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Personalize emails

As you could have read you can send a mail to multiple recipients with one POST request. Sometimes you indeed want to send identical mails to multiple persons, yet, often you want to give each mail a personal touch. With SMTPeter this is possible too. SMTPeter allows you to add some code in your message that will be replaced with data specific for each recipient.

The way how you indicate what parts of a message needs to be replaced with personal data is based on special syntax. This syntax makes it easy to combine text and code, but more on this later. Firstly, we discuss how personalization data can be added to a POST request.

Adding data for a single recipient mail

If you send a mail to only one recipient, adding data is easy. You just add a "data" property to your JSON containing the data that you want to use for personalizing your mail. An example of this is:

{
    "recipient": "john@doe.com",
    ...,
    "data"     : {
        "firstname"  : "John",
        "familyname" : "Doe",
        "children"   : ["Jane", "Joe", "Jacky", "Josef"]
    }
}

You can use {$firstname} to access "John", {$familyname} to access "Doe", and with {$children} you get an array containing "Jane", "Joe", "Jacky", and "Josef" (see our programming page to for a complete discussion about using variables and programming). You can use these variables in the "from" and "to" address, the header, the text, and the html fields or in the "mime". For ease of use you get automatically the "envelope" and "recipient" variables that contain data extracted from the. So, you can use these without specifying them as a data property.

Adding data for a multiple recipient mail

If you have multiple recipients, just adding a "data" property to the JSON will not suffice. After all, we need to know what data belongs to which recipient, otherwise the data will not be personal. To achieve this you can add a JSON object to each recipient in your recipients vector. This JSON object that you add to each recipient contains the personal data for the particular recipient. The JSON that you send may look as follows:

{   
    "recipients" : [
        "jane@doe.com": {
            "firsname": "Jane",
            "familyname": "Doe",
            "children" : ["Jacky", "Joe"]
        },
        "john@doe.com": {
            "firstname": "John",
            "familyname": "Doe",
            "children" : ["Jacky", "Joe"]
        }
    ],
    ...
}

When you use the above JSONs you can access the content of "firstname" and "familyname" with {$firstname} and {$familyname} respectively. Just like above in the single recipient case you can use these variables in the "from" and "to" address, the header, the text, and the html fields or in the "mime". For each recipient a mail will be generated with his/her personal data. Also in this case the "envelope" and "recipient" data are already extracted from the mail for you. You can use these without specifying them as a data property.

Some requirements

Passing the personal data is very flexible, yet, there are some requirements about the property names you can pass as data. The requirements are:

  • They may contain alphanumeric characters but may not start with a number.
  • They may contain dash (-) and underscore (_) symbols.
  • They may not start with a dash or underscore.
  • variables are case sensitive, meaning that {$NAME} is different from {$name}.

A simple example

Here is a simple example of using personal data into a mail. If you are looking for an extensive discussion about what is possible you should read our programming page

Let's say you have the following JSON:

{
    "recipient": "john@example.com",
    "data": {
        "ourname": "The SMTPeter test team",
        "name": "John Doe",
        "age": 33,
        "job": "programmer",
        "children": [
            "Peter", "Angela", "Brandon"
        ]
    },
    "from": "....",
    "to": "...",
    ...
}

If you use the above JSON data for your mail, you can use inside the "from" and "to" address, the subject line, and inside the text and HTML versions of your email these variables.

{
    "recipient": ...,
    "data": ...,
    "from": "info <info@example.com>",
    "to": "{$name} <john@example.org>",
    "subject": "Hello {$name}!",
    "text": "Hi {$name},\n\nYour age is {$age}, and your job is {$job}.\n\nCheers,\n\n{$ourname}"
}

If you had used the above JSON, the variables in the "from", and "to" address, the subject line and the text version will be replaced with the data in "data".

Since the "envelope" and "recipient" data are automatically extracted from the mail for you. You can use these without specifying them as a data property. Note that this makes sending out your mass mails with only one REST call easy.

If you want to send personalized emails you also may be interest in using our e-mail templates.

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