This tipsheet will explain how to send out bulk emails by using Mail Merge that is built into Word and Outlook. This will allow you to send an email to a very large list of people without having to have every email address in the To: field. You will be able to personalize each email and because you will not be sending one email to a large number of people, anti-junk mail filters will not block your email.
Simply put, instead of sending one email to 500 people, this will send 500 emails – one to each person.
Printable version: How to perform an Email Mail Merge (PDF | 161KB)
You will need:
Microsoft Word XP or later
Microsoft Outlook XP or later configured to send mail
A list of your recipients (in Excel preferably)
Please note one limitation: You cannot send attachments using this method. But this is easily dealt with by placing your “attachment” on your website and linking to it in the email.
(The screen shots are from Office XP, but the same procedures can be used in any version of Office.)
You can use Excel, Access, or any commonly used database program to create the list. Excel is the easiest to use, and is installed on most computers.
Create your list as shown in the screen shot. (Using the column headers shown will make it easier for Mail Merge to recognize the fields.) The only requirement is the email field. The rest are there to help personalize the email. Also, if any of the email addresses are incorrect, it will be easy to mark so that you could send a letter through the Post Office. Save your file making note of the name and location.
Instead of Outlook, you will use Word to write the body of the email.
In this very simple message, a space was put in after “Dear” to leave room for a name. Also, a link to an office website was inserted. You can include as much or as little as you like. For newsletters, you may want to include some of the content of the newsletter to get the reader interested in reading the rest of it. For other messages, you may want to just write out the information that you want to share. You can save the document if you want, but it is not necessary.
This is where we put the two documents together and send the email.
You are finished. Emails will be sent to everyone on the list that you made in Excel. The emails that you sent will show up in your Sent Items in Outlook.
If you are not comfortable with the process and wish to test it, then create an Excel document with your name and email and one or two others in your office. Complete the merge with your test file and verify that everyone received the email.
Also, be prepared to get some bounced back emails or email errors. The longer your email list the more likely that there is a typo or that some provided the wrong or out of date email address. Any email addresses that just bounced back should be removed from your data file.