We all know Gmail is great for sending emails to individual contacts but how does it fare when it comes to sending to large numbers? In this article, we show you how to send mass email with Gmail and explain why’re better off using a dedicated email blast service.
Mass email, also known as bulk email, refers to the sending of promotional email campaigns to a large list of contacts (customers, subscribers, leads, etc.) to achieve a specific goal, such as to promote a product or communicate important information.
Mass emails are best managed with a dedicated software solution known as an email marketing service. Naturally, in an effort to cut costs, you might hear small business owners asking:
“Wait, can’t I just use Gmail to send mass email campaigns?”
Technically, yes, you can send mass email with Gmail. However, as it’s not specifically designed for this purpose, you need to be aware of it limits.
This article will do three things:
- Teach you one easy way to send mass email with Gmail
- Explain why Gmail isn’t suited to sending mass emails
- Introduce you to a better alternative
Let’s get started!
How to send mass email with Gmail
For this method, you will need to use both Gmail and Google Drive.
- Open a new Google Doc and write your email
- Open a Google Sheet (spreadsheet)
- Click on Add-ons and then Get add-ons
- Search for Yet Another Mail Merge and download it for free:
- Back on the spreadsheet, select Add-ons > Yet Another Mail Merge > Start Mail Merge
- Choose whether to import your contacts directly via Gmail or add email addresses manually
- Fill out the sender’s name and select your email draft (the first Doc you opened)
- Click Send X emails (according to the number of emails you have left to send that day)
Why sending mass email with Gmail is a BAD idea
Gmail is great for sending emails to individual contacts but, as you’re about to learn, not so great for sending to a large group of contacts.
If you’re looking to grow your business through email marketing, we suggest you avoid using Gmail for mass email. Sure, it might save you a bit of money to begin with, but in the long run your progress will be hindered because of these limitations:
You can’t send more than 500 emails per day with Gmail
Gmail limits the number of emails you can send and receive within a 24-hour time frame to 500. The number of recipients is also limited to 500.
For any business with a large subscriber list, the 500 limit gets used up quickly. You may end up having to separate lists and spread campaigns over several days. Obviously, this wouldn’t be very efficient.
Once you hit the limit, you have to wait a full 24 hours before you can resume sending emails from the account. When there are other important emails to be sent, this quickly becomes a major inconvenience.
Gmail has strict sender guidelines when it comes to mass email. Google will temporarily disable your account if your emails have been marked as spam or if you’ve sent a large number of undeliverable messages to invalid email addresses.
If your sender address ends in @gmail.com, there’s a high chance that your email will never make it to the inbox. Webmail providers are designed for personal use so when a mass email is sent from one of them, it quickly gets flagged as suspicious.
It’s best to have a sender address that uses your domain name because using an @gmail.com address for business purposes doesn’t look professional.
Limited design capabilities
Capturing a reader’s attention and making calls-to-action stand out with Gmail’s text-based emails is a struggle. If you want to add graphics, colors, or branding elements to your Gmail emails you have to rely on add-ons or Chrome extensions.
Email marketing today has developed itself to a very high standard in terms of design (if you don’t believe us just check out these email examples). A text-only marketing email is likely to have little impact on your audience.
If you want to compete with the best, you need tools that are optimized for email design.
Why you should invest in an email marketing service
Gmail simply isn’t made for mass email. To be able to send marketing emails to large volumes of contacts in an efficient way, you need a dedicated bulk email service like Sendinblue.
You see, this type of software gives you access to a number of important features that Gmail just doesn’t have.
Below we’ve listed 5 reasons to invest in a professional email marketing service to manage your mass email campaigns.
To find the one that’s best suited to your needs check out our email marketing services comparison guide.
Deliverability refers to the ability of an email to land in a recipient’s inbox and not be sent to the junk mail folder by spam filters.
Deliverability is the most important factor to be taken into account when sending mass emails. Between misspelled and expired addresses (tip: avoid these by using a double opt-in process), and anti-spam filters, your email has to overcome numerous obstacles to make it to the inbox.
Sendinblue and most other email marketing services put new users through rigorous authentication processes (to ensure they don’t get classified as spammers) and even offer additional services to protect sender reputation, such as dedicated IP addresses.
Because email marketing services are specifically designed for mass emails, this will increase your deliverability.
Further reading: 11 Best Practices to Improve Email Deliverability
An email limit that matches your needs
With Gmail you can either send 500 emails per day or one email to 500 different recipients.
If your subscriber list contains more than 500 addresses, then you’re going to have to carry out campaigns over several days.
Maybe you don’t have anywhere near 500 contacts right now. That’s ok, but if you have your sights fixed on business growth, then this is definitely something to take into account for the future.
To overcome this, you can subscribe to an email platform with an email limit that meets your needs and budget.
Once you’ve sent a mass email campaign, you’ll want to know if it was delivered, how many people opened it, and clicked on links, etc.
Measuring performance is a fundamental aspect of your email marketing strategy. You need to be able to measure the impact and results of your actions in order to track your progress or even compare yourself to other players in your industry.
Gmail doesn’t offer reporting features but an email marketing service will give you all the essential email metrics such as open rate, click rate, bounce rate, delivery rate, unsubscribe rate, and more.
To give you an idea of how such analytics might be presented, here’s a look at the Sendinblue reporting dashboard:
The GDPR is an EU legislation that imposes a number of rules concerning how a person’s data is used and collected. This includes email addresses.
Before sending B2C marketing emails, you need to have received an individual’s express permission to do so through a process known as an ‘opt-in’. You also need to include an unsubscribe option in all your marketing emails.
Now if you were sending a mass email with Gmail, you’d have to manually check that everyone on your list has opted in and that all unsubscribes have been removed. That would take a lot of time and one small error could have you breaking the law.
Sendinblue is equipped with a number of features that ensure you stay GDPR-compliant such as subscription forms to acquire consent and unsubscribe links in all emails. Additionally, any unsubscribes and hard bounces are automatically removed from your contact lists.
Having an email marketing service that’s optimized for GDPR best practices will save you a lot of time and worry.
Create attractive and engaging emails
Having a sleek and professional email design will build trust in your brand.
A good email marketing service is equipped with features to aid email design. Most provide responsive email templates and easy-to-use email editors so you can promote your brand with beautifully designed emails – without having to hire a graphic designer or spend hours coding. (And if not, then there are lots of free template resources waiting for you online!)
Inserting images, adding buttons that redirect to web pages, ensuring emails display correctly on mobile devices – it’s functionalities like these that can drastically improve your email marketing results. You won’t find them in Gmail though.
Manage your mass emails with Sendinblue
So now you know: just because you can send mass email with Gmail doesn’t mean you should.
In fact, we strongly recommend that you don’t. 🙂
Having an email marketing solution that’s optimized for mass emails will make your campaigns will look better, have higher deliverability and yield better overall results.
Sendinblue’s email marketing platform gives you all you need to create and manage your mass emails, however big or small your budget. Check out our full range of pricing plans here.
Further reading: How to Create a Bulk Email Marketing Campaign: An Unabridged Guide
Content Marketing Specialist @ Sendinblue. A Modern Languages graduate turned B2B tech marketer, I’m on a mission to bring helpful digital marketing tips and advice to SMBs. Interests include startups, Gaelic football, and good French wine. 😉