How can I address email to: Dear Friend if they don't have a first name?

Many people like to send mass email with personalized tokens, so it feels more like an individual email. Using tokens in your email, such as:

Dear {contact.first_name},

Is a great way to achieve that affect. However, if the contact does not have a first name entered, you end up with an awkward: Dear ,. Woops.

You can get around that problem by using the Email Greeting token and creating a new email greeting that uses a default value if the first name is not present.

Setting up

The first step is to go to Administration -> Communications -> Email Greetting Options.

Then, add a new greeting.

In the label field, enter:

{capture assign=first_name}{contact.first_name}{/capture}Dear {$first_name|default:Friend}

You might optionally select the default check box to make this the default email greeting for new contacts added to the database.

Configuring the new email greeting for your contacts

At this point, none of your contacts are using this new email greeting. So, you will have to edit each contact that should use the greeting, scroll to the Communication Preferences section of their record, and change the Email greeting to the one you created.

Contact support if you want to change all contacts in your database to use this new email greeting.

Use the token

When you send your next email, instead of typing: Dear {contact.first_name}, type: {contact.email_greeting},

Note: you do not need to put the "Dear" - that is part of the token.

When the message is sent, it will be converted to either the first name or "Friend" depending on whether their first name is set.

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