When communicating with a large audience, like a full Toastmasters district, an email marketing tool like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact is needed. Often, though, you need to send a small set of personalized emails and those tools are overkill. If your set of emails is to 5 or 6 people.
You could put all 5 or 6 or 20 email addresses in the “To” or “BCC” field. Of course, when that happens most people think, “someone else will answer this email.” By personalizing and sending a single email to each person, you greatly increase the odds of someone responding. To do this, you might just cut & paste your message and then make small changes to it, such as changing out the name of the person you’re emailing. However, if the number of emails your sending begins to grow, there is a tool that fits nicely between cut & paste and MailChimp.
Yet Another Mail Merge (link below) is a free add-on tool (there is also a paid version) that provides for quick and easy email merging from your Gmail account. The free version gives the ability to merge up to 50 emails per day. The paid version, at $24 (US) per year allows up to 400 merged emails per day.
Along with merging your emails, the system also tracks who has opened the email you sent and who has clicked on the links you placed in the email.
In the downloads section, I included a couple of sample emails that I sent out during my District Director year.
Installing Yet Another Mail Merge
YAMM is very easy to use. To start, you need to install the add-on:
- Log into your Gmail account
- Go into Google Sheets and open a new sheet
- Click on the Add-ons menu, click on Get add-ons
- Search for Yet Another Mail Merge and then install it.
Using Yet Another Mail Merge
After that, you’re ready for your first Mail Merge.
- Create a Google Sheet with columns for the email address and other customized information you want to include (name, club name, specific award someone received, etc.)
- Create an email draft in your Gmail account. Don’t include an email address in the “To” field. Include any mail merge fields inside double less-than and greater-than signs. For example <<firstname>> and <<awardearned>>.
- Click the “X” in the upper right corner to close the draft and it will be stored in your Gmail Drafts folder.
- Go back to Google Sheets, open your sheet with the mail merge information, click on the Add-ons menu, then the Yet Another Mail Merge menu item, and then the Start Mail Merge option.
- Once YAMM loads up, select the appropriate draft from the list provided.
- You can either send yourself a test email (this counts against your daily quota and is well worth it) or go ahead and send your emails.