SendGrid Email Marketing Service Tutorial: Create a Newsletter and Add Custom Variables


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We’re happy to continue our VidGrid tutorial series in support of the recent release of our Marketing Email Service. This series will walk you through each step of creating your email marketing campaign to make sure that you have the best experience possible.

In this video, Customer Success Rep, Kyle shares the basics of how to create a newsletter and add custom variables.

Video Transcription

Have you ever wondered how to personalize the newsletters that you send out? Using SendGrid’s newsletter application you can do just that. In this tutorial video, we will show you this process.

Recipient Lists and Custom Tags

The first step is to create your newsletter title. In this case, we will say “customizing your newsletters.”

The next step allows you to select a pre-existing recipient list, or to create your own list. (To learn how to create a recipient list, view our VidGrid video and read the transcript here.) In this video we will create a list. First, enter the list name. Now, we get to add recipients to our recipient list. There are three ways to go about this:

  1. One is to upload a list from a CSV file or a TXT file on your local machine

  2. Or to add recipients manually, one at a time.

  3. Or you can also add them using an external URL.

To add a recipient manually, one at a time, click on “add a recipient manually,” then you can add the email address. To add the custom tags to this recipient list, you just simply click “add a column.” This will allow you to enter the custom tag header, such as “name” and “user ID.” When you add the headers, email address, or email, name, and user ID to the recipient list, our system automatically turns these headers into custom tags. These custom tags can later be added into your newsletters.

Now, I will show you how to create and upload a recipient list with these same header values. We will use Excel to create the CSV file that we will add to our recipient list. As you can see, in the top column, I am adding the headers: “email,” “name,” and “user ID”. These will be our custom tags that we will use to personalize the newsletters that we are sending out. As you can see, the creation process is the same as using our web portal, but in this case we are using Excel. “Email,” “name,” and “user ID” are the custom tags that we will be using in our newsletter sends. We want to save this file as a CSV file or a TXT file. Go ahead and label it “customizing your newsletters.” Save it as a CSV. Now, we can upload the CSV file that we created. Click on upload.

Once you have uploaded your CSV, you can add the headers two ways.

  1. The first way is you can manually type in the headers you want. In this case I am going to type in name and user ID.

  2. The other option is to just check if the first row contains headers. This is if you already added the headers in the CSV file.

The next step will allow us to review the recipient list we have created. Here we can see which headers are attached to the recipient list we created. So now that we have created our recipient list, we can go ahead and design our newsletter.

Design

Let’s go to step 3, which is the design step. On the design step, we can create a newsletter using HTML, or our pre-designed modules. First, add a subject to the newsletter. Now, let’s take a look at how to add the custom tags to your newsletter. As you can see on the bottom right hand side of the newsletter, the different custom tags that we created in the headers have been added: “email,” “name,” “user ID.”

Now, let’s edit one of these modules. Just put in the custom tag which matches up with the header that we created, such as “name.” Now let’s go to Step 4, and schedule the newsletter send. On this page you can just review the newsletter that you’re about to send out and schedule it to send. In this case we are going to send it now, just so we can see it, and then you click finish. I am going to go ahead and check my Gmail account where I sent this newsletter, and see how the newsletter looks.

As you can see, the different custom tags were substituted with the values that we placed in the CSV file that we created. The value name was substituted for Kyle. The value email was substituted for kyle.kern@sendgrid.com. As you can see this matches up exactly with the CSV file that we created earlier. You can use these custom tags to substitute values in your newsletters to create more of a personal feel in the newsletters that you send out.

And that’s how you create custom tags using SendGrid’s newsletter application!

Stay tuned for more installments from our VidGrid tutorial series here on the blog or check out the whole library here.


As SendGrid's Senior Manager of Content, Jillian is responsible for ensuring that SendGrid provides valuable thought leadership content through the blog, whitepapers, webcasts, case studies, and more. An editor and writer by trade, Jillian considers The Chicago Manual of Style one of her favorite reads.

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