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/ Personalize template content

Mar '22 · 4 min read

Personalize template content

Learn why and how to personalize template metadata using the handlebars templating syntax.

Content personalization is one of the most important features of Amazon SES templates. To understand why personalization matters, here are three relevant empirical facts about personalized emails:

  • Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates.
  • 70% of brands fail to use personalized emails.
  • Personalization of transactional mails fosters customer loyality by making subscribers feel important to you.

You can view the full list of benefits here. And read about personalized, transactional mails here.

In the following guide you will learn how to leverage personalization in Semplates.

About placeholders

You can easily personalize your emails by setting placeholders. These placeholders have to be filled at the time you send the mail. To not deliver mails with unset placeholders, we check them before sending them to the recipients. The syntax we use for placeholder is the same used by AWS SES: {{YOUR_PLACEHOLDER_NAME}}. As described here Amazon SES is leveraging the Handlebars template syntax for personalization.

Placeholders can be set within text blocks or within links which then enables dynamic user-specific links, buttons, call-to-actions. Let's see how this can be applied:

Using placeholders in text

Let's create a new, blank template from within the Template manager:

Screenshot of the Template manager showing the create template dialog.

The editor opens, and we can start editing the template. Let's add a text block, that welcomes the recipient. We will use a data placeholder here, so we can later insert the recipients first name:

Screenshot of the Template editor showing how to add a placeholder into a link URL.

Great, that's it! We will see how to insert test data at the end of this article.

Using placeholders in URLs

Let's add a user-specific outlink to the mail next. This feature is important whenever you want to redirect your user to a page that is specific to him or you need to add parameters to the URL. To do so, we drag a button component into our template first. Then wihtin the button dialog, let's add a data placeholder within the URL field:

Screenshot of the Template editor showing how to add a placeholder in order to inject image sources.

Great, that's it! Adding placeholders in URLs work in every other content type too, e.g. when marking a part of your text as a link. We will see how to insert test data at the end of this article.

Setting placeholders to replace images

There is a third way (beside user-specific content and user-specific outlinks) that data placeholders can be a valuable tool for personalization: Loading user-specific ressources. Let's add an image component to the top of you templates. Now instead of linking or uploading an image ressource, simply put a data placeholder into the URL field:

Screenshot of the Template editor showing how to add a placeholder in order to inject image sources.

Also make sure to add an Alt Text (see above) such that the there is a description displayed if the image is not loaded. Great, that's it! We will see how to insert a user-specific image next.

Reviewing placeholders and sending mails to your inbox

If followed this tutorial, you will have added the following personalized contents to your mail template:

  • User-specific welcome text
  • User-specific button link
  • User-specific banner image

To test your placeholders, click onto Preview in the upper right corner. If you haven't done so before, you will be prompted to save all changes:

In the Template Preview you can see all data placeholders on the right site of the screen and the rendered template on the left:

Let's type in some user-specific data:

Screenshot of the Template preview with an example of a templated mail.

Let's try out different data:

Screenshot of the Template preview with an example of another templated mail.

That's the power of data placeholders! As you have seen they enable you to dynamically change the content of your mail templates such that you create highly personalized content for one highly relevant touchpoints of your users journey. Next you can test send your mail to your own inbox or the inbox of your collegues. If you don't already know how to do that, head over to the setup guide that explains the general workflow of Semplates.

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