Using Custom Data & Tags with the Email Collector

You can use custom tags with our Email Invitation collector to personalize messages to your respondents. This is akin to a mail merge in a word processing application, so that each respondents' email message is customized with specific details to them. We support 4 custom tags that are expressed with square brackets:

[FirstName]
[LastName]
[Email]
[CustomData]

Simply add one of the following tags discussed below into the body of your message. We will populate the tag with the associated text when the message is delivered to the recipient, provided that you've uploaded that data into your Address Book or the email invitation list.

This data is also populated into your results when the respondent takes the survey, so you can track responses. Using this feature is totally optional, and is only for the email message: tags are not populated into the body of the survey.  This documentation explores how you can use these custom tags in the body of an email message: 

NOTE: If you're looking for a way to pass variables or custom data through the survey URL, you can read about that feature here.

 

Uploading Custom Data 

There are 2 ways to upload custom data - the first is through Address Book, the second is to upload the data each time you create a new email invitation.  We recommend uploading your list through Address Book since we think it'll save you time in the long run, but it's up to your preference.

Uploading Lists in Address Book

  1. Click your username in the upper right-hand corner.  
  2. You'll see a drop-down menu appear.  Click Address Book down at the bottom of this list.
  3. To add a new list to your address book, click Add a New List from the upper right-hand corner.
    • Want to edit an existing list instead? No problem:
      • Just click the name of your list under the List Name column. 
      • Click Add Contacts from the upper right corner, and carry on from step 5.
  4. Click I Agree with the Terms of Use.
  5. Under the Enter Contacts to be Added text, you'll see a textbox to enter your contacts:
    • Additions should be formatted with each contact on a new line, in the following order:
      • Email, First Name, Last Name, Custom Data
      • Example: somebody@email.com, Bob, Ross, Television Artist Extraordinaire 
      • Example: somebodyelse@anotherdomain.net, Tammy, Faye, Icon(!)
  6. Click Add Recipients.


Uploading Lists in a New Email Invitation

  1. From the My Surveys page, click the Collect Responses icon.
    • If already editing your survey, click the Collect Responses tab from the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click Add Collector.
  3. Choose Email and enter a Name for your collector.
  4. Click Next Step.
  5. Choose Add Manually.
  6. Under the Enter Contacts to be Added text, you'll see a textbox to enter your contacts:
    • Additions should be formatted with each contact on a new line, in the following order:
      • Email, First Name, Last Name, Custom Data
      • Example: somebody@email.com, Bob, Ross, Television Artist Extraordinaire 
      • Example: somebodyelse@anotherdomain.net, Tammy, Faye, Icon(!)
      • Example: anotherperson@anotherdomain.edu,,, Professional Survey Taker This format lets you omit middle fields, and any field except email can be omitted.
  7. Click Add Recipients.



Using Custom Data Tags in the Email Message

Once you've uploaded your contacts and their custom data, you're ready to start putting together your email invitation. If you already started creating an email invitation collector, skip ahead to step 7.

  1. From the My Surveys page, click the Collect Responses icon.
    • If already editing your survey, click the Collect Responses tab from the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click Add Collector.
  3. Choose Email and enter a Name for your collector.
  4. Click Next Step.
  5. Choose From Address Book and pick the name of the list you created.
  6. Click Add Recipients.
  7. Click Save & Continue from the upper right-hand corner.
  8. Choose New/Unsent and click Save & Continue again from the upper right-hand corner.
  9. You're now in the Create Message screen:
    • Change or confirm the email address in the From textbox;
    • Enter a Subject that makes clear what your survey purpose is;
    • In the Message, use the tags marked with square brackets for custom data and survey links.  The custom tags should be entered exactly as shown, with square brackets and the same text for each tag.  Your message can be anything you like, as long as your [RemoveLink] is labeled clearly.  This is an example of a modified message using custom tags:

Hi there [FirstName],

We're conducting a survey, and we'd love to get your input.  Here's a link to the survey:
[SurveyLink]

This link is uniquely tied to your email address, so please don't forward or post the link. We really appreciate your participation!

Thanks!
The SurveyMonkey Team

________________________________________

NOTE: If you want to unsubscribe to SurveyMonkey surveys entirely (not just from this sender) click the link below, and you'll be automatically removed from our mailing list:
[RemoveLink]

For each respondent with custom data, they'll see their own name instead of the [FirstName] tag when we actually send the invitation.  This is true for any custom tags you use - so for example, if you inserted [LastName] or [Email], they'd see the information that you uploaded for them.

 

Why Use Custom Data

Using custom data can be a really handy way to keep track of other information on the back-end of your results.  You can use the tags in emails if you want to highlight a particular internal department, or you can keep them for your eyes only and add details like phone numbers, demographics, or other pertinent information. 


Custom Data Guidelines & Formatting

Character Limits:

  • [FirstName] - Allows up to 50 characters
  • [LastName] - Allows up to 50 characters
  • [Email] - Allows up to 255 characters
  • [CustomData] - Allows up to 1000 characters

Allowed Characters:

  • Letters (A-Z) and (a-z)
  • Hyphens (-)
  • Underscores (_)
  • Numbers (0-9)
  • Decimal or period (.)
  • Only one single apostrophe allowed (')
  • Pound Sign (#)
  • Ampersand (&)
  • Asterisk (*)
  • Monetary symbols ($)
  • Addition symbol (+)
  • Quotes (")
Characters Not Allowed:
  • Double apostrophe, when the (') symbol is typed twice: (") 
  • Brackets (<) or (>)