One issue people want is a way to do an email mailing to a group of people, but with personalization. Some examples we've seen from professionals or organizations this week include:
- email newsletters to clients.
- email promotions with coupon for members
- email press releases
- email notifications of an account rep change
- email notifications of an office address change
- email advisory about a software problem
Many individuals or companies I've dealt with believe that it is too difficult to create these types of mailings without email marketing software or an email newsletter service.
In the case of group emails, annoyances exist for senders and receivers. For senders, the process of sending a personalized version of an email to multiple recipients in Outlook can be cumbersome. I've seen people do copy and paste for each recipient which takes a lot of time. Others dislike having to use mail merge with Microsoft Word.
The recipients have issues too as they often see mistakes. The email below, which came to my Gmail account, shows the data variable from another email marketing software program. It failed to show my real first name.
Some people opt for another course of action and include everyone?s name and email address in the To: or cc: lines. This is a bad practice if the people on the list don?t know each other. Just because you have a relationship with someone does not give you permission to reveal their email name and address to others.
Send Individually from Sperry Software
Send Individually is a newer program from Mike Sperry and perhaps his most ambitious. Mike is one of the more prolific add-on programmers that identifies various Outlook annoyances and creates solutions for them.
The program is ideal for situations where you want to send personalized emails to a group, but don't need to have advanced reporting features. The program allows you to substitute defined variables contained on the contact?s General or Detail tabs. These include:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Nick Name
- Company Name
Although this may not look like a robust list, I suspect it will cover most of your cases. As example, I wanted to send an email to people in my address book who lived in the states where Geeks for Relief was offering their program. Using a blind carbon copy seemed impersonal, but I didn't want everyone's email address to show. I also figured some people would take my email and forward it to others without stripping out the email addresses first.
I created a contact view in Outlook showing people who lived in the affected area. I then selected everyone on that view and clicked the Send Individually to Contacts button. From there, I could create the email everyone would get and add in my personalization for First Name. (I've included two flash tutorials in the Additional Information section.)
Making the Email Personal
The way that you make the email personal is by using the Substitute command. While I could've addressed my email with just "Hi", I wanted to add in their first name. The protocol for doing this is:
Hi [Substitute: First Name, Default: "friends"],
In this example, the bold red terms are constants for the fields you want to use from Outlook or the text to use if the field is blank. (I added the colors and bold for emphasis.)
In other words, I'm saying please use the value the contact shows for First Name in Outlook. If that field is blank, please use the word friends instead. You could choose some other default text or even leave it blank. You can use this same structure to substitute in the other defined variables.
Once I've created my text and added a subject line, I can complete the process by clicking the Send Individually button (1). For each person I've selected (2), the program will send an email and substitute in their first name (3). Based on your settings, the program will place the emails along with the message above with your placeholder text into your Drafts folder. The emails will go out the next time you send mail.
I've had the opportunity to try various email marketing software and list packages in the past. Each has its strengths and weaknesses based on the mailing's purpose, size and target audience. Send Individually is just the right tool for those mailings I need to do to my contacts. I don't have to fuss with exporting my addresses into another program, nor do I have to upload a list to a 3rd party. I can handle everything I need from within Outlook.
Additional Outlook Information
- Product Page: www.sperrysoftware.com/Outlook/Send-Individually.asp
- Cost: $49.95
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.113
- Requires:Microsoft Outlook 2000 or newer
Last Updated (Tuesday, 15 September 2009 03:40)