Personalization Trick: Insert Past and Future Dates

CalendarOne of the most-used email marketing “tricks” out there is personalization.

Used sparingly and in the right context, personalization can significantly boost your response. But as personalization shows up in more email marketing campaigns, used in the same ways by so many businesses, its effects can diminish.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t still use personalization to write more effective email campaigns! You just need to use it creatively.

Here’s one personalization trick that might not have occurred to you.

Reference Dates/Days In the Future or Past

There’s more to personalization than just being able to address someone by name! You can use date variables to reference dates around when you send a message to a subscriber — including those in the past or future.

How Can You Use This?

Create a sense of continuity between separate messages using {!date dayname+1}. Since you can change the +1 part to be +2, +3, or -1, -2, etc. you can say things like:

On Tuesday, I’ll show you the three things you can do to impress someone on a first date.

When you last heard from me on Thursday, I asked you to think of the one biggest hurdle you face in starting to day trade.

And the day can change for each person based on when you send them the message, because you’re using a variable like {!date dayname+3} or {!date dayname-5} to dynamically insert the appropriate day.

This is particularly effective for autoresponse and follow up messages, since those go out to people based on when they sign up, rather than being sent to all subscribers at the same time.

You can use this approach with date variables as well, e.g. {!date long+5}, {!date abb-1}, {!date ss+7}, etc.

How Else Can You Creatively Personalize Your Messages?

Have you seen a particularly effective use of personalization? What about it impressed you?


  1. Ben Utley

    9/17/2007 11:59 pm

    This is great! Now, where can I find info about the syntax for these fields?

  2. Justin Premick

    9/18/2007 9:30 am


    You can see a breakdown of the personalization fields here.

  3. Link-O-Rama: End of Summer Link Roundup | Cosmos

    2/21/2008 8:08 am

    […] • Personalization Trick: Insert Past and Future Dates • 3 SEO Steps that Work For Every Web Site • 15 SEO Tips From Google | One Tip A Day • Improve Your Blog By Reading a Magazine • How To Avoid Spambots By Using Pinging Services • Blog Carnivals and Group Writing Projects: 5 Tips to Increase Blog Traffic […]

  4. 6 Social Networking Tactics for Email Marketers - Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

    6/20/2008 10:23 am

    […] may seem like a minor change, because it is, but subtle changes like this (like creative personalization, geographic targeting, and other subtle tricks) can contribute to a waterfall effect when used […]

  5. Grant Waldman

    1/6/2009 11:01 am

    It all comes down to simply taking a paradigm and shifting it just a little to look unique. Regarding the personalization of emails, it may simply be a matter of using color or a graphic to catch the recipient’s attention.

  6. Alexander

    1/22/2009 3:38 am

    That’s a great personaliziation trick, but I would like to use it in italian language. Any chance to localize the dayname variable ?

    TIA & ciao

  7. J

    10/28/2011 8:16 am

    Really a great stuff