Personalize Your Mass Mail with Thunderbird

When you send one email message to several recipients at the same time, all recipients receive exactly the same message. Usually, you’d type your draft, enter all the recipients’ addresses in the TO: field (or in the BCC: field if you don’t want the recipients to know whom else the message was sent to), then hit the Send button of your email client.

If you want to add a personal touch to each message (for example, by mentioning the recipient’s first name in the body), you simply can’t use this mass mailing method—unless you have the time and patience to compose one draft for each recipient and enter each addressee’s name into the body of the message.

But, with Mozilla Thunderbird and a very nifty add-on (extension) developed by Alexander Bergmann, you can save a lot of time with personalized mass emails. The name of the add-on is Mail Merge and will work for Thunderbird 3.0 or higher. It gives Thunderbird two more additional features: Mass Mail and Personal Mail.

Mass Mail

1. Create a blank draft message by clicking on Write button on the Thunderbird toolbar. You can also press Ctrl+N or select File > New > Message on the menu.

2. Enter all the recipients’ addresses in the TO: field as you normally would for mass mailing. Provide an appropriate subject, and type your message body. Add attachments if needed.

3. Select File > Mass Mail from the menu.

4. What Mail Merge does is create—using your “template” message—an individualized message for each recipient. Thus, only one recipient’s address will appear in each message. The individual messages will be stored in Thunderbird’s Outbox folder, ready for sending. To send all messages in the Outbox, select File > Send Unsent Messages.

Personal Mail

1. Create a Comma-Separated Values (CSV) file. The easiest way to do this is to use your favorite spreadsheet application. Make sure that the first row of the spreadsheet contains the placeholder or variable names that you want to use (e.g., First Name, Last Name, etc.). Make sure you save the file as a CSV file instead of your spreadsheet application’s native format.

2. Create a draft message as in the previous example. When you create your mass mailing message, you simply insert the variables where you want the actual values to appear. The placeholder names should be enclosed in double curly braces (e.g., {{FIRST NAME}}) and should be typed exactly as it appears in the CSV file, including the spacing and capitalization.

3. Once the template is done, select File > Personal Mail to merge the CSV data into individual messages ready for sending.

4. In the Mail Merge dialog, click the Browse button to select your CSV file, then click OK. Your messages will be stored in the Outbox folder. SelectFile > Send Unsent Messages from the menu to send them.

5. It is in the Personal Mail feature that Mail Merge’s capability really shines. This feature makes use of placeholders or variables from a CSV (Comma-Separated Values) file that you create. Thus, you can easily create a “customized” message from a single draft message.

This article is written by guest blogger, senior author and editor for Impact, Australia’s premiere logo design company, Paul Adrian Gonzalez has to deal with a ton of emails everyday and uses Thunderbird to keep the mails organized. Visit Paul’s little nook to learn more how to create a high-impact business logo for your company. You can also guestblog here.

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About the Author: P Chandra is editor of QOT, one of India's earliest tech bloggers since 2004. A tech enthusiast with expertise in coding, WordPress, web tools, SEO and DIY hacks.