Integrating Research Tracker® II with E-mail

One of the best ways to cut recruiting time and costs is to send e-mail invitations to potential focus group participants.  By advising pre-qualified respondents of the date, time, subject matter, and incentive for the study, hours of recruiting time can be be eliminated.  Recruiters can be used to screen only eligible and interested respondents.

Research Tracker® II is designed to interface with various e-mail programs.  In order to send broadcast emails to a large number of respondents, you may want to use a service such as Constant Contact or Exacttarget.  These services help manage bouce-backs, opt outs, and other emailing headaches.  If you want to handle sending mass emails in-house, you can use Outlook and MS Word.  Be advised that sending an excessive number of emails can get you flagged as a spammer.  It's best to talk to your ISP for more information before proceeding.

If you've used Word for mail merging letters or mailing labels, the process is nearly identical.  We recommend testing this process with a couple of in-house e-mail addresses before you send 500 emails to people in your database - just in case!  Here's how to proceed.

    1.  In Research Tracker® II, create a list of respondents based on the requirements of the job. 

      Use the Job Data screen to input job details, then go to the Job Query screen to make selections according to demographics, past part, or other criteria needed for the study.  To limit the names selected to those respondents who have an e-mail address in the database, use the Yes/No button on the Job Query screen, then click Email.

      Click Output...

      Click Mail Merge as the desired output on the Query Output Options screen.  The file created in this step will include each respondents name, address, phone, and e-mail address.  Note the location of the file (C:\RT2\querydat.doc is the default file name and location).  This data file will be the source of the names and e-mail addresses of potential respondents.

    2.  Close or minimize Research Tracker® II.  Open MS Word  (the following instructions are for Word 2003, newer versions vary slightly).

      Create a new document that will be the body of the message to be sent to each potential participant.  You may choose to have interested respondents reply by e-mail or phone.

      Begin the mail merge process by clicking Tools, Letters and Mailings, Mail Merge.  This will open the Mail Merge helper box and guide you through the process.  Choose Document Type, E-mail Messages, Next.

      For Step 2, click Use the Current Document, Next.

      For Step 3, click Use and Existing List, then use the browser to locate the file created in Research Tracker® II.  Once you Open the file, you'll see a table with all the names of the respondents on the list.  To include all of them, click OK, Next.

      You will be prompted to insert one or more Merge Fields into the document.  Although the e-mail message will contain the respondent's e-mail address in the To:  box, you may also want to insert the respondent's name after the words Dear ___ as a personal greeting. To do this, click More Items, then, with the cursor positioned at the appropriate place in your message, highlight the entry "fname" and click insert.  Do the same for "lname", leaving a space between the two entries.  When finished, click Next.

      You may preview individual messages and edit them individually if desired.  Click Next to get to Step 6.

      Click Electronic Mail. Make sure the field name "e-mail" appears in the To: box. Enter a message for the subject line.  Use HTML or Plain Text as the format.

      When you're ready to send the messages, click OK.

      MS Word will generate a separate message for each person on the list.  Next, Outlook will begin sending the messages.  Depending on the number of messages and the speed of your PC, this could take awhile. 

      The result will be an separate e-mail message sent to each respondent.  Important:  check the Sent Box in Outlook to see copies of the messages.  They don't appear in Word.  If you click Merge again, you will send the same message to everyone again!

    If you use a non-Microsoft e-mail program, this process may not work until you install Outlook and set it as the default e-mail program.

    Once you finish, back up to Step 4 and save the Word document along with the inserted merge fields and named data source.  The next time, you will be able to skip most of the above steps and go directly to the final merge.

    As always, we are available to help you with problems or questions