Mail Merge

M62: Sending a mail merge email from Outlook

This procedure outlines the steps involved in sending an email from your Outlook to multiple contacts – using a mail merge.

This is particularly useful if you want to email a big list of contacts but still want the email to appear personally crafted, or if you simply lack an eMarketing tool. It is also useful if you are unable to load your contacts into an eMarketing tool (for example, if you rented the list and can only use the data once).

A word of warning before you start – depending on how many emails you send as a result of your mail merge, you may exceed your Outlook send limit, which will prevent you sending additional emails for a period of time. For advice on this, please contact Combo.

To export contacts straight from outlook into excel, take the following steps:

  • In outlook, go to Contacts, select ‘File’ then ‘Import and Export’ Click Next
  • Select ‘Export to a file’, then ‘ Microsoft excel 97-2003’ Click Next
  • Select ‘Contacts’ and the folder that you want to export. Click Next
  • Select the folder where you want to store the document and click ‘Next’
  • Click ‘Finish

1. Prepare your Excel spreadsheet. Ensure each contact has a first name, email and whatever other merge fields you require.

● Ensure each column is clearly identified – for example: First Name, Surname, Email etc, otherwise they will show up as F1, F2 and this will be confusing. If you wish to just use the contact’s first name in the email, ensure there is a separate column for First and Surname.

● You might also like to include yourself in the list, so that you can send a test email before sending to the entire list

2.Close the Excel spreadsheet while you continue to create a mail merge. The only time it is required to be open is if you have to enter a password to access the data, and this will only be necessary if you have purchased/rented the list.

3.Open a Word document. Type the email content you want, and remember to include your email signature at the bottom as this will NOT happen automatically.

4.Click the Mailings tab > Start Mail Merge > Email Messages.

5.Select Recipients > Use Existing List > Browse and select your Excel spreadsheet.

6.Ensure you select the correct worksheet, as there are often multiple sheets in one Excel workbook.

7.Click Edit Recipient List to check that you have the correct list. From this window, you can uncheck anybody you don’t want to receive the email.

8.Use the Insert Merge Field option to add merge fields such as First Name, Company name etc.

9.Check your document, and finalise the copy.

10.Select Preview Results to scroll through each contact. It is good to check the first few to ensure that the names match the company and that the merge fields are in the right place.

11.When you are ready to send your emails, select Finish and Merge > Send Email Messages.

12.Here you type in the Subject Line and select who you would like to send the emails to. You can send to everyone on your list, or identify which individuals you would like to receive the email (eg. you might like to send yourself a test email before you proceed with the entire list).

13.Please note, the emails will come from whichever Outlook account is linked to that computer, so double check which email account you want the recipient to see.

14.When you click OK, this will send out all the emails from the Outlook account linked to the computer, and depending on how many emails you send, may take a couple of minutes.

15.This account will also receive all the bounces and replies, so setting up a mailbox rule to divert the bounces is often a good idea.