Getting Started with Merge Tags

Merge tags are used to populate personalized or dynamic content in your campaigns, signup forms, response emails, and automation workflows. MailChimp automatically generates merge tags whenever new fields are added to a list in your account, so you can pull up to date subscriber information into your campaigns.

A set of system merge tags can be used to pull in account and list information, populate RSS or social media content, along with many other options. Below we walk you through how to use or edit merge tags and show you where they are located in your account. Take a look at All The Merge Tags Cheatsheet for a full list of all available merge tags. 

Using merge tags

In the beginning, merge tags just look like snippets of text you place in your campaign. Type, paste, or select a merge tag to insert into a content block, and when you send your campaign, MailChimp will replace that piece of text with the dynamic text—subscriber profile and list information, or system tools—that the merge tag refers to.

When you design your campaign in MailChimp there's a merge tag drop-down menu on the editor toolbar you can use to easily add tags to content. Just place your cursor in your content where you want to insert your merge tag and choose the merge tag from the menu. We'll add it to your content for you so you never have to worry about mistyping a merge tag.
Merge tag drop-down menu

If you type a *|MERGE|* tag directly into your content use the pipe (|) key on your keyboard to create the straight lines on either side of the tag. The pipe key is located directly above the enter/return key on your keyboard.

Merge tags can be added to the content of all campaign types, automation workflows, and in the Final Welcome Email step of the Signup Forms & Response Emails. Some merge tags can also be used in the subject lines of your campaigns and automation emails.

List merge tags

All fields added to your lists and signup forms for capturing subscriber data are assigned a corresponding merge tag. You can edit and customize the list specific merge tags in your list settings. Change the default tags such as *|MMERGE1|* to something more descriptive like *|NAME|* or *|CITY|* and specify the default merge tag values that will populate for subscribers who don't have that data stored in your list. 

Other list specific tags can be used to pull in list information such as your company name, subscriber count, or a link to the list's hosted subscriber form. You can also use list specific merge tags to populate the footer with required information. You can also use your list's merge tags as segmenting conditions. They appear as options in the list's New Segment drop down when you create a new segment and also in the Recipients step of the campaign builder.

System merge tags

In addition to merge tags associated with your list, there are a number of system tags provided by MailChimp to dynamically create content within your campaigns. These tags can be used to pull in social content, RSS content, account information, translate content and a whole lot more. Use this cheat sheet as a quick reference for each merge tag available in MailChimp.

System merge tags are also used to add unsubscribe, update profile, and forward links to your campaigns.

Testing and troubleshooting

We recommend testing your merge tags using the preview before your campaign goes out. Preview is available on both the HTML and plain-text versions of your campaign. To test any merge tags added to the signup forms and response emails, you have to signup to the list and go through the double opt-in process.

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