Google Mail: Send a Mass Email with Mail Merge

Before you start...

Mail merge is a way of sending an email to multiple recipients where certain components of the email can be personalized for each recipient. Such personalized components may be name, meeting time, or meeting place.

To send a mass email with mail merge in Google Mail, you will need to use the Google Spreadsheet created by Amit Agarwal at his Digital Inspiration blog. Mr. Agarwal has graciously given Cedarville University permission to use his spreadsheet, and we gratefully give all credit for the spreadsheet to him.

Mail merge in Google Mail consists of the following four steps:

  1. Compose draft email with personalized components marked: You will write an email and in the email mark the components you want personalized.
  2. Save the mail merge Google Spreadsheet to Google Drive: You will access the Google Spreadsheet you need.
  3. Add contacts and columns for personalized components to the Google Spreadsheet: You will add all the desired contacts to the Google Spreadsheet as well as the personalized components for each contact.
  4. Run mail merge: You will run the mail merge and send personalized emails to all the desired contacts.

Step 1: Compose draft email with personalized components marked

  1. In Google Chrome, navigate to Cedarville.edu/Google and log in to Google Mail.
  2. Click [Compose].
  3. Write the desired message.
  4. In the email, for any components you want personalized, write a generic category name for that component and not the component itself. For example, if you want the name in the greeting to be personalized, write something such as First Name instead of the actual first name.
  5. Mark each personalized component by typing $% immediately before the component and % immediately after the component. There should be no spaces on either side of the component and the corresponding marking. For example, in the example in step 4., the name in the personalized greeting would look like this: $%First Name%
  6. Enter a subject for the email.
  7. Click [Save] to save the email as a draft.

Step 2: Save the mail merge Google Spreadsheet to your Google Drive

  1. In Google Chrome, navigate to the “Send Personalized Emails using Mail Merge in Gmail [Video Tutorial] page at Amit Agarwal’s Digital Inspiration blog.
  2. From the third paragraph under “Mail Merge with Gmail – Step by Step,” click the “this spreadsheet” link. A new page will open asking if you want to make a copy of the spreadsheet in Google Docs.
  3. Click “Yes, make a copy.” You will be taken to the spreadsheet in Google Docs, and it is now saved to your Google Drive.

Step 3: Add contacts and personalized components to the Google Spreadsheet

Warning:

Before you send a message to a large number of people using mail merge, you may want to test mail merge with only a few select contacts. Perhaps try sending the mail merge to another one of your personal accounts to ensure it works correctly.

  1. Navigate to Google Drive and open the spreadsheet you just saved in the previous step.
  2. From the options across the top of the spreadsheet, click [Mail Merge]. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. From the drop-down menu, click “Clear Canvas (Reset).” At this point, you may have to authorize Google Docs to run this command and grant the spreadsheet access to your account. Do both and click [Close]. After you do this, you will return to the spreadsheet.
  4. Navigate to and click the “Clear Canvas (Reset)” option again. All data will be cleared from the spreadsheet.
  5. For each marked personalized component in the email you drafted, create a corresponding column in the spreadsheet. Ensure that the marked personalized component and the corresponding column have the exact same name. This includes capitalization. And you should not have any columns that don’t correspond to a marked email component. The two exceptions to this are the “Email Address” column and the “Mail Merge Status” column. Leave these two columns alone.
  6. When you have created a corresponding column for each marked personalized component, fill in the cells of data with the personalized information for each contact. In the “Email Address” column, simply put each contacts email address. Leave the “Mail Merge Status” column alone.

Step 4: Run mail merge

  1. After you have filled in all the desired data, click the “Mail Merge” drop-down menu.
  2. From the drop-down menu, click “Start Mail Merge.” At this point, you may have to authorize Google Docs to run this command. After you do this, you will return to the spreadsheet.
  3. Navigate to and click the “Start Mail Merge” option again. The Mail Merge HD window will appear.
  4. From the “Please select your Mail Merge template” drop-down menu, select the email draft you wrote in Step 1: Compose Draft Email with Personalized Components Marked.
  5. If you desire, write the name of the sender in the “Please write the sender’s full name” field.
  6. If you would like to receive an email for each contact the message is sent to, check “BCC yourself?”
  7. Click [Start Mail Merge]. For each contact the email is successfully sent to, “EMAIL_SENT” will appear in the “Mail Merge Status” column.


Keywords: personalized email, mail merge, mail merge with Word

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