How To Personalize Your Emails with Dynamic Content #FreebieMonday
by Michal Leszczynski last updated on 0

How To Personalize Your Emails with Dynamic Content #FreebieMonday

The secret to email marketing campaigns that drive high engagement? Not really a secret. It’s email personalization.

Tailoring emails to your contacts’ needs can have a great impact on your average click-through rates and conversions. But to personalize your messages (beyond using your contact’s name) you need to use dynamic content.

And if you’ve heard this term before, you know that dynamic content syntax can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have much coding experience.

But the truth is, personalizing your emails with dynamic content isn’t that complicated. All you have to do is learn the basics and give it a go. Not convinced? In just a few minutes, you’ll see for yourself.

Why you should use dynamic content

What’s so bad about sending the same offer to everyone? If you do it once in a while, nothing, even though it’s against the general best practices. But if it’s your long-term strategy, you’re probably not going to be satisfied with the return on your campaigns.

But if you want your emails to generate high conversions, then you should realize that all of your contacts are different. They are individual people with their own preferences and needs. If you tailor your emails according to these differences, you’re more likely to influence your audiences’ behavior.

There’s just one thing. By personalizing your emails, I don’t just mean addressing your subscribers by their name or naming the specific product they’ve purchased in the past. To see good results, you have to go beyond that, and that’s where dynamic content comes in handy.

Google Maps personalized email saying thanks for submitting photos
Google Maps personalized email saying thanks for submitting photos

Two ways to use dynamic content

In his article, Lee Frederiksen explains that there are two basic ways of using dynamic content – variable substitution and content insertion.

The first type allows you to show different versions of the same variable (e.g. a word). Most often this is used to greet a customer by their first name, mention their company name, or refer to their geolocation.

The second one – content insertion – is far more interesting. And it can be the real game changer for your campaigns. As Lee describes it, content insertion enables you to insert entire sections of content – phrases, paragraphs, even images – in response to the data you’ve collected for your audience.

For example, imagine you have an online store selling sports equipment.

Based on their past purchases, you know what sports your customers do most often. You can use that information to tailor the subject line or the entire offer to match each individual customer’s profile. This way people who like basketball will see basketball-related products and those who like swimming will see swimming equipment.

But what if you don’t know what sport some of your customers like the most? You can specify what to show them by creating a so-called “fallback” in your email.

How to use dynamic content in GetResponse

There are a few ways you can personalize your messages using dynamic content in GetResponse and we’ll go through them one by one.

1. Personalizing your email using merge words

You can personalize your emails using something called merge words. These short pieces of code (looking similar to this [[firstname]]) will present any value you have stored for your contact.

For example, [[email]] will display your individual contact’s email address while [[name]] will show their full name.

You’ll find a full list of predefined merge words available in GetResponse as well as some more detailed explanation of how to use them in our Help Center.

You can also use the same method if you want to use data stored in your contacts’ custom fields. All you have to do is type the name of the custom field in the square brackets, e.g. [[favorite_sport]], and the appropriate variable will be substituted in its place.

What if you don’t know if every contact has a particular custom field assigned? All you have to do is create a fallback message, e.g. [[customfieldname fallback=”yourfallbackmessage”]

Here’s an example:

You’re planning a weekend sale in your online sports gear store. You’d like to personalize your email subject line using some of the information you’ve gathered about your audience.

You decide to use the information about their favorite sport, which you’ve previously stored in custom fields the following way:

Custom field name: “favorite_sport”

value: “volleyball” for those who like volleyball

value: “basketball” for those who like basketball

and so on.

Here’s what you’ve come up with for the email subject line:

48-hour sale! -70% on all [[favorite_sport fallback=”sports”] equipment!

This way contacts with a custom field value being “basketball” will see:
“48-hour sale! -70% on all basketball equipment!”

Those with “baseball” will see:
“48-hour sale! -70% on all baseball equipment!”

And those who don’t have a custom field value defined yet, will see:

“48-hour sale! -70% on all sports equipment!”

As you can see, merge words are very simple to use. But the best thing is that you can use them in any element of your email. That means you can use merge words to personalize your subject line, preheader, email body, footer, or even an individual CTA button.

Below you’ll see how you can quickly access the list of predefined merge words in the newsletter creator.

How to personalize your email subject lines in GetResponse Email Creator.
How to personalize the content of your email in GetResponse Email Creator.

2. Personalizing your email using dynamic content syntax

If you want to use slightly more advanced personalization in your emails, then you’ll have to refer to the dynamic content syntax.

Let’s imagine that you have an online store selling products for pets. Dog owners will be interested in different offers than cat owners and you want your offer to reflect that. The same goes for those who own a different kind of pet, or those don’t own any pets at all.

Having first added a custom field “pet” with the value of “cat” or “dog” for individual contacts, you can use the following few lines of code:

Dynamic content in email messages

Let’s see what happens here.

1. We’re starting off by first setting up the conditions for what will happen if a contact has at least one value for the custom field “pet”

Using dynamic content syntax to personalize emails

2. Next, we’re specifying the message that dog owners will see.

Using dynamic content syntax to personalize emails

3. Then we’re choosing what cat owners will see.

Using dynamic content syntax to personalize emails

4. What about pet owners who don’t own a dog or a cat, but maybe a bird instead? We can specify that too, like in the message below.

Using dynamic content syntax to personalize emails

5. How about those who don’t own a pet just yet? It’s also specified in the lines below.

Using dynamic content syntax to personalize emails

Note: This particular condition is preceded by {{ENDIF}} because we had to close the first set of conditions – if A has a dog, or a cat, or some other pet.

Also, since no other scenario is possible (you either have a pet or you don’t) we had to close it by another {{ENDIF}}.

How to add dynamic content to your emails

As you can see, this is a bit more complex, but not all that difficult if you play around with it. One thing that you’re probably now wondering about is how to add this syntax to your message. There are two ways.

The first, simpler method is to just copy and paste it into your text block or any other element you’re planning to personalize, in the email creator. Exactly the same way you’d do with merge words.

The second, more complex method is to add it directly in the HTML editor. Although more advanced, it has some advantages, like the ability to take full control of how your content will be styled, if you’re planning to add your own HTML or CSS styling.

Using this method, you can quickly add multiple elements such as:

  • Product images
  • Discount codes
  • Text paragraphs
  • CTA buttons
  • URLs

But do note that this a more advanced method that I’d recommend mainly for those who feel confident enough to edit their own HTML code.

How to add dynamic content code to your emails in GetResponse Email Creator.

What you can achieve with personalization

By now you should feel pretty confident about using dynamic content in your emails. Of course, knowing it isn’t the same as using it. So go on and put that newly-acquired knowledge into practice.

If you’re looking for inspiration, below you’ll find a couple of examples of how brands tailor their content with personalization.

We’ve also prepared a quick guide providing more ideas on how you can target your email campaigns. You can access it through the link below.

Cart abandonment email from American Giant
Cart abandonment email from American Giant
Personalized email video from Vidyard
Email containing a personalized video message created with Vidyard

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