Running a Free Mail Merge Via Gmail Running a Free Mail Merge Via Gmail
Do you ever fןnd yourself needing to send emails that contain the same message to a number of people, but also wanting to personalize the greeting, and not having everyone realize this is a mass mail?
These scenarios are normally handled via email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp and the like, and call for what is commonly known as a “Mail Merge”.
What’s a Mail Merge?
Mail Merges are cases where you send personalized emails to multiple addresses in a single send. Typically you send the same message content but address the greeting to each recipient individually. Examples of use cases when you might may have needed this are:
- Sending invitations
- Promotional emails
- Standardized follow ups
Free Mail Merge via Gmail / Google Apps
Thanks to Amit Agarwal of Ctrlq.org you can now complete a Mail Merge using nothing more than a specially customized and scripted Google spreadsheet and any Gmail or Google apps email account. You can include HTML based rich-text to include colors and custom fonts and even include file attachments.
How to Run Your Gmail based Mail Merge
- Make sure you are logged into your Gmail email account and Google docs.
- On your Gmail account compose a message and save as “Draft”.
- Mark the variable text you want personalized in the outgoing message with $% at the beginning and % at the end. For example, if you want the first names on your message to be personalized. You need to use:
Repeat this wherever you want to personalize your message with variable text.
- Attach files and inline images in your message using a URL from any file sharing service account you have.
- Save your message as draft and go ahead and make a copy of this spreadsheet in your Google Drive.
- Replace the data in the spreadsheet with your own by changing the column labels to match the variable fields you entered in your message. Be sure they are exactly the same. Add or remove columns according to your needs but DON’T REMOVE the email address column.
- Every row in the Google Spreadsheet corresponds to a single recipient and the values of that particular row will be used to send a personalized message to that recipient.
- Once you’ve filled all the rows in the sheet with the necessary data, go to the Mail Merge menu in the Google Sheet and click “Initialize” to authorize the program.
- Then choose “Start Mail Merge” from the same menu and choose the Gmail draft template you created earlier from the drop-down. Fill in the “Sender’s” name and tick the BCC option if you want to receive a copy of the outgoing email.
- Click “Start Mail Merge”. You’ll know that the process is complete when you see “Email_sent at the end of every row of you’re the email address.
You’ve done it!
Note that Google limits your sends to prevent spamming activity, so the maximum messages you can send this way in a single day is set to 100/1,500 depending on the type of account you have.
- Test your message template by sending it first to yourself to avoid embarrassing yourself by sending a buggy email it to a whole lot of recipients…
- Avoid locking your account – Don’t go over the number of emails you can send out for the day.
- Ensure all the images and files you plan to add or attach to the email message are uploaded an publicly available on Google Docs, Dropbox, etc.