4 Ways Email Merge Tags Can Help You Save Time

One of the biggest challenges you face as a digital marketer is
cutting through the noise online.

Every day,
over 269 billion emails
travel all across the world. When you
factor in the fact that only about 3 billion people use email, you
realize that’s a whole lot of messages for each of us on

To put it simply, if you spend even a moderate amount of time
online, you probably get more emails than you can pay attention to,
and the same goes for your customers.

If you want to stand out, your emails need to be unique and they
need to speak directly to your audience. In other words, they need
to include

Just personalizing your subject lines can lead to an
increase of 26%
in open rates.

Personalization is critical if you want to get the most out of
email marketing. The question is how you should go about
implementing it, and that’s where email merge tags come in.

A quick introduction to email merge tags

You probably run across hundreds of email subscription forms in
your time online.

 A quick example of a signup form built with Campaign Monitor.

Source: Campaign Monitor

As you probably know, the information you collect from customers
via any type of form doesn’t just vanish. If you use a modern
email marketing tool, all that data goes somewhere, and you can
access and use it within your emails.

Say you want to send a simple welcome email to your subscribers.
You put together a stylish message using a template, say hello, and
let them know what to expect from your next emails.

A welcome email from Google Home Hub.

Really Good Emails

Nowadays, it’s pretty common for emails to address you by
name. That’s possible because they use merge tags, which also go
by other names, including personalization, data, and dynamic

The way email merge tags work is: you add a simple code snippet
to the body of your email. Something like this:


When one of your customers opens an email that contains that
merge tag, they won’t see the code snippet. Instead, they’ll
see their name, which your email marketing service pulls
dynamically from the data you collect.

Signup forms are the most basic of examples. They enable you to
collect emails, names, and other contact information. However, you
can use email merge tags to display data from any type of input,
from donation forms to online surveys.

 An example of donation form, including name and email fields.

Source: Writer Screenshot

You can display any data you collect using email merge fields.
That makes them one of the most powerful personalization tools in
your arsenal, since the options are almost limitless.

4 ways email merge tags can save you time

You know what email merge tags are and how they work. However,
it’s hard to appreciate just how useful they can be without
seeing them in action. Read on to discover how they can help you
save time.

1. Configure merge tag default values to fill in blanks.

The first thing you need to do when you set up a new email merge
tag is to set a default value or fallback for it.

Let’s say, for example, you don’t have the name of one of
your subscribers, and you want to send out a personalized email
that starts with:

“Hey *|NAME|*! Check out our new line of products.”

When any of your subscribers opens that email, they’ll see
their name at the start of the sentence. If you don’t have their
name saved, though, that value will come up blank, and your email
goes from personalized to generic in a heartbeat.

By setting a fallback, you include a value that’ll show up
whenever your email marketing tool can’t pull up the data you
want using merge tags.

 Setting fallback values using Campaign Monitor.

Depending on your business, you can get creative with your
fallback values. Take Casper, for example, who calls their
customers “dreamers.”

Source: Really
Good Emails

As a rule of thumb, you want to set fallback values for as many
of your merge tags as possible, to avoid mishaps.

Some fields, such as email addresses, don’t need any fallback
values, though. Without an email, subscribers wouldn’t be able to
sign up to your list in the first place

2. Experiment with custom merge fields that adapt to your business.

So far, all the email merge tags examples we’ve shown you are
pretty run-of-the-mill, such as names and email addresses.

However, nothing is stopping you from using merge tags more

Let’s say, for example, you take bookings through your
website. To make a reservation, customers need to fill out a form
including basic contact information, pick a date, and then submit

Source: An example of an online reservation form.

In that case, you’ll want to send that client a confirmation
email and reminders, so they don’t forget about their

Naturally, doing this manually would take up too much time, even
if you only have a handful of bookings. That’s where email merge
tags come to the rescue.

Whichever email marketing tool you use, it probably enables you
to set up automatic confirmation and reminder emails. For the
scenario above, you could set up an email merge tag that pulls up
the specific date that the client made an appointment for.

All you have to do is customize
an email template
, configure when the reminders should go out,
and you’re good to go.

That’s just one example. With email merge tags, you can
quickly access any information you save from your users. All it
takes is asking the right questions, having users fill out some
forms, and you’ll be able to personalize your emails like a pro

3. Customize your emails for different types of customers.

The power of email merge tags goes well beyond changing words
here and there within your emails.

Depending on what service you use to craft your emails, you can
design unique messages for whoever is reading them.

Let’s say you run an online store and you want to send an
email to let your subscribers know about a new line of

If you’re a savvy marketer, you probably segment your
subscribers depending on whether they’ve made purchases before,
how much they’ve spent, etc. For example, you might have a list
of VIPs who you know are your top customers.

With email merge tags, you can display entirely different
messages depending on which list the person who opens them is on,
like this:

Notice how the entire body of the email changes, depending on which type of user opens it.

If you combine segmentation with personalization, you can design
incredibly targeted emails that are likely to get more conversions.
The more specific you get, the better your results should be.

4. Use merge tags within your subject lines.

Remember how we mentioned that personalized subject lines can
improve your email open rates by
up to 26%

That’s all thanks to the power of email merge tags.

One of the easiest ways to personalize your emails is to include
your customer’s name within the subject line, and doing so
couldn’t be easier, thanks to merge tags.

All you have to do is add the merge tag you want within your
subject line and let your email marketing provider do the rest.

 Fallbacks also work within subject lines, so you’re covered in every scenario.

Source: Writer Screenshot

If you want to level up your email marketing efforts, there are
a lot of ways you can personalize subject lines, well beyond
including customer names.

For example, if one of your subscribers has a birthday coming
up, you can
set up automated emails
with personalized subject lines to
remind them how important they are to you.

The more information you have about your clients, the more
personalization options that become available to you, so dig

Wrap up

If you’re an average person, chances are you get
dozens of emails
every day.

A lot of those emails come from businesses vying to get your
attention. Unless they have a hook, you’re probably not going to
pay much attention to them and neither are your customers.
can help.

The easiest way to personalize your messages is by using email
merge tags. The following are four simple ways that they can save
you time:

  1. Configuring default merge tag values (or fallbacks) to fill in
  2. Experimenting with custom merge tags that adapt to your
  3. Customizing your emails for different types of customers
  4. Using merge tags within your subject lines

Campaign Monitor
, you can create stunning emails and
personalize every message you send for each of your customers.

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4 Ways Email Merge Tags Can Help You Save Time
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4 Ways Email Merge Tags Can Help You Save Time