[techtalk] EMAIL – Personalize Gmail Messages with Mail Merge

HANNING Darci * SLO Darci.HANNING at slo.oregon.gov
Tue Feb 23 15:39:36 PST 2021

Welcome to the latest issue of Tech-Talk!
Did you know you can use mail merge in Gmail?


This Week's Topic: EMAIL

1. ARTICLE & VIDEO ... Personalize Gmail Messages with Mail Merge
2. COMMUNICATING ... Ask the people on the front line
3. LEADERSHIP ... What will you say?

·     Mar 3: Preventing Citation Errors and Protecting Academic Integrity Using Bibliographic Tools
·     Mar 17: Five (5) New and Cool Tricks in PowerPoint
·     Mar 31: 12 Powerful Phrases to Use in Critically Important Work Situations

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[mail merge]<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDoz6ue4eiBWcQY5wuZT47Rv5BZvkZAiXxD7aJioo0wKnuyuPuEa2W421e9WIItfDsC2tP_YFpLrypLtfRvKrG856yOhp6VBlueFO3c9VLSWSi1uohTK56NRWi5fomzK2Di_PO5tsIzszw4MgV-uJBQIE4ODAEl-D9vDvhzhQkzdjo&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==>

Photo by Mathyas Kurmann<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDoz6ue4eiBWcQWghCUntpBgjI_1QbYiAoaae1M8AgErr3MsEYwjOqEA2gBMI4PCNK0aTT1VikgCXKbeV8NzW7f1C3bou8ie31NT5Gp3NTsb2cghX_PEUku-yj_59V8wEl12PYRkZnLvQi5lirl8VgKRWCiuuV7tLC2uNkjcyEDudN6BjAO2HWvoDpZ-8xRJHRS-dhK08dApTH_JMm2W-cuko=&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==> on Unsplash<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDoz6ue4eiBWcQoFK0N8QBAksGNWxDAsImNUIwnhJwTLGiypd7xhpvaAlGB0lpkv3cz7jYVGYMkccXMP9sCHfLibZnttNTkT_gjFYFVE_VtD-B6OkCL1NYaWabyFmTSHwBx8oLFgjBg50TTcsFTfYAGUcTH3zxRDCWQIb7svKZg1_XbskgPEdZTZiS3jy3ZG6wq3aVjI94HtHsnsQ-Yyv04to=&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==>

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EMAIL – Personalize Gmail Messages with Mail Merge

[mail merge]

If you've ever sent the same email to a group of people using the CC or BCC option, it can feel impersonal and generic. We know that people are far more apt to open and respond when an email has a personalized greeting or message.

You may have used the Mail Merge feature when creating form letters or labels in Word, but did you know you can use this option when sending email? Mail merge lets you create one email template that has "merge fields" so that each person gets a custom email.

You can do this in Outlook (see how here<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDo9VJlBiL6Ss1MDsqRVTPeCUeA7x77CPZOfnIuLV5Y8g0_7z3Q-oLI3c934hY3GXY0StTWgtcgGQm3DiWx98tStO7iEabWyCu9fuJiatebfWecvBYMkYVoNeBlNhyTCdz_M3fytrwQn9Cntfkyt8U5aZnZRi0djVKAQ==&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==>) AND in Gmail. In this article we'll show you how to use Gmail, along with a custom Google Sheet template, to send personalized emails.

CAUTION: We're talking about sending to many individuals at once in group emails, but be careful as there are sending limits to how many different addresses you can send to per day in Gmail:

·     Free account – you can send up to 100 recipients per day
·     Google Workspace/Apps accounts – up to 1500 recipients per day

TIP: If you email large groups of people on a regular basis, instead of using your personal email platform, you may want to look at email broadcast tools<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDoz6ue4eiBWcQs_q8YTTvdPphEVTNbSiRp0xon5zr_gxaunA0kuY8cnlwzQTyNoH2sepzErKyJrBJmn6uC7tP9fAV4cyyEqEvLJWmnp2Oj2G6C8j0_1Bbz9g8tACCEZrLg6sAWoN6UclSXg0qHFWq2oguyZyjD-LWQyYHjXukM7Dy&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==> designed for large lists like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp.

Mail Merge in Gmail – Using Google Sheets

This process works in both the free account (name at Gmail.com<mailto:name at Gmail.com>) or in Google Apps where you use your own domain (debdavis at Tech-Talk.com<mailto:debdavis at Tech-Talk.com>).

Although there are apps you can use for this process, we discovered a free option right from Google Workspace Developer<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDoz6ue4eiBWcQw6NsNg0R2Ppbw9HJ8liifHdOhw1TRS65X2jwKwBoOihhKLIahAtrd2sV0vvYOS-g8VlsO3wBzWc8xINK3ZYx8DuRAA-owdUAVL3P64AvXCfd3jfjHNCQssa0aioBvQCYBfO5UzWb3Bo=&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==>.

[gmail merge]

There are 3 steps to using mail merge in Gmail

1.  Format a Google Sheet with your mail merge contents (email addresses, first name, other merge items) -- using the template provided.
2.  Create a draft template of your email in Gmail with mail merge markers for the custom text to be added/merged.
3.  Use the custom mail merge function in Google Sheets to send the emails.

Step 1. Create your Mail Merge Google Sheet

First, you need to create a Google Sheet with the data you want to include in the mail merge (first name, email address, etc). The Google Workspace Developer article mentioned above provides a link to a template that is already set up.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can't just start with any blank Google Sheet. In the template provided, script modifications have been added to it so that the mail merge functionality will work.

You can download this specific sheet from this link:

Download the Google Mail Merge Template<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDoz6ue4eiBWcQFX_LHfdbAoA9FXwD9Jz9ltq5oPswh3xcB3lWhRkKJry67g17RdRZgvrSj75cHBVAr_kxOV4UUcNTr4IAnFkMZEuXkTnlpT3-lSAfu3xQswg2WxpL6Q5673tPPh-7NnkIFrchKz_0dKVxwf2_04pZAQxXL44aNXkcgLCA7KRvCfs=&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==>

CAUTION: Make sure you save the Google Sheet in the same Google account as your Gmail. For example, don't save the Google Sheet in a work account and use your personal Gmail address.

The template comes with columns already set up for your data:

1.  First Name
2.  Last Name
3.  Recipient - email address. (Do not rename this column it is part of the special script embedded in the sheet)
4.  Description - a holding place for your custom data
5.  Discount Code - another holding place for your custom code
6.  Discount amount - a third holding place that you can use
7.  Email Sent - keep this column and do not modify it. Your spreadsheet will be updated when the email has been sent. The date and time of the email will appear in this field (the Sent emails don't appear in your Gmail Sent folder as you might expect).

[Google template]

IMPORTANT - Optional Columns (#1,2, 4, 5, 6): You can change the name of the First name, Last name, Description, Discount Code or Discount amount fields to better fit your purpose - or even delete those columns. You can even add more columns. (But you can not make changes to the Recipient (email address) or Email Sent columns in this template.) They are hard-coded into the template to make the mail merge process work.

ROWS: You can add as many rows with your contact info as needed, keeping in mind the daily sending limits.

Step 2. Write Your Draft Email

Go to your Gmail account and compose the content of the email.

·     Add a subject line
·     Compose your message
·     Use a signature block
·     Don't add any email addresses in the "To" field -- these will be merged in from your Google Sheet.
·     You can even add an attachment if appropriate

Then, to add the mail merge fields, go back to your Google Sheet. The exact column names (including any spaces) are the merge fields to be added to your email text -- surrounded by a pair of brackets.

[mail merge fields]

For example, when you write your email, you will use {{First name}} where you want the person’s first name to go. Or {{Description}} for that field.

You can even add a mail merge field in the Subject line. Here's an example.

Subject: {{First name}}, here's your discount code

Once your email template is set up:

1.  COPY the Subject line for the next step.
2.  Then close the email by clicking on the "X" in the upper right corner. Don't worry, it will be saved in your Drafts folder.

Step 3. Merge the Contents of the Sheet and Send Your Email

Go back to your Google Sheet.

·     In the menu, click on Mail Merge and select Send Emails.

[mail merge]

·     A dialog box will open with this warning: A script attached to this document needs your permission to run. Click Continue.

·     NOTE: The first time you use this spreadsheet/app, you may be prompted to choose your Gmail account then follow the prompts to Allow using the app. Once you do this, the window will close out and you'll need to again click Mail Merge then Send Emails from the toolbar.

·     A new box will open where you can either paste in the Subject Line from your email Draft, or type it in. Then click OK.

[mail merge subject line]

·     The email will be sent to the Recipients.

·     The Google Sheet column titled "Email Sent" will be automatically updated with the time and date the email was sent for your records. NOTE: This is your record as the Sent emails won't appear in your Gmail Sent folder.

·     You can delete the Draft email or save it to use again in the future.


Communications: Principle
Ask the people on the front line

"We have a culture where we don't point fingers at our customers (even if it seems it is their problem) ... so we almost didn't discover the root of a costly issue for us.

Our clients weren't sticking to their decision deadlines. As a result, it would push the software development out and throw off our schedule. Profits were going down the drain, big-time.

We didn't want to blame them; it's not what we do. But we did want to solve the problem!

So I personally met with individuals and small groups each month, for over a year, until we found a solution for this issue."

~ W. Bishop, President, Software Development Inc.

"Yes," he says to me as we discuss a communications culture.

"If we’d had a regular process to meet and share ideas, where I could have posed the question to non-management folks … we could all have chatted about it and saved ourselves many months and thousands of dollars.

So now I ask things like, 'Do you perceive XYZ as a problem?' 'What do you suggest we can do about it?'

Strong teams and organizations create an environment where questions are asked, solutions are sought ... from everybody ... because each has unique insight and something to contribute.


What will you say?

One of my friends had a 90th birthday party and as guests, we were asked to come up with one adjective to describe him -- one quality that we especially liked about him.

We were to write the word on a star-shaped post-it and put it up on the wall (or window in this case) so that everyone could see. It was great fun looking at what others had come up with.

Let's do the same thing about leaders.

Tell us one quality<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDoz6ue4eiBWcQRyYG_3L5goszxEHkZFmennGICzRDiBHVXVBdIWIbc-TEO9zcbDv9fHfd5lyb6gexbEAIEadiJwIc848riJt537GVarLGYRvxg8txYLjvnxU4oD6a1PJB0A0TiN8bGovuDtxHedcAbJA=&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==> (an adjective) that you value in leaders. (Next week we'll share the results.)

ONE QUALITY (ADJECTIVE) YOU VALUE IN A LEADER<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDoz6ue4eiBWcQRyYG_3L5goszxEHkZFmennGICzRDiBHVXVBdIWIbc-TEO9zcbDv9fHfd5lyb6gexbEAIEadiJwIc848riJt537GVarLGYRvxg8txYLjvnxU4oD6a1PJB0A0TiN8bGovuDtxHedcAbJA=&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==>


[Ask a question]<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QNt7LVKIdOPJ4-1JlrQSGb6hJEzByoIaW2kO1bWcjWpDPLyb1LIDo79NBCf3mLrcNAQAEG3vvgXx2nRtD4TF7QyHdgzAL9VBy_KXMgYjcpzVGfktsWkvxkjXe2wt4DPKAl45ipYWTPLnGIyJ_21Ju_P-0Om6bdq3quJKoxPNpnI=&c=MRo0rTTPTgV-xcpEwnNmF_A_8r1zG6GCzX5ux2Pe0guz5WSHwEyepA==&ch=4x_VV2750K06IJQWdt_FopxAkNIPcd9Zou5XVXoXYr8uLxKBxTzUtQ==>

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Public Library Consultant / CE Coordinator
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