What is Mail Merge?

Mail merge streamlines the process of creating multiple personalized letters, emails,  labels, or other documents from an already-existing template. 
With mail merge, you can target specific customers to send out relevant information tailored to your audience’s needs – without creating new content each time. 

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What does mail merge mean?

Mail merge automates the process of sending personalized bulk mail. It allows users to create multiple documents at once by connecting a pre-built template with a database of names and contact information. It’s often used along with other software and databases such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Outlook, Gmail, and Google. 

The automatic process generates large batches of personalized emails or physical correspondence (letters, labels, and envelopes) by pulling data from a spreadsheet and inserting it into the corresponding section of a document. 

Mail merge can be used for both personal and business purposes, such as sending out wedding invitations, creating mailing lists for marketing, or designing personalized messages for customer loyalty campaigns.

Rich email functionality was critical in allowing us to add value to the Pipedrive platform. Nylas made it easy for us to deliver great features that are also secure, reliable, and scalable.

Martin Henk

Co-founder and Head of Product at Pipedrive

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Mail merge features and capabilities

Conditional options

Conditional options allow recipients to receive their emails based on conditions set by the user. 

For example, if you send out an email to customers who have bought a certain product, you can use conditions to ensure that only customers who’ve completed the purchase will receive the message. 

This feature makes it easier to segment your recipients and ensure they get relevant content.

Attachment options

Mail merge allows users to add customized attachments for each recipient in addition to the main message body text. 

This makes it easier for them to share personalized product catalogs or other detailed information without having to manually include those items in each individual message.

Users can also upload files directly from their computer or cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

Template customizations 

Mail merge offers several template customizations so users can further personalize their messages and documents as needed.  These templates can be used repeatedly without having to recreate them all the time. 

Users can add images and logos that match the content in their document, adjust font sizes and colors, insert hyperlinks into text blocks, and more. 

Mail merge templates and functionality help reduce manual, repetitive work for the end user. But, building email functionality can be time-consuming for development teams to create. 

How do you get mail merge functionality without spending thousands of hours to build the functionality? By using an email API. 

Email APIs are a set of protocols and tools that allow developers to quickly and easily integrate email functionality into their applications. With an email API, developers can stand up features that let users send and receive emails, retrieve email messages, manage email addresses, and perform other email-related tasks (like mail merge) all within an organization’s platform. 
For example, users with experience in development can take advantage of the Nylas APIs in order to create a mail merge template application using Ruby and the web framework Sinatra.  Our developer advocates share their insights into this process in an upcoming series of blog posts.

Start here: How to Create a Mail Merge Template with Ruby.

Importance of mail merge

The importance of mail merge is undeniable in today’s ever-evolving digital environment. Not only does it save time and money, but it also enables personalization opportunities that result in an improved customer experience. 

For high-volume sends, using a mail merge template is the right choice.

Time & cost optimization 

Mail merge shortens the time spent customizing mass emails, eliminates manual data entry, and creates a unified customer-accessible database. Businesses can effectively manage email campaigns, track customer preferences and activity, and measure response rates quickly. 

Personalization opportunities 

Mail merge enables businesses to personalize content for each recipient. This might mean including the recipient’s first name in the body of the email or letter or sharing personal details with them (such as their recent purchases). This helps increase customer satisfaction and loyalty while also helping you improve your conversion rate.

How to mail merge

While mail merge varies based on the tool you’re using, the process follows these three primary steps:

Step 1: Prepare your data source

  • Gather the data that you want to use in the mail merge. Typically, the data is stored in a spreadsheet and exported to a csv. 
  • Format the data in the spreadsheet so that it’s organized in an easy way for the mail merge. That means including all the fields you’re using in your template, and splitting up each field into a new column. This means creating the template and the data source can be interchangeable steps. 

Step 2: Create your template

  • Create the document that you want to use as the template for the mail merge, such as a letter or email. It should include placeholders (fields) for the information you want to merge.
  • Insert placeholders where you want the data from the spreadsheet to be inserted.

Step 3: Connect your template to your data source and merge

  • In the mail merge software, link the template document to the data source.
  • Use the preview function to check that the merge is working as expected, and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Once you’re satisfied with the preview, you can complete the merge and output the results to a new document; which can be an email, or a mailing label.

Experience Nylas’ powerful API for your mail merge.

Sign up for a Nylas developer account and automate mail sorting, data entry, and data syncing from your users’ inboxes, calendars, and address books.

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How Nylas can help with mail merge

If you’re looking to make the mail merge process simple and painless for your users, use the Nylas Email API. Nylas can help you save time and quickly implement mail merge into your CRM or any other platform that sends out personalized communications. 

Additionally, Nylas offers APIs for calendar and contacts data.. Our platform accelerates product velocity, allowing you to launch customizable communications workflows in a fraction of the time.

Let us handle mail merge, so your technical team can get back to building a world-class application. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is mail merge?

Mail merge allows you to send personalized messages and communications to multiple recipients. Mail merge combines a main document, typically a form letter, with data from a database or spreadsheet, and each letter is individually tailored to the recipient’s details.

What documents can you make with mail merge?

Mail merge is a great way to create personalized, automated documents such as:

  • Letters
  • Envelopes
  • Labels
  • Emails
  • Postcards 
  • Mass-marketing materials

What is the mail merge formula?

The basic formula for mail merge is:

[Data Source] + [Standard Document] = [Personalized Documents]

  • Create or import your data source, which contains the information you want to use in your mass communications.
  • Create a template (such as a letter or email) using Microsoft Word/Excel/Outlook or Google Sheets/Gmail merge tools. 
  • Use the merge tools to combine the data from your data source with the template, creating personalized docs for each recipient.
  • Review and edit the merged documents as needed, and then send or print the communications.

What are mail merge conditions?

Mail merge conditions are rules used to filter and organize data when generating documents using mail merge. These conditions can be based on specific field criteria, such as name or address, the document language, or the current date and time. 

What are the best mail merging programs to use?

Want to make mail merging easy? Nylas makes it simple to add mail merging functionality into your application. 

In addition to streamlining your workflow and saving your time through automating bulk email sending, scheduling your appointments, and managing your contacts—the Nylas email API offers robust security features and integrates with a wide range of popular apps and services, making it the perfect solution for businesses of all sizes.

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Additional Resources

10 Best Email APIs in 2023
10+ Best Email APIs in 2023 for Developers [Free & Paid]
12+ Best Calendar & Appointment Scheduling Software
12+ Best Calendar & Appointment Scheduling Software [2023]
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11+ Best CPaaS Companies for 2023: CPaaS Providers Comparison

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