Personalized Cold Emails Don’t Work. Here’s What Does [2024]

Personalized Cold Emails Don’t Work. Here’s What Does [2024]

The traditional belief is that personalizing cold emails and demonstrating that you did some research increases the likelihood of a response to your cold email. 

But is this actually true? Well in this article, we’ll dive into why this might not be the case and discuss a better tactic that not only works better but is also easier to execute.

Let’s dive in!

What is Cold Email Personalization?

Cold email personalization involves writing an email that's specifically tailored or relevant to the contact you’re reaching out to. 

This often includes referencing a recent article they wrote or a LinkedIn post they shared. 

The aim is to make the email feel more personal and engaging, suggesting that you’ve taken the time to learn about them before reaching out.

How Do Teams Personalize Cold Emails?

Most teams personalize cold emails by manually writing them after conducting some research. While this approach can be powerful, it is time-consuming. 

Each email can take from 30 seconds to a few minutes to draft, making it challenging to scale, especially if you’re targeting a large number of prospects. 

Maintaining the quality of these emails becomes even harder with larger teams.

The Problem with Personalization

The biggest issue with cold email personalization, or any type of personalization for that matter, is that it tends to feel fake or sales-y. 

Most people prefer a short, to-the-point email rather than a personalized one, especially if the only personalization is a mention of an article or LinkedIn post they shared. 

In reality, personalization often fails to meet this standard.

What’s the Goal of Personalized Cold Outreach?

The primary goal of personalized outreach should be to convince the recipient that a human actually wrote the email. 

This is increasingly difficult with the advent of AI, but it’s still the ultimate goal. 

The good news is that you can achieve a human-like feel by making your emails very short and casual.

This approach doesn’t necessarily require manual personalization or writing but involves automation that feels human or even lazy at times.

How to Make an Email Feel Human

Here are a few tactics to make your emails feel more human:

1) Purposefully Add an Error or Mistake

Rarely do AI-personalized emails contain mistakes or spelling errors. Introducing a harmless error can convince your prospect that a human, not an automated system, sent the email. Examples include:

  • Misspelling their name and correcting it in a follow-up email.
  • Leaving out a Calendly link and then following up with it automatically.

2) Send Emails That Most Teams Would Never Automate

Another option is to send emails that are almost never automated. Since these types of emails are rarely automated, it’s highly likely that your prospect will think you manually sent the email. Examples include:

  • Sharing helpful content that you thought they’d find useful.
  • Mentioning that you “noticed” something after an automated trigger.

3) Write with an Overly Casual and Direct Tone

This is my favorite option because it requires the least effort and results in extremely short, concise emails that are easy to respond to and keep track of. 

If you’re unsure what I mean by casual and direct, here are some examples. Note that these are entire emails with maybe just your signature at the end:

  • “How are things?”
  • “Lmk here”
  • “Any update? Happy to check back in a couple months.”

The reason these emails stand out is that they’re overly casual. It feels like a human spent very little time writing and sending them. 

If you’re thinking this approach feels rude or like very little effort was put into it, you’re right! But that’s actually the goal. The aim is to convince the recipient that a human wrote these emails, not a robot.

I argue that very short, concise emails like these examples will outperform any AI email that uses personalization from a LinkedIn post or a blog article. I can almost guarantee that.

Wrapping Up

When drafting your playbooks for cold outreach, test a variety of approaches. Don’t simply believe that personalization is a must and works best. 

In today’s world of AI, everyone is personalizing emails, and it’s obvious when something is automated.

If you can make your emails feel human and not robotic or automated, you’ll see higher reply rates and more meetings booked. 

If you’re curious or would like some help drafting direct emails like the ones mentioned above, feel free to reach out to our team. We’re always happy to help where we can.

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