Manage messages with a click

By Debbie Mayo-Smith

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Over the past few weeks we've covered four of the five vital components of a successful marketing email: database, content, technical set-up and design, response management and distribution.

Let's move on to distribution. You may not know that you have three choices about how you can send your personalised emails. By this I don't mean sending the same email to 500 people at one time, but 500 different emails with the push of one button.

Your three options:Use MS Office Word to write the email and it will merge it with your selected Outlook contacts or any Excel, Access or CSV file for a personalised merge.

It's similar to creating a document-merge, such as for invoices, except you have the content sent as emails rather than printed letters. The emails are sent individually through Outlook. Merge fields can be included within the body of your email, however, you can't add attachments or personalise the subject line with a name.

This is an MS Office feature - sorry, it won't work with Mac operating systems, Gmail or Lotus Notes.

Purchase email-merging software for your computer. For about $100 you'll be able to personalise the subject line, add attachments and send them straight out via your server, skipping your ISP.

Use an online email-distribution service. They are normally pay-per-email or by a monthly fee. You bypass your computer as the postman, meaning your Outlook doesn't have to spit out emails by the thousands.

These services have features that let you track readers and their click-throughs and have subscriptions managed automatically (adding new subscribers to your list or removing those asking to unsubscribe or mail delivery errors). All the New Zealand services are affordable.

Look at www.optimizerhq.com.

- Hamilton News

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