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HomeOntraport for marketingPages > Personalizing with merge fields
Home > Pages  >  Personalizing with merge fields
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Attention: this video showcases a feature that has since been updated. Please check out the support article.
Personalizing with merge fields
Using merge fields, you can easily include a contact’s name (or more!) on the page for a personalized experience. Learn how to do it here.
You'll learn:
  • How to add merge fields to your page 
  • How to pass data to the page 
  • How to set your default merge fields
Instructor
Sam Flegal
Personalizing with merge fields
Using merge fields, you can easily include a contact’s name (or more!) on the page for a personalized experience. Learn how to do it here.
You'll learn:
  • How to add merge fields to your page 
  • How to pass data to the page 
  • How to set your default merge fields
Course Instructor
Sam Flegal
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Transcript
In this video, I'm going to talk about personalizing your pages with merge fields so that your contacts will feel like your pages were made specifically for them.

As a simple example, you might use a name merge field on your thank you page to thank your customers personally after they buy something from you.

I’ll walk you through how to add merge fields to your pages, pass your contact’s information to your page and set up your default merge fields.

There are 3 steps to getting this done.

1. Add merge fields to your page
2. Pass data to the page
3. Set your default merge fields

Let’s get started.

Adding merge fields to your pages is easy. You just add them to any text, form or custom HTML field using the merge field button. The icon is on your main text toolbar or in the settings of your button text or form field.

If you click the merge field dropdown, you’ll see contact fields and some other special merge fields. It’s best to add your merge fields using this dropdown because they’ll always be formatted correctly. You could type them in yourself, but your merge fields won’t work if you forget to use the right capitalization or miss a space — and you don’t want that.

Another thing: these merge fields won’t work in preview mode - because we don’t know which contact information you want us to merge in there - so you’ll need to publish your page and visit the live URL to see them in action.

That it. Step 1, done.

Second, you’ll pass your contact’s information to your page.

There are three ways to set up your page so we can fill in your merge fields with the right person’s info. I’ll talk about them in more detail in our “Contact tracking” video.

For now, I’ll quickly go over the ways to pass a contact’s info to your page: Using a PURL, using variables in your links, and getting your visitors to log in to your membership site.

Let’s talk about PURLs first because this is dead easy.. Personalized URLs are a feature of Ontraport where we automatically create a separate, custom page URL for each contact in your account.

So one contact may be sent to “jane.mypage.com” and another to “joe.mypage.com.” This lets Ontraport know who we’re dealing with and which merge field values to put on the page.

To use PURLs in Ontraport you just have to link to your page using our link builder. Let me show you how.

Let’s navigate to one of your emails first.

From your email, click the text you want to link. We’ll choose “learn more here,” then click the “Link” button.

A window will open up, and you’ll choose ‘link to Ontraport Page’ and pick a page that you want to send your contacts to. Use the dropdown menu to choose your page’s name.

You can also add a button to your email  and do the same thing: click “Edit.”

Click “Link URL” and then choose “Ontraport Landing Page” and choose your page’s name.

The key here is to use the Ontraport Landing Page option, which automatically turns your link into a PURL.
We can do this on your pages too. Let’s go ahead and add a PURL as a thank you page after someone fills out a form.

From your “Form Settings,” select “Use this Landing Page” in the “Send contacts here” section.

Once you’ve selected the page you want to send your contacts to, hit “Save” and then “Publish.”

Ok, that’s about as easy as it gets. Now let’s talk about the second way to pass a contact’s information to your pages — using URL variables.

The main reason you’d use this method is if people are coming to your pages from a system other than Ontraport. Since other systems can’t link to PURLs, you can sometimes make things work by passing information in the URL itself. You’ll usually be able to do this with a good third party email system, form builder, shopping cart or the like.

URL variables are the stuff you see in URLs after the question mark. These variables “carry” your information that you can use on your page, because Ontraport Pages will automatically grab those variables from the URL to fill in your merge fields.

For example, instead of “jon.yourpage.com,” it might look like this.

You’ll need to pass each merge field you want to use on your page. Let’s say you wanted to create a happy birthday page that says “Happy Birthday, John! We hope you enjoy your 40th birthday!” In this case, you’d pass a variable for the contact’s first name and another for the age.

If you’re using a 3rd party system, you’ll need to look at their documentation to learn how to build a link like this. But we’ll show you how it’s done in Ontraport.

First, create your link.

Start with your URL, and add a question mark at the end of your URL.

Now add your variable names — it can be just about anything, but pick something that represents the field like this. Note that variable names can’t have spaces in them.

Next, add an equal sign and the matching merge field. Merge fields with more than one word have spaces, and you’ll need to leave those in there, so it looks like this.

Add the “and” sign and start again at step two if you have another field you would like to pass.

Continue this process with all the variables you want to show on the page.

If you want to add your link to your emails or SMS messages, highlight the text you want to hyperlink. Click the ”Link” button, then put your fancy new URL in the URL field in the link builder.

Now, when you use this method, you’ll also need to change the merge fields you use on your Ontraport Page. Instead of the ones you get using the merge field dropdown, you'll add the variable names you created as merge fields onto your page. Just look at the URL and take the variable name you find before the equal sign and put it in brackets on the page. To use our example, we can see that the url looks like this, so we’ll add “[FirstName]” and “[LastName]” to the page just by typing in those variable names and surrounding them with square brackets.

Ontraport Pages will automatically look at the URL and fill in the values anywhere it sees those merge fields on the page. Neat, right?

Ok, that’s it for URL variables on pages.

A different method I’ll go over is Using merge fields on membership site pages.

I said the first method was the easiest, but actually this is even easier.

Protected membership pages always know who’s visiting your page because these users had to log in!

As long as your page is part of your membership site, you won’t need to do any additional work to get merge fields to work. Just use the merge field dropdown to add those suckers anywhere on your page and you’re set.

Check out our “Adding and protecting pages” video from the Membership Sites series for more info on that.

OK. That’s Step 2.

Step 3 is just a little housekeeping, where we’ll set your default merge fields.

Default merge fields are simple but powerful — they’re what your page will fill in if you don’t have the info for your contact.

Anytime you’ve seen any email that starts out with, “Hi Friend!” you’re most likely looking at a default merge field. If you’ve ever seen an email that starts out with “Hi, !” then someone’s screwed this up.

To make sure you’re not that person, follow these steps:

Go to “Contacts,” then click “Settings” and “Default Merge Fields.”

Then, just put in what you’d like us to use in case we don’t know who the contact is or when the contact doesn’t have a value for a particular field. For this example, we can put something like there in the name field so “Hey [First Name]!” becomes “Hey there!” if you don’t have their name.

Click “Save” and you’re done!

Now you know how to create more personalized experiences for your contacts by customizing the content on your pages.

We went over how to add merge fields to your pages, pass your contacts’ information to your page and set up default merge fields.

If you keep watching this series, I’ll show you an even more powerful personalization tool — conditional content!


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