Outreach Marketing
4 min read

Personalization@Scale 101

February 6th, 2020

The Challenge

We all know that personalizing a cold email improves conversions. No one likes to be blasted with some generic message and doing so will ultimately lower conversions, burn domains and negatively affect deliverability. But researching personalization snippets like a relevant blog, shared connection or position listed is a time suck and decreases your volume and thus nets new positive response.

Can you have it both ways?

Kinda…5 years ago, personalizing an email with the first name or company name was enough to stand out in a crowd of others that did not add in these {{variables}}. Fast forward to today and now everyone is doing it and you are back to square one when it comes to standing out.


More {{variables}} in general plus more {{variables}} that are relevant to your solution, your prospect or target account. The name of the game is finding personalization variables that take the least amount of time to research, relative to the improvement in conversion they generate.

Example: It takes me 10% more time to research a prospect, I need to get an 11% improvement in positive conversions to make it worthwhile. Internal goals, deal size expectation or how you value winning a sexy brand may adjust how you calculate this cost to benefit ratio.

1) Start with what you already have

When you getting your prospect data, there are countless data elements that come from your database or source that you may not be using. This data can easily be incorporated to make your template more personalized without the research time drag.

Company City, Company Phone, Company Industry to name a few. By incorporating these automatically you will already be on your way to standing out.

Hi {{First.name}},

I’ve recently been working with some clients in {{city}} as well as a few others in the {{industry}} space and would love to brainstorm some strategies that we feel could be applied to {{company}}.

Would {{phone}} be the best number to call you for a quick chat?

2) Avoid Rookie Mistakes

Age old saying about the bear in the woods comes to mind “You don’t need to outrun the bear, just your friend”. In our experience, about 70% of cold emails I gen are horrible to start with some basics that these tend to forget.

Edit/shorten company names so that it does not look like you just pulled it directly from your database. Use functions in your tools like {{business_day+2}} instead of “do you have some time next week”. See if you contact Joseph goes by Joe and adjust. Key to remember is that half of the battle is to make sure it does not appear canned.

3) 3 birds — 1 Stone

You have your template but should it be used for each persona? If you are targetting CEO, Marketing and Sales team for a CRM offering, the pain points you solve are a little different for each — adjust your template slightly for this. Not only will this resonate more with the prospect, but it also creates more variation to help deliverability. Plus if you are messaging multiple contacts at the same account, nothing screams automation like everyone getting the same message. Since you are reaching out to multiple contacts, you have the data so why not use it and name drop them?

Example to Marketing contact:

“…Should I invite {{Sales_Contact_Fullname}} too?” This variation approach holds true for {{variables}} in your message too. Most messages may reference some past clients you’ve helped. Go step further and make it a {{variable}} so each prospect sees different name drops, ideally pick a client name drop for each prospect based on the industry or location to help ensure it resonates more.

4) {{variables}} Customized for you and your solution

You know the pains you solve and you picked the prospect because you are confident they have the pain. So be sure to research variables that are easy to find and that will work with your spiel.


  • Your solution is great for remote teams: Research % or amount of folks on the team that are remote and use that in your message.
  • If you solve a pain that’s prevalent with companies with many locations, count them up and mention them. “Considering {{company’s}}{{Location_count}} locations, how are you and the {{dept}} team overcoming the challenge of ABC?
  • If your solution integrates with another tech, research if they use that tech and use in your message. “ I saw that {{company}} is using {{tech}}…we integrate seamlessly…”
  • If you are selling recruiting/staffing solutions, research amount of positions up, specific position titles and how long they have been up. Then and incorporate into your template. Combine with the research of their HR system and boom, you have an email that looks like it was researched for 15 min when all you really did was add in some key easy to find {{variables}}.

5) Basic Rules of Thumb

Research takes time.

Save by outsourcing it to upworkers, using variables that are easier to scrape with tech or let personalization specialists at Quilqy to take care of it all for you.

Deal Size Matters.

The bigger the deal size potential and/or the smaller the addressable market, the more you should personalize. Be smart about your personalization. You may start with limited personalization on steps 1–3 but then add in more for prospects that did not reply but did click, open X amount of times.

What’s good in theory does not always work in practice.

Once you have researched prospects and built your template, read each and everyone for 10+ random prospects to make sure it all comes out the way you want. Remember, one tiny error can and will kill an opportunity. Take the time on the strategy and research at the top of the funnel, and automation will take care of the rest down the steam!

Tag & Track everything

It’s an art, not a science. Make an assumption, tag the prospects, measure the results. If it’s working scale and see how you can go even deeper in that segment. If it is not working, move to your next assumption and repeat.

How will I know its working?

simple. When people reply with “I normally don’t reply to emails like this but…” or “thanks for taking the time to research and do your diligence but we don’t have a need at this time. Check back in next year” you know you are on the right track!

This is awesome. What does Personalization@Scale look like?

There are no limits as demonstrated by the below template that has 24 variables. The key is to build around your solution and the pains you solve. At Qulqy, we are so grateful for all the knowledge Marc has given us that we are more than happy to provide free consultation on what may work for you, along with some complimentary custom researched prospects and a custom template so that you can see the power of Personalization@Scale firsthand.

You may also be interested in:

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Aim first, outreach second. Keep an order.
Website Design vs. Content: what matters most to your inbound efforts?
4 reasons to do blogging. Boost your online presence now!
Omnichannel outreach and why you need that.
4 easy steps to improve your deliverability
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