Mass email with individual attachments
October 14, 2010 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Bulk mail with individualized attachments?

So my work needs to send about 450 emails to our entrants congratulating them and providing them with their notes on their submission. We need to send the notes as attached .doc files, and there are 450 people, thus 450 separate attachments, the text of the email is stock.

is there a program that can do this? Sort of like a mail merge through excel and outlook, but with individual attachments. We would be sending this tomorrow or saturday, and it would save all of us having to send 100 emails manually. Any suggestions would be great.
posted by djduckie to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've done this with FileMaker. If you name the attachments with a convention relating to the recipient (like an id, firstname_lastname.doc), you can generate the document name in a variable and attach to an email dynamically.

Also, if the docume could be generated on the fly (like if the only thing different in each doc from person to person is their name or other info), you could even GENERATE the documents with Filemaker and email as part of the same script.
posted by beyond_pink at 3:53 PM on October 14, 2010

I know there are macros for sending attachments from Outlook to multiple addresses,
but you really need to be carerful when mailing multiple recipients, because your domain may be inadvertently blacklisted as a spam site.

Mail Chimp is a good way to avoid being labeled as a spammer. However, Mail Chimp does not allow attachments, and suggests instead hosting the document and linking to it. People receive the mail with a link to the document download.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:54 PM on October 14, 2010

P.S. here's a forum post with information about generating the document and attaching using the send mail script, with the name dynamically generated.
posted by beyond_pink at 3:56 PM on October 14, 2010

You can do this with VBA within Outlook (or Excel), if your attachment is linked to the email address it goes to. Do you have all the names, emails and attachments stored in an Excel workbook, maybe?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:08 PM on October 14, 2010

Mail::Builder::Simple and Perl.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:20 PM on October 14, 2010

supersquirrel is right. you can put your customized text and emails into an excel spreadsheet and then use a mail merge function in outlook to send them out. you need to have yr spreadsheet to have at least two columns: 1 for the email address and 1 for the customized text. make sure yr spreasheet is accurate and there'll be no problems with people getting the wrong text.
posted by lester at 6:12 PM on October 14, 2010

Response by poster: the email itself would be stock, but the .doc files are all different, more or less 1:1 450 recipients, 450 .doc files, all different.
posted by djduckie at 7:10 PM on October 14, 2010

Best answer: I do this all the time using an excel spreadsheet and the Mail Merge Toolkit. You have to pay $25 for an individual user to use the MMT, but it does exactly what you want. You can set everything up using the Word mail merge wizard, it's just the last step when you choose the MMT instead - which adds a lot of options including a way to attach an individual corresponding file to the merged emails.

- Prepare the Excel spreadsheet. If you are using 100% the same text for all your emails, all you need in the spreadsheet is the email address in one column, and the full path/filename for the corresponding document in another column (including C:\folder\etc or the full server path and the .doc extension).
- Mail merge the document using the Word mail merge wizard. In the last step, choose the Mail Merge Toolkit instead of the default options. A popup box will then allow you to choose the "to" field and to choose a field for attachments.
- Set the field to use the column in the spreadsheet that contains the full path and filename of the documents.
- If you set the format of the email to HTML, you can avoid annoying popups from Outlook asking if Word has permission to access your Outbox.
- Before you merge, set your Outlook to NOT automatically send anything in the Outbox - this is important. You want the merge to finish without Outlook trying to automatically send anything. (This is an option in your Send/Receive settings.)
- Finish the merge, which will place all the messages with their associated documents attached in the Outbox.
- Leave a group of less than 100 emails in the Outbox, move the rest to the Drafts folder.
- Push the Send/Receive button to force the group of emails in the Outbox to send
- Wait another hour or so, then send another batch. You don't want to send too many all at once.
- Keep sending batches until you are done.

Feel free to MeFi mail me if you have questions.
posted by gemmy at 9:18 PM on October 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh. Screencast of how to use the Mail Merge Toolkit to send personalized attachments.
posted by gemmy at 9:27 PM on October 14, 2010

I would recommend you start learning to use Mailchimp for things like this. It's free up to 1,000 subscribers; it's whitelisted so you know it won't hit peoples' spam folders; and it gives you all sorts of bonuses such as the ability to see who opened your mail, whether they clicked on your link, whether their email address worked; etc etc.

You could very easily set upload each file to a web server and then create a spreadsheet containing all the details of your submissions including the web addresses to each file.

Then Mailchimp would insert a custom field for each link that is individual to each submission. Everyone would see a link specific to them....and then when they click on it (to download the attachment) this will register and you'll therefore know who clicked.
posted by skylar at 12:57 AM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah, i approached the boss with a lot of these suggestions, but we ended up having to do it manual. 150 left, that's tomorrow morning.
posted by djduckie at 4:43 PM on October 17, 2010

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