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E-mail merge

I’ve recently realised some SMEs don’t know about/how to use mail merge. Mail merge has many advantages, the main one being that you get to save a lot of time sending material (marketing or not) to a large batch of people. I’m going to be explaining just a little bit more about the e-mail side:

Description: E-mail merging allows you to send personalised e-mail to large batches of people from a database, where it edits the name of the person you are sending the e-mail to and any other fields you might want to include in the e-mail.
What you need: Excel file listing all First Names and E-mails (there should be a column called ‘Name’ on the first row, and another called ‘E-mail’ next to it. Under these, all correspondent names and e-mails should be listed side by side so that mail merge recognises them). Template word document (this is the e-mail you want to send out. Leave the name field blank so you can add this later).

Step-by-step mail merge:

  1. On the word document you want to use as your message, open tab ‘Mailings’ and choose ‘Start Mail Merge’.
  2. Choose the ‘Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard…’ This will open a column on the right side of the page with further instructions.
  3. Under ‘Select document type’ choose ‘E-mail messages’ and then press ‘Next’. This will change the layout to what it will look like on the e-mail.
  4. Select ‘Use the current document’, as this should be created already, and press ‘Next’.
  5. When selecting recipients, you should use the excel sheet created for this purpose, with all the people you want to contact. Just press Browse and choose the excel file. It will then ask you to confirm which sheet to use and if the information is correct (if it’s not, you might have to edit the excel file a little bit, see: What you need). Press ‘Next’.
  6. This part is when you get to choose from 2 things: either ask mail merge to add a whole greeting line (where, if you don’t have a name with an e-mail it will automatically change this to ‘To whom it may concern’); or, my favourite, click on more items and decide what to add and where. I prefer the second option as it allows you to have more control of this information, but can be tricky if you’re missing a lot of names. When you’re happy with where the information is, press ‘Next’.
  7. This step is where you can check that all the e-mails look good and that the information you selected is correct. Always important to check as you might’ve selected a wrong field or forgotten to edit certain parts of the word document. Press ‘next’ when you’re happy with how it looks.
  8. This is where you’d select ‘Electronic Mail…’ and edit the subject line of the e-mails you want to send out. Ensure you have outlook open on your e-mail account, as this is the e-mail account it’s going to be sent from.

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