Sunday, November 1, 2009

Email your holiday greeting without losing that personal touch

One of the classic problems with mail merge is what to do if a substitution field is empty. Most out-of-the-box approaches simply leave the field blank, which results in ugly or embarrassing mailings.

This is one of the tricks I wanted to add into EmailMerge and I wanted to specifically point out to you. It takes an extra minute to set up, but it's worth paying attention to, because it makes your mailings considerably more professional (and doesn't give any hint to Aunt Mildred that what you're really doing is sending her a form letter).

When you click Next, EmailMerge will display Figure F, which helps you figure out what to do with blank substitution fields.

FIGURE F

What should EmailMerge do with blank fields? (click for larger image)

When creating your email to do the merge, you may have inserted several fields. This screen lets you tell EmailMerge what it needs to do if your selected contacts have some missing field values.

Click Next when you're done.

The screen in Figure G is gives you a set of mailing options. Most people use the default settings and click Next.

FIGURE G

Where should the merged emails be saved? (click for larger image)

If you want to send all the emails immediately after the Wizard is finished, just click Next. Otherwise you can use the screen in Figure H to schedule the emails to be sent out later at a preset time.

FIGURE H

You can schedule or batch-send your emails. (click for larger image)

You can even choose to send the emails out in smaller batches if your ISP has restrictions on the number of emails you can send out. Here's another cool hint, going back to Aunt Mildred.

If you send out all your holiday emails at exactly the same time, a wise relative might pick up on the idea that you're mass mailing them. If you spread out the mailing times, it'll look like you took time individually with each message.

Clicking next takes you to another useful feature that can be quite helpful at holiday time. Many of us have more that one email account. One is clearly for work, and another is for our personal correspondence. If you're sending out holiday emails to the family, it's much nicer to send them from your personal account.

After all, just because you're trying to save some time, that doesn't mean you don't love them. You, of course, want them to feel special.

The screen in Figure I is a very useful if you have several e-mail accounts linked to Outlook as it lets you select the account you wish to Send from.

FIGURE I

Do you have more than one Email account in Outlook? (click for larger image)

It's time to share all that love. Click Finish to get things started...

I hope that I've managed to show you how easy it is to send out personalized emails that are both personal and professional.

EmailMerge is used by thousands of businesses around the world to send out everything from invitations to greetings to technical bulletins to sales newsletters. And, as you can see, it can also be used to help you keep up with your family holiday obligations.

And to answer one of our most frequently asked questions: there are no monthly fees. It's a one time purchase.

I hope I've convinced you to at least give it a try. At OutlookPower's request, we've set up a free trial version that you can download and use. Just go to http://www.Standss.com to download it.

In my (maybe biased ?) opinion, it's the easiest way to send out personalized emails from Outlook. Okay, I'm definitely biased, but I think you can see how the program can help you out.

I wish you all a festive and safe Holiday season.

Sanjay Singh is the CEO of Standss, a company that builds Outlook Addins that increase business productivity for its customers. His Outlook add-ins can be found at http://www.Standss.com and http://www.Outlook4Lawyers.com. He also blogs Outlook tips regularly at http://blog.standss.com.