What are Merge Tags and How to Use Them in SMS Marketing

Merge tags/merge fields are placeholders that dynamically insert specific and personalized info into your SMS messages before they’re sent. 

Think of them as fill-in-the-blank fields that automatically populate with recipient-specific data from your CRM or other data sources. This data could include a person’s first name, last name, account details, appointment times, order numbers, or any other information stored in your CRM.

Basically, merge tags allow you to personalize messages to each individual contact. So whether you’re writing a message to one person or 100 people, each message is unique. 

Generic SMS messages are impersonal and don’t get read, which is why SMS merge tags are so important to understand and use to keep messages unique.  

Here’s an example of merge tags used in a SMS message:

Hey [First Name], your appointment on [Appointment Date] at [Appointment Time] is confirmed.

In this example, “[First Name],” “[Appointment Date],” and “[Appointment Time]” are merge tags that will be replaced with actual data when the message is sent to each recipient.

merge tags or custom fields in Skipio

Why Merge Tags Matter in SMS Marketing

Studies consistently show that personalized messages have higher open rates, engagement levels, and conversion rates than generic messages. 

In fact, 67% of people say it’s important for businesses to automatically adjust their content to reflect the current context. And that’s exactly what merge tags do.  

Using merge tags in your SMS campaigns shows individual attention and relevance that resonates with your audience.

Merge tags also simplify your messaging process. Rather than writing separate messages for each recipient, you create a single template with merge tags and let your SMS platform do the heavy lifting of customization. This saves time and also helps your messages be more consistent. 

Related: How to Personalize Your SMS Marketing Messages and Why It Matters

Merge Fields in Skipio

Skipio has three types of Custom Merge Fields. You can create and use these fields to populate information related to: 

  1. contacts
  2. information about you as the sender
  3. information from your CRM or other apps

Custom Contact Fields in Skipio

Custom Contact Fields pull in information from the contacts in your address book. 

The default Custom Contact Fields that come with every Skipio account are:

  • [First Name]
  • [Last Name]
  • [Email]

Skipio users can create additional Custom Contact Fields to personalize messages to contacts further.

You may want to create Custom Contact Fields like:

  • [Referral Name]
  • [Favorite Product]
  • [Address]
  • [Last Purchase]

To use custom contact fields in your messages, you must manually add them to your settings and then fill in the corresponding information within each contact in Skipio.

Custom User Fields in Skipio

Custom User Fields pull in information about you and your business (because you are the user). 

The default Custom User Fields that come with every Skipio account are:

  • [My First Name]
  • [My Last Name]
  • [My Skipio Number]
  • [Contact Form Link]

Skipio users can create additional Custom User Fields to avoid manually typing the same information repeatedly in messages.

You may want to create Custom User Fields like:

  • [Business Name]
  • [My Email]
  • [Business Address]
  • [Business Hours]
  • [My Website]

Custom CRM Fields

Custom CRM Fields pull in information from apps you sync with Skipio, like a CRM or calendar. There are no default options for Custom CRM Fields. These fields depend entirely on the system you’re integrating with Skipio.

When you integrate Skipio with another app and create Custom CRM Fields, those fields will get automatically updated in Skipio. This helps you keep consistent information between systems.

Popular information to sync from CRMs, calendars, or other similar apps are:

  • Appointment date
  • Last purchase
  • Last visit
  • Contract renewal date
  • Credit card expiration
  • Status/activity changes

Users can create and sync Custom CRM Fields to trigger certain messaging automation in Skipio. 

For instance, when someone books an appointment on your Acuity calendar, and that calendar is synced with Skipio, the creation of that new appointment can add that person as a new contact in Skipio (if they aren’t already) and then trigger Skipio to send an appointment confirmation and the future reminders.

Best Practices for Using Merge Tags

Here are some tips to ensure you’re using merge tags effectively in your SMS marketing:

  • Keep it relevant: Don’t bombard customers with irrelevant information. Use tags that add real value to the message.
  • Maintain a balance: While personalization is important, avoid making messages feel overly intrusive. Don’t include merge tags in every sentence. 
  • Use clear and concise language: SMS messages have character limitations, so keep your message brief and to the point.
  • Double check info: Be careful with your merge tags/custom fields and make sure each contact has the appropriate information saved before sending them a message. If not, the merge tag will show up like [Product Name] instead of replacing it with the correct info. 

Maximize the Impact of SMS Messages with Merge Tags

Dynamically inserting recipient-specific information via merge tags into your SMS campaigns creates an engaging experience for each contact — an experience that generic messages can’t provide. This personalization ultimately increases engagement and conversion rates. 

Ready to start personalizing your SMS messages by using merge tags? Talk to a Skipio expert and we’ll help you improve your text messages and automate the time-consuming but necessary outreach and follow-up that turns leads into loyal customers.