Suggest some quicker ways for producing 20-30 traditional mail shots.
August 15, 2012 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Suggest some quicker ways for producing 20-30 traditional mail shots.

I produce mail shots (envelope and paper) for clients on average about 20-30 a week. The task of individually addressing letters and labels I find extremely time consuming. I currently use MS Word and an excellent little Brother label printer. The customer details are taken out of an Excel file. (copy and paste)

I need a software (local or cloud) or hardware solution to try to eliminate this huge time sink. The quantities are not enough to justify outsourcing this function. (please don't suggest email, I know its more efficient but sometimes paper is more effective)
posted by jacobean to Technology (6 answers total)
Not sure how you're printing here, or what a brother label printer is, but when I did this a couple years ago (sending out thank you/xmas notes to clients) we had an excel sheet and regular sized printing sheet (8x11) that was made of address sized stickers. Print one sheet and wham, you had 10 labels printed out. Just peel and stick on the envelopes!
posted by Grither at 9:39 AM on August 15, 2012

I'm a bit confused by what you mean by "mail shot". Do you mean just preparing envelopes for mailing?

I do small-scale mailings frequently (2-20 people), and large scale mailings (300+ occasionally). We use regular laser-printer label sheets for both the client's addresses and our return address. The clients' names and addresses are stored in an excel file, and I use a Word/Excel mail merge for the larger mailings, and I do a simple cut/paste, fix up the formatting for the small mailings. Our return-address label (with logo) is just a file that we print every-so-often to stock up.

We also personalize the letters inside by either using a mail-merge (for more than 5) or cut-and-paste for less than 5.
posted by jb at 9:47 AM on August 15, 2012

Our label sheets are exactly like those linked to by Grither - we have large labels for large envelopes, and small for letter-sized envelopes and our return-labels.
posted by jb at 9:48 AM on August 15, 2012

Word has a mail merge feature that can pull in addresses from excel so you wouldn't have to copy and paste. A quick edit to make it all look nice if needed, then I print. I usually use the sheets of avery address labels as Word has the templates for them built in. Mail merge would also work for the letters pulling any info needed from the files and then you can go through and tweak the letters as needed before printing.

I've done anything from 80 to 300 envelopes a week this way for a weekly mailout, so glad we now use email for it. I could get the labels printed in about 15 minutes, plus the time to stick the labels on. If your printer is set up for it you can just print straight onto the envelopes, though most domestic printers can only do 10 or so at a time I've found without jamming, but for 20 or 30 only it's probably as quick either way.

This is exactly the sort of thing Mail merge was made for. It is pretty simple to use, though it can take a time or 2 to figure out all it's quirks, but I am sure there are books or tutorials online if you need more step by step guidance.
posted by wwax at 10:07 AM on August 15, 2012

Mail merge is definitely the way to go.

Also you can usually just print straight onto envelopes. It takes more time to figure out how to get it right but it's way easier than applying all those labels.
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:59 AM on August 15, 2012

I mail merge to print straight onto envelopes all the time. If you have an excel spreadsheet with the addresses already you are like 90% of the way there.

I always Merge to new document so I can look at them first (not really recommended if you have thousands of addresses but fine for 30) and then print from there.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:46 AM on August 15, 2012

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