Because Small Business is Big Business

Form Letters

Image result for mail mergeWe’ve all received form letters and mailings from businesses that have personalized information inserted throughout the document. Frequently they will look something like this:

Dear Jane,

Thank you for the purchase you made on 7/29/2011 at our Omaha location. We hope you enjoy your purchase and if we can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime.

The best compliment you can give us is to refer your family and friends to our store. If you know of anyone in the Omaha area who might benefit from our products and services, refer them to us and receive a 20% discount on your next purchase.

We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you in the future.

Margaret Smith

A letter like this usually consists of several components: a base document, a client database (or spreadsheet) and merge fields. In Word, the process of creating a customized letter by inserting information from a database is called Mail Merge. Businesses use mail merge to personalize client correspondence for mass mailings. For instance, instead of using a general greeting, such as “Dear Sir/Madam”, mail merge will allow you to insert specific information from your client database via merge fields. A merge field is a placeholder that displays variable (changeable) bits information. So instead of a general greeting like “Dear Sir/Madam”, a mail merge greeting will display each customer’s name by ‘merging’ information from the database into the Word document.

Are you looking for other tips to help you use technology in your small business?  Check out the book Rule of Thumb: A Guide to Small Business Software Technology