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Make the Mail Merge Your Best Friend

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  • Tip Bones

If you haven't yet mastered the mail merge feature, I highly suggest you learn it on your data processing software. Mail merging is how companies send documents, letters, marketing material, and invoices quickly, all while keeping those materials completely personalized to the recipient. In a small business, when effort and time are money, save both by using mail merge to your best advantage. But there are a few things to keep in mind while you create merge documents for mass distribution.

First, don't spend too much time re-creating what you already have. If you don't have a current document to distribute, check out some templates designed specifically for mail merges. Microsoft has plenty to choose from! If you do already have a document prepared, just edit it to replace significant data with your merge fields, corresponding to your data source. Be sure to check the finished product in preview before you hit "send" too: how embarrassing would it be if your fields didn't match when they got to the client?

If you need to, particularly on large merge projects, play with conditional merging. This can get a little complicated, but essentially it's a small bit of merge editing to include or exclude certain data, based on your custom criteria. For instance, if I have a merge in which some clients are listed with first and last name, and some as corporations in the last name field only, then I don't want the first name field to show up in my corporation letters! Conditional merging allows me to exclude the first name data cell for an entry, if there is a particular entry, such as N/A. Not every merge needs these, so think about your specific needs before you go changing settings!

Happy mail merging!

See this week's #FreelanceFriday post!

Photo: Pixabay

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