APPLICATIONSBUREAUTIQUE ★ LOCOMAIL ★

LOCOMAIL
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A mailshot is a standard letter giver, a personal touch for a number of people whose names and addresses are held in a separate list -just like the letters you're always getting from Readers Digest. Those letters tell you that you, Fred Bloggs, have been selected from all the Blougs families in Victoria to receive a chance to win $100,000. The letters you will want to produce are more likely to be subscription reminders to members of your club or to let your customers know of some exciting new product.

LocoMail works alongside LocoScript to tailor a given letter to each recipient - putting the right name and address at the top and inserting other personal details into the body of the letter as well. All of LocoScript's features are used to reformat the text after the insertion of the information with the result that the letter appears as if you have typed it especially. This means that you don't get unsightly gaps ever, though you might have to accommodate text of differing lengths; for example, the names Tim Wells and Alexander Wesling-Bright. And of course, if the number of lines in a letter changes, LocoScript's 'Widows and Orphans'feature will prevent unwanted single lines from appearing at the top or bottom of the pages.

Each individual mailshot will differ depending on your particular requirements, but the LocoMail instructions you need to get the desired result will be much the same.

You need two documents to producte a mailshot - an address list and a 'master" document. The address list contains information, such as names and addresses, that you want to insert into your standard letter. The 'master' document is similar to the finished letter, but has LocoMail instructions embedded in the test. LocoMail uses these instructions to find the information in the address list and insert it in the 'master' document at the appropriate place. We will show you how to create these.

THE MASTER LETTER

Yon need to start with a dear idea of the letter you're going to write and where you want to add the personal touches. This will highlight the information you'll reed to extract from the list of names and addresses.

First write an example of the actual letters you will be sending. Then, go back and edit the letter replacing the name, address, salutation etc. by LocoMail instructions. They'll -replaced by text taken from the address list later.

You might write a letter to the Taylors and address it to them formally as 'Mr & Mrs H C Taylor, Robert and David'and then start the letter informally with 'Dear Henrv and Liz, Robert end David'. To do this, you will have to keep their names this way in the address list.

To give this level of flexibility, you need six items of information: title, initials, names, children, surnames and address. So the Taylors would be represented as:

  • Title: Mr and Mrs
  • Initials: HG
  • Names: Henry and Liz
  • Children: Robert and David
  • Surname: Taylor and their Address.
To convert this sample letter into a LocoMail master letter, you simply replace the name and address in the letter by the LocoMail instructions to take the corresponding items from the address list.

LOCOMAIL INSTRUCTIONS

Inserting details like this form from an address list into a letter uses the simplest form of LocoMail instruction. LocoMail refers to items in your address list by name. When you specify the form of the address list, you specifv the names you wish to use.

A LocoMail item name has to be a single word. Here you might well choose names such as 'Title', 'Surname' etc.

The LocoMail instruction to indude an item is simply the item's name , enclosed by two special Locoscript codes (+Mail) and (-Mall). Thus the LocoMail instruction (+Mail)Surname(-Mail) means insert the 'Surname' details from the address list.

So 'Mr and Mrs', for example, should be replaced by (+Mail)Title(-Mail). The (+Mail) code is typed by pressing the [+] key followed by M and the (-Mail) code by [-]M, so this is done by using the delete keys to remove 'Mr and Mrs', then typing '[+]MTtitle[-]M'. LocoScript responds by showing 'Title' in reverse text to indicate that it is a LocoMail instruction. Similarly we replace the Taylors name at the top of the letter by:

(+Mail)Title(-Mail)
(+Mail)lnitials(-Mail)
(+Mail)Surname(-Mail), (+Mail)Children (-Mail)

The comma and spaces are still in the letter to be printed out as normal-in feet all characters which, aren't within the (+Mail)...(-Mail) brackets are printed as normal.

For the name in the 'Dear..' part further down we'll use some more LocoMail instructions to insert details from our list of names and addresses:

Dear (+Mail) Names( Mai). (+Mail) Children; Mail)

Once again,(+Mail) is typed by [+]M and (-Mail) by [-]M.

Addresses can also be handled in different ways. You can if you want, have separate items for the Street, Town etc. and deal with these individually, inserting punctuation and now lines as necessary. Alternatively you can use one item for the whole address and put the punctuation and new lines in your address list. The first approach gives greater flexibility - such as the Readers Digest's "all the Taylors in Victoria", but inserting the right punctuator and coping with strange addresses can be difficult.

Our letter, not being for Readers Digest, doesn't make special use of the separate parts of the address so we'll give the address one item called ' Address', and replace the lines of the address by:

(-Mail)Address(-Mail)

I laving added all the LocoMail instructions to the letter, you have created your master document so the next job is to save it on disc.

CREATING THE ADDRESS LIST

With the letter complete, you can now move on 10 creating the address list. This can be a LocoScript document or ar. ASCII hie created by a CP/M program. Here we'll concentrate on using a LocoScript document.

The form of a LocoMail address list (or more generally any file of data you're using with LocoMail) is a sequence of 'records'. A record is a collection of the items of the address etc that you need in the standard letter. You have one record per actual letter you will print out. In ourexample here the records would consist of the details:

  • Title
  • Intials
  • Names
  • Children
  • Surname
  • Address

and there would be one record per name and address.

LocoMail has a very powerful way of recognising the records and picking out the items within each record. You start the address list with a special record, called a partem, which lists the items held in the rest  of the records. You choose characters to separate the items. You then use the same characters to separate the corresponding details in later records and LocoMail picks out the information by spotting these separators.

This sounds complicated, but is not if we look at an example. Really all you have to do is choose separator characters which don't appear in the details. So we could use semi-colons for our separators and finish the record with a new page character (as we know names and addresses contain neither semi-colons nor new pages)!

So in this ease our address list would start with the record pattern listing the items by name:

Title ; Initials ; Names ; Children ; Surname ; Address and the Taylors'record would be:

Mr and Mrs;H G; Henry and Liz; Robert and David; Taylor; 32 Sycamore Drive
Wandligong
Victoria

and so for Mr James Franks , a bachelor (with no children) the record would be:

Mr; J; James; ; Franks; 200 Easter House Sydney 2000

You must have the same number of semi-colons in your record pattern and each record, or LocoMail will get out of step and pick up the wrong information for each Item.

It may be laborious to create the address list, but once done, you'll be able to use it for many different letters or other uses in the future For example, with LocoMail it is particularly easy to print sets of labels. 

READERS DIGEST REVENGE

Now that you have created the address list you need to combine it with the letter. LocoMail takes each record in turn and merges its details with the standard letter by replacing the LocoMail instructions with the details corresponding to each item. This is called merging, and is why 'M=Merge' appears at the right of the second disc- manager information line.

Type M and follow the instructions thai appear on the screen. LocoScript with merge data from the address list with the master document and print the result. You've just done a mailshot You can use LocoMail to do rather more than this simple mailshot - for example, sending letters only to some of the people on your address list, but that's for another month.

TAU

Use LocoMail to send letters to everyone on your mailing list. Use its many advanced features to do much more - Produce letters for each name or data record, or just for a selection - Include special text depending on the data to be merged - each version of your text is correctly laid out. whatever special information you insert - Edit the merged letter before printing - Save the result to disc if required - Use LocoScript data files or ASCII data files from a CP/M program - Prompt for information to be typed at the keyboard - Perform arithmetic wi:hin LocoScript documents - Add paragraph numbers automatically - Produce sophisticated LocoMail 'programs'for Invoicing. Credit Control. Enquiries etc."

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