When tech isn’t your thing, anything that looks like code can send you running a MILLION MILES. But, in the spirit of loving your frogs, let’s find out what makes code pretty much MAGIC.
Code is magical – in that it does FREAKING AMAZING THINGS, but most people have no idea how it works.
But here we’re going to put on our best wizarding robes, get sorted into our favourite house (I’m torn between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff), and work some magic.
At the end of this chapter, you’ll be inserting bits of code into MailChimp, making your life easier, and making your emails look TOTES PROFESH. Are you with me?
MailChimp Merge Tags – “Ugh, Really?”
What the hell is a “Merge Tag”? You might ask me or have asked yourself if you’ve noticed them in MailChimp.
Merge Tag is a terrible name, I agree. It doesn’t really give you any idea what it means.
Merge Tags are bits of code that tell Mailchimp to PUT SOMETHING HERE. What Mailchimp will put there depends on the tag.
*|FNAME|* means “Put the subscriber’s first name here”.
Merge Tags can take your MailChimp game from AMATEUR HOUR to PROFESH-SWISH-LEVEL. They can save you time and make you feel super PRO.
How Cate uses Merge Tags
Cate’s my fictional jewellery maker who uses MailChimp – you may remember her from previous blog posts.
Cate wants her emails to look pretty spiffy and personal, but she also doesn’t want to spend an AGE personalising and sending each one individually.
So when Cate begins her newsletters with:
“To the awesome and amazing, Sarah”
I am just writing to say…”
She doesn’t send each email individually with the subscriber’s name – that would take literally forever (or figuratively, if you’re that kind of pedant). No, Cate’s pretty smart, so she puts in the Merge Tag *|FNAME|*. MailChimp sees that and reads it as “Put the subscriber’s first name here”. So, when sending to a subscriber’s email address, MailChimp looks up that person’s first name on your list.
For this to work, there must be that information for MailChimp to grab. If your signup form doesn’t collect first names or you don’t put people’s first names in when you’re adding subscribers manually, then MailChimp won’t have any name to grab. And that will make the chimp a very sad chimp. It will also mean your subscriber will get an email that has an ugly piece of code instead of their name, and that might make them sad too.
You can quickly insert this from the Merge Tag drop down menu.
Campaign Mode and Template Mode
I’ve seen many-a-person founder on this point, but there are things you can do in campaign mode that you can’t in template mode.
Template Mode is when you are making a template to save and use in campaigns.
Campaign Mode is when you are creating an email to actually send out to people.
IMPORTANT: You can only preview Merge Tags in Campaign Mode, not in Template Mode.
Of course you can create a template with Merge Tags in it, but it won’t be until you use that template in a campaign that you’ll be able to preview that Merge Tag.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy? Go forth and try it for yourself and let me know what Merge Tags are your fave!