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April 27, 2016
Marketing  |  5 min read

How to Personalize Automated Emails with Merge Fields

by Judi Miller

After I graduated from college, I spent a few weeks as a substitute teacher for a kindergarten class. Every day, the same little girl would come up to me and ask, “Hi, Mrs. Miller, do you like my new shoes?” And every day, I would say to her, “Yes, Gloria, I do like your new shoes." 

That’s because a little bit of personalization—like hearing your name—makes us feel noticed, special, and maybe even a little important. 

The same is true in marketing. We love to open up our email and see a subject line like, “Hi Judi, here’s your receipt!” or “Judi, here’s the e-book you requested.” 

With Infusionsoft and other types of automation software, you can make every email feel personal—even though it’s automated and sent to thousands of customers. By using merge fields, you can automatically insert customer information like names, dates and other details into emails. 

Here’s how it works: Imagine you take your miniature poodle, Vancouver, to the groomer. Within 30 minutes of picking her up after her appointment, you have this email waiting for you: 

Hello Judi,

Thank you so much for bringing Vancouver in for her grooming appointment. We know that Vancouver loves the color pink, so we made sure we gave her a special pink bandana for being such a good girl. 

She did have some mats and a bit of tar on her bottom fur, which can be taken care of with our special Tar Away shampoo. Ask us about it when you come in next time. We will be sure to give Vancouver the loving care we always do at her next appointment at 10 a.m. on June 15th. 

Until then,

Juju’s Pet Spa 

Each of the words or phrases in bold is a merge field that can be different for each customer. In the automation software, you only write one email, but you can personalize it for every customer by using the value in the field. Can you imagine getting this email and thinking to yourself, “Wow, I can’t believe they actually took the time to remember all of this information about Vancouver!” 

That’s what personalization is all about. It does not have to be contrived, sound like a robot, be fake or phony, or even be too wordy.

Sometimes just a simple name in the middle of an email is magical. I subscribe to an email from “The Universe” that I get every day. In October, I got one for my birthday that said something like this: 

Hey birthday girl,

The universe is singing today because it is your special day. October 31st, your birthday, is a day of celebration and joy making. You, Judi, are a gift to the universe and in our loudest voices, we sing “happy birthday to you.” 

The Universe

I know the tricks; I work in marketing. And still, it was magical to see my name in the middle of an email. 

Marketing is all about creating relationships. Have some fun with your emails—and get more people to read them—by using these 10 merge field tricks. 

  1. Hello [first name]
  2. Hello [pet’s first name]’s owner
  3. Happy [day of month]!
  4. It’s finally [day of week]!
  5. Hope your [day of the week] is off to a good start!
  6. Can you believe it’s already [day of month]?
  7. Knowing you’re the [job title], I thought you might be the right person to talk to at [company name]
  8. Do you ever experience this problem in your work at [company name]?
  9. How’s the weather in [city] today?
  10. I bet you have great pizza in [city]

Software expert Judi Miller joined Infusionsoft five years ago and enjoys helping small businesses succeed. Starting as a success coach, Judi has helped hundreds of customers automate their businesses. Training and helping customers get started in the software is where Judi finds the most satisfaction. She has been hosting basic training webinars for about three years now and loves connecting with customers. Judi wants to help all customers feel successful with the Infusionsoft software while getting them excited about automating their business.

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