“Personalized outreach” AND “at scale” doesn’t seem to go together, but here are some ideas for making it happen.

You know the importance of personalized email. But maybe haven’t quite put your finger on how to send enough emails to make cold outreach effective in your business?

If that sounds like you, I hope to help.

Hopefully it goes without saying that there are some things that depend upon your business. The target industry, pricing, and a few other factors. That said, there are more B2Bs that can benefit from sending personalized cold emails than not.

geralt / Pixabay

This post isn’t about the benefits of outreach emails with a personal touch, you already know those (if you don’t, here’s a post all about it).

Instead, we’ll take a deep look at effectively sending more emails with data in them in order to get more responses.

Brief Intro to Personalized Email

Getting to know your leads before you first speak with them is one of the biggest trends amongst successful sales professionals and small businesses today. Right now, there are possibly hundreds of reps searching for details about you and me on “the net”.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this screenshot from the morning I wrote this post. LinkedIn sent me an email telling me that my profile is showing up in searches.

Personalized email outreach

What are these people looking for? The details said “Marketing Professional” among other things. Most are likely prospecting for people who fit their ideal buyer profiles. But they also would be looking for my interests, shared posts, and other things that could make their point of contact (either via email, call or social) stand out.

We use this tactic at times, too. If we have contact data, we’ll pop open a social platform to see if we can’t make our emails that much more personal.

It’s highly effective, but it’s not exactly what we would call “scalable”. At one contact every 3 minutes, that’s only 20/hour. And if you sell a product that is extremely niche and high price/profit — I highly recommend it.

Entry-level data points used in personalization:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Job Title/Role
  • Company Name

More advanced data points:

  • Competitor Name
  • Colleague/Co-Worker Name
  • Geographic Data
  • Industry Data
  • Personal Interests (i.e. Sports team)

There are many more. Here’s a link to the blog of a company focused on personalization that you may find helpful (called SmartFocus).

Personalized email outreach

Source: SmartFocus

Personalized Email at Scale: Onto the Tips

Tip One: Narrow Down Your Target Market

Having buyer profiles for your business is so ridiculously vital, I’m not sure how to convey it in a serious enough way.

Not that you have to have a little index card or graphic with a name, like Sally Store Owner, or something like that (although it could help). You should, however, have an idea of the industries, business details, and people details of those who’ll buy your stuff.

If you sell something for the medical world, does it convert better for orthopedic doctors and surgeons better than just plain old “doctor”?

Or, instead of small businesses, say a marketing agency does a little research on your current clients and finds out their ideal buyers are SaaS and Tech companies. Maybe their profile looks something like this;

  • Company Details: American or European SaaS companies with revenue of $5-$15 million annually and between 3-100 employees.
  • Decision Maker Details: Typically the buyer is the COO, Director of Marketing, or (possibly) the Owner/CEO
  • Typical Influencers: Sales manager, Marketing manager, CEO
  • Closest Competitors: Software Company ABC, SaaS Product XYZ

How It Helps Personalized Email

Oh, let me count the ways this helps (using the example above).

  1. Specific Industry Knowledge: There are so many things specific to the Software as a Service world (SaaS) that would go a long way in personalizing the email. But in a way that would hinder or slow down the scale.
  2. Specific Company Knowledge: A small, one-product company and a large software bigger biz operation have different needs and are at different stages of their company. One may use cold email and FB ads, while the other may have a 7-figure ad spend. Not to mention the number of hands touching their marketing.
  3. Specific Role Knowledge: Understanding that you’re likely going to be talking to a COO or Head of Marketing will help you with your email copy, but also with the personalization. You can say things like, “We created [insert resource title] specifically for Marketing Executives of companies just like [company name]”. That’s really specific, but can be done quickly.
  4. Specific Influencer Knowledge: Having the data of those who have the ear of your primary contact is incredibly valuable. Sending emails to these people and providing resources for them as well can really move the needle and get you a conversation.
  5. Specific Competitor Knowledge: Unless your contact doesn’t care about their job, they’ll want to know things about their competitors. Think about every movie when someone says they have information — they always get the ear they wanted. If you narrow down your industry, you’ll have data on the competition.

Bonus (Personalized Fishing): Maybe this company sends an email to a contact. There was another contact, but the title was “Head of Customer Service” and the decision maker is not clear. You could include a PS in your email like this;

Should I be speaking to [insert Head of Customer Service’s name here], instead?

Key Takeaway: The more your leads have in common, the easier it will be to personalize your cold outreach at scale.

Tip Two: Don’t Send Personalized Email and Don’t Do It at Scale

Personalized email outreach

Sounds weird, right?

There’s a reason this tip is in here, and could be the most important one. Regardless of what you do in terms of marketing your business — you should always be testing something. In fact, you should always be testing just about everything.

This one has been hitting close to home. LeadFuze uses our product to send emails and we also use the handy metrics to test the emails that we sent.

And sometimes — the results are unexpected.

For instance, we’ve noticed that using ZERO (not just less, but no) personalization in the subject line had a greater open rate than using things like [company name] or [first name].

Another thing that email marketers have to be concerned with is deliverability. If the old Google machine deems your email worthy of the spam folder, it’s really hard to get anything going. One of the other things we’ve tested is the email sending frequency.

Send 300 emails as soon as you can and you’ll likely end up with terrible open rates and deliverability. Send those same 300 emails staggered at 20-50 at a time and you’ll likely not look suspicious to all of the algorithms hunting spam.

Disclosure: Just don’t sent spam, even if you can. It’s bad and you should feel bad if you do it.

There are so many things to test when it come to your email, but here are some basic categories to help you start coming up with your own experiments.

  • Copywriting: Subject line variations, first sentence, the way you word your hook (e.g. the thing you’re hoping will get them to respond), the PS, even the signature used can and should be tested to see what works better.
  • The Hook Itself: You likely shouldn’t be cold pitching your services. Instead, you should be providing a resource, asking them to attend a webinar, or something like that. But you should also test a few offers to see which works best.
  • Ascetics: The copy and hook are going to be the primary tests, but font choices and size and other ascetic items can be tested over time to see if they move the needle in the right direction.

Important: Never test too many things at once. For instance, if you try two subject lines AND two hooks in one test — how are you supposed to know what did better/worse? One thing at a time.

And, as Justin (our CEO) says:

You should always send two versions of every email. Always be testing something.” — Justin McGill

Tip Three: Use a Good Data Provider

If you really take some time to build out who is most likely to buy your product (and who you want to sell to the most) — you’ll have the knowledge to personalize email at scale.

But there is one more thing you’ll need in order to pull it off — good data.

It is not scalable for sales reps to search LinkedIn all the live long day to find 10-20 qualified leads. Unless you’re selling a product that makes one deal every other month lucrative, it’s just not sustainable.

At scale, you or your reps should be sending hundreds or even thousands of emails every month. And in order to use all the intel that you’ve gathered on your target market — you actually have to have a pool of data that you can search.

Not only that, but the intel has to be detailed and accurate.

Just take a look at this screenshot from the LeadFuze App.

Personalized email outreach

Imagine being able to find this data from a simple search of the word “SaaS”. You can input the other data we discussed in the example (role, size, even geographic details).

How have you used personalized email outreach in your business? Has it helped get results?