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How to personalise a link in your email using wildcards

Recently I wrote about email personalisation and how it can improve the performance of your email marketing messages.

One of the personalisation tips I wrote about was to greet readers by their first name.

This is a common practice and is very easy to do in Vision6 using the Wildcard feature in the Email Editor.

Insert a wildcard

In case you’re not familiar with wildcards, they basically allow you to personalise your email by inserting text contained in one of your database fields.

But did you also know that wildcards can be used to personalise links in your email?

Personalised links are particularly useful when you want to direct recipients to different places based on their database profile.

Take the email shown above as an example. You wouldn’t know just by looking at it, but the green “View the recording” button uses a wildcard to personalise the link when it is clicked.

This is one of our training emails and it’s important that we personalise this link so that recipients are able to watch the video that relates to the session they just attended. So by creating this link as a wildcard we’re able to ensure they watch the right video without having to update the link in the email after each training session.

It’s a huge time-saver for us and we’re able to achieve a high level of relevancy with the email content.

You too can benefit by using wildcards to personalise links in your email.

Personalising a link to a video is just one example of how you might use this tactic. Others that come to mind are linking to specific email addresses based on the sales rep field in your database. Or linking to specific product pages on your website based on the gender field in your database.

Let’s take a look at how it’s done.

First, create a database field for storing the URLs that you wish to personalise in your email. Then update your contact’s details by inserting the URLs into this new field.

Tip: Use the Spreadsheet View feature to save yourself a lot of time with this step. It allows you to bulk edit contacts by copying and pasting just like you would in a spreadsheet.

Sticking with the example I used above, here’s what our Training Database looks like after this step.

Session Recording in Spreadsheet View

Once this is done, simply insert the link into the email as normal. But instead of typing in a URL as your link, type in your database field as a wildcard (by wrapping it in %%).

Link wildcard

And that’s it.

Now when a recipient clicks on your link, they’ll be directed to the URL that’s located in your database field.

If you’ve been around email marketing or Vision6 for a while, you might be thinking “well can’t you do the same thing using Conditional Content?” And the answer is – yes you can. But it can be tricky keeping the email up to date as new URLs are added to the process and whilst it’s relatively easy to setup the conditional content, it still takes time to do.

But with wildcards, it’s simply a matter of setting it up once in the email and that’s it.

So there you have it. That’s how you can personalise a link in your email using wildcards.

Have you ever personalised links in your email? I’d love to hear your experiences and whether or not it worked. Let me know using the comments section below.


MattPosted by:
Matthew Johnson
EDM Specialist


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