Written by Kirill Vasilyev on June 12, 2009 at 9:00 AM
This article is addressed to people having small online businesses and using Apple Macintosh Computer as a platform. For designers, video editors and music writers Mac with its powerful Mac OS X operating system is an obvious choice. Mac is a great computer, however when it comes to finding utilities to solve particular tasks, it is not as simple as with Windows. You have less choice with Mac despite the overall higher quality of utilities.
Many self-employed individuals deal with online customers only, who are also the returning customers using products and services on a regular basis. Some of the business owners have so many customers that when they need to notify them about discounts, special offers and promotions, their life becomes a nightmare.
To communicate with customers, Apple Mail is normally used as an email client. A new message is composed in Apple Mail, and an email list is put into the BCC filed. This technique only looks easy, however in the real world, it does not work for large email lists. Every email provider limits the number of recipients someone can have in the BCC list. Usually not more than a hundred of addresses can be used in BCC of a single email message, so a dozen of equal messages have to be composed. It is time consuming and there is a plenty of room for a mistake that can cause duplicate messages to be sent to the same recipients.
The other problem is message personalization. It is not possible to personalize messages in Apple Mail if BCC with email list is used. When there is a need to talk about a particular service to a particular group of people, a separate email message with a separate email list has to be used.
When the situation goes out of control completely, many business owners do a research on the web and find out that a lot of other people experience the same problem. They eventually find out that a simple and elegant solution to this problem is a mass mailer that can work on Mac under Mac OS X.
Web search for mass mailers compatible with Mac OS X normally leeds to only a few choices because a suitable mass mailer must meet certain requirements. It must be able to maintain a database of customers, send personalized messages related to the ordered services, automatically subscribe new customers and remove the ones who refuse to receive any email messages or whose email addresses appear to be invalid. Mac Mass Mailer meets these requirements. It also implements other important features that you may find essential.
First of all, Mac Mass Mailer offers a fabulous well-structured user interface with all most-heavily used controls in hand. Second, it features recipient groups. As mentioned earlier, different types of customers for different products and services can exist, which have to be put into separate recipient groups. Every group has a name that can be used in message templates to mention a service a customer ordered. Third, recipient database can be customized. New fields can be added into the database to mention lets say service order numbers and dates later in the newsletters.
All recipient fields can be used in message templates in form of macros for the purpose of message personalization. Messages produced by Mac Mass Mailer look like as if they were sent individually to every customer with Apple Mail using customer name in TO, subject and message body.
Another important thing Mac Mass Mailer offers, is an ability to use a custom HTML code for newsletters. The default rich-text format works great for most of cases, but an ability to use a custom HTML code provides a little more freedom. To compose HTML message, iWeb HTML editor that comes with iLife can be used. The HTML file produced by iWeb is loaded into Mac Mass Mailer’s mailing list along with all images and CSS files linked in the file.
As mentioned earlier, most of people use Apple Mail to send newsletters. In this case all customers are normally stored in Apple Address Book. Mac Mass Mailer supports Address Book natively in Import Wizard and is capable of importing recipients from there along with Address Book groups. For every Address Book group Mac Mass Mailer creates a recipient group automatically and imports all people that belongs to it. Basically your address book is entirely mirrored in Mac Mass Mailer with a couple of mouse clicks.
Now the hard stuff. When it comes to configuring SMTP settings, an average not tech-savvy person spends quite a time fighting for the first test message to be successfully sent. The most difficult part here is which SMTP port to use and whether SSL or TLS must be used. Trying all possible combinations may take days. In Mac Mass Mailer, I is only required to enter SMTP server name or IP address, user name and password. The other settings are detected automatically. Quite a relief!