December 8, 2011 - Issue #4
Save Time Sending Holiday Cards with Laura’s Step-by-Step Guide
(Note: If you also receive our "Residential eNewsletter, you will find that the featured article below is almost the same as what was published last week. I felt this article applied to both audiences so I wanted to share it with everyone. If you receive both of our newsletters, there is different information in the sections below - so keep reading!)
You know you should send holiday cards to your clients to thank them for their business during the year - but do you dread the thought because of the time involved? While you could certainly send an e-greeting, there is just something about a card sent via the mail that makes a greater impact and helps you stand out.
Here are some simple steps that will help you save time when sending cards this year, or in the years to come.
Step 1: Create your list. One of the simplest ways to do this is in an Excel spreadsheet. Create columns for the following: Name, Business Name, Address, City, State and Zip. You can either export this data from a database or address book – such as Outlook, or Gmail Contacts or type the list directly in the spreadsheet. You’ll want your spreadsheet to look similar to the one pictured here. It’s best if you can save your spreadsheet as a .CSV (comma separate values) file because it’s a bit easier to work with in this format.
Bonus Tip: If you categorize your clients in Outlook as such, you can easily sort your list based on the “category” after you’ve exported your database and then delete any names that aren’t clients and use this as your mailing list.
Step 2: Perform a Mail Merge to labels. Use my step-by-step instructions below to quickly create your labels. Note: these instructions assume you are using Microsoft Office 2007.
1. Open a new blank Microsoft Word document.
2. Click on the Mailings tab.
3. Click on the Start Mail Merge button and then select Labels.
4. Select your label type from the Product Number scroll box. The most frequently used label size is 1” x 2.63”. Note: There are many different label vendors you can choose from, but the important item to note is the size which you will see on the right size of the screen in the “Label Information” section.
5. After you’ve selected your label type, click OK. You should now see an outline of a grid for your labels.
6. From the Mailings tab, click on Select Recipients, then select Use Existing List.
7. Navigate to the location of your saved spreadsheet from Step #1 and click Open. If there is more than one sheet in the workbook, select the worksheet that contains your list of names and click on OK. Note: You will now see <<Next Record>> in each label on the sheet except for the first one.
8. From the Mailings tab, click on the Address Block button.
9. Select how you’d like the name to be displayed from the “Insert recipient’s name in this format:”
10. Click on the Match Fields button and then match up the fields from your spreadsheet to the list of fields. Once you’ve matched them, click the OK button.
11. You should now see a “preview” of how the address will be displayed on the label in the Previewbox. If all looks good, click on OK.
12. You will now see <<Address Block>> in the first label.
13. Click the Update Labels button and now you will see the <<Address Block>> added to each label.
14. Click the Finish and Merge button and then select Edit Individual Documents.
15. In the Merge to New Document dialog box, ensure that the All option is selected and
then click OK. You will now see all of your address labels.
16. Save this document.
17. Now you can begin to format the labels by changing the font, font size, justification, etc…
18. Before you print your labels, I recommend that you print them on paper and hold each page behind a sheet of labels to ensure that the text lines up. If it does not, you will need to adjust your margins, and print another test until they are lined up. Once lined up, be sure to save your document and then print on the labels.
Step 3. Save this document for next year. If your list doesn’t change much from year to year, save these labels and next year you can simply make any address changes or add and delete names without having to complete a new mail merge. Be sure to save this document in a location that you can easily find it.
A few other thoughts and ideas…..
Get noticed. If you really want to get someone’s attention with your cards, hand-writing the envelope will stand out the most; but in the interest of time, this may simply not be an option.
Card Services. There are card services available online that will address, stamp and mail your cards for you based on the list you send them. Most likely they will need a list that looks like the example in Step 1 above. In the interest in not turning this into an advertisement for card companies I have purchased cards from, I decided not to mention them here – but you can quickly to a Google search for the companies that offer this services.
Plan ahead. Maybe this is not a good year for you to tackle this project; and that is OK. If it’s something you want to consider for next year – you can get a jump start by:
- Purchasing festive labels after the holidays this year when they are on sale
- Creating your list in the fall
- Purchase holiday stamps when they come out – usually in the fall
- Completing your mail merge a month or two in advance so you don’t feel so much pressure after Thanksgiving to work on this project
- Start assembling a bit at a time: affix labels and stamps one day, and then write a few cards each day or every other day until they are done
- Delegate the assembly to someone in your office
If you found the step-by-step Outlook information above helpful…
Still need help?
We can help you a couple of different ways.
For just $35 – send us your spreadsheet of names and addresses and we will create your label file for you and e-mail it back to you.
Want your labels printed and mailed to you? No problem, for an additional $3 per label sheet used, we will print your labels in black or color ink of your choice and mail them to you for you to affix.
If you still need help... Creating your list, exporting your names and addresses or learning how to categorize your data, you can schedule a “virtual” computer appointment with Laura where she will log into your computer remotely and work with you. The cost is $35 for each 15 minutes.
Give us a call at 425.670.2551 or 877.342.8592.
Contact us via email at @ .
My wish for you this holiday is that you take time to enjoy all of the experiences of the season, spend meaningful time with friends and family, and be OK with crossing things off your list that you don’t have time for, don’t enjoy doing or no longer serve a purpose in your life.
Peace, Productivity and Happy Holidays,