This is a quick and easy tip to personalize your email blasts and it also takes into consideration the fact that you might not have a first name for all your contacts. If this blog is helpful, be sure to check out my other blog: "The Many ways of Personalizing and Targeting Emails using CiviCRM".
How many times have you gotten emails with the Salutation, space and a comma? Not very personable!
Try using instead the Smarty Templates.
NOTICE: In order for Smarty to work in CiviMail, you must add (or modify) a line to your civicrm.settings.php file located under sites/default/ for Drupal and administrator/components/com_civicrm for Joomla. Place the following below the line define( 'CIVICRM_MEMCACHE_PREFIX', '' ); Or if these lines exist in your settings file, change the 0 (false) to 1 (true).
Once you modify your settings, you are ready to type the following in the body of your email: