How to Use Dynamic Tags to Personalize Your Emails

Several years ago, jewelry retailer Helzberg Diamonds tested personalization with their email marketing. The team created a promotional email that spelled a subscriber’s first name by using images of Helzberg’s charms. They animated the charms to swing back and forth on a necklace in the email.

The results of the personalized campaign speak for themselves: Helzberg enjoyed a 288% lift in sales as a result of the campaign.

We talk about the value of personalization a lot. We’ve gone over how to segment your email lists for maximum impact, and to appeal to where people are in the buying journey. But there is so much you can do after you segment your lists. You can take your emails to the next level and make your emails relevant for the individual subscriber by pulling in specific information about them – their name, products they’ve purchased, etc.
In this post we’ll go through how that is done and give you a few ideas for how this could work for your email marketing.

Dynamic Tags

Dynamic tags offer a more granular way to personalize your email content. The simplest example, and probably the most common tag used, is customizing the “first name” field in an email greeting. Here’s an example of this tag being used by Tone it Up:

 

dynamic tags toneitup example

If you are using an email service provider like Klaviyo that supports dynamic tags, the possibilities are endless for personalization.

Dynamic Tags and Klaviyo

Klaviyo provides a few different ways to customize content with dynamic tags so it looks great and is more relevant to your recipients. Let’s walk through some of the terminology and code to see how these tags can change the content of your emails.

Template Variables

Template variables allow you to include information about the recipient, such as their name, email address or custom properties you’ve stored about that person.

dynamic tags template variables

To drive this example home further, see how the insertion of template variable {{ first_name }} in the email editor changes the content of the email in the preview.

klaviyo-email-editor

Template Tags

Template tags output important links or information. These tags are useful when you want to insert unsubscribe links, share links, dates and more.

template-tags

Template Filters

Template filters are used with template variables to provide additional personalization. This includes accessing custom properties for recipients, setting default values, and setting additional formatting options.

template-filters

Personalization Variables

Because Klaviyo focuses on people and what they’re up to, personalization is built into Klaviyo’s core. These include:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Full Name
  • Email Address

Custom Properties

If you’ve added extra properties to individuals, you can use them with the person variable and the lookup filter. It’s usually a good idea to also provide a default value in case someone doesn’t have the custom property you’re trying to use by including the filter.

Event Variables

For auto-responders, templates also have a variable that represents the event that triggered that email. This allows you to use information about that event in your email. For instance, if you want to thank someone for their purchase and refer to the specific products they bought, you can easily do that with Klaviyo and the event variable.

event-variable

How to Track Events

I’m always surprised that blog posts on this topic don’t address this.

To track events, you need to have some working knowledge of Javascript and JSON in order to use the Klaviyo API. We offer a lot of helpful guides here though, which should help explain what needs to be done.

This is pretty standard for dynamic tag tracking no matter what ESP you use.

A Word of Caution

Before you go crazy with dynamic tags, you need to keep in mind that there may be only a certain number of subscribers that have the information you are customizing for (like first name). Broken dynamic tags can look really sloppy. There is a way to avoid this, though – defaults, and list suppression.

Defaults

This filter is used to specify a default in case a variable doesn’t have a value. This is useful as placeholder when you don’t always have the information you want to use. Here’s what it looks like in the code and in the email:

filters

List Suppression

There are some email sends for which the default won’t really work. For example, let’s think again about the Helzberg Diamonds example again. The entire thing was based on knowing what the person’s name is. Take a look below:

helzberg-diamond-creative

For a campaign like this, if you don’t have the right information for some subscribers, it may actually be best to think of a different email design that doesn’t hinge on knowing that information.

Have you used dynamic tags in your campaigns? Let us know how you incorporated them into your campaigns in the comments.

 

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