17 Ways to Boost Email Personalization and Relevance

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Now that it's easier than ever to send bulk email sequences to a large contact list, mass cold email has gone mainstream. More than 300+ billion B2B emails are sent and received daily (Statista), many of which include no personalization at all.

With the mass adoption of email automation products, spammy-sounding cold email has become a serious problem. The modern-day pipeline generating sales/marketing teams need to focus on email personalization, and stray away from generic email marketing.

"Spray and pray" outreach is no longer effective when running an email campaign. Here are 17 ways to make emails personalized and relevant. These personalization tips will help you prospect more effectively, and build email content that actually converts.

(We also highly recommend the new app that automatically generates personalized email openers for sales emails, check it out here)

1. Use relevant content based on the buyer persona of the prospect

The first step to any high-quality personalized email is relevance based on the buyer persona you're reaching out to. Use messaging in your email content that's as specific as possible to the prospect's job title, industry, company size, and product or service the buyer sells. Think: "why should this person want to hear from me?" not, "why do i want to talk to you?"

Understanding the pain point each persona experiences will offer more relevant information that captures their interest. If possible, reference specific win stories that are relevant to the persona of the prospect you're messaging.

2. Use a captivating subject line

As the first piece of text the buyer sees, the subject line can be the differentiator between a reply and an unsubscribe. Custom fields are a great way to start building personalization into your email message.

Another way to boost personalization is to reference relevant customer data or insights on unique on the prospect's company, such as a recent mention in the news, or a relevant post on their site. Remember to keep your content short and sweet, mobile devices show just ~35 characters of text!


- {{userFirstName}} / {{prospectFirstName}} - time to chat?

- {{companyName}}'s acquisition, prev convo with Rachel S in leadership!

3. Reference recent events at the company

Sending triggered emails, or emails based on triggering events that a company is exhibiting, is a great way to boost reply rates with personalization. Look into what triggering events events have recently occurred at that company, such as mergers, acquisitions, product launches, new offices opening, security breaches, etc. Google RSS and Autobound both enable efficient trigger-tracking.

LinkedIn and a company's website are vital resources for up to date information on the buyer's company. As 79% of buyers won't engage with sales professionals who lack knowledge of their company ( LinkedIn ), providing relevant insights upfront eliminates doubt for the buyer.


- I saw {{companyName}}'s acquisition of {{acquiredCompanyName}} and had to reach out!

4. Look into job openings at the company

Similar to recent events, look to see what job openings the company has posted. Based on the type and quantity of roles a company is hiring for, one can infer pain points and initiatives that company might be aiming to solve.

To effectively personalize your email using job opening trends, acknowledge the company's open positions, and clearly articulate how your product or service could be of value. Make your email copy concise! Brevity and precision in your email messaging is key.

5. See who has joined the prospect's team recently

Just as open job roles are a good indicator of a company's goals and initiatives, looking at recent hires a company has made can be just as insightful. We usually recommend looking at recent hires a company has made in the same department as your buyer persona. So if you're pitching the VP of Sales, a recent hire in sales enablement, sales operations, or perhaps a handful of new sellers joining, could all be relevant. A best practice is actually referencing the first names of the prospect's colleagues who recently joined.

5. Congratulate your prospect on a recent award or recognition

Boosting your prospect's ego by referencing a recent award or recognition is a straightforward way to boost email personalization and reply rates in cold email. LinkedIn sales navigator is a great tool for this, or try Googling your prospect's name and the word "award."

6. Find something relevant on your prospect's competitors

Mentioning something unique on your prospect's competitors in your email content can help you better articulate your product's relevance, and will also make you seem like more of a subject matter expert. Showing the Owler is a great tool for this.

7. Record a short video

Record a short, personalized video that you can turn into a GIF and easily insert into an email. This allows the buyer to see you as a real person providing the information and sets your email apart from others. 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text, since visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain (Shift eLearning).

8. Reference previous interactions

Referencing previous interactions you've had with that person, or someone they know is a simple way to enhance email personalization. Remind the buyer of prior conversations and colleagues they might have talked to before.


- My colleague and I spoke to Rachel and Tae on your sales team back in Q3 of last year...

9. Reference mutual connections

Social media and networking sites easily indicate mutual connections. 89% of top sales performers say networking platforms are "very important" or "important" when engaging in sales outreach ( LinkedIn ). Having people in common can start the conversation and build a sense of trust faster. Mutual connections can also lead to references and a stronger ongoing relationship.


- I met Sarah from your team at a conference last month...

10. Mention schools attended/previous employers

A very common mutual connection is school attended or previous employers. The buyer may feel more comfortable and connected to the salesperson if they have a similar background. Those prior experiences can also be an excellent conversation starter or talking point.


- My name is Daniel (also a fellow USC Trojan), pleasure to meet you.

11. Reference weather and time of day

Wishing the buyer a happy Friday or hoping they're enjoying the sunshine in San Francisco is a near effortless way of personalizing a sales email. This lets buyers know you took the time to research them and reach out to them specifically. Time of day when emails are sent can affect their likeliness of being opened. Readers are more likely to open emails after 12 p.m. Within the first hour after delivery, 23% of all email opens occur and this drops to a 1% chance after 24 hours ( SuperOffice ).


- Hope the sunny weather in Palo Alto is treating you well!

12. Find something relevant from social media

Email personalization can easily be enhanced by finding something interesting on the prospect's LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Buyers will often post about their initiatives, or causes they care about on social media, which is a great way to catch their attention.

Have they posted about anything on Twitter or LinkedIn that you could use to your advantage in painting a picture of the problems they are likely facing? Using social networks proves to be advantageous as 64% of sales people that use social media reach their quota (SuperOffice).


- I saw your post on LinkedIn about the interview with CNBC...

13. Share specific calendar slots

Don't ask for just a meeting, ask for a meeting for specific time slots. Offering a few specific calendar slots shows the prospect that you're continuing to invest your effort in making it easy for them to take a meeting. Having multiple times readily available shows you are eager to meet the buyer's needs.


- Can I share a 30 minute time slot for next Thursday at 10am or Friday at 2pm...

14. Previous web pages they've visited

If you have a prospect's browsing history stored on your site stored in your CRM, that's an easy way to better understand what sort of content the prospect might be interested in. Even if you're sending an otherwise-totally cold email, building relevance around topics they've already expressed interest in might get you closer to a reply.

15. Content they've downloaded

If the prospect has downloaded any specific content (e.g. white-papers, "how-to" articles, etc.) from your website, ask them if they had any thoughts or questions on the material, or if they'd be interested in discussing it together over a call. Sending triggered emails based on downloaded content is a great first step.

16. Don't forget to follow up

Sending someone one relevant and personalized sales email is just the beginning. It is just as important to follow up on those messages that didn't generate a response. Check in with the buyer using another personalized message to see if the goal of your email can be achieved. It's incredibly important to be following up, 70% of salespeople give up if they don't get a response to their first email ( Yesware).


- Just wanted to follow up with you on how {{companyName}} can help you...

17. Track your performance and iterate, iterate, iterate

Keep track of progress by analyzing results. See what strategies work and should be repeated and what areas need fine-tuning.

Personalized sales emails prompt higher response rates, with 93% of buyers being more likely to engage if a salesperson provides personalized communications ( LinkedIn ) and personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates ( Experian ). Higher engagement leads to more sales, more regularly met quotas, and overall higher success for the team.

Personalization Meets Automation

Effective personalization can be extremely time consuming. Autobound empowers SDRs to create personalized messaging over 6x faster, with 4x higher conversion. Reach out to us if you'd like to learn more.

Daniel Wiener

Oracle and USC Alum, Building the ChatGPT for Sales.