ActiveCampaign Personalization Tags Barry Moore

TAM 040: T20 – Using Personalization Tags

There are some cool things that you can do with personalization tags (sometimes called merge fields) that will give your emails that little bit of umph and extra polish it takes to make them more professional.

ActiveCampaign gives you heaps of different personalization tags to use in your mail marketing.

Not only can you add a personalization tag but, several tags also have modifiers that allow you to customise how they work. Let me illustrate with a common example.

Say a subscriber is in a hurry when they fill out the sign-up form, and instead of their name going into the system as ‘Barry' it goes in as ‘barry' (lowercase b) or maybe they mistyped it and it goes in as ‘BArry' (first two letter uppercase).

In this case, if you just use the %FIRSTNAME% personalization tag, your subscriber will receive and email that says;

  • ‘Hi barry',
  • or ‘Hi BArry'

Either of which looks unprofessional and impersonal. You can fix this with personalization tag modifiers.

For example %FIRSTNAME|UPPERFIRST% would capitalise the first letter in the FIRSTNAME field and turn ‘barry' into ‘Barry'. However, that doesn't address the second case or those people that have two word first names like, Jo Ann.

Using the %FIRSTNAME|TITLECASE% modifier will fix this. It will capitalise the first letter of each word, turning ‘BArry' into ‘Barry' and ‘jo ann' into ‘Jo Ann'.

This is just one of the many things you can do with ActiveCampaign personalization tags, check out the full list of tags available here


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Barry: Hi, it's Barry Moore, back with another Tactical 20 Podcast.

Announcer:Welcome to the Active Marketer Podcast. Where we talk about how to design, automate, and scale your business to the next level using sales and marketing automation. You could find out all the tips, tactics, and techniques you need to get more customers and sell more stuff over at Now here's your host, Barry Moore.

Barry: Hi, I'm your host Barry Moore and this is going to be another Tactical 20 podcast. The Tactical 20 podcasts are all about giving you an actionable tip, technique, or tactic that you can take away and implement in your business in less than 20 minutes.

Hello, welcome back fellow automater. This week's Tactical 20 podcast, we're going to talk about personalization tags. Now personalization tags are special strings of characters you can put into your outbound email and it will replace that string of character with whatever value is in that particular field on your list. So the example probably everyone's seen, if you've been using MailChimp or AWeber or something like that, is that first name. You say, “Hi, first name.” That's a personalization tag. It goes to that person's record and it pulls back whatever's in their first name field and pastes it into the outbound email and then sends it out.

You've all received those emails, “Hey Barry, how are you? Got this great offer.” Yada, yada, yada, right? Supposed to trick everybody into thinking that somebody is actually behind that email personally writing it. Everyone's probably pretty sure that isn't the case. There are some other things that you can do with personalization tags that will make your messaging a little bit better or a little bit custom or a little bit more tailored to what you're trying to do.

How many personalization tags are there for you to use? Well, that varies from platform to platform. If you want to check out all the personalization tags available to you in Active Campaign, and there are dozens and dozens, you can head over to the show notes for this episode at will have a link to all the personalization codes you could use.

Some examples of personalization codes, as we said, are the name fields, first name, last name, the customer's email address, the customer's physical address. If you've gathered that information. Their phone number, geo reference, you know, “Hey, how's things going in Sydney today?” If you gather that information, pretty much any field that you … Any of the standard fields that you've gathered, you can use again in your messaging with personalization tags.

There are some other cool personalization tags that you could use as well. When you create an email, you automatically get some sort of templated unsubscribe link at the bottom. It says, “If you want to unsubscribe to this link, click here.” Boom and that unsubscribes you. Now, you'll get one of those by default every time you create a message but if you want to craft your own unsubscribe little paragraph down the bottom, you could do that as well. Some of the personalization tags you could use to create your own unsubscribe footer is obviously unsubscribe. The unsubscribe link personalization tag will just put in basically a link that they could click on to unsubscribe.

What you also might want to do down there at the bottom is put in the update link personalization tag as well, which allows your contact to automatically click on the link and update their information. So if they want to change the name, if they want to change the email address that that particular message goes to. If you give them that little update link personalization tag, that will give them the ability to change their own information.

Also, there's a web copy personalization tag which will allow you to put a little link so that they could see that as a webpage. You've probably all seen that as well, “Click here if you want to view this in a browser.” That's the web copy personalization link.

Forward to a friend link, all the social share links are there so if you want to put in a Facebook like button, or Facebook share button, or Twitter share button. Those are all personalization links that you can put into your email.

So head to the show notes, check out all the personalization tags, have a play with them. Maybe open up your editor, create a campaign, put every single personalization link that you can find in there. Send a test message to yourself so you can see what all those personalization links and then figure out a way you can work those into your email marketing.

As always with these Tactical 20s, I want to leave you with an actionable tip that you can walk away with and implement straight away. If you are sending out messaging with that first name personalization tag in it, so your messages are saying, “Hi Barry.” Here's a little polish you can put onto that tag to make yourself look a little bit more professional.

Now people are filling in your Opt-in forms. Perhaps they're like me and they're in a hurry and they type and hit enter before they really kind of proofread that information. A lot of times you'll end up with someone who's put their name in with a lowercase first letter. Maybe that goes in with lowercase barry, for Barry. Maybe they put a lowercase b in there. So every time you're sending out an email to them, it's going out with a lowercase b. It says, “Hi barry” with the b in lowercase. Which just kind of tells me that no ones really paying attention there. Yeah, yeah, I made the mistake and I should update it but the robots are just sending out the email. No one's actually caught that it's a lowercase b and it just really looks a little bit amateurish. It just kind of looks too much like a robot. I know everyone knows it's probably an autoresponder sending it out but that's just proof positive no one's paying attention.

The other thing I tend to do sometimes is I type so quickly, that I'll hit uppercase B and I won't get off the shift key quick enough and it'll be an uppercase A and then a lowercase rry. So when I get those emails in, there's one list in particular that sends me emails pretty much every week, that says, “Hi BArry.” Which doesn't look professional either. It just kind of doesn't make you feel warm and fuzzy that anyone actually knows you exist, right?

How can you avoid those mistakes as a marketer yourself? Well, that first name personalization tag has a couple of modifiers that you could put onto the end of it. If you use the pipe symbol, which is that vertical line symbol that you usually find above the enter key, on a Mac anyway. If you type personalization tags in ActiveCampaign, you use the percentage sign. Others use brackets or whatever. So whatever your system uses, check out what the personalization tags are.

So for example, what you want to do is, you might want to put percentage sign, first name, pipe, and then a modifier like upper first, and then a closing percentage sign. So it says first name pipe upper first, and what that's going to do is it can convert the first letter to uppercase. Whether it was entered that way or not. So that would address that instance when I typed a lowercase b in as part of my first name. When that email comes out to me, it's going to have an uppercase B like it probably should.

You can do uppercase, lowercase, upper words, you can capitalise words, lowercase words, lower first letters. But the one that really works the best is probably the title case modifier. You can put first name, pipe, title case, and we'll have examples of all this in the show notes. You can put first name, pipe, title case, and then what that will do is every time it hits a word, it will uppercase the first letter of that word, so making it title case. That catches all those people who have kind of two word first names like De Anne or Jo Anne or something like that where there's two words. It'll be an uppercase J and an uppercase A, when you get to the word Anne.

That really kind of addresses most of the typos and most of the mistakes people are going to make entering their first name and allows you to look a little bit more slick and a little bit more professional as you send out those emails.

That's the Tactical 20 for this week. Have a look for your particular system, have a look at the personalization tags, see what's available for you to use, do a little bit of homework. Again, head on over to and we'll have a link to the list of all the personalization tags you can use and some examples of how you might want to use them in your marketing.

Once again, I do appreciate you tuning in and come back next week. We've got a great interview with a repeat guest, Chris L. Davis, head of marketing automation over there at LeadPages. He's going to share his super secret, slippery, single double tactic. So don't miss out. I'll see you next week.

All right. That's our Tactical 20 podcast for this week. If you have any questions or any topics you'd like to see covered on future Tactical 20 podcasts, you can always send me an email at and let us know what you'd like to see. Also, if you head over to the show notes for this episode and just leave a comment or leave a comment in any of the episode show notes, tell us what you'd like to see and we'll make sure we cover it on an upcoming episode. Get out there and design, automate, and scale your business to the next level using sales and marketing automation. See you next week everybody.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to the Active Marketer podcast. You could find the show notes and all the latest marketing automation news over at

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