What is covered in this article?
- What are the current limitations of this feature?
What are Variables?
If you are familiar with email "mail merge" functionality, then you can think of Variables as serving the same purpose. Variables are short pieces of text that hold a place in an email or text message, and are automatically replaced by the relevant recipient information when the message is sent. Variables allow you to send emails in bulk while still tailoring the message to each recipient. Using variables also helps prevent your messages from being flagged as spam.
Variables can be used in the subject or body of the email, as well as in a text message. They are usually easy to recognize because they are begin with a dollar sign (e.g. $student_first_name, $school_name, etc.)
How can I add a Variable in an ad hoc / direct communication?
1. You can begin drafting an ad hoc / direct communication from many different starting points in your SchoolMint instance, including the Communications tab, the Application Index, the Manage Registrations page, and student profiles, just to name a few.
2. When drafting your communication, click the "Select Variable" dropdown.
3. Choose the relevant variable from the list.
How can I add a Variable in an automatic notification template?
1. Navigate to Settings > Manage Text Message and Email Templates.
2. From the Notification Type dropdown list, choose which automatic notification template you would like to edit.
3. Under Actions, click "Edit".
4. Many of our default message templates already include Variables. Review the existing message and any variables it already contains.
5. If you need to add a new a new variable, view the "Variables available to use" list on the page. Copy and paste the desired variable into your message text.
Why is my Variable not working?
If you attempt to send a message with an invalid variable, an error message will pop up stating, "Sorry, the $variable variable cannot be used with one or more of your recipients. Please remove this variable or update the recipient list to send this message."
Below are common reasons a variable is not supported:
- You have appended text or punctuation to your variable - Double check the bolded variable in the error message. Do you see punctuation or additional letters? Add a space at the end of the variable to separate it from the extra text.
- Your variable does not exist or is misspelled - Double check the dropdown list of variables to make sure your variable is listed. Try inserting your variable again to ensure you have typed it correctly (For example, $username vs $user_name)
- An invalid recipient list - If you are confident that your variable does not have any typos, there exist various restrictions for the recipient list with which a variable can be used. Please double check the restrictions for your variable (above) and edit your recipient list accordingly.
Related: How to mail merge in Excel
- Tips to mail merge using an Excel spreadsheet - Click here
What are the current limitations of this feature?
Not every variable works inside every message type. For example, variables related specifically to Re-enrollment will not work in an automatic message template designed for use in the Applications module. Accordingly, not all variable options are listed in every message type.
Still have questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.