Did you know it is possible to create an email list on Gmail? Most of us have a Gmail account that covers our basic needs but one of Gmail’s less known functionalities is the possibility to send group emails.
By using contact ‘Labels’, you can create distribution lists that allow you to send the same email to multiple people at the same time. You can even hide all the other recipients with one easy trick we will show you.
How to create a group email list in Gmail?
1. Creating your list
Note: You must be on your desktop to do this. You cannot create a mailing list from within the Gmail mobile app, nor can you select your mailing list as a recipient in the Gmail mobile app.
Sign in to your Gmail account and look for the Contacts page. You can find it under the Applications Icon in the top right corner.
In ‘Contacts’ you’ll have access to the Gmail list of email addresses.
If you already have the emails you want to add to the list in your contacts you can go ahead and select them. If not, this is the moment to manually add them or import them from a CSV file.
Go ahead and select the contacts you want to add to your list. Make sure each contact you add has an email associated with it. Otherwise, they won’t appear when you go to email them later.
When you select them, a few icons will appear at the top of the screen. Select the one that represents ‘labels’, which looks like a tag button.
A drop-down menu will appear with the options of either add the contacts existing to labels or create a new one.
Click on the label you want to add the contacts to, and then click the “Apply” button.
Congratulations, you have successfully created your email list. Now to send the next step.
2. Send an Email Using the Email List in Gmail
Now that you know how to make a mass email list in Gmail, it’s time to write and send your first group email.
Go to your Gmail inbox and click on Compose to create a new email
From the “New Message” tab, start type the name of the label you choose and click on the suggestion when it appears.
Bonus tip: If you don’t want the recipients to see the other emails on the list, put your own email on the “To” field and add the List on the “BCC” field.
This will hide all the recipients but yourself, which also helps if they want to reply and not copy all the other contacts.
Finish writing your email, click send and boom! you are done!
Benefits of creating an email list on Gmail
- Lists are pretty easy to create and can be edited at any point.
- Given that Gmail and Google are part of the same suite you can easily share documents from your google drive with your list.
- You can create canned responses and add them automatically.
- For personal use, Gmail is free.
Disadvantages of creating an email list on Gmail
1. Daily email limit
To avoid bad practices like spam and being used for business purposes, Google has added a limit of emails that can be sent daily. You might get a warning if you send over 500 emails in one day or if you try to email more than 500 people at once.
In case you need to send a mass email campaign to thousands of people, there are other tools that can be used that allow for a lot more control and automation.
Gmail is a good alternative for account management and keeping a close relationship with a small list of customers. However, for lead generation and overall business, there is no doubt automation tools are the way to go.
2. Inefficient For Large Contact Lists
While you can easily send mass emails using Gmail’s label feature, adding those contacts to your e-mail list is still a manual process that can add up hours of valuable time when done at large scale. This is time-consuming and error-prone as you could mistakenly add someone or overlook a contact.
3. No Data
Gmail doesn’t give you any stats or analytics over your emails such as open rate, click rate, etc.
While this might not be an issue for casual users, it’s a big issue for email marketers and salespeople. Analytics are what allows marketers to optimize and make decisions about the performance of an email campaign. Without them, you are losing valuable information.
4. No Automation
Using labels for follow-up emails or any other action is virtually impossible.
If you send an email to 100 contacts and 50 didn’t respond, you’d have to manually add another label to those in other to try another time. This is time-wasting and would make it impossible to scale any campaign.
5. No Scheduling
Gmail doesn’t let you schedule your emails which means you have to be online when you want them to go out. This can create a problem when you want to send emails to your group at a time you will be busy at or even sleeping if they are in a different time zone.
6. Follow-Ups Are Difficult
Let’s say you send an email to a list of several contacts and you need a reply from each of them, except one, didn’t reply.
You would need to go an send them a reminder right?
But can’t just reply to the same email since it would be sent to all the list.
You’ll have to painstakingly draft individual follow-up emails for each email address and send them manually. Not the most efficient thing to do when you have more than one reminder to send, right?
7. Lack of Personalization
Gmail doesn’t let you allow for personalization variables, such as a person’s name, last name, etc. You are limited to a generic message for all the members of the list.
Should that concern you? Every member of the list will receive the same generic email that is not even addressed to their name and might not focus on their individual concerns and needs. This could ruin your chances of success or have you flagged as spam forever.
NOTE: While Gmail is good for personal use, it has lots of limitations that make it inefficient for businesses or entrepreneurs. In that case, you want to take advantage of all the features and automations of a professional email marketing software to nurture and profit from your email list.
The best software I’ve found is Active Campaign. You can do everything you can imagine with email marketing yet it is easy to use and reliable
Taking advantage of Gmail extensions for your email list
Sure there are some drawbacks to using Gmail for your mass e-mailing, but here are some add-ons and extensions that can make a difference in your email marketing strategies:
Native Gmail Extensions
1. Canned Responses
Canned responses allow you to save templates and use them when needed. It is a functionality native to Gmail, but to activate it you have to activate you have to:
Go to Settings > Click in the Advanced tab > Select the box Enable Canned Responses
With Gmail, you can export your contact list to create a backup or migrate to another email software eventually. To export your contact list you have to:
- Sign in to your email
- Go to the contacts tab
- Select the contacts you would like to export
- Choose between Google CSV, Outlook CSV or vCard (for iOS)
As mentioned in the tutorial, you can import contacts to your list with a simple CSV. file.
Add-ons Gmail Extensions
Take a look at some of the best extensions and add-ons developed by third parties:
Unlimited Email Tracker is a powerful tool for every marketer. As its name says, it helps you track an unlimited number of emails from an unlimited number of inboxes.
With this extension, you can know if/ when a receiver has read the email message.
It helps you know if a person has not received an email or if he/she is just not responding to it. (in a non-creepy way)
Right Inbox allows you to schedule your emails to be sent at specific times. This feature, not available in Gmail, can be particularly useful if you’re communicating with people in different time zones.
Email signatures are often boring therefore, ignored.
WiseStamp allows you to spice your email signature up with a photo, your website, important updates and graphic icons for social profiles. You can even integrate it into Google Analytics and use it to see how people interact with it.
In general, Gmail is a good alternative for free bulk emailing, but it not the best choice for large scale or long term email marketing campaigns.
Email marketing can be a very powerful tool for your digital campaigns. It currently represents 15% of all online sales, so it is definitely not something you want to overlook or skimp on.
Now that you know how to make an email list on Gmail, you can spend less time on your daily emailing but remember…
For large scale campaigns, it is better to count on a powerful email automation software that simplifies and optimizes sales for you.