Using Merge Fields in Email Templates
Whether you are creating an HTML or a plain text email template, you will likely want to merge fields into your email. This could be as simple as including the recipient's first name, or as complex as detailed case information. Let's walk through how to use merge fields in both types of emails.
Plain Text Emails
When creating a new plain text email, the recipient type will determine which types of fields can be merged into that email.
When you create an email as Contact type, then you will not be able to merge any matter fields.
When the email is created as matter type, you can merge in both matter and contact fields. For matter type emails, you will also have the option to select a practice area, as shown below. If a practice area is selected, then you will be able to merge in practice area fields for that specific practice area in addition to your regular matter fields.
When editing a plain text email, you will see various different drop down boxes for each type of field that can be merged into your email.
- Contact Fields: Basic contact information like name, phone number, title, etc, as well as any of your contact custom fields
- Matter Fields: Case information like practice area, case title, case description, as well as any of your matter custom fields
- General Fields: Firm information and current date
- Location Fields: Your firm's various locations (entered in settings > firm settings)
- Company Fields: Standard company fields like company name, company email, etc, as well as any of your company custom fields
- Custom Form Fields: Use these fields to insert the link to one of your custom forms. This link will pre-fill the matter's information into the form when they click on it.
- Event Fields: Select from your various event types to merge in the date, time, and/or location of your appointments
- RSS Feed Fields: Select from your firm's RSS Feeds, created in Settings > RSS Feed Settings
- Relationship Fields: Use these fields to merge in related contact information, like the spouse's name, children names, etc.
Once you have merged any fields into your email, note that you can apply formatting to the fields just like you would to regular text. So if you want to make certain fields stand out by making them bold or underlined, you can feel free to do so. Also note that you can copy and paste fields into the subject line.
You will follow a slightly different process for merging fields into HTML emails. The same principle of field type will still apply, so if your email is matter type you will have access to matter and contact fields, but contact type emails will only access contact fields. Rather than selecting from various drop down boxes, as you do with plain text emails, you will instead select from a comprehensive list of merge tags.
You will first need to add a text content block into your email, if you have not done so already, and then click into the text box. You will then see your various formatting options, along with the button labelled Merge Tags.
Once you select Merge Tags, you will be able to scroll through a list of all available fields. You will see all of the standard Lawmatics built-in fields first, followed by your custom fields, event fields, and so on. Note that your matter custom fields will be labelled with the word Prospect before the field name, and contact fields will be labelled with the word Contact.
Simply click on a field in the list to merge it into your email. It is recommended to use ctrl + f to search for the field you wish to merge, since they can be difficult to find in the list.
Once you have selected your field, you will see it in the text of the email. Just like with the plain text emails, you can feel free to apply any formatting, like bold or underlining, to the fields that you merge in.
Whether you are using plain text or HTML emails, it is important to make sure that any fields you have merged into an email are populated on an individual before the email is sent to them. This typically will not be a problem if you are merging in simple fields like first name, but if you are merging in more detailed information you may need checks in place to make sure that necessary information is populated before an automatic email is triggered.
If you are manually sending an email template from a matter's profile, you will have the option to preview the email before sending to make sure that everything is populated and merging in correctly.
If a field is merged into an email, but not populated on the recipient, that field will simply appear as a single blank space in the email.
What is the difference between contact fields and matter fields?
Contact fields live on the contact level, these fields will apply to "person" information like name, address, etc. These fields are not in any way related to the person's case or legal issue, since you may have some contacts that are referral partners, colleagues, or other individuals who do not have a matter. Matter fields only live on a matter, so they will apply to "case information" like practice area, case title, etc.
Where do I go to make sure the fields are populated on an individual before I send an email to them?
Go to the Details page for that matter or contact, and look at the fields listed. To populate or edit any of the field data, simply click the Edit button found at the bottom right of their profile page.
How can I create a new field to merge into my email?
To create new fields you will go to settings > custom field settings, select the type of field you wish to create (matter, contact, company, etc), and then click the button to create a new field. You will also need to select a field type such as text, date, picklist, etc.