Oct 13, 2008

NEW! Advanced Merge Tags

Merge tags allow you to personalize your emails.  One of the most basic and common uses of merge tags would be something like, "Hello, *|FNAME|*" inserted as a greeting for your email.  The tag *|FNAME|* will insert the user’s first name, making for a customized email experience.

Advanced Merge Tags

Advanced Merge Tags

In the latest MailChimp system update, we’ve added support for advanced merge tags.  These enable you to to do some very cool things, including the ability to create dynamic content.  In the Campaign Builder, when you click to edit any area of your content, you’ll see a link for the "advanced merge tag reference".  Clicking this will bring up an information window with all the details I’m about to share.  We’ve divided this reference into categories to make it easier to use: Formatting, Dynamic Content, List Information, Sharing, and Campaign Information.

Let’s start with Formatting.  This class allows you to modify the way the content inside you various merge tags is displayed.  You can make the value displayed appear as all lower case characters using *|LOWER:YOUR_MERGE|* (where *|YOUR_MERGE|* might be something like FNAME for first name or LNAME for last name, etc).  *|TITLE:YOUR_MERGE|* will change the value of *|YOUR_MERGE|* to title-case, which means that the first letter in each word is capitalized.  This one is especially handy if you want to standardize the way names, for example, are displayed, regardless of whether someone signed up for your list using ALL CAPS or all lower-case characters.  Check out the image below for some additional advanced formatting tags.

Next, let’s take a look at the new tags for Dynamic Content.  In our opinion, this is one of the most exciting and powerful of our new advanced merge tags.  Essentially, we’ve enabled you the capability to set up an *|ELSEIF:CONDITION|*, using the protocol of basic logic statements.  Let me give you a scenario to make this a little more clear.  Let’s say you run an online store for Major League Baseball fans.  You might want to tailor your content to fans of certain teams based on the region they are from. For example:

*|IF:STATE=FL|*
Save 20% on all Marlins Window Stickers!
*|ELSEIF:STATE=GA|*
Save 15% on all Braves apparel!
*|ELSEIF:STATE=MD|*
Save 10% on all Orioles Window Stickers!
*|ELSE:|*
Save 15% on all MLB apparel this weekend only!
*|END:IF|*

In the coming weeks we will be going in to greater detail and giving you more examples, tricks and tips for using these advanced merge tags. There are a few more that I want to mention right now though. *|MC:SHARE|* will add all the social network icons that you see displayed at the bottom of this blog post. (Shameless plug: we know you are reading, now you’ve got to Digg us!)  In addition, *|DATE|* will insert the current date, and *|RSS:RECENT|* will insert the titles of your five (by default) most recent blog posts.  If you want to display a different number, all you have to do is use *|RSS:RECENTx|* where x = whatever number of posts you want to display.  Happy merging!

Quick Update: Here’s a cheatsheet of all MailChimp Merge Tags