Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Bulk Email with Merge Fields and Pics

Today’s guest blogger, CRM MVP Frank Lee,  provides tips and tricks for bulk emailing with pictures that he found to be very useful.

A common CRM task during Holiday Seasons is to send out personalized Email greetings with images to customers.  With features like Bulk email Blast and Field Merge "Mail Merge", emailing with Microsoft CRM is an easier and greener way to spread the holiday greetings. Here are the steps to easily accomplish this with Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4.0 or Microsoft CRM Online.

1. Host any email content picture(s) or image(s) on a publicly accessible website.  You will copy the displayed images from the Internet Explorer (IE) browser into your email template in a later step.  This approach helps keep your email size small for faster processing.

For example, here is a "Happy New Year" picture hosted on our Workopia website:

Note: If you don't have access to your company's public website, then I would suggest hosting your image(s) on one of the many popular internet file storage sites such as Windows Live SkyDrive.

2. Create a new Microsoft CRM Email Template.  From the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client >> Tools >> Options >> E-mail Templates tab >> Click on the New E-mail Template button >> select "Contact" for Template Type

Microsoft CRM Web Client:

Or Microsoft CRM Outlook Client:

3. Construct the personalized greeting content with merge fields "mail merge", pictures and images.

To insert personalized merge fields such as "Hello <Contact's First Name>". click on the "Insert/Update" button and select the Contact's First Name field:

Note: The Email's subject line supports merge fields

To insert pictures and images, copy them from an Internet Explorer (IE) browser (step 1) and paste them (Ctrl-V or right mouse button click and select “Paste”) into the message area:

Note: Click "No" if the Security message appears so it can display the picture(s) you had pasted:

Here is a link to a good video on how to create and apply Microsoft CRM's e-mail templates

4. Find the list of CRM Contacts to send this greeting to.  Now that you have the email content ready, we just need to select some CRM Contacts you wish to send this email to.

To easily lookup CRM Contacts, I prefer using the Microsoft CRM Advanced Find feature. 

Here is a link to a great video on how to use Microsoft CRM's Advanced Find

5. Send the Emails.   Now that you have your template greeting message and your list of contacts ready, it is time for the Bulk Email Blast.  From the Advanced Find result view >> click on the "Send Direct E-mail" button on the tool bar >> select the Contact Email Template created above >> select "All records on all pages" >> click on the "Send" button.  That is all there is to it.  Enjoy!

General Notes:

- Check if your Microsoft CRM email settings are working properly.  Microsoft CRM sends out emails via the Microsoft CRM Outlook Client (Outbox) or the CRM Email Router (SMTP/Exchange)

- Always test out the email message first before Bulk Email Blast to all the Contacts, i.e. test it out by sending it to yourself and/or co-workers/friends first to minimize any surprises

- The sent Emails are linked "Regarding" to their respective CRM Contacts and are stored in the Contact's History area for reference

- Always review the CRM Email Activities that were generated from the Bulk Email Blast to ensure they are sent.  Check them via CRM Client >> Workplace >>  Activities >> select Type: "E-mail" >> select View: "My Sent E-mails"

- This Microsoft CRM Bulk Email Blast method works with the Contact's Contact Methods.  It will only email the greeting to Contacts with both the "E-mail" and "Bulk E-mail" options set to "Allow".  This is a very nice built-in safety function!

- You can also use this Bulk Email Merge approach for Microsoft CRM Leads.  Caution: Be mindful about and avoid SPAM email blasting to Leads that are "Suspects"


CRM MVP Frank Lee

Comments (11)

  1. Kimjetset says:

    Thanks a lot for these tips. Amazing step by step instructions. It will surely help a lot!

  2. matzer says:

    Is the e-mail activity only created if the e-mail was "passed" to the e-mail server or created before/simultaneously?

    You can never be sure that an e-mail was created. I recently did a bulk e-mail to 500 recipients and all activities had been created.

    But I got about 1500 errors in the event log of out CRM server (

    So I was wondering whether just the activities were created or the e-mails did get send properly to the "outside".

    Unfortunately it’s not possible to define a bcc recipient to check with an external mailbox f.e.

  3. Frank Lee says:

    The email activity will get created in CRM if it passes the CRM checks (Email address present, OK to Email, etc.).  At this point it is set to "Pending Send" in CRM, then either the CRM Email Router or CRM Outlook Client will process these "Pending Send" CRM emails and send them out and update the status "Sent".

    Here is how I test out CRM Email (Bulk or individual):

    – Setup the CRM Outlook Client and set the email out via Outlook, this way my CRM email will be synch to my Outlook Outbox/Sent folders which I can monitor

    – Send out a test email to check that it work ok and that it does set out


  4. Steve Noe says:

    Nice job Frank. I sure wish we could use that template with campaigns….oh, well. Maybe in CRM 5.0

  5. Frank Lee says:

    Template/Send As Other User working consistently across the CRM’s email functions would be nice!

  6. Great Job Frank,

    I keep hoping we are going to see in CRM 5.0 or 6.0 the ability to use Outlook from CRM to do mass personalized emails with full tracking including open rates and link clicks.

    In other to complete replace the current internal CRM email capability with fully integragted Outlook.



  7. Frank Lee says:

    Thanks Rick, glad you like it.

    Full tracking including open rates and link clicks would be a nice feature for future versions.  We are currently using ExactTarget which integrates with Microsoft CRM to take care of this area.

  8. William says:

    Thanks Frank, very imformative!

  9. Sadad says:

    It was really very descriptive. Thanks for the screenshots as well. I had a question. How can I select which email address the mail is sent to if the contact has multiple email addresses?

  10. Stephanie says:

    How is this template acting if the client email is set to plain text?

    Instead of pictures will there be empty spaces?


  11. Frank Lee says:

    Only the Primary Email is used by Microsoft.

    re. plain text – depending on client email settings – the pictures would be empty space or stripped out.  I would test it out to observe the impact.

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