My test emails show “Test First Name” or “Test Last Name.”

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We strongly recommend that you always preview and test your campaigns before you sent to your subscribers. If you're using merge tags for subscriber-specific content in your campaigns, you might notice those tags have been replaced with unexpected text,  such as  << Test First Name >> and  << Test Last Name >> when you send yourself test emails or preview your campaign.

In this article, you'll learn why these tags populate differently when you're testing, and how you can preview real subscriber information.

About Campaign Tests and Merge Tags

When you preview or test a campaign, we'll replace any merge tags that use subscriber information with placeholder text to let you know the merge tag is working. If your *|FNAME|* and *|LNAME|* merge tags show <<Test First Name>> or <<Test Last Name>>, your tags are functioning as expected and should populate with the correct first and last name for your subscribers when you send to your list. We recommend that you set defaults for your merge tags. The default you set will populate in place of your merge tag should you have a subscriber who is missing information for that field. 

Preview Subscriber Information in the Campaign Builder

To preview real subscriber information in the Campaign Builder, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Design step of the Campaign Builder.
  2. Click the Preview and Test drop-down menu and choose Enter Preview Mode.
    Preview and test drop-down menu is expanded, and shows cursor over first option, Enter Preview Mode.
  3. Click the View Header Info link in the top navigation of the Campaign Builder.
  4. Click the View Live Merge Info button that appears, then use the left- and right-facing arrows to cycle through your list's subscribers.
    In the preview mode header, click the View Live Merge Info button.

Send a Campaign to a Test List

To send a campaign to a test list, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the drop-down menu next to the list with the fields you want to test with and choose Replicate list.
  3. In the pop-up, type in the name for your test list and click Replicate.
  4. Add yourself and any other test subscribers to your test list. To see how the campaign appears with or without subscriber information for a certain field, f ill out the various fields for your list for some people and leave them blank for others.
  5. Navigate to the Campaigns page in your account.
  6. Click the drop-down menu next to the campaign you're working with and select Replicate to create a copy of the campaign.
    Choose option 2, replicate from drop-down menu.
    You can also create a new campaign for testing.
  7. Navigate to the Recipients step of the Campaign Builder and select your test list.
  8. Make any additional changes to the design of your campaign and then send the campaign to your test list from the Confirm step of the Campaign Builder. Each recipient will receive a live version of the test campaign, with the merge data filled in so you can preview how it will look for a real recipient.

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