Mail merge allows you to send customized emails to a number of contacts in one go. This can come in handy in many scenarios. Say, you are throwing a party this weekend, you can send lovely emails to all of your friends in a few clicks.
Whilst there are numerous applications that can do this task for you, using Gmail along with Google docs turns out to be the easiest among them. The main advantage of taking this route is that you don’t need to have any coding skills! We shall use a Google Docs Add-on called “Yet Another Mail Merge” to customize and send the mails. There are mainly 3 steps involved in this process.
- Creating a master template draft – You have to create a master template mail which needs to be sent to different recipients. This is quite simple, just write the content of the mail that you have to send along with a Subject line and save it as draft. I will show you a simple template below.
Hey <<First Name>>
I’m throwing a cool party this weekend at my apartment.
I’d like you to come and have some fun together. All of our friends are coming so I expect you too, this weekend (Saturday) at <<Time>>. Hope we’ll meet there.
Notice that I have used <<First Name>> and <<Time>> here (The “<< >>” symbols are mandatory as they are the identifier for the variable). Hence while you create a spreadsheet, (which is explained further on) make sure that you give the column names as “First Name” and “Time”. You can use any labels provided they are the same on the Google spreadsheet and the Email draft that you have made.
- Creating a list of contacts – In mail merge, the prime thing you need is a list of contacts. If you handle a lot of emails regularly, you probably should have a list of addresses with you. Mail merge gets more effective when you have more than a handful of email addresses. I would suggest you to send mails directly if you have less than 10 recipients.First off, you need to import your contacts to an online Google Docs Spreadsheet. If you have one, well and good. Anyhow, the add-on – Yet Another Mail Merge does an incredible job in importing your contacts to a spreadsheet according to a particular group. Say, you can select only the contacts in the group “Friends” since we are dealing with a party.
What if you don’t have a group in Gmail?
It is quite obvious that not all people may have groups in Gmail. Worry not! Just go to below step 5 of the detailed procedure given below.
- Sending the mails – The last part of this procedure is to send the mails (which is explained well below). I would suggest you to add your name also in the recipients’ list. This is so that you can get to know how the mail actually looks when delivered. Also note that with Gmail, you can only send up to a maximum of 100 emails a day, which is quite enough for an average individual. There are several other premium plans that you can go through, that allow you to send a ton of mails a day.
Detailed steps to creating Mail Merge with Google Docs
Compose mail and save as draft
Create an email draft of the mail that you have to send. Just click “compose” and type in your email content, let it save in drafts. You can refer template given above for instance. Don’t forget to add the subject since it is required to identify this email draft.
– Open a new Google spreadsheet by either navigating into Google docs or Google Drive.Just in case if you have never used Google Drive before and want to learn the same and then come back to this post. you may click here.
Get Add On’s
In the new spreadsheet document, click the Add-Ons Menu and click “Get Add-ons”
Search for add on
A new window appears wherein you have to search for an Add-on called “Yet Another Mail Merge” and add it.
Once installed, you can import contacts from a group by navigating to Add-Ons >>Yet another Mail Merge >> Import Contacts from a group.
When you don’t have a group in Gmail, you can manually create the list by entering the columns in the spreadsheet. If you are going this route, make sure that you have column named “Email Address” for the process to go right. To avoid confusion, I’ve made another screenshot on this.
Note 1: Variable First Name and Time or any other which you may need has to be written the same way in both mail draft and Google sheet column heading.
Note 2 : Second variable Time will have to be manually entered. If you want to invite few people at 6 pm and rest at 8 pm. Then the first thing you should be doing is select the column of Time, that means highlight it. Go to Format >> Number >> Click on plain text. By doing this 6 pm and 8 pm will show as exactly what you have written on Google sheet cell.
You may follow the same process for all the variables in the draft that you make for using mail merge in Gmail.
Start Mail Merge
Once you have the contacts ready, you just have to start mail merge. Do note that this is the step where you will select the draft that needs to be sent. To do this, go to Add-Ons>>Yet Another Mail Merge >>Start Mail Merge. You may decide to mention your First Name or Full Name as sender name.
You can also check the “Send me a test mail” feature, which will send a test mail to your address so that you can verify that everything is in right place.
When you are done with mail merge in Gmail using google docs or spreadsheet, this is how the sheet will look after the process. Notice an extra column called “Merge status”.
This process complete process works so wonderful that any one would believe that you are using professional e mail solution for sending the mails. Next time if there is a party, or wedding function at your home, follow this process.
You can save the spreadsheet for future reference. In most cases, it is good to have a list of email contacts, whether it be work or play. If you find any issues while doing mail merge with Gmail, do drop them in the comments below. 🙂
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