Surprisingly, before today I had never used mail merge to send a personalised e-mail. I say "surprisingly" because now that I’ve mastered the technique I can think of dozens of uses for this simple but very powerful tool.
Put simply, mail merging allows you to create customised communications (be they e-mails or ye olde printed letters & envelopes) containing personalised fields like the recipients name and address. The simplest way to create a mail merged e-mail is to open Microsoft Word then follow the guidance in the Help screens (press F1) under ‘e-mail merge’. The basic steps you follow are:
- Set up the e-mail message. The main document contains the text and graphics that are the same for each e-mail message. For example, your company logo or the body of the message.
- Connect the e-mail message document to your address list. Your address list is the data source that Word uses in the mail merge. It is a file that contains the e-mail addresses where the messages will be sent.
- Refine the list of recipients or items. Word generates a message for each e-mail address in address list. If you want to generate messages for only certain e-mail addresses in your address list, you can choose which addresses, or records, to include.
- Add placeholders, called mail merge fields, to the e-mail message document. When you perform the mail merge, the mail merge fields are filled with information from your address list.
- Preview and complete the merge. You can preview each message before you send the whole set.