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The Ultimate Guide to Email Personalization in 2021

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Email personalization is inarguably the holy grail of outbound marketing.

With emails delivering the highest ROI for companies, email personalization is an essential part of any growth strategy. As a matter of fact, businesses have recorded a whopping 760% increase in email revenues from personalized campaigns.

At The Scalelab, we breath personalization on a daily basis. So here’s a comprehensive guide to personalized emails that connect, engage, and convert. In this article, you’ll know:

  • What Email Fields to Personalize and How?

  • The MOST IMPORTANT HACK for Email Conversion!

  • What NOT to do while personalizing emails?

  • Top 5 Tools for Email Personalization

But first, let’s understand…

Email Outreach: Then v/s Now

25 years ago, email wasn’t even a thing. Though the email was invented in the 1970s, it became popular in the late 1990s. Since then, emails have transformed communication.

The Old World

Businesses adopted a company-focused approach rather than a customer-focused approach while sending emails. It was marked by:

❌ Standard and impersonal company sales pitch with no relevance to customers' needs

❌ The same copy-pasted template sent to 1000s of people

❌ No tailoring to individual customers’ interests and personal details

While it might have worked in the 90s, with the growing amount of messaging platforms and social media distractions, this approach is failing.

How do you compete against elaborate algorithms that tailor content to each user, when you send the same standard message to everyone.

It makes people feel like an entry on a spreadsheet. As a result, this type of email marketing brings little to no results now.

The New World

Enter EMAIL PERSONALIZATION. And the way of communication transformed completely. Contemporary email marketing then became all about:

✅ Customer-focused approach with relevant value propositions

✅ Shift from mere ‘selling’ to long-term relationship building

✅ Personalized content tailored for the interests of each customer

And with personalization, Emails were back as one of the most important strategies for finding prospects and business growth.

Now, you already know how important email personalization is for lead generation and customer acquisition. But… the question is how to start!

Begin by collecting and assimilating data for personalizing your emails.

To personalize cold outreaches through emails, you need to know exactly WHO your customers are. Start by defining your target prospect persona, that’d help you segment the emails and personalize them better.

How to Acquire Data for Email Personalization?

Your company’s success with email marketing depends wholly on the quality and data in your email lists. Here are the top data points you can refer to:

  • Website Analytics

Tracking behavioral metrics on your website can help you understand your prospect’s interests, preferences, and habits. To track website visitor data, we recommend using:

Outcome: Know how prospects found you & focus on the specific keywords, content or sources.

  • Scraping

Build your personalization based on specific datapoints on any given prospect. For each prospect find and match details across various channels (linkedin, facebook, yellow pages, quora, reddit etc...). To scrape and get accurate data we recommend:

Outcome: Clear spreadsheets with detailed data on every single potential prospects

  • Email CRM Integration

Study your email cycles to gather relevant data points from existing prospects or customers. Track points like:

  • Email Bounce Rate

  • Deliverability Rate

  • Open Rate

  • Reply Rate, etc.

Outcome: Measuring your outreaches to focus on what works and stop what doesn't.

What Fields Can You Personalize in Emails?

Everything, we say!

  • Subject Lines / Titles

Titles are the most important element of any email, deciding whether your email will be opened or not. It's the first lines a prospect will read from you. You can Personalize the subject line by:

  • Asking a question

  • Their name

  • Their company’s name

  • Relevant Industry News

  • Recent Achievements (a "Congrats FirstName!" does the job 😉)

  • Recent Activity on Social Media (people interacted with, posts they’ve commented on)

TIP: Use your prospect’s name in the subject line to yield 26% higher open rates.

  • Salutations

That Dear Sir/Madam ,Greetings , To Whom it may concern can seriously hurt your email outreach campaign 😔. The goal is to be human. Personalize salutations with:

  • "Hi First Name" and "Hello First Name"

  • No salutation and use "First Name" only

  • Common interests (like: Fellow Jedi Warrior)

TIP: the closer you get to a real in person salutation the better the results.

  • Preview Text / also called "preheader"

The ultimate CTA to open your emails is the short email snippet your prospect sees. It's what appears on their as notification on mobile or desktop screens on the inbox. It affects whether to open the mail or trash it. Personalize the preview text with:

  • Reference to a Point of Contact (someone both of you know)

  • An interesting hook relevant to their company or industry (news, stocks, etc.)

  • Recent action they took or official announcement

TIP: The preheader's length should be 40-130 characters to optimize for mobile and desktop. Use your first lines wisely.

  • Sender’s Name and Address

The From name and email address is something most people overlook. Make sure your email is set up with your name so it appears on the prospect's inbox.

People want to connect with real people. Not no-reply@…, info@…, contact@… — So, avoid those email addresses unless it contains purely one-directional communication.

  • Email Body Copy

Now, when you have hooked your prospect with the title and blurb, amp it up by an interesting email copy. Customize it by including details like:

  • Name (while asking a question or leading to an action)

  • Recent activity

  • Industry news

  • Content they might be interested in that would deliver immediate value to their work

  • CTA Button Copy (with the action you want them to take)

TIP: Make it about THEM, not YOU.

To give you an insight, this is how we do use it for our newsletter!

Best Email Personalization Tricks in 2021

Depending on the intent of your email, you can use behavioral data to send relevant emails to your prospects or customers.

  • Dynamic, Relevant Content

We recommend using Lemlist as an emailing tool because you can also personalize your emails with pictures. Example:

  • Use Action-Triggered Emails

Set email sequences triggered by specific actions your prospect took. It includes subscribing, clicking on a particular link, bouncing before completing an action, etc.

  • Important Announcements

New fundraises, acquisitions, anniversaries are a huge success, because they leverage on live news. You can find such data from:


No cold outreach is effective without follow-up emails for triggering engagement. Plan email funnels and sequences to warm up your leads, and remind your prospects about your presence. Like

TIP: Don't do this manually and use one of the emailing tools below to plan out your sequences so you don't have to think about it.

  • A/B Testing

To see what type of personalization works best with your customers, try A/B testing your email copy on each campaign and measure which one works best.

TIP: We also use Lemlist because it does allow to A/B test a sequence on a given campaign.

Top 5 Tools for Easy Email Personalization

  1. Lemlist: Helps you design, schedule, and run email campaigns.

  2. Provides email campaign tools along with website visitor tracking.

  3. ActiveCampaign Helps you automate sequences based on prospect actions

  4. Litmus: Helps you A/B test and track your email campaigns.

  5. AWeber: Integrates your email campaigns with other online services.

The Takeaway

Email personalization is what will define whether or not you succeed at Cold Emailing. Capturing prospect data, leveraging this data in your email copy and writing in a Human and Approachable way will get you to space. For strong results the formula is:

Personalization = Accurate prospect data + Prospect centric copy

Employ these tips for making the most of emails and personalization. Reach out to us for effective email and lead generation strategies at (Youssef & Arnaud are behind it). Until then…

Happy Scaling 🚀

The Scalelab

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