Personalizing your cold emails is essential if you want results.

Years ago, you could get away with a quantity over quality approach. Today, you’re competing for attention in your prospect’s inbox, and low-quality emails won’t get read, or replied to.

This guide is going to show you how to write personalized cold emails that will allow you to stand out from the crowd, and get replies.

Most importantly, you’ll be able to build good relationships with prospects and use your prospecting and sales emails efforts to grow your business.

I’ll show you:

  • The Problem with Most Cold Emails
  • Where to Find Email Personalization Opportunities
  • Best Practices for Cold Email Personalization
  • How to Personalize Emails at Scale

Sounds good?

Let’s dive in.

The Problem with Most Cold Emails

Many give up with cold email because they’re not seeing results.

But, if it didn’t work, cold email wouldn’t be used by fast-growing startups, Fortune 500s, and successful agencies to grow their pipeline and revenue.

The problem with most emails is simple.

They’re not compelling.

There are a few reasons for that.

If you’re on the receiving end of bad cold emails, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

As soon as you open it (or even from the snippet preview), you know it’s going to end up in the spam folder.

Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons cold email campaigns are failing.

1. Fake Personalization

Personalization is key to seeing results. Without personalization, you’re showing leads that you’re happy to do the bare minimum to get their business.

If you run a lead generation agency or similar company with high LTV, you should go further than just using {{prospect.first_name}} and {{}}.

Five years ago, that might have counted as personalization, but today, it’s a bare minimum. Every email newsletter and cold emailer you’re competing with inside the inbox is using those same custom fields, so you need to step it up.

You need to show decision-makers that you value their time, and personalizing your cold emails beyond what everyone else is doing will help you stand out.

Avoid sending generic emails with fake personalization and you’ll get more replies, more calls booked, and more sales.

2. Too Focused on Scaling Quickly

Another reason your cold email campaigns are failing is that you’re too focused on volume.

It’s true, you do have to scale at some point. After all, QuickMail is designed to let you automate and send a personalized cold email at scale. But, you need a formula that works.

But, your focus should not be on scaling, it should be on getting replies.

If that means you have to send emails one-by-one, then that’s how you should start. It’s slow but better than sending 100 at once but without a reply.

When you’ve found a repeatable process for personalizing emails that work, you can start to scale your campaigns.

Next, I’ll show you easy ways to personalize your cold emails to help you get more replies.

Where to Find Email Personalization Opportunities

1. LinkedIn Profiles

People’s LinkedIn profiles can reveal a lot.

Look for:

  • Interesting information in their About section
  • Recent updates they’ve shared
  • Past companies they worked for
  • Your mutual connections

These are all things you can mention in an opening sentence to break the ice with a prospect.

For example, your email could start with:

Hi {{prospect.first_name}},

Saw the post you shared on LinkedIn about {{}}’s recent award. Congrats!

It’s a unique snippet that you couldn’t send to anyone else, and it’s something that your competition could be forgetting.

Another tactic is to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator’s advanced search to find prospects that are members of the same LinkedIn groups that you are or even identify leads based on if they’ve recently shared content that mentions specific keywords.

2. Twitter Feed

Twitter is another social platform that can come in useful for cold email personalization. Not everyone is active on Twitter, but because it’s more conversational than LinkedIn, less people mention it in their cold emails so you’re more likely to stand out.

This won’t always work, as people may have a private Twitter account, or simply be inactive on there.

You don’t want to bring up Tweets that are too old, and if they clearly use the platform for personal rather than professional reasons, it may be a boundary that you should avoid stepping over. You don’t want to appear like you’re overly nosey in the first email, or overstepping boundaries.

3. Company ‘News’ section

Look for a News or Press section on your prospects’ websites. Not all will have it, but many will.

Most people want to share their wins and successes with others, and they’ll be happy to see you noticed it.

If you see a company recently closed a round of funding, were nominated for an award, or hired new team members, released new features or services, they’re all things that you can mention in your cold email.

Personalizing your cold emails like this won’t win you any awards, but it will help you break the ice with a prospect, and be a good lead into your cold email.

Best Practices for Cold Email Personalization

Your email templates won’t write themselves. Even if you find a unique angle, you can still end up writing a bad email that doesn’t get replies.

In this section, we’ll look at best practices to improve how you personalize your cold email.

None of these are a silver bullet, but they’ll help you improve how you write your emails and should help you boost your reply rate.

Let’s take a look.

1. Get Specific with a Custom Opening Line

The key to any good cold email is specificity. The email should be unique, and wouldn’t work if you sent it to anyone else.

So, how can you do that at scale?

Firstly, you need a system that enables you to customize every single cold email.

Luckily, merge tags enable you to insert dynamic personalization into every email.

In QuickMail you can create your own custom attribute, such as {{opening line}} or {{icebreaker}}. Then, you can import those from a CSV file containing your prospects.

You can then build a simple workflow in a spreadsheet where you add an opening line next to every prospect.

Here’s how to do it.

Start with a spreadsheet containing your prospects.

Add a column with a title like {{Opening_Line}}. For every potential buyer you’re emailing, write out a completely custom opening line.

Then, import your prospects into QuickMail.

Make sure to select your Opening_Line attribute during your import to ensure it’s available in the email editor.

Then, in your campaign, select Opening_Line from your available attributes.

You’ll see it show up in the text editor.


When you hit Send, your emails will auto-populate with your custom opening lines, and every email will be uniquely customized.

Now, this might sound like it’s going to be time-consuming. And, it will be, especially at first.

But it’s the only real way to ensure your cold outreach is personalized and unique. Once you have a process that works, you could outsource it, but considering it can have such a big impact on campaign success it’s always worth reviewing internally before sending.

2. Double Up with a Custom P.S Note

Your opening line is an important place to break the ice, but the P.S. note is another great way to stand out.

If you include one, chances are, your prospects’ eyes will jump straight to it, sometimes before they even read your email body.

The P.S. is a good way to personalize further, and it adds more credibility to your opening line.

Here are some examples you could use:

  • “Congrats on getting {{guest name}} on your podcast”
  • “Checked out the case study with {{company}}, awesome work”
  • “Saw your Twitter post mentioning you went to {{event}}, shame I missed you there

Your P.S. isn’t the place for an extra sales pitch, it’s a place to add a personal touch or find some common ground. If you craft it well, it’ll help boost your reply rate.

3. Avoid Stating the Obvious

If a startup CEO you’re emailing just closed a round of funding, chances are, 9 out of 10 sales emails they receive will lead with a line like:

“Congrats on the recent funding”.

Yes, it’s relevant, but, consider this: everyone else is emailing with the same opening line.

If a company is in the news, look for a unique angle to pitch.

For example, you could bring up:

  • The technology they use on their website
  • A recent podcast appearance they did
  • A case study they published
  • Mention a post they shared on LinkedIn/Twitter

Avoid writing the same things that everybody else is and you’ll look more genuine.

Making your emails unique is also a good way to avoid inbox spam filters, as email service providers are less likely to flag your account if every email is unique (and getting high response rates).

4. Use Relevant Case Studies and Social Proof

If you’re doing cold outreach to someone it’s because you can help them with a specific task.

  • Lead Generation
  • Paid advertising
  • Recruitment

Whatever you’re selling, the pitch needs to be personalized to your recipient.

For example, if you saw a great result doing lead generation for a recruitment agency, you won’t be able to use that same pitch with a dental clinic.

Here’s how to do that.

First, figure out what your prospect cares about most.

Sales? Leads? Revenue?

Pick one of your case studies or recent results that aligns with their own goals.

For example, if you’re selling LinkedIn lead generation services to accountancy firms, don’t bring up a case study on how you helped a recruitment agency with SEO.

Say something like:

  • I recently helped {{accountancy firm}} in {{city}} increase their new client consultations by x%.

It’s highly relevant to their business and links directly to a business goal they have in mind.

You’ll increase your reply rates, and in turn, conversion rates should go up to as you’re framing your conversation perfectly.

If you’re emailing people in multiple niches, you can split up your prospects over multiple campaigns in QuickMail.

You can manage them from one dashboard, and see all results in one place.

5. Consider Personalized Videos or Images in Your Cold Emails

Some people like to use images or short videos in their cold emails.

They can work well if you execute them effectively.

For example, putting a photo of a cute animal to try and encourage someone to reply, or adding a screenshot of a prospects’ website could be ways to slightly improve your reply rate.

You could also record a short Loom video with an overview of how you can help someone, and embed it in your email.

Images and videos in cold emails are an interesting way to make your email stand out, but, there are a few things to consider.

Firstly, it may hurt your cold email deliverability.

Second, if a prospect has images turned off, they won’t see it unless they choose to display images.

If they don’t know you, they may not want to turn images on, and won’t see your content, hurting your message and ruining your personalization.

Remember, the image should add value to your email, and be used to increase engagement, not just as a gimmick.

If you’re using images and videos, I’d recommend testing it against text-only campaigns to see which performs best for you.

6. Don’t Forget to Include Relevant Follow-Ups

So you’ve spent time crafting a personalized opening email. No reply.

With cold email, you need tofollow up.

Your follow-ups need to be personalized as well.

If not, it’ll look like you’ve thrown your prospect onto a generic nurturing list and don’t care about them.

Treat every email as if it’s the first. Include unique elements in each one.

Now, you don’t have to create a personalized opening line in every follow-up, but make sure case studies, resources, or extra value propositions you mention are going to be relevant and interesting to your prospect.

If you’re not seeing results, you can even experiment with adding a personal note to thesubject line.

You can automatically follow-up with QuickMail. You can even choose between including your follow-up in the same email thread as the previous emails you’ve sent, or not.

If you uncheck the “Include previous email” box, your follow-ups will start a new email thread.

7. Consider Your Recipients’ Time Zone

If your sales emails are well personalized with compelling copy and a clear CTA, this step may not matter that much, but it can make a difference.

If your prospects are busy and your email lands in their inbox at 2 AM, they’ll have a backlog of emails to read when they check their emails somewhere between 5-9 AM.

On the other hand, if you schedule your inbox to land in their inbox right as you expect them to check it, you’ll be top of mind and impossible to ignore.

Data from GetResponse says the best time to send an email to get high CTRs is 6 AM. It makes sense, too. People wake up and check their emails.

But, you might not want to be at your computer scheduling emails at 6 in the morning.

To easily ensure your campaigns send at specific times, you can use timetables in QuickMail.



Define the times you want emails to send at, and create your timetable.

No matter what time you write your emails, they’ll only send at those specific times. You’ll have full control over the sending times, and ensure your emails always land in your buyers’ inbox at the perfect time.

Personalize Emails at Scale with QuickMail

If you’re ready to start scaling up your outbound campaigns, you’ll need a cold email platform to help you. Doing everything manually is impossible if you’re sending more than a few outreach emails per week.

QuickMail can help.

Our platform is designed to help cold emailers like you easily scale your campaigns with customized, personal emails.

Messages come directly from your email address to help increase replies, and it works with all the major email providers, including Gmail, Outlook, and custom inboxes.

You won’t need to worry about following up, either.

Once you’ve created your campaign and added your prospects, your emails will be sent on a set schedule. If a prospect replies, they’ll be paused on your campaigns so you’ll never make mistakes that hurt your reputation.


You can add multiple steps, tasks, link your account withZapier (to connect with other tools), Slack (to notify your team when you receive replies), or cold calling software likeAircall (to simplify your sales process).


It’s ideal for lead generation agencies, or growing companies with multiple sales team members that need collaboration features like inbox rotation, unified analytics, and integrations with your other sales tools.

You can scale your cold email outreach in a personalized, simple way.

Justclick here to start your free trial.