Gmail Mail Merge: How to Send Personalized Emails (at Scale)

Learn how to do a Gmail mail merge to send bulk personalized emails with the Yet Another Mail Merge (YAMM) and a Google sheet.
Tommy Griffth
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Jun 29, 2023
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8 min. read
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There are a lot of reasons why you would want to send personalized emails in mass with Gmail. The most popular ones include:

  • The ability to send cold personalized bulk emails, that are also customized for the end-user (e.g.: using their first name, using nice templates, and so on);
  • Not having to use BCC or CC;
  • Not have to commit to an email marketing platform if you just want to send out simple plain text outreach emails – or even email newsletters.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to easily send bulk outreach personalized messages using Gmail – so let’s get going.

First, here is a high-level overview of what this video tutorial covers:

  • The goal: To set up a system that will allow you to send bulk outreach emails directly from your Gmail account.
  • The ideal outcome: You will easily send customized first time emails or follow-ups to multiple addresses, which you won’t have to write manually every time.
  • The prerequisites: You need a Gmail inbox and the ability to gather all of your information in a Google Sheet. Also, you need a Google Sheets add-on as well—which you will install during the process, following the steps described in this tutorial.
  • The importance of this action: Outreach emails are very important for several different reasons. You can do this for business development, for example. Also, if you’re not using an email service provider (like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign), you can manually keep your emails in one place and then send emails to your users (I don’t recommend this, but it can work for businesses that are just starting out with their email list).
  • Where this is done: This is done in Gmail and Google Sheets. Just as a side note, in general, using Google Drive and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is one of the best options for your business – it’s free, it’s easy to use, and there’s a Google App for all of your basic business needs (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and so on). Plus, you get the chance to use adjacent free tools which can be extremely helpful – such as in the case of running a Gmail mail merge campaign, for example.
  • When this is done: Anytime you need to send out bulk outreach emails.
  • Who does this: Anyone on your team responsible for emailing a huge number of emails? This could be you, your VA, someone doing backlink outreach on the SEO team, or maybe a sales team reaching out to potential leads.

Get This Entire Walkthrough and All the Resources in This Post

Before you begin: set up your environment

There are a couple of things you will need for this:

  1. A Gmail account. You can set up one here if you haven’t done it already.
  2. Install the Google Sheets add-on called Yet Another Mail Merge.

Note: You can do this on any browser you like but we prefer Google Chrome because it has most of the features for SEO.

Create your Gmail Bulk Outreach Database Sheet

Once you are all set up, you will have to create a database with all of your Google contacts’ information. However you get these email addresses, you should put them in a Google sheet. So, here are the steps to follow for this:

  1. Create a new Google sheet using your Google account;
  2. Name it (in my case, this was “Gmail Bulk Outreach Database”);
  3. Set the columns for your database of email recipients:
  • First Name;
  • Last Name;
  • Email;
  • Phone;
  • Company;
  • Title;
  • Another Piece of Data (something you can use to personalize your emails).

Keep in mind: aside from the “First Name” and the “Email” column, all of the other columns are optional—you can use as much data here as you’d like.

However, you should gather as much information as you can about the contact group you are sending your outreach emails to—it will help you personalize the emails and increase the response rate.

  1. Populate the sheet: it can consist of current customers or information you gathered using a LinkedIn scraping tool, for example.

Enable the “Canned Response” feature in Gmail

Enabling the “Canned Response” feature in Gmail will allow you to create an email message template to use with your outreach campaign, so you don’t have to type them every single time.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Open Gmail;
  2. Click on the little gear icon → settings;
  1. Click on the “Labs” tab;
  1. Type “canned responses” into the search bar;
  1. Click on “Enable”;
  1. Click on “Save changes”.

Write the Email Templates Using Canned Response

Once you have enabled canned responses, you can start writing your mass email templates.

So, here’s how I write canned responses:

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Start writing a Gmail draft just as you would normally, according to the purpose of your outreach email campaign.
  • In my case, I pretended this was a sales email and I’m selling widgets, trying to find the best person to talk to at the company to reach out to and talk about my products. So, my first draft email template was this:
  1. Once you have drafted your email template, you have to replace the variables in it (e.g. the First Name, the Company Name, etc.). To do it, follow these steps:

a) Go to your Gmail Bulk Outreach Database.

b) Copy the column header for the contact’s first name, in my case: “First Name”.

c) Paste it to replace the actual first name in your email.

d) Add double curly brackets at the beginning and end of “First Name”.

e) Repeat this with all the variables in your email template.

  • Keep in mind, these variables are case-sensitive. For instance, in my Google Sheet column names, “First” and “Name” are both capitalized, so I need to use them the same way in my canned response as well (if I typed it in lowercase, this wouldn’t work).
  • Your “Another Piece of Data” can be anything that makes the email sent more personal. For instance, I added “like dogs” to my first entry in the Google Sheet, under the “Another Piece of Data” column. So, at the end of the email template, I added: “By the way, I heard you {{Another Piece of Data}}”.
  • This is how my email looked after replacing all the variables:
  1. Click on the little arrow next to the trash bin in your email.
  1. Click on “Canned Responses” → “New canned response…”.
  1. Enter the name of your new canned response. In my case, this was “Quick Question For You” (the subject line I used for the email template).
  1. Click “OK”.
  2. Check to see if your canned response was correctly added. Open a new email, go to “Canned Responses”, and see if your newly added one is there. Once you click it, the email body should be automatically filled out with your email template text.
  1. Be very, very particular about the email outreach and data privacy laws in your country. These laws change all the time, so it’s always best to talk to a professional in the field about it. For example:

In the United States, there are a couple of things you need to think about before sending out an email outreach campaign:

  • You need to be honest about your email outreach. Do NOT be deceptive about it, and do not make the subject of the emails something entirely different than whatever you’re doing.
  • Include an unsubscribe link to give users a way to opt out easily if they don’t want you to contact them again. You can easily do this with “Yet Another Mail Merge”:
    • Write your “unsubscribe here” text (e.g. “Click here to unsubscribe from these emails”). You can add this at the bottom of your email, for example;
    • Highlight this text;
    • Add a hyperlink to it, linking to “”. In my case, I added this at the end of the message body, right after my signature.
  • Put your actual address in the footer of the email. You can easily just type this out at the bottom of your email, as a signature, maybe with a smaller font, and save it to all of your canned emails.

In the EU, these laws are even more specific, so it is VERY important to check them out and make sure your outreach emails comply with the current legislation.

You don’t need me to tell you that you want all your email campaigns to be sent without errors, content is displayed properly with perfect formatting on all devices, and no broken links. We’ve run into this problem so many times, that we decided to create an email marketing checklist to help you before you press send on your next email marketing campaign.

You can get the email marketing checklist here.

Install Yet Another Mail Merge Add-on

Now that you have your database set up, your merge template email done, and your canned responses are enabled, you should install the actual Google Sheets add-on that helps you send out the outreach emails.

To add it to your Google Sheets, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the sheet you previously created.
  2. Go to Add-ons → “Get add-ons”.
  1. Search for “Yet Another Mail Merge”.
  1. Click the “+Free” blue button.
  1. You will get a pop-up on the screen and you will be asked to authenticate with your email address. Go ahead and do that.
  1. Click on the blue button saying “Allow” to give the add-on the necessary permissions.

Merge the Canned Response Email Template and the Outreach Database

You’re all set up now—all that’s left is to do the actual merge:

  1. Go to your Gmail Bulk Outreach Database sheet;
  2. Click on “Add-ons” in the menu;
  3. Click on “Yet Another Mail Merge”;
  4. Click on “Start Mail Merge”;
  • The free version of “Yet Another Mail” merge will give you a sending limit of 50 emails a day for free. If you pay for it, they will allow you a little bit more. And if you’re using a non-Gmail address (i.e. Google Enterprise), you will be allowed to send even more emails (because you are more trustworthy as a Google Enterprise user).
  1. Leave the “Sender Name” field as it is;
  2. Click the drop-down under “Email Template” and select the template that you wrote;
  1. Leave “Track emails opened, clicked or bounced” checked.
  1. (Optional) Click on “Alias, filters, personalized attachments”. This is where you can change the reply-to address, check if the email unsubscribe link is detected by the add-on, and so on. Once you’re done with all of these, click “Back”.
  1. Click “Receive a test email” to check in a different if everything is in order.
  1. Once you checked and made all the necessary edits, you can hit send.
  • You can also delay the sending of the email by clicking on “Delay delivery” and setting this up.
  1. Click “OK” on the pop-up that will appear on the screen.
  2. A new column will appear in your Google spreadsheet (“Merge status”), as well as a sidebar that will show you basic information about the emails you have just sent out (e.g. how many opened, how many receivers replied, and so on).

That’s it! That’s how you send bulk outreach emails using Gmail! This is an easy method that works very well when you are just starting out and building your email list – use it wisely!

Even More Resources

If you’re JUST getting started with digital marketing, take a look at our digital marketing strategy guide, as well as our email marketing strategy guide.

You may also want to check out our “What is Email Marketing?” walkthrough, as well as the ClickMinded Email Marketing Training Course.


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