with a really good welcome sequence? Then from then on out, when you go to pitch them, if you’re pitching them on a service, you’re pitching them on your product, how do you make it so maybe the examples you use in those pitch emails are companies like the person getting it?

For me, I want you to send me, and overwhelm me with all these great SaaS companies that you’ve grown. Again, I don’t care about e-commerce. Overwhelm me with that. Ideally, overwhelmed with companies that are SaaS, but also struggled with the same things that I’m struggling with because I want to see that you’ve done this before. If you’re giving me a mixed bag of e-commerce and SaaS and maybe, I don’t know, agencies you’ve helped, or you know what I mean? If you’re doing all that, I start to think they’re not as focused as I might want. But if you’re speaking directly to me and my needs just like you would if you were talking to me over a Zoom call, then I’m a lot more willing to do business with you. That’s the whole idea people want to do business with companies that understand them. If you have multiple types of companies you work with or sell to, that makes it… People want to buy from a company that speaks directly to them. That’s basically what… Practically speaking, that’s what I advise in the book is, how do you change your core set of marketing emails and your marketing website to reflect the individual and their unique needs?

Okay, Ben, are there any real case studies in your book that back the thing?

Yeah, a bunch. One example that I like to give who did well, is do you know the company Smart Passive Income? They sell… Yep. How does that- They sell a lot of different online courses. What they do is when people come to their website, they capture things like what size is your business? Are you doing affiliate marketing? Are you podcasting? Are you doing this? Are you doing that? They get all this information. Then what they ended up doing was when they did their Black Friday sale, they took that information and not only promoted a specific product by saying, If you buy one thing, here’s what we think you should buy. They might have five different products. Here’s the one thing we recommend. They used it like a recommendation engine. They described the product in a way that if you’re just starting and you said, I want to build an online business, but I don’t have one yet, they would make the product description align with you. But if you said, I’m already doing pretty well and I want to scale my online business, the same product might be described differently. They did a controlled A/B test on this.

A percentage of their audience got the default control. The rest got these personalized, very good, specific examples of what you should buy and why. In that variant, the experiment group got a 238 % increase over the control. They made tangibly about $80,000 more dollars on Black Friday weekend by doing that. That’s a great example. We have a bunch of others in the book that I talk about that have done this. Some of the e-commerce, clients we worked with, do a lot of Facebook ads. They sell jewelry. They target married men, they target single men, and then they target everyone else. If you’re a married man and you go to their website, they change the entire focus. You click the ad, and you go to the sales page for a list of products or whatever, but the focus is all on anniversary gifts. But if you’re single, it’s all about engagement rings. They just say if this ad set is running to a single person, we’re going to assume they want to buy an engagement ring for their future wife. But if they’re already married, we’re going to assume that they’re not getting married again, that they are…

They’re just using this based off of, you’ve told Facebook you’re married, so they’re going to get a specific ad set that is going to then bring that context about the fact that Facebook says they’re married to the website. As they go to the homepage, as they go to different product pages, it’s all focused on, in this case, married men who want an anniversary gift.

Got you. Before we jump into the feedback, I would love to know, because we’ve talked about personalization on the website as well as on the email front. I would love to know what KPIs are important to measure in the sense that the personalization that’s happening on both fronts is working on the feedback. What do you recommend businesses to monitor?

Yeah. There’s only one thing I care about, which is the value per subscriber. I’ve drawn my email list, if you look at how many subscribers you have and how much money you’ve made, you can come up with the value per subscriber. My thing is personalization is not a growth tool. It’s not going to get you more people on your email list. It meant, it’s designed to make it so the usual stuff you’re doing over email is more performant, which then means more subscribers buy, which increases your value per subscriber. Everything we do with our clients when we teach people, is all dialed in on how we’re going to benchmark your current value per subscriber. Say it’s a dollar per subscriber per month. How do we get that to two dollars per subscriber per month? And that becomes the focus.

And the same logic applied to the website as well, website visitors?

What do you… Yeah, in that case, it would be value per sales page view or something. It’s a conversion optimization tool. If your conversion rate is 3%, personalization done right could bring it to 4% or something. What would that mean fundamentally for somebody?

Okay. I would love to know what feedback have you received so far from the individuals and businesses for your book.

It’s still early. I’ve heard a lot of really good… Right now, as of today, the second of November, currently Amazon takes… When you write a review on it, it takes a while for it to get published, but we have four public ones up now. But I know I’ve sold already about 500 copies of the book. I’ve been hearing from people about, first off, that they’ve liked that it’s a framework. They like that it’s not just a bunch of stories or, as they called it, fluff. It’s very specific about what to do without being a technical manual. It can be used regardless of your email platform. You don’t need to use write message or anything for it. It’s prescriptive, but it’s not, Click this button, do that, do this. People have liked that. But I think the big thing is, as I mentioned earlier, sales teams like it. Because when you do this, let’s say with your agency, you close the deal by probably getting on a call with somebody. But if everything leading up to that call can be done where you’re sending great case studies that are personalized, you’re sending targeted messages, when the sales team finally talks to that person or tries to sell them, they’re already so much easier to convert into close.

It increases your sales closing ratios. It makes it so your sales team does better. They get better leads that are ready to buy. A lot of sales teams who have been following this and implementing what I cover in the book and elsewhere, they’re the ones who are happy. Also, you get you’ve got the data people. One of our clients is Justin Welsh, and he’s been geeking out on… He’s got a list of about 200,000 people, and he’s getting most of them now, upwards of 75% of them who are fully segmented. He’s finding out if, are they focused on LinkedIn. Are they focused on Twitter? How do they make money? Course, services, coaching? He has all this data that at a bird’s eye view, it allows him to make better content because he knows the composition of his audience. But he’s also using that data individually, saying to the course creator, here’s why you need my product because it’ll help you sell more courses. Whereas to the coaching or the coach, you need my product because it’ll get you more coaching clients. Again, it’s the same product being presented. It’s just described differently depending on who somebody is.

Got you. I would love to get your opinion on this because I’ve seen a lot of organizations leveraging cold outreach. That’s something, to be honest, about the main channel for many organizations, like many big organizations as well. Personalization resonates a lot, to be honest, with that community. Does your book help on that front as well? Can the Modi framework be replicated for that purpose or not?

It’s more of an inbound way of looking at things where you’re not just pushing out. Because I’m on the receiving end of so many bad outreach emails. A lot of it they might say they’re personalizing it because what they’re doing is they’re filling out, Hey, first name. How is Citi? Are you a company? I’ve been following the company name. And you can tell when you read these emails that they’re just… Yeah, you can tell that that’s what they’ve done. They just filled in the blanks.

It’s more template-based. I’m talking about real personalization maybe. And there are two things that I’ve seen in industry work. A lot of people do maybe one or two paragraphs, which is visiting-.

What’s a real person who?


The rest of the email is the same, the top paragraph might be… Yeah, and that’s better than nothing. What I teach in the book, though, is, and you’re right, this stuff if you can spend two minutes googling the person’s name and saying a bit about them and then including that at the top, go for it. But what I’m covering in the book is how you get people to give up their personal information to you so that you could then use that without needing to dig in and google them or anything like that. But I always find that the emails that I reply to that are outreach emails are the ones where they have done a little homework. But again, I know if you’re sending it out to 100,000 people, you can’t always do that.

You’re all inbound. Are you a HubSpot fan?

We integrate with HubSpot. I’ve used it by proxy. I’ve never actually had my own HubSpot account, but we’ve had plenty of customers and clients who use HubSpot.

All right, Brandon, we’re coming to you. I would like to have a quick rapid-fire with you. Are you ready for that?

Go for it. Yeah.

Okay. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Related to your work.

Related to my book? Okay, I had an easy answer.

We can go to a journal and then to work.

It could be okay. I think the thing that’s always stood out to me when it comes to my career is it’s something I learned when I was building my agency originally, which was no one’s ever paid my business for code. In your world, no one has ever paid your business for backlinks or for SEO-optimized articles or anything like that. What they’re paying for is business results, right? They’re paying for more trials, more email subscribers, whatever, which then turns into more sales. I think for me, once I’ve internalized that, once I’ve started to think, How does everything I do have that in mind where it’s that whole outcome versus features thing? But I think to go back to the book, the way that I see that playing out in the book is that I think as marketers, people doing the email campaigns and stuff, we seem to think that people, first off, have total knowledge about what it is we offer and what we do, and that when we write content to them that you can be generic and that we never want to leave anyone out. We never want to exclude people.

So we say, Yeah, we can work with SaaS, we can work with e-commerce. And then let’s say a fellow agency, like a marketing agency is like, Hey, can you get me, Can you also optimize our stuff? They’re like, Great. You can also work with marketing agencies. And then it becomes this giant list of companies you help. Then it’s that whole thing of if you’re speaking to everybody, you’re speaking to nobody. I think I realized early on when I started before I did a lot of personalization, I was always thinking, Who am I writing to? I’m not writing to everyone. I’m writing to a specific person I want to resonate with this email. I think that’s another big thing too. If you’re doing any marketing, whether it be writing a website, writing an email campaign, or whatever, even though you might cater to a lot of people, the more specific you are, the better.

That makes sense. What one word do you want people to associate with you?

Personalization. I don’t know. I’m trying to think brand-wise or human-being-wise. I think as a human- You mean. Okay, yeah. I think as a human, I think what people like is, and I know a lot of people probably say this, but I do try to be pretty genuine in that I’ve said to people before, You shouldn’t be doing this. You’re too small to do this. You don’t even have a product to offer the world yet. Stop screwing around with this stuff. I’ve always found when people tell me honestly what I should be doing, even if it’s not what I want to hear, that’s good. That’s for the best. I try to do the same. I don’t have talking points to give you when you asked me to come on the show. I don’t have a script that I’m going off of or anything like that. That’s cool.

That’s. Are you a spiritual person or not? No. Okay. What was the last Google search?

I had some issues with my router earlier today, so it’s probably something about the error message from what I remember. It’s not a fun and exciting Google search.

That’s fine. Coming to my last question, are you more bold or cautious?

I think I’m pretty cautious, to be honest. I try to make sure, I don’t like screwing up. I don’t want to fail. I take my time before I do anything.

Better or worse.

Yeah. Thank you, Brennan. Thank you so much for all the knowledge, all wisdom that you’ve shared about your book, about your company. I’m sure that we were going to get a lot of value from this and your book, for sure. I appreciate your time here. Thank you so much.

You’re welcome. Thanks, Harshit. Bye.



    Phone Number*

    Website URL

    Schedule My 30 Minutes Consultation Call

    Get a Proposal

    Get a Seo Roadmap