5 Powerful Ways To Personalize Your Cold Email Outreach (For High Response Rate)

Struggling to get your cold emails noticed?

I’m here to guide you through five foolproof strategies to personalize your cold email outreach. Let’s focus on the individual, not just the company they work for, to break the ice and get that crucial reply.

Main Takeaways

  • First, zero in on personalization through self-authored content such as an article they have written. 
  • If you cannot find self-authored content, engage by acknowledging their LinkedIn activities like comments or likes.
  • If you cannot find interesting engagements, make them smile with something unique, such as their valuable hobby from their profile.
  • If these four fail, use “junk drawer” connections to find something common for that extra personal touch.
  • When you’re out of options, turn your attention to the company.

Summary: Hierarchical Order of Strategies for Crafting Personalized Cold Emails

Order Strategy What to Look For Email Example
1 Leverage Self-Authored Content Articles, blog posts, webinars, social media posts, videos “Hey [Name],
I stumbled upon your article on ‘5 Tips to Increase Open Rates.’ Point number five about the importance of follow-ups resonated with me. Would love to discuss more.
[Your Name]”
2 Tap into Prospect’s Engagement Likes, comments, or shares on LinkedIn “Hi [Name],
I saw you recently liked a post about IVC Technologies’ efforts in Ukraine. It’s incredible what impact technology can have, isn’t it? I’d love to discuss how we can make a similar impact in our respective fields.
[Your Name]”
3 Dig Into Their Profile Hobbies, interests or unique personal information “Hi [Name],
I couldn’t help but notice you’re a trainee army officer and also a tour guide at the National Trust. That’s quite the range of skills! Would love to hear more about how you juggle both.
[Your Name]”
4 The Junk Drawer Approach Common interests, affiliations, or past experiences “Hi [Name],
I noticed you went to [University Name], and you’re into [Interest]. Small world—I’m an alum too and share the same passion for [Interest]. Would love to connect and chat more.
[Your Name]”
5 Turn to the Company Company achievements, new product launches, awards “Hi [Name],
I saw that [Company Name] recently won [Award Name]. That’s a fantastic achievement and speaks volumes about the work you’re doing. I’d love to discuss how our services could further elevate your success.
[Your Name]”


If you’re reading this, you’re probably tired of sending cold emails that get colder by the minute. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. The good news? Personalization is your secret weapon, and I’m here to show you how to wield it like a pro.

Why Personalization Is a Game-Changer in Cold Emails

Personalization isn’t just about adding the recipient’s name to the email; it’s about sending the right message to the right person at the right time. Here’s why it’s crucial:

Summary of Immediate and Long-Term Benefits of Personalized Cold Emails

Benefits CategoriesImmediate BenefitsLong-Term BenefitsIntangible Benefits
Key MetricsHigher Open Rates, Increased Engagement, Enhanced RelevanceTrust and Credibility, Customer Loyalty and Retention, Data-Driven Decision MakingBrand Perception, Word of Mouth, Competitive Edge
ImpactBoosts initial engagement and opens the door for conversationBuilds sustainable relationships and customer loyaltyEnhances brand value and sets you apart from competitors

Immediate Benefits: The Immediate ROI of Personalization

  1. Higher Open Rates: Personalized subject lines are more likely to catch the recipient’s eye, leading to higher open rates. This is crucial for the success of any cold email campaign, as an unopened email is a missed opportunity.
  2. Increased Engagement: Personalized emails are more than just opened; they’re read. Tailoring your message to the recipient’s needs or interests increases the likelihood that they will engage with your email, whether that’s clicking a link or replying.
  3. Enhanced Relevance: By tailoring your message to the recipient’s specific needs or pain points, you make your email immediately relevant. This increases the chances that the recipient will take the time to read your email and take action.

Long-Term Benefits: Building a Sustainable Strategy

  1. Trust and Credibility: Consistently sending well-crafted, personalized emails can help you build trust with your recipients. Over time, this can elevate your brand’s credibility, making recipients more likely to engage with future emails and, ultimately, convert.
  2. Customer Loyalty and Retention: Personalization doesn’t end with the first sale. Continuing to send personalized content can make customers feel valued and understood, increasing their loyalty to your brand.
  3. Data-Driven Decision Making: Personalization requires data, and the more personalized your campaigns, the more data you can collect. Over time, this data can provide valuable insights that can be used to further refine your email marketing strategies.

The Intangibles: Benefits That Are Hard to Measure but Invaluable

  1. Brand Perception: Personalized emails can positively impact how recipients perceive your brand, making them more likely to engage with future communications.
  2. Word of Mouth: Satisfied recipients are more likely to become brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences and potentially bringing in new business.
  3. Competitive Edge: In a crowded marketplace, personalization can be the differentiator that sets your brand apart from the competition.

The Hierarchical Approach to Personalization

You might be wondering, “Where do I even start with personalization?” Well, I’ve got a hierarchical approach that’s been a game-changer for me. It’s all about focusing on the individual first, and if that doesn’t work, moving on to other layers of connection.

Why I Always Prioritize the Individual Over the Company

Here’s the deal: People can sniff out generic flattery from a mile away. That’s why I always aim to connect on a personal level first. It’s not just about saying, “Hey, I love your company’s latest product.” It’s about saying, “Hey, I read your article on SEO strategies, and point number three was a revelation!”

How You Can Apply This Hierarchical Approach

Think of it as a pyramid. At the top is the most personal connection you can make—like commenting on their self-authored content. As you move down the pyramid, the connections become less personal but still effective.

Strategy 1: Leverage Self-Authored Content

Self-authored content refers to articles, blog posts, webinars, social media posts, and videos that individuals have created themselves. When personalizing your cold emails, your first priority should be to search for articles authored by the prospect on LinkedIn, and if those are not available, consider exploring their LinkedIn posts.

Why Self-Authored Content Is Crucial

Self-authored content is my go-to for personalization. Why? Because it’s a direct reflection of the individual’s thoughts, expertise, and interests. When you comment on someone’s self-authored content, you’re essentially acknowledging their intellect and effort. It’s the ultimate ice-breaker and a surefire way to get their attention.

Table: Types of Self-Authored Content and Their Importance

Type of ContentWhy It’s Important
ArticlesDemonstrates expertise and thought leadership. A deep dive into a subject.
Blog PostsSimilar to articles but less formal. Offers insights into personality and interests.
WebinarsIndicates expertise and willingness to educate others. A strong sign of authority.
Social Media PostsOffers glimpses into personal interests and opinions. Easy conversation starters.
VideosShows the ability to engage with an audience. Offers personality insights.

By focusing on these types of self-authored content, you’re not just skimming the surface; you’re diving deep into what makes the prospect tick. And that’s how you break the ice in a meaningful way.

How I Find This Goldmine on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is where the magic happens. I click on the LinkedIn link in my spreadsheet, which takes me to the prospect’s profile. From there, I click on ‘Show All Activity’ and then navigate to the ‘Articles’ section. If I can’t find any articles, I turn my attention to ‘Posts’ in the ‘All Activity’ section.

Steps to Uncover Self-Authored Content on LinkedIn

1Visit LinkedIn Profile
2Click ‘Show All Activity’
3Select first ‘Articles’ and if there are no articles, then select ‘Posts’

The Art of Specific Complimenting

Here’s where many people drop the ball. They mention the self-authored content but don’t go any deeper. That’s a missed opportunity. I don’t just say, “I read your article.” I get specific. For example, “I read your article about increasing open rates, and point number three about keeping it short and simple was a game-changer for me.”

An Example Email That Nails It

For Article: 

“Hey [Name],

I stumbled upon your article on ‘5 Tips to Increase Open Rates.’ Point number five about the importance of follow-ups resonated with me. In my experience, follow-ups get me the majority of my replies. Would love to discuss more.


[Your Name]”

For Post: 

 “Hey [Name],

I saw your post about Elon Musk. Checked him out, and you’re right—he’s a fascinating character!

[Your Name]”

Strategy 2: Tap into Prospect’s Engagement

So, you’ve scoured LinkedIn and couldn’t find any self-authored content. What’s next? Time to dig into their engagement on social platforms.

Why Engagement Matters

Engagement, such as comments, likes, or shares, is the next best thing to self-authored content. It’s a window into what resonates with the prospect, what they care about, or what they find interesting. It’s not as personal as self-authored content, but it’s still a solid way to connect.

How I Uncover Engagement on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is still my go-to platform for this. I head over to the ‘All Activity’ section on the prospect’s profile and look for any recent likes, comments, or shares. It’s not as impactful as self-authored content, but it’s still a goldmine for personalization.

Steps to Uncover Prospect’s Engagement on LinkedIn

1Visit LinkedIn Profile
2Click ‘Show All Activity’
3Look for Likes, Comments, or Shares

Crafting the Perfect Ice-Breaker

Once I find something they’ve engaged with, I use it as my ice-breaker. For example, if they’ve liked a post about IVC Technologies helping Ukraine, I might say, “Hey, I noticed you also appreciate the work IVC Technologies is doing in Ukraine. It’s inspiring, isn’t it?”

An Example Email That Gets Replies

“Hi [Name],
I saw you recently liked a post about IVC Technologies’ efforts in Ukraine. It’s incredible what impact technology can have, isn’t it? I’d love to discuss how we can make a similar impact in our respective fields.
[Your Name]”

Strategy 3: Dig Into Their Profile

When self-authored content and engagement are scarce, their profile, such as ‘’About’ section on LinkedIn can be a treasure trove of information.

Why the ‘About’ Section Is a Hidden Gem

The ‘About’ section is often overlooked, but it’s where people put information they want the world to know. It can include personal achievements or hobbies or something that gives you a glimpse into their personality.

How I Navigate to the ‘About’ Section

LinkedIn remains the platform of choice. I scroll down the prospect’s profile to find the ‘About’ section. It’s usually a short paragraph or a list of bullet points, but it’s packed with nuggets of information.

Steps to Explore the Profile on LinkedIn
Step Action
1 Visit LinkedIn Profile
2 Scroll Down to ‘About’ Section
3 Read and Identify Unique Points

Crafting a Message That Makes Them Smile

The goal here is to find something that makes them smile or something they’re proud of. For example, if someone mentions they run a weekend walking tour of Notting Hill, that’s your in. A message like, “Hey, I saw you run a walking tour in Notting Hill. Checked out your TripAdvisor reviews—impressive!”

An Example Email That Hits the Sweet Spot

“Hi [Name],
I couldn’t help but notice you’re a trainee army officer and also a tour guide at the National Trust. That’s quite the range of skills! Would love to hear more about how you juggle both.
[Your Name]”

Strategy 4: The Junk Drawer Approach

When all else fails, or if you’re just not finding those golden nuggets in the usual places, it’s time for what I call the “Junk Drawer” approach. It’s about finding any common ground that could spark a conversation.

Why the Junk Drawer Approach Is Your Last Resort

Think of this as your catch-all strategy. It’s not as targeted as the previous methods, but it can still yield some interesting points of connection. 

How I Scour for Junk Drawer Items

Again, LinkedIn is the platform where I do my detective work. I look for any affiliations, interests, or even past experiences that might offer a point of connection.

Steps to Uncover Junk Drawer Items on LinkedIn

1Visit LinkedIn Profile
2Explore ‘Experience’ and ‘Education’ Sections
3Look for Common Interests or Affiliations

Crafting a Message That Connects

The key here is to find something—anything—that you both share or find interesting. For example, if they mention they love rock climbing and you do too, that’s your in. “Hey, I saw you’re into rock climbing. Ever been to the cliffs in Portsmouth? Amazing experience!”

An Example Email That’s a Conversation Starter

“Hi [Name],
I noticed you went to [University Name], and you’re into [Interest]. Small world—I’m an alum too and share the same passion for [Interest]. Would love to connect and chat more.
[Your Name]”

When All Else Fails, Turn to the Company

If you can’t find personal avenues for connection, it’s time to shift the focus to the company they work for.

Why Company Information Is Your Safety Net

At this point, you’re looking for anything that can help you initiate a meaningful conversation. Company information can be a rich source of topics, from recent achievements to new product launches.

How I Research Company Information

For this, I usually turn to LinkedIn company pages to find valuable insights.

Steps to Research Company Information

1Visit LinkedIN
2Check Which Company They Work For
3Explore Company’s LinkedIn Page

Crafting a Message That’s Still Personal

Even though you’re focusing on the company, the goal is to make your message as personal as possible. For instance, if the company recently won an award, your message could be something like, “Hey, congrats on the recent [Award Name]. That’s a huge accomplishment!”

An Example Email That Doesn’t Feel Like a Cold Email

“Hi [Name],
I saw that [Company Name] recently won [Award Name]. That’s a fantastic achievement and speaks volumes about the work you’re doing. I’d love to discuss how our services could further elevate your success.
[Your Name]”

And there you have it—the fifth and final strategy for personalizing your cold email outreach. This approach focuses on the company but aims to make the connection as personal as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Tools Can I Use for Personalized Cold Email Outreach?

While the strategies discussed are crucial, the right tools can make the implementation much easier. Consider using email automation platforms that offer personalization features, like Mailchimp, HubSpot, or Outreach.io.

How Do I Scale Personalization for Large Email Lists?

Scaling personalization can be challenging but it’s not impossible. Use dynamic fields for names, companies, and other basic information. For deeper personalization, segment your email list based on industry, job role, or past engagement to tailor your message more effectively.

Can I Use These Strategies for Other Forms of Outreach?

Absolutely! While the focus here is on cold email outreach, these personalization strategies can be adapted for social selling, direct mail, or even cold calling.

What If the Prospect Doesn’t Have a LinkedIn Profile?

If LinkedIn isn’t an option, look for other social media platforms where the prospect is active. Industry forums, Twitter, or even company websites can provide valuable insights for personalization.

How Do I Measure the Success of My Personalized Outreach?

Key performance indicators (KPIs) like open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate are good starting points. However, also consider qualitative metrics like the quality of the replies you receive or the number of meaningful conversations initiated.

Is There Such a Thing as Over-Personalization?

Yes, there’s a fine line between personalization and creepiness. Stick to professional achievements or publicly shared information. Avoid mentioning personal details that could make the prospect uncomfortable.

How Do I Keep Track of All This Information?

A well-organized CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can be your best friend. Use it to store information, track engagement, and even set reminders for follow-ups.

What Do I Do If My Personalized Email Still Gets Ignored?

Don’t get discouraged. Not every email will get a response, no matter how personalized. Consider sending a polite follow-up or testing a different personalization strategy for that prospect.

Conclusion: The Art of Personalizing Cold Emails—A Game Changer

The Power of Personalization

If you’ve made it this far, you’re already ahead of the game. You understand that personalization is not a mere gimmick; it’s a strategy, a mindset, and a game-changer in the world of cold email outreach. It’s about seeing the person behind the email address, understanding their needs, and speaking directly to them.

The Five-Pronged Approach

We’ve delved into five foolproof strategies to make your cold emails stand out:

  1. First, zero in on personalization through self-authored content.
  2. If self-authored content is not found, engage by acknowledging their LinkedIn activities.
  3. If no interesting engagement is found, make them smile with something unique from their profile.
  4. If nothing above is found, use “junk drawer” connections for that extra personal touch.
  5. When you’re out of options, turn your attention to the company.

Each strategy serves as a layer, adding depth and relevance to your outreach efforts. From leveraging self-authored content to digging into LinkedIn activities, each layer is designed to make your email more engaging, more relevant, and more likely to get that crucial reply.

Your Next Steps

The ball is now in your court. You have the strategies, the steps, and the insights. All that’s left is to put them into action. So go ahead, craft that personalized email, hit the ‘Send’ button, and watch as your cold emails transform into warm conversations and, ultimately, profitable relationships.

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Further Reading:

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Philip Ilic

Philip Ilic

B2B Growth Specialist

Phil helps B2B SaaS companies with growth marketing and is a deep specialist in Linkedin advertising and paid social more generally (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). He runs a paid social agency called Superlumen.co and is the founder of B2Bhero.co.


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