10 Email Personalization Hacks: How to Grab a Prospect’s Attention

Have you ever noticed how fast you usually skim through a dozen work emails on a Monday morning? One after another, not even reading the content. Now, imagine that your prospect usually receives twelve times more emails every day. And possibly a hundred times more emails after the Christmas break.

Do you sincerely think that someone will carefully read them all (and especially one from you) or simply mark them as “all read?” Considering that the average B2B email open rate is 15%, this question has an obvious answer. But if your open rate is lower than the average, you definitely need to figure out how to personalize your emails and boost this number. 

Why Personalization Matters

Higher open rates aren’t the only reason to send personalized emails; it’s all about winning the customer’s attention and the customer’s business.

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Your prospect wants, needs, and deserves that you know who they are before establishing contact with them. This will only bring improve the quality of your business connections and save a heck of a lot of time during the first steps once the contract is signed. And as time is the most valuable currency today, it’s your job to make sure that your prospect doesn’t spend even a minute vaguely reading a dry template email. 

Maybe you think that sending personalized emails is way too complicated. We’ve got some good news here for you: Speaking from a team of more than 250 trained SDRs who send out dozens of personalized emails each week, completing a little research about the prospects and their businesses does not require any technical skills nor takes a lot of time. But the results are always worth the gamble.

With the ten best email personalization practices from CIENCE, a top B2B lead generation company, personalization will be easier than ever. Now, when the only question is how to actually personalize these emails, let’s move to the best techniques shared by our best SDRs. 

More on personalization in the Cold Emailing Guide

1. Personalize the Subject Line

It’s amazing what a huge impact this one little line at the top of the email has on email marketing. The subject line directly influences your domain’s trustworthiness, your marketing campaign’s success, and, of course, your open rate. Campaign Monitor states that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Just imagine that a quarter of all the emails you ever sent are all lost opportunities. 

But subject lines are tricky to personalize. You’ll have to make your own A/B testing to find out the best way to do so for your clients. In some cases, simply adding a name won’t make a huge difference, but adding a name and the city where the prospect is from is already much better. Check this brilliant email personalization example:

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2. Use a Compliment as a Conversation Opener

The best way to start a conversation with anyone (either online or offline) is to admit something you sincerely like about them. All your prospects are just ordinary people, even ones from the top 10 Silicon Valley IT companies (OK, maybe these are half-humans, half-gods). If you see something interesting about your prospect that you really like (a cool hat on the profile picture or a recent post of their cat on Facebook), don’t be shy. Comment about it! Worst-case scenario, your email will never be read by anyone; best-case scenario, you’ll make someone a little happier and maybe even get the client. 

Here’s another email personalization example where the author uses a compliment to attract the prospect:

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3. Emphasize Commonalities with the Prospect 

The fastest way to get somebody’s attention is to point out the things you have in common. This also works with email personalization. People simply tend to trust others with whom they share a common ground—you like the same music band, maybe you’ve attended the same school, or you both choose to vacation in the Hamptons. Whatever the similarities, use them. 

That’s how one of our SDRs did it:

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4. Celebrate the New Achievements Together 

Just like hearing a personal compliment, recognizing someone’s business achievements is music to the prospect’s ears. Even if they understand that this is just a sales trick, you’ll still get some credit for doing this. But avoid using generalizations. You need to say something more than “You are such a cool company!” Be specific about exactly what wows you. Google (or search on LinkedIn) the prospect’s company and learn about the latest changes, winnings, awards, and then use this with sincere praise as written in this personalized email below:

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5. Improvise with the “About” Section on LinkedIn  

LinkedIn is a great source of information for email personalization. Even if you checked everything about your prospect and you found no common things to talk about, no company updates, and nothing interesting to emphasize, check out the About section. Usually, this is the place where people state things they are most proud of and happy to share. 

Here is an example of how one of our SDR trainees tried to approach CIENCE CEO John Girard using this hack: 

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6. Mention Other Company Names You Work With

Most likely, you have a few big company names in your client’s list that you are proud of. If you did a good job for them, it is totally worth mentioning this to other potential clients. Seeing that someone huge and important has already worked with you will only increase your credibility in the prospect’s eyes and maybe even become a crucial factor in hiring you.

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If you mention a prospect’s competitor’s name, it’s totally fine. This might stimulate even more attention and interest to you. The easiest way to do so without triggering the prospect is to make some comparisons between them and point out the competitor’s weak spots.

7. Refer to Your Prospect’s Main Goals

Finding out what your prospect truly needs and dreams about can help create a highly personalized email. Indeed, every business is facing different problems. Still, usually issues can be resolved by achieving five general goals: make more money, get more clients, reduce expenses, grow their business, and look great to their boss. 

Figure out which of these five key goals are most common to your clients and use it to create your best email personalization practices. 

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8. Write a Post Scriptum Line and Make Use of It  

There is no better place for personalization than the P.S. line at the end of the email. The thing is, when prospects receive emails, they don’t really read them from top to bottom. First, they check the subject line, glance at the beginning, skim through to the very end to see who the sender is, and then, if they find something interesting, go back to the beginning and read the body of the email. 

If, during this process, the prospect doesn’t find anything to catch their attention, they simply close the email or delete it forever. That’s it. Therefore, the P.S. line can be your last opportunity to make your client actually read your email. Don’t lose it!

Here’s another good example from a CIENCE SDR:  

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9. Personalize Yourself

Email personalization isn’t just about the client. It’s about adding a human factor to this type of interaction with the prospect. It’s also about personalizing your brand. Hubspot’s experiment has proven that emails sent from a real person with a real photo and contact information receive more actions from the prospects than emails sent from a faceless business email account. Additionally, rather than leaving it blank, you can always choose an avatar, illustration that closely resembles your feature, or even a vector image if you don't feel comfortable sharing a real photo. 

Personalizing yourself should become obligatory for successful email marketing. Here are how emails from CIENCE SDRs look like:

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10. Create Your Email Personalization Templates 

This isn’t about googling a personalized email template but rather about figuring out how to optimize the process of email personalization for your salespeople.  

At CIENCE, the process looks like this: 

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You can use this template, make it more detailed, or narrow it down—whatever works for your business. 

Bonus Hack: Customer’s Trust is Your #1 Priority 

Living in a world where the majority of cyberattacks begin with emails, people have become more conscious about their personal and business data protection. Salesforce states that 62% of users are more afraid of their data being compromised today compared with how it was two years ago. And still, 57% of customers feel uncomfortable when companies use their personal or business information. 

Therefore, you should clearly understand the difference between being creative and applying personalization, and being creepy and making the prospect feel unsafe. Never use any illegal tools for your research, and never go into highly personal stuff. Use only information that the prospect is ready to share.  

If you’re still not sure how to personalize emails and boost your conversions, click here and get professional advice from the crème de la crème in this sphere.