Klaviyo First Name Tag – How to Use in Emails and Subject Lines

Ryan Turner // August 13 // 0 Comments

Ecommerce customers love personalized interactions. As a business owner looking to personalize marketing messages and demonstrate customer intimacy, a good starting point is sending customized and personalized emails. Here at the EcommerceIntelligence.com email marketing agency we encourage brands to do that as much as possible.

Klaviyo template tags and variables allow you to personalize marketing messages to provide customers with customized experiences.  This guide covers what Klaviyo’s first name tag is, how to use it in emails, and available fallback options for any situation where the name tag doesn’t work as intended.

You can learn more about all of these features in our complete Klaviyo course 0r schedule some 1-on-1 time to discuss your brand and individual needs with our team of Klaviyo consultants.

What Is Klaviyo’s First Name Tag?

Klaviyo’s first name tag is one of their most popular template tags used to personalize marketing emails with the receiver’s first name.

The first name tag uses code to filter out the first name variable from the customer’s information stored in their Klaviyo profile, and automatically insert it into your marketing messages. 

The most common example of this would be using the customers’s first name at the beginning of an email, or in the subject line:

“Hey Carly, we noticed you didn’t complete your order with us yesterday…”

How Do First Name Tags Work In Klaviyo?

To understand how name tags work in Klaviyo, we have to think of the tagging system as a hierarchy of variables, tags, and filters. When Klaviyo imports your customer’s data from Shopify or another Ecommerce platform, it uses Django template language to create filters. The data is then classified as template variables such as the first name variable, email variable, and address variable. All of these are added to a customer’s profile in Klaviyo, and many of the variables can be used for personalizing marketing content.

Klaviyo customer profile with full name
Partial view of a customer profile in Klaviyo. Variables such as the first name are pulled from here in real-time for personalization of email and SMS marketing messages.

When working with message templates in Klaviyo, you can customize the content to make it more relevant by using template variables. You achieve this by using template tags that output the information stored in the specific template variables they request. 

To give you more flexibility in terms of customization, you can add conditions that need to be met before the first name tag can output the first name information, as is the case for customers whose information was obtained from a form whereby they only leave an email address and no names are recorded. In such a case, you can instruct the first name tag to simply output a generic title such as “there” or “you” instead of leaving the first name section of the email blank, if you do not have the subscriber’s first name yet.

What Are Template Filters?

When using the Klaviyo template editor, you can add template filters which are used together with template variables to add extra functionality. Template filters can access custom properties from your customer data and default values, giving you extra formatting options. 

Below is an example of template filters in action and the expected output:

Type Template Output
Template variable Hi {{ first_name }} {{ last_name }}, your email is {{ email }}… Hi James Dee, your email is james.dee@example.com…
Template Tag {% manage_preferences %} | {% web_view %} Update preferencesView in your browser
Template Filter Hey {{ first_name|default:’friend’ }}, any interest in some of {{ person|lookup:’Favorite Food’ }}? Hey James, any interest in some of Terry Black’s pork ribs?
Various examples of email personalization tags in Klaviyo.

More information of the other types of dynamic tags available in Klaviyo can be found here.

Examples of Using First Name Tags in Klaviyo

Personalization is baked into all Klaviyo emailing features across both campaigns and automated Klaviyo flows to make each message you send relevant to the customer. Besides the default variables that are auto-populated, you can create custom variables to hold custom properties. Here are some common personalization variables that will come in handy:

First name variable

Template Output
Hi {{ first_name }}, … Hi James,…
Hi {{ first_name|default:’there’ }}, … Hi there,…

In the above example, the recipient’s first name in their profile is “James.” In the second example, where we are unsure if the name is available in the customer data, the template has extra code instructing the default filter to use the placeholder “there” in case the first name is missing.

How To Use First Name Tags

To customize your content with first name tags in Klaviyo, you will need to use their template editor. This makes it much easier to search for standard template tags and property variables without accessing external documentation containing the right syntax.

Login to your Klaviyo account and navigate to the email template editor. You can access it from the email templates tab by navigating to ‘create template’ and then ‘use new editor.  When the Klaviyo email template editor loads up, you will notice a sidebar displaying various options, including default blocks, styles, preview, and block styles.

Click on the text block where you want to add the first name tags, and on the upper menus, click on the “insert property” dropdown menu. Select the “ first name” profile property, and the editor will automatically generate the code which looks like this: {{ first_name|default:” }}

Here is how the code looks inserted into a live email template:

Using the first name tag in a Klaviyo email template, with ‘Hi there’ as the fallback option.

When the emails get sent, the code will automatically be placed with each recipient’s first name. The exact same process can be used to include someone’s first name in the subject line, rather than the email body.

However, if you are unsure if you have the full names of all your subscribers, you can add a placeholder after the “default” part of the code. This will instruct the code to insert s generic title whenever the first name is absent from the recipient’s data. This could be something simple like “there” as in the example above, or “friend.”

This ensures you will not have a blank space where the customer’s name should be if Klaviyo does not know their name.

If you’d like to learn more about personalization in the platform check out our full overview of the Klaviyo software.

Importance Of Personalization In Emails

Consumers reward businesses that get personalization right

Consumers tend to appreciate brands that send personalized communications. Personalization is key to increasing recurring interactions when dealing with repeat engagement and loyalty, which gives rise to long-term customer lifetime value. We consistently see this here at our Shopify email agency.

Boosts sales

Personalized emails build trust between your customers and your business; hence people are more likely to click on links embedded in the email. You can use these links to target customers with related products that they are more likely to buy, driving up your sales and revenue. 

Gaining customer loyalty

Customers are more likely to trust your brand if you consistently personalize all communications sent to them. Over time these loyal customers tend to become brand advocates as they will refer to your brand, which they trust via word of mouth. 

Reducing fear

The last thing you need is to have your subscribers mark your emails as spam. Customized messages are often seen as part of enhancing customer service, and subscribers tend to go through the entire email instead of dismissing it outright as spam.


As a business owner, you are probably looking into email marketing to grow your business, reach out to customers, and increase brand awareness. For this to happen, you need to harness the power of email personalization, and Klaviyo’s first name tag is one of the most crucial tools in customizing emails.

Adding a first name tag to your marketing material gives it a professional look. The recipients are much more likely to read through the content rather than dismiss it as standard marketing material that should go to the spam folder. 

Get in touch with us today for all of your Klaviyo marketing needs. Our team have 5 years of experience helping brands grow with Klaviyo email and SMS – we’d love to help you too.

About the Author Ryan Turner

Ryan Turner is the lead strategist here at Ecommerce Intelligence with over 6 years experience growing Ecommerce brands using proven Klaviyo email marketing strategies.

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