WinDeveloper O365 Mailer FREE for 1 Year

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A Great Free Tool for Sending Mailshots in Office 365

Alexander Zammit

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Alexander Zammit has been developing server applications for over 15 years. Most of his works involve Exchange integrated applications, including a FAX server, a mail security product and anti-spam products.

  • Published: Oct 24, 2017
  • Category: General
  • Votes: 5.0 out of 5 - 1 Vote
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How about an Office 365 tool that makes sending mailshots as intuitive as sending regular emails? We prepare an email template in a WYSIWYG editor, attach it to a database, test the mailing and submit it for delivery. All of this using a tool available for free.

In the last few months I have been working on WinDeveloper O365 Mailer, a tool for creating and sending mailshots. We just released the first version and are making it available for free. You can download this straightaway and I will show you how it works.

The idea was to have a mailing tool specific to Office 365. I know, Office users have other options such as Mail Merge. However I never liked Mail Merge and always preferred to have a more specialized tool.

When sending emails is an integral part of your job, a mailing is not just about writing the content and sending it out. I want to have an effective way to keep mailings organized, I want to test mailings before sending, I want a log of the mailing outcome and I want all of this available from a single consistent interface.

The O365 Mailer is built on top of the Office 365 APIs. This allows us to do all the things you would expect from a native Office 365 application. Just like MS Outlook it's a desktop application, but it has no dependencies on Outlook. We login to Office 365 and send mailings from the primary mailbox or any other shared mailbox over which we have Send As permissions.

 

Creating an Email Template

Without further ado let's walk through sending a mailing. Download the O365 Mailer, and install this on Windows 8 or later. You can simply click your way through the install with Next, Next, Next. Don't worry about the licensing page. We will later receive a license key at the email specified at the download form but we don't need this to start sending mailshots.

The O365 Mailer interface starts from the email template list. This is the place where we create and manage templates.

Email Template List

An email template looks very much like a regular email. What's special is the inclusion of tags. These are information place holders to be filled-in on sending the mailing. Click on Add to create a new template.

Empty Email Template

As expected, here we have what looks like a regular email editor interface. The To field is pre-configured with a RECIPIENT tag. We cannot add anything else to this field other than editing the tag configuration. The other fields, the Subject and Body, are for us to fill-in.

To work with tags we need an MS SQL database. From here the actual tag data is retrieved. At the very least the database must supply us with a list of recipients.

O365 Mailer Toolbar

Click on the Database button to configure the database connection.

Mailing DB

Here we just fill in the usual database connection information; SQL server name, Database name and authentication settings. Moving forward we are prompted to select the Table or View from which the data is to be retrieved.

Mailing DB Data Source

Select the Table/View and click Finish to complete the database configuration.

We can now add new tags to the subject and body fields. Click the Add Tag button from the toolbar.

New Tag

At the Mailing Tag dialog we can create a new tag or reuse an existing one. To create a new tag, enter a unique tag name and select a database field. Here we are creating a mapping between a tag and a database field, telling the mailer from where to retrieve the tag data.

To reuse a tag, select Reuse Existing and choose the tag to reuse. Reusing tags allow us to have less tags to manage. Editing one tag automatically updates all the other instances of the same tag.

Complete authoring the template by inserting more text and tags as necessary. Don't forget to configure the RECIPIENT tag under the To field. Just click on the tag and set it to point at the database field holding the recipient addresses to whom the emails are to be sent.

Email Template

Finally click the save button to add the template to the template list.

 

Submitting a Mailing

To submit a mailing, open an email template and from the toolbar click the Send button. Alternatively select the template from the main template list interface and click on Send. Either way this launches the Mailing Wizard.

The first wizard page shows us the database connection settings.

Mailing Wizard Database Settings

Next the wizard shows the data sorted alphabetically by recipient.

Mailing Wizard Data Sample

Next the wizard shows us what the email is going to look like. Here tags are replaced by their corresponding data. Take the opportunity to double check that the email looks as expected.

Mailing Wizard Email Sample

Finally we get to the Ready to Go page, the last step before starting the mailing.

Mailing Wizard - Ready to Go

From here we can configure a number of options. The options under Send email to are especially useful for testing mailings.

Clicking Go kicks-off the mailing process. We are prompted to login to Office 365, following that the mailer goes through the database generating an email for each data row.

Mailing Wizard Monitor and Logs

We can follow the progress from the monitor interface. Even better at the end we have all the logs for us to review. Just click Save Logs and select the type of log to be saved.

This completes our first mailing. We can now run mailings, freeing ourselves from repetitive error prone tasks. To learn more, check the WinDeveloper O365 Mailer homepage which is being updated regularly with new resources and tutorials.

 

User Comments - Page 1 of 1

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Max 22 Nov 2017 10:40
Cool I like this tool!
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