Do you have a big news? Do you want to reach all your network at once to share that news with them?

Then a mail merge with Gmail is the way to go to send both personalized and relevant mass email for several reasons.

One of them is that when you have someone’s email, it is a quasi-sure way to make sure everyone you send it to sees it and can reply (in opposition to a Facebook status for instance).

Other reasons why you would want to reach many people at once could be influencer outreach, when you’re looking for backlinks or if you have a favor to ask from your network.

I’ve had a lot of success with Gmail mail merges and people kept asking me to share how I did it… there you go!

Since most people use Gmail along with the Google Docs suite (that’s what I use too), I’m going to explain just that. Please note that you could more or less do the same with Outlook or other email clients.

Now sending personalized mail merge with Gmail works in 3 steps: gather info on people you want to reach, crafting your message and finally sending the email and reaping the benefits. Let’s get to it with how do a Mail Merge.

 

Step 1: Gather email addresses and info about your recipients

You may be asking yourself “But how do I get email addresses from everyone in my network??” Well, there are a few ways to find email addresses and relevant info from your network. Those additional info will be instrumental when it comes to personalizing your emails so make sure you gather them during your research!

A) Find your recipients’ email addresses and info

There are several ways of finding email addresses and info from your contacts databases whether it’s from your email address book or LinkedIn connections.

  • LinkedIn

The main advantage of using LinkedIn to gather info for your mail merge is that you can have both people’s up-to-date email address as well as professional info such as current position and current company.

Here is where to export your LinkedIn connections.

  • Contact Book

Even you don’t know it, you have Google Contact that comes with your Gmail address and that gathers and creates profiles (with emails) for people you exchange emails with. One downside of this approach is that you will usually only have person’s name and email which offers limited personalization capabilities.

Here is how to export your Google Contacts:

Google Contacts export

 

It might ask you to go to Google Contact’s old version, accept.

Export google contacts

Export google contacts

Same goes with Apple contacts, Outlook contacts, etc.

  • CRM

If you’re lucky enough to have a CRM, you can simply export people’s info as an excel file and work it from there.

If you don’t have those peoples’ email address of info, don’t panic! I’ve got you covered. I’ve written an entire blog post just on that topic. You can find it here: How to Find Anyone’s Email Address.

B) Store and organize them

No matter where you gathered all your contact’s information, make sure to have them in a Google Spreadsheet with each contact one one line and attributes (such as first name, current job, and email) as columns.

Google spreadsheet mail merge

Step 2: Craft your message

Crucial step here that will make or break your mail merge campaign. Determine an objective for this email and write it around that.

Is it an influencer outreach? Establish rapport, ask what you want and explain what’s in it for them.

In this step, I will use as an example the mail merge I used in gmail to get my first 400 subscribers for my blog.

 

mail merge template

 

There are four elements that constitute a mail merge:

    • The subject line (A)

This is why people will open your email (along with your sending name) it’s really important you nail this. Good ways to do so is testing different subject lines.

My advice for this type of campaign is to go with a question as for subject line and the person’s first name. You can hardly go wrong with that.

    • Message (B)

This is what you have to say and how your articulate it.

In my case I 1) establish rapport by asking a question about them, which will increase the response rate 2) talk about my blog and explain why I’m reaching out 3) ask for a favor 4) relieve pressure if they don’t do it.

    • Personalized merge tags (C)

Now, the great advantage of doing a mail merge versus a classic blast is that you get to personalize your message for each person that receives it based on the pieces of information you have on them.

There again you have to find the right balance between a number of personalized merge tags you use. Too few personalized elements and people who receive your email will feel like they’re being spammed. Too much and you will look like a massive creep.

Oh, and you can also send individual links for each person as I did in my email! For the advanced digital marketers, I pre-filled a Google Form with the information I needed for MailChimp (first name & email address) 🙂

For the technique we’re going to use here, you will have to write this text as an email draft in Gmail. That’s it, just as if you were writing an email, only with no email addresses in the “to:” field.

You will also need to incorporate your personalized merge tags in that email based on the column names of your excel spreadsheet.

And please, have someone re-read you! To optimize your subject line and message in general, I suggest separating your list into multiple parts and sending it in several batches to tweak everything and conduct A B tests.

 

Step 3: Send your Gmail mail merge with YAMM

Now, let’s make the magic happen!

I think it’s time to introduce the tool I use for my Gmail mail merge campaigns. It’s called YAMM (yet another mail merge), and it is just a Chrome Extension!

Yet Another Mail Merge comes in a free version that allows you to mass email up to 50 emails per day or the following ones that can shoot up to 1500 emails per day. I use their “Personal Plan” that costs 24 USD per year, and I think it will fit most needs.

Yet another mail merge pricing

Once you’ve installed the Yet Another Mail Merge Chrome extension and signed in using the Google account you will use, you can simply go in the Google Spreadsheet you’ve prepared, and you will find it under Add-ons.

yet another mail merge

Before you can send your email by clicking “Start Mail Merge”, you will have to change your personalized merge tags in your Email draft.

The best way to go about it is to simply add your column name between brackets like this  “{{Column Name}}”. You can use them both in your email subject and body.

When you’re ready, click on the “Start Mail Merge” button and fill in this screen:

yet another mail merge settings

Notice that you will have to choose your email template which is the draft you prepared!

Make sure you check the “Track emails opened, clicked or bounced” for analysis.

You can now send! Send yourself a test email, and if everything looks good, you’re ready to go!

As with “traditional” email, make sure you send your gmail mail merge at an optimal time (if unsure just google it!) with the “send later” option available in Yet Another Mail Merge.

Something to know is that once you reach your 50, 400 or 1500 daily quota, the rest will be sent the next day around the same time.

If you have any additional questions or step, I’ve missed check Yet Another Mail Merge’s support website.

 

Step 4: Analysis and iteration

As for every digital marketing initiative, you should track and analyze what’s happening!

In this case, if you’ve followed my advice and split your list into multiple parts to A/B test your message and tweak it, this is the time.

Luckily for us, YAMM offers reliable analytics that can help you determine your open-rate, bounce-rate with a tracking report!

Another cool feature is the ability to follow up. If you’re sending multiple campaigns, YAMM analytics can help you see what addresses bounced so that you don’t send them emails anymore!

 

 

Summary

As we’ve seen, Gmail Mail Merge can be easy and powerful especially with Gmail and a Google Spreadsheet!

There are four steps to success you should follow:

  1. Gather email addresses and info about your recipients
  2. Craft a compelling message with personalized merge tags
  3. Send your Gmail mail merge with YAMM
  4. Analyze and iterate to make your campaigns always better

What has been your experience with Gmail Mail Merge? Let us know in the comments!

 

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