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Merge Tags Can Improve Your Email Marketing… or DESTROY It

Merge Tags Can Improve Your Email Marketing… or DESTROY It

If you’re using an email marketing suite like MailChimp, a merge tag can bring data about your subscriber into your bulk email. However, if you use it incorrectly, your firm will look silly.

What’s a Merge Tag?

A merge tag is what you would use to bring information about your email list subscriber into the content of the email. For example, you could use it in a title such as:

Hey *|FNAME|*, did you know how congress may change your disability benefits?

In this example, every subscriber on the list would see their name. So subscribers would be greeted with a subject of:

Hey Jason, did you…
Hey Susan, did you…
Hey Norm, did you…

Customized messages typically have a higher open rate thus making your email marketing more effective.

Merge Tags Can Go Horribly Wrong

If you have data such as a company name, or address, all of these fields can be placed in your email template to customize the message. But if your data is wrong, your subscribers will get some confusing emails from your law firm.

Inspiration for this article came from a well-meaning spammer that has some bad data. They appear to have deployed a bot to harvest leads from LinkedIn. Rather than collect my name and company (Jason Bland from Custom Legal Marketing) they have been emailing me since December based on my job “AT Jason Bland.”

They’re also congratulating me on my new role at Custom Legal Marketing even though I co-founded it many years ago.

It started in December with a congratulations email titled “Your new role at Jason Bland.”

The email said:

Hi Jason,

Congrats on your new role as Owner with Jason Bland. I know you must be extremely busy so I figured I'd shoot over an email rather than bug you on the phone.

While you are relatively new to your role, we are no strangers to Jason Bland and are very familiar with your facilities. We have over 2,000 trucks in our fleet, a national road division of owner ops and a top 40 brokerage division to provide additional support.

To generate this erroneous email, they used a First Name merge tag for “Hi Jason.” Then, a role merge tag for “Owner” and a company merge tag for “Jason Bland.” Except for my name being Jason Bland, nothing else was accurate.

Also, this is a logistics company “While you are relatively new to your role, we are no strangers to Jason Bland.” Not a good look.

Fortunately, Custom Legal Marketing doesn’t need a logistics partner with 2,000 trucks to move law firms up to the first page of Google. Our aggressive law firm SEO strategy does the heavy lifting.

But your law firm can learn a valuable lesson from our new friends at the logistics company. Merge tags can make your subscribers feel special when used correctly. They can also make your law firm look bad if used incorrectly.

Always check your data and always do a test run before sending your bulk email. Spending a few extra minutes to save your firm’s brand from an embarrassing mistake is time well spent.

Jason Bland, co-founder of Custom Legal Marketing
Jason Bland is a Co-Founder of Custom Legal Marketing. He focuses on strategies for law firms in highly competitive markets. He's a contributor on, is a member of the Forbes Agency Council, Young Entrepreneurs Council, and has been quoted in Inc. Magazine, Business Journals, Above the Law, and many other publications.