A mail merge program helps you send personalized email messages to multiple contacts in one go. Each message has the same content but some parts of the message can be customized – like you can greet each recipient by their first name.
Who needs Mail Merge? If you are organizing a party at your home, you can send personalized email invitations to all your friends with the help of mail merge. A person like Steve Jobs - see the following video - can use mail merge to effortlessly invite his inner circle for the launch of a new product.
How to Create Mail Merge with Gmail
Microsoft Outlook with Word has Mail Merge functionality built-in but if you are a Gmail or Google Apps user, you may still use mail merge easily with the help of Google Docs.
And though the Mail Merge program using Google Docs, this is not limited to Gmail users. If you have linked your Hotmail or Yahoo! account with a Google Account, you may use that or any non-Gmail address with Mail Merge as well.
Mail Merge with File Attachments - Step by Step
This new version of Gmail Mail Merge program offers support for rich-text (HTML) email templates, you may add file attachments with the outgoing messages, there’s an option to BCC emails to yourself and better overall usability. Let’s get started:
Step 1: Open this Google spreadsheet and create a copy of the same in your Google Docs account (File –> Make a Copy).
Step 2: Under the new “Mail Merge” menu, click on “Reset” to clear the canvas and also authorize Google Docs to access your Gmail and Google Contacts.
Step 3: Open Google Contacts and create a new Group with all the contacts who you would like to send a personalized email. Alternatively, you may simply add the recipient’s name and email addresses manually in the Google Sheet.
Step 4: Click Mail Merge –> Import Google Contacts and type the name of the Google Contacts group that you created in Step 3. Google Docs will now automatically import all the relevant Gmail contacts into the spreadsheet.
Step 5: Fill the various fields of the email template (highlighted in white).5a. You can compose an email template in rich text using the HTML Mail tool and then copy-paste the generated HTML code into the message body field of the Google Sheet.
5b. If you would like to add an attachment to your email messages – say a PDF file or an Office document – just upload that file to Google Docs and copy-paste the ID of the file into the Attachment ID field. You can find the ID of a Google Docs file in its URL.
Step 6: Go to the Mail Merge menu again and click “Start Mail Merge” – the status against the names of your Gmail contacts will change to “OK” for all email messages that were successfully delivered through Google Docs.That’s it! You’ve just completed your first mail merge through Gmail and Google Docs.
Please note that Gmail has a daily sending limit and any messages that are dispatched using the Gmail Mail Merge program also count in that limit. You can send a maximum of 500 messages in a day and if you exceed that number, Google can temporarily lock your Gmail account.
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