What Is The Purpose of Mail Merge, and Why Is It Used?

Email marketing is one of the most effective channels, research showing the meail generates approximately 38 dollars for every 1 dollar spent. The ROI for running an email marketing campaign is huge. Another study suggested that 59% of marketers reported email marketing as the channel with the highest ROI. 

There is a much deeper process to sending emails to subscribers and users, you have to make them personal.  Statistics show that 74% of marketing professionals say that their customer engagement significantly increases after including personalization. There are many ways to personalize emails, but mail merging stands out. 

Think about your personal email inbox. How many emails are in there that come off as generic? How many times have you interacted with those emails? If your answer is hardly ever then what makes you think a customer would interact with your generic email? Approximately 71% of consumers feel frustrated if they don’t receive a message that has a personal touch. Now imagine an email coming into your inbox and it not only addresses you by First Name but it contains contents of items you have expressed interest in. What is the likelihood of interacting with that email? 

A brief history: Mail Merge was first created in the 80s when personal computers started booming. Microsoft Word eventually picked up a mail merge, and that is when it became popular. Google has now been emerging in the emailing landscape, and they have also started with mail merge.

Mail Merging is extensively used in email marketing, specifically cold email marketing campaigns. It allows you to save time, increase effectiveness and increase the level of personalization. Essentially Mail Merge lets you have full control of your emails and using a software such as Mail Softly allows you to have the process at your fingertips. 

Mail merge primarily automates the entire process of sending bulk emails to subscribers, individuals, and customers. As mentioned in our other blogs, mail merge is a feature used in bulk email systems that creates a campaign for users to add personal touches in mass. 

Mail Merge consists of three different documents, 1.) Main Document, 2.) Data Sources and lastly 3.) Merge Document. 

  1. Main Document: The Main Document is the personalized document often known as a standard letter, envelope or mailing letter. It is the document that contains the text and graphics that are going to remain the same throughout the merge – for example the return address. 
  2. Data Source: Data Source is a file that contains the names and information of sources. This could easily be a list of names or addresses.
  3. Merge Document: Merge Document is the document that is the result of bringing the main document and the data source together. It can be merged on screen or merged to print out something physical. An example of this is having a template of ‘city’ and after the merge it changes to something user specific such as ‘San Francisco’. 

One of the big platforms that use mail, merging is Gmail and Microsoft. They do offer a similar approach, but they use a different method. When looking at Microsoft, you will use Offline Mail paired with an Excel sheet or a Microsoft document. You can add personalized touches to hundreds and thousands of recipients by using a template in word and then printing the recipient's name and address through an excel attachment.

 A similar process is done with Gmail; you can create personalized fields that include an address, recipient's name, or other customized data you've collected from their interaction with your product or website. These fields would then be filled to retrieve the data from a Gmail-compatible source, in this case, that consists of Google sheets, CRM software, or a CSV file. When mail merging and adding personalization, a great addition is that the email will become a valid Gmail account; this will allow your email to stand out because it is organic. Decreasing the likelihood of somebody auto deleting or sending it to spam, increasing the open rate and responses/interactions with your website/ product. 

Looking beyond Gmail and Microsoft there is a comparison that can be made between Windows and MacOS and which is the best platform to use. Windows can create letters, emails, envelopes, labels, and a directory using the data source of excel or outlook. MacOS has similar capabilities such as letters, emails, envelopes, and labels but does not give the ability to create a directory. MacOS data source does have more variety, using excel, outlook contact list and word data files it is a little more versatile in that aspect. They both have they strengths and it is completely up to user preference. 

There are different ways to incorporate mail merge to create any printed or electronic document. Customizing letters with specific names and elements allows you to create a polished presentation. 

  • Inventories
  • Invoices
  • Labels
  • Envelopes
  • Letters

A real-life example of this is if you were to run some little shop, and you're trying to increase your business and revenue, you decide to send out a postcard with a coupon. You would then purchase a target emailing list of addresses in your area, take those addresses and use them to create personalized cards to mail out. This is an example of mail merging; using the data from the emailing list you purchased, you can personalize each postcard in mass and send them out. Not only does it save you time, but it would also allows you to reach a greater audience more efficiently.

You are also able to print mailing labels or envelopes with mail merge! You would need to construct a source document containing the recipient's address for labels. You then print the label and a template that controls where you'd like the data to fill, for example, the name, address, city, state, and zip code, all of which must be included on the label. Each label would then be formatted according to the template you created previously.  

Mail merge can have many purposes; here, we will condense them into a few bullets and break them down. Mail merging has evolved over many years and will only get more popular as the systems adapt to new ways of quickly obtaining customers and holding retention.

  1. Personalize bulk email
  2. Simplistic
  3. Save Time
  4. Fine Tuned Proofreading
  5. Economical 
  6. Fast Producing
  7. Edits
  8. Statistics

Personalize Bulk Emails 

The way that mail merge works are to take a data file containing customers' information and put it into a system. Once this is complete, choose a template you want to send your message and combine the two. Typically, this data consists of the recipient's name, address, and other data collected from their interactions with the user's platform.

Simplistic

Mail merging is easy; Microsoft and Gmail offer mail merging opportunities. Between the two of them, they hold the spots for 1 and 2 highest search engines; they also are the two largest corporation platforms. The majority of people are familiar with the functionality of both. They are making the process of mail merging on either platform a lot more user-friendly and simplistic. The simpler the process there is decrease in the ability to have errors. 

Save Time

Time is hard to come by, so why waste it? With Mail merging, you are eliminating the handwritten or hand-typed process of addressing cards, flyers, etc. While receiving something personal doesn't make an impact, doing it by hand will only impact your company. The personal touch that a handwritten postcard has does not outvalue the time saved or the money saved on staffing when it comes to mail merging. As companies grow, it is all about efficiency; with Mail merging, it does not only increase your efficiency, but it continues to incorporate the personal touch.

Fine Tuned Proofreading

Frankly, the world has become a lazy place. Looking for the most simplistic ways to do tasks is America's new hobby. Most mistakes made in advertisements or marketing consistently have to do with how something is presented. Whether this is a photo or a written statement, it will constantly be critiqued. A great way to avoid being critiqued is proofreading, this may be a foreign concept to some as errors are consistent with their daily messages, but they should be avoided in the professional world. With mail merging, because it is a template that has inputted data, it depends on the computer, which will be more accurate than a human. This data is then input into a singular template that is made, corrected, and proofread. Consistently keeping the same template means that there is a decrease in errors that could occur.

 Economical

You are saving your company money! With mail merging, it is guaranteed to decrease the amount your company spends on labor hours. The amount of time that would be taken to hand write out to every subscriber or potential customer would quickly add up. The appreciation for a handwritten postcard does not carry the same weight that it used to. With mail merging, the middleman is eliminated, with creating a data list of names, addresses, and other personal info makes the process much quicker. 

Fast Producing

Mail merging is a quick and easy process! Once your data list is created, the following steps are fast and straightforward, averaging about 10 minutes to complete. This gives you the ability to create a mass product promptly and have the capability at your fingertips! As well as saving on labor hours, it is eliminating the pen to paper process.

 Edits

As mentioned earlier, with mail merging, a data list is inputted into a template created. If something stands out and you'd like to make an edit, you only need to make it on the one template, and it will be applied to the bulk email or letters. 

Another way that mail merging makes editing is within the template; you can do some email testing. If you want to learn more about email testing, please refer to the Mailsoftly website.  Email testing lets you create a template and send out a mock template or an actual template to see which generates higher click rates and open rates. When the results from these tests come back, you can implement the changes into the single template, which will adjust accordingly to include the data set. 

Statistics

Mail Merging software opens the opportunity to gain valuable insight into your email marketing campaigns. The owner of the campaign can monitor, note and address the click rate, interaction rate, website foot traffic increases etc. Using Statistics and analytics giving you the ability to measure the campaigns success to make adjustments accordingly. Mail Softly allows you to not only track user interaction but categorize your findings to make the next email campaign more successful.

 Now we know that multiple platforms offer mail merging, such as Gmail, Outlook, Word or Excel. If you want to learn the steps taken  to create in those individual processes, please refer to one of our previous blogs https://mailsoftly.com/blog/how-to-send-bulk-emails-by-mail-merge/. Something great that Mailsoftly offers are the ability to merge with each one of these platforms allotting for the creation of mail merging at your fingertips. Mail merging has completely changed the way of sending bulk personalized emails. It is essential to recognize that this is how the world is moving; Mailsoftly offers great services to stay up to date. If you are looking for a reliable source, Mailsoftly is the place for you. It is an all-in-one platform that gives the accessibility and flexibility to create email lists, personalization emails, data merging, and labeling. By allowing you to collect valuable data and analytics form email interaction it is creating a space in which you can categorize your findings to improve future campaigns.  Mailsoftly was created to have tailor-made email marketing solutions that make your life easier and allow the world to see what your company is capable of.