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5.12. Inserting Merge Tags

Updated 10.19.16

SuperQuick Video Instructions!

It's super easy to personalize your eMessages by "merging" data from your contact list (or information about you from your Settings) right into your eMessage.  For example, you certainly want to address your recipients by their first names if you have them all in your data set, right?

First, let us caution you - Merge tags are for our extra-diligent users that know for sure their data is complete, accurate and up-to-date.  If you don't have the desired data for each contact record you're sending to, we recommend you don't use merge tags.  In cases where the data you're calling for is not present, recipients may see an empty space or even mangled content.  It's also a BIG turnoff to your recipients if they receive eMessages with incorrect information from your Merge Tags.  If your data is not up-to-date and accurate, be prepared for higher than normal unsubscribe rates.

If you're not sure about whether the data you want is present or correct in your list, export a copy of your contact group or universe in Excel and look at the field(s) you're thinking of using for your merge tags.  If you see "empties" or incorrect information, either update your data first (choose this option!!) or don't use merge tags. 

You can easily make necessary updates to your exported data in Excel format, resave it as a Comma Separated Value file, then reimport it.  Alternately you can manually update your records.  Remember, once you've ensured your data is up-to-date, be sure to maintain it on a regular basis.  It's uber easy to keep up with it if you do it often, and it ensures that your eMessages will be professional and most importantly, correct, when they land in your recipients' Inboxes.

Aaaaaand finally, a note about SALUTATIONS.  Because everyone has a different way they like to address their recipients, or even different ways they need to address different groups, NewPanda has not inserted any pre-set salutations in our eTemplates

Remember that merge tags pull data right from your contact database.  If you DON'T have the word "Dear" in your contact DATA and you want the word "Dear" to automatically appear as part of your salutation, you need to add it before your *|CONTACT_FIRSTNAME|* or *|CONTACT_DEARNAME|* merge tag.  Or, you could use the word "Howdy" or "Greetings" or "Hey" or whatever floats your boat.  Be sure to preview, preview, preview, and test, test, test!

To Insert Merge Tags:

Within the editing page for your eMessage, place your cursor where you'd like to insert data from your contact list.  Use the:

  

If you're working in Plain Text mode or creating your own HTML code, you can manually create a Merge Tag using the logic included in the Merge Tag dropdown lists.  Be sure to insert the *| |* (asterisks and pipe keys) to open and close your Merge Tags.  The pipe key is usually just above your Enter key (Shift \ Backslash key).  Remember that unfortunately, NewPanda can't troubleshoot your HTML code - or your manually-created Merge Tags. 

Remember to preview the message with your merged data to be sure it looks the way you expect, and....

We can't stress this enough.  Please test, retest and then test again when using Merge Tags and/or creating your own HTML code.

To test your merged data:

  1. Create a test group (called maybe "Email Test Group") with fictitious contact information, but with valid email addresses you have access to.  Make the contact information unique for each record so you can verify through your testing that the merge tags are working correctly.
  2. Create and send a test message using the merge fields and design elements you'll use in your "live" message.
  3. Review each received message to be sure the merged data is correct.  You can even re-test by changing one of your test records and sending a new test message to view the updated information if you want.
  4. When you're satisfied that your merge tags are working as they should and your eMessages look the way they should, Replicate your message for your "live" send.

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