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Personalized cold email examples and best practices

Andriy Zapisotskyi
Andriy Zapisotskyi
Reading time:15 m

Did you know that to get 1 B2B lead, you’ll need to send approximately 306 emails? The cold email competition is way too high. What’s more, adding variables like {{Company.Name}} or {{First.Name}} within the body of your email has outlived itself and won’t work anymore. This is why going beyond old methods and looking for new ways to personalize your emails is so important.

I’m Andriy, a founder of GrowthMate and an expert in cold outreach for link building. I’ve collaborated with top experts in outreach, including Belkins, a leading cold email lead generation agency. Together, we’ve prepared personalized cold email templates to help you hit your sales goals.

In this blog post, you’ll discover new, effective ways to personalize cold emails. Plus, I’ll dive deep into the concept of hyper-personalized cold outreach and discuss why cold email campaigns tend to fail.

Why personalize your cold emails?

Here’s why personalized cold outreach is paramount.

Get more replies and boost the open rate

Researching your recipients and showing them you take interest are the first and most important steps on the road to successful cold email personalization. Your prospects have to see that you spent a decent amount of your time and resources on cold email writing to prove you’re serious about your offer.

By personalizing your subject line, you can increase open rate by 50%. Similarly, Reply Research reports that even just adding the word “referral” to your subject line can lead to a 56% increase in responses.

Increase email deliverability

When sent at scale, email service providers (ESPs) mark identical emails as spam. When deciding if an email should or should not go into the junk folder, ESPs analyze subject lines, email list quality, and content to protect their users from malware or suspicious senders.

This being said, personalization turns you into a trustworthy sender in the eyes of ESPs and improves email deliverability, increasing your emails’ likelihood of landing in the right place.

Build your reputation

Recipients who get personalized emails from your business will take you more seriously, which establishes trust and creates a certain bond between your brand and your prospects. In fact, 63% of 359 marketers surveyed for Sopro’s The State of Prospecting 2023 report noted that personalization would make them open a prospecting email.

Personalized cold emails: Best practices

The alignment of your value proposition with your prospects’ main pain points should lie at the core of every campaign. The aim is to connect with each email recipient. You have to impress potential clients with thorough research, align with their needs, and show them value without overpromising.

Below you’ll find the best practices for personalized cold email outreach from the Belkins team that will help your company enhance the performance of your prospecting campaigns.

Narrowing down target audience and segments

Belkins segments their clients’ target audiences meticulously based on the following criteria:

  • The lead’s industry
  • Company’s yearly revenue
  • Number of employees
  • Occupation
  • Different titles
  • Seniority

At times, Belkins comes across a shortlist of high-priority leads that are a perfect fit for their client. These could be dream clients or those who align with the client’s existing case studies and achievements. For these leads, Belkins takes extra care in personalizing the messages.

📌 Belkins tip: To impress your high-priority leads with a perfect offer, use a mix of 2 techniques:

  1. Prepare an email template with specific fields and paragraphs beforehand and gather the necessary data during the lead research phase.
  2. Craft personalized emails by manually researching unique information for each lead and their company.

Sticking to relevance

According to Belkins’ experience, relevancy is the key factor in outreach. If your cold emails are irrelevant or out of line with the general context of your message, be ready for failure.

This rule applies not only to sales but also to any niche in which you’re conducting cold outreach.

"Since I am mostly sending cold emails in the context of link building, I can give a few thoughts on that.

  • Reaching out to the right person is critical.
  • Relevancy is more important than deep personalization.
  • Offer is everything! Even if you spend an hour personalizing emails but don’t have a good and relevant offer, you will fail. :/
  • Write short emails with clear CTAs."

Antonio Gabrić, Outreach Manager at Hunter.io

A/B test your email campaigns

A/B testing is an indispensable part of the segmentation approach. For instance, using Reply.io software in most cases to track personalized message performance helps Belkins a great deal. Having all the test results means they can quickly assess quality to determine the best approach and scale it up.

Personalized subject lines

Using the prospect’s name is a winning strategy when it comes to subject line personalization. There are many ways to do it, but I’d like to highlight the following 3:

  • Use your prospect’s name or a referral’s name.
  • Add your prospect’s company name.
  • Address your prospect’s pain points.

Here are some subject line examples crafted by the Belkins team using name and company name:

  • Reviewing {{Technologies}}: {{FirstName}}?
  • User engagement and retention: you or {{ReferralName}}?
  • {{Churn Prevention/User Retention}} at {{Company}} 
  • {{FirstName}}, your invitation to our business book club

Personalized opening lines

Your opening line should create a positive first impression. It’s crucial to shift the focus from yourself to the person you are interacting with. This principle is key to success.

"Most prospects are already aware of their problems and have projects in place for how they plan to solve them.

The key is how well you know your buyer’s priorities.

If you know them well, put your prospects in the spotlight — align your solution with what priorities they might already have."

Artem Pogosov, Head of Marketing at Respect.Studio

Here’s one of Belkins’ simplest examples that demonstrates this approach in action:

Hi, {{First.Name}}

As a {{SecurityRelatedTitle}}, you probably have data security on top of your mind. However, emerging technology and new attack methods will pose new risks to the data you’re trying to secure.

Using personalization triggers

To streamline the personalization process, use other personalization points besides prospects’ names, such as:

  • Company’s recent publications and blog posts
  • Company’s event appearances
  • Decision-makers’ career moves
  • Decision-makers’ skills and certificates 
  • Decision-makers’ personal interests

Belkins also uses external services, including AI tools and social media platforms, to gather useful insights and streamline the personalization process. When searching for personalization details, they most commonly turn to:

  • Lavender: to get personalization insights and recipients’ bio details using their valid work email addresses
  • LinkedIn: to obtain details on decision-makers’ career updates, personal information, recent posts, etc.
  • Company’s website: to find out recent news on investments, clients, products or services, and published content
  • Company’s content: to pull relevant stats from the company’s own offline events, webinars, and presentations

Personalized closing lines and calls-to-action (CTAs)

Another great practice is to put a CTA at the end of each email’s closing line to guide your recipient in taking the desired action. For instance, if Belkins wants a prospect to join a webinar, they include a registration link.

The CTA should be concise and should focus on the prospect’s benefit. Avoid mentioning additional features or services.

📌 Belkins tip: Don’t just go with one CTA. Always test various CTAs to see which ones work best and can help you increase click-through rate.

Check out some of Belkins’ high-performing CTAs below:

  • If this resonates with you, would you be interested in a conversation to discuss this further?
  • Do you have some time on {{weekdays_from_today_3}}?
  • Is this something we could discuss over a brief chat?
  • We can explore a bunch of other advantages of {{ClientName}} over a talk. Maybe next Tuesday?

For even more CTA examples, read this collection of 9 B2B email templates.

Explaining the concept of hyper-personalization

Hyper-personalized cold email outreach is a part of the personalization strategy. Such emails require you to conduct thorough research on your potential clients. Emails shouldn’t be based solely on templates but should include specific details about the recipient. Even better, add tailored snippets of information that are relevant to your prospect.

The Belkins team truly believes in hyper-personalized cold emails. This approach helps them increase the number of conversions and enhance the level of interaction for better results.

Based on Belkins’ experience, I’d love to present you with a list of the pros and cons of hyper-personalized email outreach. 


  • Hyper-personalization increases visibility in your prospect’s inbox. 
  • You’re likely to get higher reply rates.
  • You’ll make a positive impression, even when the prospect isn’t ready to make a purchase.
  • Your recipients will be more open to further communication with you.


  • Hyper-personalization is a time-consuming process. 
  • It’s easy to “overdo.” Your prospect will either love the personal touch or perceive you as intrusive.

How hyper-personalized cold outreach is different

In contrast to good old personalization, hyper-personalization breathes some fresh air into common approaches. Here’s how they differ: 

  • Custom-written messages: Each message is specifically crafted for the individual recipient. Its content heavily relies on the recipient’s background, title, or preferences. 
  • Tailored content: Hyper-personalized cold emails include custom-made content, such as blog posts or case studies, that correspond to your prospect’s interests. 
  • Higher engagement rates: Recipients are more likely to respond positively when they feel the sender understands their unique needs. 

Obviously, personal details alone are not enough to impress your recipients. Both the content quality and your communication style have to be head and shoulders above the rest.

"It is not just the content, it is not only hyper-personalization, it is also your writing style if you want to stand out."

Jenny Sharp, SaaS Growth & Community Manager, All New Business

Where is the line between personalization and intrusiveness?

Though personalization is a good strategy, some cold email senders can ruin their message’s perception with a single misstep. You can easily cross the line if you don’t know your recipients’ preferences. A good example is when your prospect is not into other people mentioning personal details revealed on social media.

Let's take a look at good and bad examples:

Good move: Highlight some professional achievements Example: I saw you attended the charity event last week.
Stalker move: Mention very personal details including apperance or family members Example: Your partner looked just great in the tux at the charity event.

Deal size approach for hyper-personalization

Sales and marketing pros often turn to the “deal size approach” to highlight the potential value or size of a business deal or transaction. This approach aims to entice recipients to reply and engage with the offer presented in the email.

Types of deal sizes are as follows:

  • Small deal size: basic personalization (Use first name, company name, job title, city, industry.)
  • Medium deal size: semi-personalization (Add mutual connections, recent achievements/developments, mutual interests.)
  • Large deal size: hyper-personalization (Address specific pain points.)

Note that large deal size and hyper-personalization are intertwined. Prospects belonging to this category can bring in the most revenue. Not every prospect will fall into this category, but it’s worth the effort to make a connection with those who do.

When it comes to outsourced SDRs whose key performance indicator is a booked call, segmenting leads by deal size may not be entirely relevant as this information is typically only available to a sales manager after the initial call. However, at Belkins, SDRs do categorize leads by revenue and size to provide more tailored offerings. This approach influences how they communicate with VPs, address pain points, and create better-suited proposals for either large corporations or young startups.

Examples of hyper-personalized outreach emails

Personalized images and video emails

Considering the fact that 65% of people are visual learners, it’s an excellent idea to insert personalized images or videos into cold emails to enhance what you’re trying to convey.

You can add the following visuals to create even more personalized email templates: 

  • Video explaining how your services can help achieve the desired result (e.g., an embedded YouTube video)
  • Screenshots of your landing page or product 
  • Stats or research supporting the belief your services can bring value to your prospect’s business
  • Photos from your company events, such as product presentations or social gatherings (i.e., charity events)

Check out a great example below, provided by Outreach Manager Antonio Gabrić of Hunter.io. This is the second email in his sequence and had great results: He sent it to 53 people, and it had an open rate of 72% and a reply rate of 38%.

Example of Personalized Email With Video

Why it works:

  • It’s well targeted.
  • It mentions a mutual connection in the first email.
  • It goes the extra mile with the inclusion of a personalized video.

Trigger-based emails

Another great option is trigger-based personalization. Once a business has a trigger event, your sales representatives can contact your potential prospects about that event.

Here are just some examples of trigger events you can use for a personalized sales email:

  • Company relocation
  • Job promotion
  • Industry events
  • Interview participation
  • Product launch
  • A new CEO hire (or in another top position)
  • Company awards
  • Merger/acquisition

Here’s a great example crafted by the Belkins team:

Hi {{FirstName}},
I’ve seen your interview on {{MediaName}}. It’s great to hear that {{Company}} is on track with its revenue plans!

Are you open to discovering the power of strong leadership alliances in driving {{Company}}'s growth strategy? These alliances foster [value 1], [value 2], [value 3], [value 4], and a [value 5].

If you're interested, let's connect for a brief chat.

Why it works:

  • It shows interest and awareness in the prospect’s recent actions.

📌 Belkins tip: When doing cold outreach, research the companies’ charitable, volunteer, community support, and sustainability initiatives. This will help you craft perfect emails for each company.

Pain points-based emails

Use the pain points approach in your cold email outreach to show that you understand your prospect’s needs and challenges. We all know that most pain points are tied to emotions such as frustration or anxiety. So relevant content can resonate and lead to an emotional response

Focus on pain points for large deals and use specific goals to demonstrate how your product or service can help. Tailor email content for each prospect.

For instance, the cold email example below is a great guide on how to use pain points. In this case, it recognizes the struggle for a 2-person team to juggle multiple activities. 

Artem Pogosov from Respect.Studio provided me with an excellent example below.

Subject line: Your LinkedIn posts

{{FirstName}}}, saw your team’s actively posting on LinkedIn.

Building on social generates massive attention. But, with running online events and a podcast, I think that creating content for social eats a ton of time.

Given that {{Teammate1}} and {{Teammate2}} are a team of two, they may have other priorities.
To save their time, we can help you create LinkedIn content to attract clients.

Sounds interesting?

Why it works:

  • It starts with an observation of the prospect’s recent team activity.
  • It mentions the podcast and events to show that you’ve researched their marketing initiatives and know what they are trying to achieve. 
  • It recognizes the struggle for a 2-person marketing team to handle multiple activities and offers help.
  • It uses the actual names of marketing team members.

“Face-to-face meetups” emails 

Face-to-face meeting requests have enriched Belkins’ personalized cold outreach success portfolio. They focused on mapping specific restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and bars close to the prospect’s office building. It’s relatively easy to implement geodata into your campaigns, which makes it a perfect personalization unit.

Here’s an example of copy with a few possible subject lines:

Subject line A: Lunch at {{Restaurant}}?
Subject line B: Lunch near the office?

Hi {{FirstName}},
I’m {{Name}}, {{Title}} at {{Sender'sCompanyName}}, a [company description and industry].

I live just around the corner from your office at {{Location}}, and thought it would be nice, for a change after COVID, to arrange a face-to-face meeting to discuss your [list of challenges].

I'd love to show you our [product], {{ClientName}}, as well as some best practices and collaborations from one of our main partners, {{CustomerName}} and the industry at large, with a focus on [your value proposition].

With its capabilities, you will able to use digital product twins to [your value proposition].

FOR SUBJECT LINE A: {{Restaurant}} is always a safe choice for lunch, would you like to grab a bite, put a face to the name, and speak a bit more in detail?
FOR SUBJECT LINE B: Do you have a favorite place in the area where we can grab a bite, put a face to the name, and speak a bit more in detail?

Why it works:

  • Belkins plays into people’s desire for offline communication post-COVID. 
  • It’s relatively easy to locate restaurants or cafes next to the recipient’s office.

These were examples of hyper-personalized emails. Below, you’ll find more examples of personalized messages that will definitely help you amplify your lead generation efforts.

Examples of personalized cold emails 

1. Personalized emails for C-level executives

C-level executives prioritize results and ROI over technical details and implementation timeframes. To engage these executives effectively, craft your email as a conversation starter, not a sales pitch. Position yourself as their peer and discuss industry trends. Mentioning recent achievements is effective, but avoid getting too personal.

📌 Pro tip: Do some research first to find out how long they’ve been working in their current position. If not that long, develop specific personalized templates for those who are pressured to perform in the short term.

Here’s an example of how to reach a C-level executive in their new role: 

Hi {{FirstName}},

Congratulations on your recent appointment as {{Title}} of {{Company}}. Having worked with amazing executive clients like yourself, I know what it takes to build cooperative and trustful relationships with key stakeholders.

Would be happy to share information on how to be an authentic leader who inspires others to join you on your mission.

You might enjoy my Forbes articles - {{Article 1}} & {{Article2}}

Why it works:

  • Congratulations are flattering.
  • The sender addresses pain points and shares experiences.
  • The recipient gets value through the attached articles.

2. Name-dropping emails 

Here’s an example using a great opening line I discovered in an exceptionally insightful e-book from Woodpecker (I definitely recommend checking it out later on). Bryan Kreuzberger, founder of Breakthrough Email, sends this type of email email to 4 people in a company, and this typically results in him achieving an approximate 80% response rate and securing numerous meetings.

Subject line: Appropriate person

I am writing in hopes of finding the appropriate person who handles multicultural media. I also wrote to {{Person X}}, {{Person Y}} and {{Person Z}} in that pursuit. If it makes sense to talk, let me know how your calendar looks.

{{YourCompanyName}}} helps increase the revenues of Fortune 500 companies by marketing to Hispanics. Each month we reach 25 million Spanish speakers with an audio message they must hear. We insert 30-second audio and SMS advertisements into phone calls made on calling cards.

The benefit to users is they make their call free. The benefit for our clients is they can increase store revenue by providing text message coupons. Typical redemption is 3%.
Our clients include Burger King, P&G and Chili’s.

If you are the appropriate person to speak with, what does your calendar look like? If not, who do you recommend I talk to?

Why it works:

  • Writing 4 people from the company at once will increase your chances of receiving a response. 
  • Using some great numbers will look more impressive and memorable in each email.

3. Complimentary-trial emails

Here’s a perfect example of Belkins’ tech pitch, offering a complimentary test drive of a product: 

Subject line 1: {{Churn Prevention/User Retention}} at {{Company}}
Subject line 2: Reminder for {{FirstName}} - complimentary test drive

Hi {{FirstName}},
Have you given thought to taking the complimentary 2-month test drive of {{ClientName}}?

With its [list of features] you can [list of values].
This level of [benefit 1], paired with [benefit 2], ensures more effective and impactful campaigns compared to {{Technologies}}.

We can explore a bunch of other advantages of {{ClientName}} over a talk. Maybe next {{DayOfTheWeek}}?

Why it works:

  • It entices the prospect with a complimentary test drive by mentioning it in the subject line.
  • The message offers benefits tailored to the recipient’s needs (AI personalization).

4. Competitor-triggered emails 

Competitor-triggered emails prove to be a valuable asset for businesses as they instantly capture the interest of prospects. Here is an example of the second email in a sequence from Pere Codina, CEO at Kompyte.

Subject line: Re_{{competitor_1}}, {{competitor_2}, {{competitor_3}}

How goes it? Feel free to say no, but I'd love to spin up a competitive intelligence report for you.
I thought I'd send over an example of what one of our reports would look like. Our focus is tracking any changes in a market's landscape, bottom up.

Are {{competitor_1}}, {{competitor_2}}, {{competitor_3}}, and {{competitor_4}} enough for me to get started in giving you an overall view of your space?

Why it works:

  • Competitors’ names grab attention right away.
  • Mentioning competitors shows a prospect that you’ve done your research.
  • The attached examples of reports demonstrate the value a prospect can get.

5. Holiday-triggered emails 

Check out this masterpiece of a holiday-triggered sales email provided by Artem Pogosov from the Respect.Studio team:

Subject line: Sales WIN(ter) is coming

Hey {{FirstName}},
Getting ghosted in October is only a great experience if you're at a Halloween event.

When a deal is lost to a competitor how are you finding the reason why?
We've built a solution to help you identify why you win and lose deals so you can stay ahead of your competition.

Sound helpful?

Why it works:

  • The subject line contains wordplay. Q4 is a tough sales period, so “Sales WIN(ter) is coming” will resonate.
  • The opening line ties closely into both the Halloween topic and the pain point of being ghosted.

6. Hiring intent-based emails 

If you deal with hiring-triggered cold emails, here’s a great example provided by Vlad Oleksiienko, VP of Growth (former SDR Lead) at Reply.io

Hi {{FirstName}},
I noticed that you are expanding your {{Department}} team at {{Company}}.

As a {{Job_Title}}, I assume, you want your company’s {{Department_Responsibility}} to grow as well, so would you like the idea of improving {{Company}}’s [pain point]?

{{Your_Company}} is designed for {{Department}} teams and helps them [your brief value proposition].

Are you available for a 10-minute call to see how we could help {{Company}}`s {{Department}} team?

Why it works:

  • Mentioning competitor companies as your clients makes a great impression.
  • Including details such as the prospect’s team size or recent growth numbers shows you’ve done your homework.

Here are Vlad’s insightful comments and ideas regarding the email copy he shared above.

"You can see a number of pretty default variables in the template above along with custom snippets (pain point and tailored value proposition). And it works just fine (mostly because it’s intent-based) with an 80.9% open rate and 21.5% reply rate.

However, we can take this a step further with a few more things you can do to personalize this template: 

  • Refer to the prospect’s current team size or recent growth numbers (based on your research), e.g., “It seems that your team has grown by {X}% in the last {X} months, so this might be relevant.”
  • Mention a few similar companies (or competitors) that are your current clients, e.g., “Not sure if you are in the market, but since {{Company1}}, {{Company2}}, and other companies in the {{Industry}} use {{Your_Company}}, I thought you might be interested.”
  • Use some dynamic variables in the greeting or the sign-off, e.g., “How is your {{day_of_week}}?” or “P.S. I just checked the weather in {{City}} and it’s going to be {{Weather_Condition}} tomorrow – {{Weather_Comment}}.”

Personalized emails are a must for businesses aiming for high open and reply rates in their cold outreach campaigns. I hope the examples I’ve shared above have given you some fresh ideas and insights into how you can customize your own email campaigns whether you’re a huge B2B company seeking sales prospects or an email marketing agency for e-commerce. Wishing these help you better engage your recipients and achieve better sales outcomes. 

How Belkins can solve personalized outreach at scale

It’s all about segmentation. Belkins has developed a straightforward segmentation strategy that helps solve personalized outreach at scale. So what are Belkins’ success tips?

  • Segment your email list and define common features for each. 
  • Segment your audience by industry or job title.
  • Personalize specific parts of the email, such as the value proposition.
  • Keep the introduction and CTAs relatively the same.

How do they do it at Belkins? Their tried-and-true process for personalized email templates is based on 3 components:

  1. Use customer information as a guide to create emails that convert. This can be challenging for new clients who need time to start trusting new partners.
  2. Copywriters at Belkins do profound research before writing B2B emails. They pack their top-notch templates with insights, relevant jargon, current trends, and industry updates and always write in the brand’s tone of voice. For example, when reaching out to specialists in e-commerce website optimization, consider purchasing the latest industry reports and selecting compelling statistics to capture prospects’ attention and establish genuine connections.
  3. They run A/B testing and analyze replies to make sure they appeal to the target audience and achieve their desired results.

Parting thoughts

Cold email outreach is a game-changer and serves as a powerful tool to get through to your prospects. However, nobody likes a generic message in their inbox. Lack of personal touch is the main reason why many outreach campaigns fail. 

Make sure your cold email outreach is as personalized and relevant to your recipients as possible. Use the cold email outreach tips and tricks provided in this article to hit your metrics and increase your email deliverability.

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Andriy Zapisotskyi
Andriy Zapisotskyi
Founder at GrowthMate
Andriy is a founder of GrowthMate — a relationship-based link-building agency that helps brands grow in SERP and generate more revenue with powerful backlinks. Besides mentoring startups and networking, Andriy dedicates lots of his time to running and discovering new places.