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New Gmail mail merge: Gmail multi-send mode

New Gmail mail merge: Gmail multi-send mode

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Google introduced its Gmail multi-send mode for sending mail merges in Gmail in Q4 of 2022.

At launch, multi-send mode didn’t originally allow you to add variables from Gmail’s mail merge feature, but you can now add a limited number of variables to personalize the message sent to each recipient. 

While this feature allows you to send a mass email right from your Gmail inbox, its fairly limited feature set may leave you wanting more.

Below, we’ll break down exactly what Gmail’s multi-send mode can (and can’t…) do. Since we also offer a free mail merge tool in Gmail, we’ll look at how it compares to Streak’s mail merge feature.

Send mass emails individually with Gmail’s multi-send mode

The main benefits of Gmail’s multi-send mode are that you can create email lists in your Google Contacts and send a mass email to each person individually. With light personalization, you can include each person’s name in the body of the email. 

An email draft using Gmail multi-send mode

Pros: simple way to send a basic mail merge in Gmail

Gmail’s native tool to send a mail merge has some advantages for basic use cases. 

Mass email in Gmail

The most obvious benefit of Gmail’s multi-send mode and mail merge features are that you can send a mass email from your Gmail account without any additional apps, tools, or subscriptions. 

Each recipient gets a separate copy of the email, including any personalization, and won’t see that the email was sent to other people. 

Mailing lists in Google Contacts

Gmail’s multi-send mode allows you to create mailing lists in Google Contacts to easily manage email segments and add recipients to your mail merges in Gmail.

Google contacts list

Once your Google Contacts are added to a list, begin typing the name of the label into the recipients field to add all contacts. The ease of use makes it quick and simple to create mail merges in Gmail.

Adding recipients to Gmail multi-send mode

1,500 send limit for Google Workspace accounts

If you use a Google Workspace account, Gmail has a daily sending limit of 1,500 emails per rolling 24-hour period for messages sent with multi-send mode. Keep in mind that this factors into the total daily sending limit of 2,000 messages per rolling 24-hour period.

For many Google Workspace users, this should be an ample amount of messages to send daily, but you’ll need to find a more robust email marketing tool if you’re looking to send upwards of 1,500 messages a day. 

However, Gmail doesn’t have a quota view to check your current status, so this can be hard to keep track of if you’re nearing the daily sending limit. 

Unsubscribe link

When you compose an email using Gmail’s multi-send mode, Gmail automatically includes an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of the draft. As you’d expect, recipients can use this link to unsubscribe from your emails - a common feature that helps you reduce spam mail and improve email deliverability.

According to Google, “You’ll get an email notification whenever a recipient unsubscribes or resubscribes to your emails but you can’t get a list of all unsubscribed recipients.” The next time you send a multi-send email in Gmail, you’ll see how many people from your recipients list have unsubscribed, meaning they won’t receive the email.

Cons: Limited personalization and functionality make Gmail’s multi-send mode too lightweight for many use cases

While Gmail’s multi-send mode offers a simple way to send a mail merge, its limited feature-set and very basic UI won’t meet many email outreach needs or help optimize your outreach to increase engagement. 

No automatic follow-up messages

Typically when we send a mass email to a group of people, we’re looking for some type of engagement; often a response or an event scheduled. 

As we all know, this doesn’t always happen on the first try. Instead, you’ll often need to follow up with your contact to catch them at the right time and get the desired response. 

Gmail’s multi-send mode is effective for sending one-off messages, but doesn’t include a mail merge follow-up feature that allows you to optimize your response rate. 

Limited variables for mail merge personalization

While the addition of mail merge features like variables improves the functionality of Gmail’s multi-send mode, the variables available for use are extremely limited. 

Adding variables in Gmail multi-send mode

In fact, they only include the recipient’s name and email address. Of course, using your contact’s name is a great improvement over starting your message with “Hey friend!”, but this level of personalization has come to be expected for most email marketing outreach. 

When compared to other mail merge tools that allow you to use an endless list of variables in your messages, the limited number of variables can be a major limiting factor to the success of your email marketing and outreach campaigns. 

A Streak mail merge draft with unlimited variables

For example, Streak allows you to use any of the data in your CRM as a variable in your mail merge. That means you can use data from any of your pipeline columns or contact and organization fields. You can also upload a list of mail merge recipients with a CSV file and use any of the data in your spreadsheet columns as variables.

The result is a much more personalized message that allows you to connect better with your recipients and improve your email marketing KPIs.

No variables in email subject line

While Gmail’s multi-send mode allows you to include limited variables in the email body, you won’t be able to put one in your subject line.

Personalizing your subject line can increase open rates by 20%, so the lack of this feature means you could be missing out on connecting with your audience. 

Of course, there are still other ways to write great subject lines that increase open rates and conversions even without personalizing your subject line.

One-off mass emails don’t become part of your workflow

There are many use cases for multi-send or mail merge emails. They’re useful as newsletters, outreach to new contacts and leads, regular check-ins, and sharing or requesting for information. 

Much of this email activity is repeatable. For example, every morning a sales rep will reach out to new leads and after a few days of inactivity, they’ll send a follow-up message.

With Gmail’s multi-send feature, each email is a one-off mail merge that can’t be reused or repeated. That means every morning, the sales rep has to create a new draft, add recipients, insert variables, and test the message before hitting send.

Other mail merge tools, like Streak’s mail merge, allow you to keep the mail merge running and add new recipients. That means you can create a “New lead outreach” mail merge and each morning, add your new leads to the email campaign. 

No performance data and insights

Sending mass emails from your Gmail account can help you reach hundreds or thousands of contacts efficiently, but without performance data it’s hard to improve your email open rates and conversions. 

Gmail doesn’t provide any data on open rates, link clicks, or even a clear way to see your response rate with their multi-send mode. This makes it impossible to A/B test or iterate on your email copy and CTAs. 

Very basic UI

Gmail’s multi-send mode has a very approachable UI that makes it a breeze to send mass emails to an email list. 

However, their limited interface is less robust when it comes to viewing your recipients list, previewing how variables will appear for each recipient, and handling errors with variables. 

When to use Gmail’s multi-send mode vs. Streak’s mail merge

Each tool offers a way to send a mass email in Gmail and there are certain scenarios where each one may be helpful in your workflow. 

Gmail multi-send mode

Gmail’s multi-send mode is an excellent lightweight option for people looking to send the same email to a group of people in their Google Contacts lists. Newsletters and other messages that don’t need to be highly-personalized work well with multi-send mode, provided you don’t need engagement and conversion data. 

Streak mail merge

Streak mail merge with automatic follow-up sequences

For those looking for a more personalized mass email, performance data, and more control over the editing process and user interface, Streak’s mail merge offers a solution right inside Gmail. 

The Streak mail merge list with email data for views, clicks, and replies

Streak’s mail merge in Gmail offers: 

  • Unlimited number of variables that can be included in the email body and subject line
  • Automatic follow-up sequences to increase responses and engagement
  • Reusable mail merges that become a part of your ongoing workflow process
  • Performance and engagement data to help you A/B test and optimize your campaigns
  • Message previews and more control in the editing process

Try Streak’s mail merge for free to start sending mass emails with automatic follow-up in Gmail today.

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