Following an egroup request, the ICG community shared its knowledge and experience on how to mailmerge into email effectively.
Key hints and tips included;
Mail merge in Gmail
- You need to download a Google sheets add-on, the basic version (50 emails per day) is free but the pro version (which lets you send larger volumes and allows tracking) is only just over £20
- You would need to convert your Excel spreadsheet to a Google sheet, which is very easy to do, and the mail merge runs from the Google sheet. You have to enable the add-on for each separate Google sheet, then you create a mail merge template, and finally you run the mail merge – a process which includes a test email. It feels a bit clunky the first couple of times, but once you get it, it's really easy and I've grown to be a fan! There is a video made by the designer with instructions (and some very soothing music!) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F07Py7sraDg
Mail merge in Outlook
The process actually starts in an Excel spreadsheet and then it links into Outlook (desktop version, not webmail). If you are using this process, be aware that it will only send from your default email address in Outlook, and annoyingly you can't specify a different email address. Also be sure to have a go first using a dummy spreadsheet so you can be sure you understand the process – as in my opinion it's not entirely intuitive or clear when the mailing actually goes.
Sending direct from email programme
You can combine all the text together into one cell and then copy that cell into the "To" column for a mailout. It's a bit tedious as you still have to click on each cell as you are doing the combining, you also need to type in a space and a semicolon. But it does save you from copying out the names/email addresses. Here is how you do it:
- Select the cell where you want to put the combined data
- Type = and select the first cell you want to combine
- Type & and use quotation marks with a semi colon and a space enclosed
- Select the next cell you want to combine and press enter. An example formula might be =A2&"; "&B2 (you'd get something like firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com)
If you are combining the names (not email addresses) then you may not need to use the semicolon, so you'd just have =A2&" "&B2 (You would end up with the names separated by a space – so: Fred Freda). Here is a link to a webpage that explains it https://support.office.com/en-us/article/combine-text-from-two-or-more-cells-into-one-cell-81ba0946-ce78-42ed-b3c3-21340eb164a6
You may want to download powerquery for excel – that might do the same thing but more easily. Never used it so I am not 100% sure. But it could be worth a look https://support.office.com/en-us/article/merge-columns-power-query-80ec9e1e-1eb6-4048-b500-d5d42d9f0a8d