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Add personalization to a mailing

Basic personalization

When done well, personalized campaigns can impress your contacts and increase your response rates. You can personalize your mailings to greet your recipients by first name, insert their company name in the body of your mailing or include any other information you're storing about contacts in your audience. Personalization works in both HTML and plain text mailings as well as in subject lines.

Here are simple instructions for personalizing a greeting:

  1. Place your cursor in the text box where you'd like the name to appear.
  2. Click Insert on the editor toolbar, then select Personalization.
  3. A personalization tag that looks something like [% member:first_name default="" %] will appear where the name should go, and the field will be listed just underneath the editor toolbar. Use the dropdown to find the right field for first name, and the tag will update accordingly.

  4. Type in the Placeholder (like Colleague or Friend) that will appear for recipients who don't have anything listed in their contact record for first name (it happens, so this is a nice back-up plan). As you type in the placeholder, notice how it gets entered in the text box, and the tag looks something like [% member:first_name default="Friend" %].
  5. Test your personalization by sending your mailing to yourself or a test group.

Advanced personalization

In addition to personalizing with fields that populate with data from your contact fields, you can personalize with links that allow your contacts to manage their preferences, opt out, confirm their subscription and more. Those options are also listed on the Field dropdown menu, and selecting one will insert that functionality as a link, right in your content. We recommend creating a link (just like you would create a link to a website) and typing or pasting one of these tags into the URL field. It just looks nicer.

  • [% manage_url %] - the link to manage preferences
  • [% unsub_url %] - the link to opt out
  • [% optin_confirm_url %] - the link to confirm subscription
  • [% signup_url %] - the link to the signup form sent with that mailing

Personalized URLs (PURLs)

Inserting personalized URLs for your recipients requires a few manual steps. In this scenario, you'll need to type out personalization tags rather than add them with the personalization dropdown menu. Here are the steps:

  1. On your Audience page, add the contact field that will hold the unique part of the URL for each contact. Don't use any spaces in your contact field name – we've received reports that it can break the link in the inbox.
  2. Import the unique URL segment to each contact's record (be sure to choose Add & Update as your import style).
  3. Before leaving your Audience page, find your field's shortcut name. Click Manage contact fields, and then click the pencil icon next to the name of the field.

    From there, highlight the shortcut name and copy it. For example, if "couponcode" is the member field, you'll copy the shortcut name: couponcode.
  4. Head to your Campaigns page and open up your mailing to type your tag in a text box. The format of the tag will be [[shortcutname]]. If "coupon code" is the personalized field, the tag will look like this: [[couponcode]], and you can add that tag onto the static part of the URL, like this:[[couponcode]]
  5. If your link doesn't work without an appended personalization, you'll want to add a placeholder to the personalization tag that will point to a working URL. This is the place where link clickers will go if for some reason they don't have a personalized URL stored as part of their member record. Determine your placeholder (like your blog), and type that URL segment in the tag, like this: [[couponcode:blog]]. Then, build your link:[[couponcode:blog]]

A note about using an email address in a PURL

If you wish to use an email address within a personalized URL, use this format: [[email]].

For example,[[email]]/special will be populated as if the mailing is sent to the email address

Once you have your personalized link built, you can link to it just like you'd link to a website.

A note about tracking PURL's.

When someone clicks a PURL in your mailing, they're clicking a unique link that is specific only to them based on the information that link pulled into the mailing from their contact record. There isn't a way to track who clicked your PURL, because that link becomes several unique links when you send it out, and that information doesn't redirect back to Emma for tracking purposes. Similarly, email addresses used as PURL's aren't trackable because the link is directed to the recipient's email client as opposed to being directed/redirected through Emma's servers.


Check out this article for a list of personalization tags for our standard contact fields.


Finding the tag for a custom field

  1. Drag a text block into your mailing.
  2. Click Insert --> Personalization to see the Field dropdown menu.
  3. Select the field by its shortcut name.
  4. Copy the tag. [% member:field-data-xxxxx default="xxxxx" %] and use it in your code. Be sure to type in the Placeholder text manually after default="

It's important to note that while all default personalization tags in your account use an underscore for tags with multi-word fields (for example: [% member:name_first default="first name" %]), personalization tags for custom contact fields use a hyphen instead (for example:
[% member:company-address default="" %]). Any improperly formatted personalization tag will not populate the desired data.

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