Hey cold emailer,

Want more positive replies?

Well, if you’ve listened to our Cold Email Outreach podcast, then you know there are a few proven things you can do to get more people to respond to your cold emails:

  • Give compliments

  • A/B test your emails

  • Write a clear Call-To-Action

  • Use reciprocity before you ask

But there’s one thing all of us cold emailers should be doing more of to dramatically lift our reply rates…

I’m talking about making your emails more personal.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s great for deliverability. Spam filters hate mass email. And the more you personalize each message, the more varied your email content will be. Which means your emails have a MUCH better chance of staying out of the spam folder.

  2. Personal emails get more replies. Period. Which email would you rather reply to? A generic, one-size-fits-all email template like this?:


I make weekly videos for blogs. Here<link> is one that I published earlier this week.
Just wanted to email you and see if {{company}} would be interested in a similar series.
Is this something you guys would be interested in?

Or something personal like this?:

Obvious choice, right? Here’s my point. You, me, and everyone else on your list are more likely to respond to personalized cold emails than basic boilerplate email templates. 

But this isn’t a new concept. After all, you already knew that personalizing your cold email is a good idea.

Problem is, most people feel that writing personalized cold emails is a ton of work. That it takes lots of time researching each prospect and deciding how to personalize each email.

But there’s a way to do amazing personalization at scale. And you don’t need to spend hours a day doing internet research or hire a full-time Virtual Assistant to pull this off.

How to send personalized emails at scale

Step 1. Build a list based on specific criteria

Then mention that “specific criteria” in your email.

Mass personalization starts with list building.

The idea is to build a list of prospects that meet a very specific set of criteria that you can talk about in your cold emails.

For example, if your “list building criteria” was e-commerce managers that just got hired, you could write, “Congrats on your new e-com job” to everyone on your list and it would actually feel personal.

Or if your “list building criteria” was “HR directors going to the ‘HR Meets Tech’ conference”, you could write, “I’d love to meet up sometime after the Keynote speech” and it would apply perfectly to everyone on your list.

But here’s the kicker: The specific “list building criteria” you use to build your list should help you identify your best prospects.

This way, you build a hot list of professionals who need what you have to offer AND set yourself up to send out a highly personal cold email sequence.

Step 2. Get your mail merge on

When it comes to sending personal cold emails, mail merges are your best friend; they make it possible to send personal emails to hundreds of people at a time.

Just add a mail merge field to your email template and everyone on your list will see a unique email that’s customized for them.

Sidenote: Everyone remotely serious about cold email is already using the First Name and Company merge tags. So today, they’re expected in cold email. And if you want your cold emails to stand out and truly feel personal, you’ve got to take this a step further.

9 things (beyond {{first name}} and {{company}}) to personalize using mail merges:

  1. Where you found each prospect.
    Want an easy way to write a great intro sentence? Mention where you found your prospect with a mail merge. 
    Example, “I read your article on {{topic}} at the {{blog name}} blog.”
    Or, “I saw you’re going to {{conference}} on {{conference website}}.”

  2. Technologies used
    Are your prospects using a specific tool that’s relevant to your email? Use mail merges to drop it in the message.
    Example: “Since you’ve been using {{tool}}, I wanted to get your take on this.”

  3. Custom P.S.
    If your prospect has a social presence online (most do), you can find a personal “fun fact” about them and drop it into a custom P.S. sentence using a mail merge to show you’ve done your research.
    Example: “P.S. Where’s your favorite mountain biking trail in Washington?”

  4. Company fact
    Is there something interesting about their company that should be mentioned in your email? For example: “Nice work on getting a {{rating}}-star rating on Glassdoor!”

  5. Mentioned in the news
    If your prospect or target company has been mentioned in the news, it’s a great opportunity to congratulate them and leverage the fox and the crow technique.
    Example: “Saw {{company}} was just named {{Austin’s fastest growing HR company}}. Congrats!”

  6. Hiring details
    If you’re looking to start conversations with fast-growing companies, mentioning the roles that they’re currently hiring for can help.
    Example: “How’s the job hunt for your {{python developer}} going? I have a few hiring tips that I can share if you’re interested.”

  7. Relevant case studies
    If you’re using case studies in your cold emails (a good idea), then use mail merges to make sure the most relevant case study is shared with each prospect.
    Example: “I work with companies like {{KISSmetrics}} and make weekly videos for their blog.”

  8. Social activity
    Did your prospect like or share an article related to your conversation? If so, use mail merges to highlight this in your email.
    Example: “Since you liked the {{Hubspot}} post about {{cold email metrics}}, I figured I reach out to ask you about X.”

  9. Goals/Responsibilities
    If you can mention a specific goal or responsibility that your prospect has on their LinkedIn bio, you might be able to use this to explain how you can help make their work easier/less stressful/more impactful.
    Example: “I learned that you are in charge of {{increasing advertising ROI}} at {{company}}. Have you tried using X?”

Okay, so how do you get this “cold email personalization at scale” thing done?

  1. Add your prospects to a CSV file (google sheets works great for this)

  2. Clean up the emails to remove each email that’s not deliverable

  3. Add a column in your sheet for each custom attribute (merge tag) you’d like to add

  4. Write the custom attributes yourself or go to Upwork.com and hire a VA to help you with this.

  5. Upload your list and send highly personalized emails at scale.

  6. Prepare for the avalanche of positive replies.

That’s it! Last thing… If you’re not excited about searching for and hiring a VA for this and/or you just want someone to help you get it done, drop me a message. I have a “cold email personalization” team that’s ready to help you with this.

Okay, leave a comment if you have questions, feedback or if you’re super into merge tags and you have cool ideas to share with the world!