About Me

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Len focuses on helping small and new businesses succeed through developing appropriate marketing and sales strategies. Len enjoys mentoring, relishes in getting both arms and feet wet in addressing technology, marketing and sales issues. He understands the drivers impacting business results for today and tomorrow including time-to-market, time-to-revenue, marketing, sales channels and social media.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Creating Mass Mailings by Letter or E-Mail

The challenge to creating mass mailings is to choose the right tools to do it effectively and inexpensively. In this first decade of the 21st century you need to have lists that serve multiple purposes. Let’s talk about two of these:
  1. Lists for doing normal mail.
  2. Lists for doing e-mail.

1. Normal Mail and Mailing Lists

If you have been following the thread of articles in this blog site then you have read about creating letter templates for mailings. These templates can contain mail merge fields so that you can create a list and import it to populate your letters by placing the appropriate inside address information and even salutations in the body of your letter.

Microsoft Word in all its different recent versions features a wizard that can guide you through the process of creating a letter and populating it with a list taken from the Contacts that you have stored in Microsoft Outlook. The screen below gives you one of the steps in preparing your letter for a mail merge using a Microsoft supplied letter template.

This is the distinct advantage of an application suite like Microsoft Office, where you have integrated tools that talk to each other.

For users of the free software, OpenOffice, this application provides a wizard that gives you options for importing existing mailing lists or creating them on the fly for a specific letter. The illustration below shows an example of how the OpenOffice Writer allows you to enter mailing list information this way while creating the letter.

2. E-Mailing Lists

There are many ways to create e-mail lists. With the Microsoft Office suite you can organize lists from existing contacts in Microsoft Outlook and use these lists for common e-mails. But I’d like to share with you a different technology for communicating through e-mail using on-line free resources.

One of these is Google Groups. This is an application that allows you to create on-line groups for e-mail and discussion. It is simple to use and highly effective. I’ve captured my version of the home page here for you to see.

It took me less than 5 minutes from start to finish, creating a contact group list and sending out my first invitation and e-mail. The beauty of an application like Google Groups is its ability to allow you to create different group lists for different products or services that you may want to write about. And of course the other beautiful thing is the fact that Google Groups is free.

So let’s summarize what we have discussed in this article today.

  1. You can create conventional letters using a word processing software application and its built-in wizard help features to merge mailing list information with letter content. Whether you are using a purchased product like Microsoft Office or free software like OpenOffice, the capability to generate this type of communication is fairly simple if you follow the steps.
  2. You can create mass e-mailings using the contact management tool that comes in a product like Microsoft Outlook or you can use an on-line tool like Google Groups to achieve similar results.

In this article I have used specific tools. I am not in any way suggesting that these are the best tools to use. They are ones that I have tried successfully. There are many more out there and an on-line search will find them for you.

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