33 Examples of Dynamic Tags to Personalize Your Email Sends

    by Pamela Vaughan

    Date

    June 22, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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    According to survey research conducted for the Science of Email Marketing , one of the most common responses indicated that when people decide to subscribe to emails from companies, they expect the emails to be relevant to their interests. In fact, 38% of respondents specifically referenced the word "relevance." What does that mean, email marketers? It's time to get personal . And I know what you're thinking. "Getting personal just means careful segmentation, right?" Wrong. There's so much more you can do even after you segment your list !

    Enter Dynamic Tags

    Ever heard of dynamic tags? If you're scratching your head and scrunching your nose, does "Hi [firstname]" ring a bell? Dynamic tags offer a way to more granularly personalize your email content by inserting information you already have about your contacts into your email send. So if I sent the same email to my colleagues Corey and Anum using the [firstname] dynamic tag, the separate email messages they'd each receive would be customized with their name.

    And if your email service provider truly supports dynamic tags, the floodgates for personalization possibilities really do open. HubSpot's email tool , for instance, allows you to create dynamic tags (which we call 'Contact Properties' in the HubSpot software) using any field in your marketing database, which you can use in the subject line and/or body of your email message. So if you're an ice cream vendor, you could include each recipient's favorite ice cream flavor in an email if you've ever asked for it on a form.

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    To be honest, the possibilities truly are endless when it comes to the dynamic tags you can create. To give you a sense of just how powerful your emails can become when you use dynamic tags, here are 33 examples of dynamic tags that can be used in emails -- and how you might go about it. While some of these might not exactly apply to your own business, we're sure you can think of plenty more that do.

    Dynamic Tags to Use in Your Email Sends

    Personal Information

    Chances are you've received at least one marketing email from a company in which your first name was used in the body of the email. While this isn't exactly the most innovative use of dynamic tags anymore, it's almost expected these days. Maybe it's just the marketer in me, but if I get an email that addresses me as "Hi there," I'm pretty much guaranteed to send it to my trash bin. Pulling recipients' personal information into your email shows them you took the time to craft an email that is meant specifically for them. Here are several examples of types of personal information you can pull into your emails with dynamic tags. For example, if you owned a chain of restaurants, you could segment your send by location and send a targeted email that said something like, "Here are some specials we're offering at the restaurants near your hometown in [city]."

    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Email Address
    • Phone Number
    • Location (City/State/Country)
    • Household Income
    • Job Title

    Company Information

    If you're B2B company, there's a good chance you're already collecting some company information from your leads to help you qualify them. Why not use some of this intelligence to personalize your email messages ? For example, if you sold industrial coffee machines and your ideal customers were businesses across various industries, you could say in your email, "We know how stressful it can be in the [industryname] industry. Are your employees getting the caffeine they need to handle it?" Here are some other types of company information you could pull in through dynamic tags:

    • Company Name
    • Business Type (e.g. nonprofit, B2B, B2C, ecommerce, etc.)
    • Industry Name
    • Company Size/Number of Employees
    • Website URL
    • Annual Revenue
    • Biggest Challenge
    • Competitor URL

    Social Media Information

    If you have a particularly social media-savvy audience and know some of their social media account information, you could personalize your emails this way, too. For example, say you were running a social media campaign and you wanted to target Twitter users with large follower counts, considering they have the biggest reach. You could include something like, "Hi [twitterusername], We're hosting a contest for some of our most social-savvy email subscribers. Because you have [followercount] Twitter followers, you're eligible to participate!" Below are a few examples of types of social media information you can use in your dynamic tags:

    • Twitter Username
    • Twitter Follower Count
    • Facebook Page URL

    Behavior/Activity

    If your marketing database is hooked up to a CRM system , you're likely collecting some juicy tidbits of information about your contacts' behaviors and activity on your website. Use it to your advantage by mentioning their behavior and offering something that complements that activity. For example, you could say, "We're so glad you signed up for our free trial on [trialstartdate]. Here's a free guide to help you make the most of your free tools throughout the duration of your trial." Here are some other behavioral-focused types of dynamic tags.

    • Found Site Via
    • First (or Most Recent) Visit
    • First (or Most Recent) Conversion Event
    • First (or Most Recent) Conversion Date
    • Recent Email Opened/Clicked
    • Trial Start Date
    • Demo Request Date
    • Contact Sales Date
    • Last Item Purchased 
    • Name of Assigned Sales Rep

    Industry/Business-Specific

    Do you ask for or collect any industry or business-specific information on your forms that you could use to personalize your email sends? For example, at HubSpot, we have a free tool called Marketing Grader , so we collect users' individual Marketing Grades when they run a report. Therefore, we could incorporate users' grades into an email send to all Marketing Grader users, which might look something like this: "We noticed your Marketing Grade of [marketinggrade] could use some improvement. Here are our top 5 ebooks on inbound marketing to help you give it a boost!" Here are some other hypothetical examples of types of dynamic tags a business could leverage (remember our ice cream example?):

    • Favorite Ice Cream Flavor (if you sell ice cream)
    • Household Type (if you're a plumber)
    • Shirt/Shoe/Pants Size (if you're a clothing retailer) 
    • Number of Children (if you're a personal finance consultant)
    • Score/Grade (if you offer a free tool/grader)

    A Word of Caution About Dynamic Tags

    Before you go crazy with dynamic tags, it's important to remember that their use needs to go hand in hand with segmentation , especially when you're using tags that pull information not all your contacts will have. There's nothing worse than an email with broken dynamic tags, and dynamic tags are guaranteed to break if your marketing database doesn't have the information they require for the contacts you're emailing.

    In order to use dynamic tags effectively, make sure you segment your list to include only contacts for which you have that dynamic tag's information. In other words, if you're pulling in your contacts' favorite ice cream flavor, make sure you only email the contacts in your database who have provided you with that information. (Tip for HubSpot customers: Be sure to set default values for your dynamic tags to pull in canned information for anyone who slips through the cracks! You can set these up in your Personalization Settings.)

    Have you used dynamic tags in your email marketing or lead nurturing campaigns ? What other tags have you used?

    Image Credit: JD Hancock

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