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Primer: How Do I Broadcast Fax or Email a Form Letter or Brochure?

If you want to send a form letter or brochure to a group of customers, you first have to do the following:

  • Decide which customers you want to get the form letter or brochure.
  • Decide what kind of document you want to send them.

 

Selecting Customers:

You can select customers by any of the following criteria:

  1. Location including state, zip code, country, or even phone number area code
  2. Date the customer information was added or modified.
  3. Number of employees or plant size (if the fields are filled)
  4. The SIC / Customer code assigned to customer

It is also very important to determine which contact persons at each company should receive a letter. You have three choices:

Send a letter to all of your contacts at each company. This gets excellent coverage but may significantly increase the number of letters sent.

Send a letter only to the contacts marked to receive mailings. This is a more selective group of people, but if the contact names marked to receive mailings are not chosen wisely, you may miss the important contact people.

Send one letter to each company with a generic attention line. This makes sure each company gets only one letter but a generic title may not reach a specific person. This also will not work with emails because email addresses must be assigned to an individual contact person.

In order to select the customers, follow these instructions:

  1. Start LocPlus MLS. From the menu bar select "REPORT / CUSTOMER REPORTS"
  2. A list of existing report definitions is displayed on the left hand side of the window. You will define customer selection rules and form letter / report output. These selection rules and output can be saved so that you can run the form letter later without reentering your specifications. If you want to modify an existing definition, select it from the list on the left hand side of the window, otherwise press the 'NEW' button.
  3. Enter a "SHORT ID" and "DESCRIPTION" so that you can find your customer list later on. The id and description will be displayed in the list on the left when you are done.
  4. Press the "DEFINE" button.
  5. There are six tabs. The first three "CONTACT NAMES", "CUSTOMER/SIC CODES", and "OTHER LIMITS" determine which customers are included in your list. You may move from tab to tab by pointing your mouse and clicking on each tab. Change the settings on each of the first three tabs according to which customers you want to select. The next three steps give a guide to each of these three tabs.
  6. On the "CONTACT NAME" tab, you can set whether you want to select all customers or only active customers. (Unless you have been using the Active indicator in the customer file, select all customers) If you want to include ALL contact names (including multiples if applicable) check the "INCLUDE ALL CONTACT NAMES" box and the "INCLUDE CUSTOMERS WITHOUT CONTACT NAMES" box. If you want to send only to contacts who have the receive mailing box checked, check the don't check any of the boxes (although you may want to check the box "INCLUDE CUSTOMERS WITHOUT CONTACT NAMES" and fill in the "ATTN TO" field if you may have some customers in that situation. Finally, if you want to send just one letter to each company check the "DO NOT USE CONTACT NAME" box and fill in the "ATTN TO:" field.
  7. On the "CUSTOMER/SIC CODES" tab you are presented with a list of SIC codes. If you want all customers to be selected don't check any box. If you check the box of one or more code only customers who have at least one of the codes assigned will be included in your list. There is a counter which shows how many of the codes you have checked.
  8. On the "OTHER LIMITS" tab you can restrict your customer selections by location or size. If you only want to include companies in Florida and Georgia for example, enter FL in the "STATES" field. After you press the <Enter> key Florida will be added to the list of states. Go back to the "STATES" field and enter GA for Georgia. Now both states will be on the list of states. (If you want to remove a state, just double-click with the mouse on the state).
  9. The last three tabs in the report definition allow you specify what to do with the names that are retrieved during your search. You must complete this information depending on the type of form letter (or report) you want to send. Read the "Choosing what type of letter:" section below to complete these tabs. On the "OUTPUT TYPE" tab, you may select the "REPORT OUTPUT ORDER" to specify the order the customer names and letters will be generated. If you want to see a list of customers that meet your specifications, select "BROWSE" on the "OUTPUT TYPE" field. Then press the "DONE" button. The initial "CUSTOMER REPORT SETUP" window will be displayed. In that window press the "RUN" button. (You may want to press the "SAVE" button first) A window will ask you to confirm that you want to run your customer selections. Press the "YES" button. After a couple of minutes, depending on the complexity of the search and number of customers selected, the number of customers selected will be displayed. Press the "OK" button. A grid will display a list of the customers. After viewing the selections, press the "ESCAPE" key (or double-click on the box in the upper left corner of the grid)
  10. Unless you want to reenter your selection specifications, make sure you press the "SAVE" button on the initial "CUSTOMER REPORT SETUP" window.
  11. Read the "Choosing what type of letter:" section below and complete the items on the "OUTPUT TYPE", "LETTER", and "MERGE LIST" tabs specified for your type of letter.

 

Choosing what type of letter:

You can send a form letter or brochure by mail, fax, or email. If you have a pre-printed brochure you probably want to print labels or have a service apply labels to the brochure. If you want to send a letter, you may want to fax or email the document. Will each letter be identical, or do you want to try to customize it with some customer information? Do you want to include any high quality printing or graphics with your form letter? How much time do you want to spend designing the form letter? Do you have good addresses, fax numbers, or email addresses for you customers?

Depending on your requirements and how you answered these questions, LocPlus MLS gives you several options. The following is a list of these options, their benefits and shortcomings, and some instructions on how it's done.

     
Have labels applied by a service bureau   Benefit:
Easiest to do. This takes the least time and effort and works well for brochures.

Negative:
There is some out of pocket cost. You have to send your data to a third party. Service bureau's will probably not customize letters. Mail delivery is slow.

Instructions:

Specify an "OUTPUT TYPE" of "EXPORT TO OTHER SOFTWARE".

After running option, select either "FIXED FORMAT", "COMMA DELIMITTED", "MS EXCEL", or "DBF FORMAT" upon the advise of your service bureau.


Print your own labels or envelopes   Similar to the first option, but it will take some more time and effort on your part. This is also usually used with brochures or identical form letters because you have to print separate letters (and properly collate and stuff them) if you want individualized letters. Although this can be more time and work the out of pocket cost is lower and you may have more control over your final product.

Instructions:

Specify an "OUTPUT TYPE" of "PRINT REPORT / LABEL ". Under "REPORT" select "LABELS LASER: 3 across". Of course, you have to use this type of labels. (There are other options that you may select)


Print, Fax, or Email letters from LocPlus MLS   Benefit:
You can individualize letters generated directly from MLS 2000. Although it takes a little more time to set up than printing labels, you can get a personalized product. The letter can also be faxed out or even emailed. Photos can be attached to an email.

Negative:
You can't add customized graphics (like pictures) You obviously need a fax number if you want to fax or and email address to email.

Instructions:

Specify an "OUTPUT TYPE" of "PRINT DOCUMENT" to fax or "EMAIL LETTER" to email.

If you selected "PRINT DOCUMENT" then for the "DOCUMENT" field select "GENERAL LETTER LETT01". You may have other options which will create a different looking letter. Under "TEXT OF LETTER" enter what you want printed in the letter. You may use substitution fields to personalize the letter. See the document What is a substitution field? to learn more.

If you selected "EMAIL LETTER" you will have to enter a "EMAIL SUBJECT" line. Press the "ADD ATTACHMENT" button for each attachment you want included with the email. Just like with the "PRINT DOCUMENT" option, you must enter the text of your letter. You may also use substitution fields for emails. In addition, you can use HTML instructions with your message, just make sure you mark the "SEND AS AN ATTACHMENT" box to make sure the message appears correctly in your customers viewer.


Print letters from a product like Microsoft Word   Benefit:
Best quality letter with most control.

Negative:
Most work and time consuming.


Fax letter from a product like Microsoft Word   Benefit:
Best quality letter with most control.

Negative:
Most work and time consuming. May not be able to individualize letter.