Gmail has been the most widely used email client for some time, but it’s been missing some features…
One thing that I’ve long wished it had was the ability to create newsletter-like emails. Another is the ability to send 1 email to many people, but to have it appear to each one as an individual email. Of course, there are workarounds for both of these things: formatting the email elsewhere and bringing it into gmail… using mail merges to send 1 email to many people… using BCC… but now, you can do some of that stuff natively in gmail.
They’ve added new marketing tools.
First off, you can now access a variety of templates that include buttons, images, and text elements. Then, you can customize and personalize those layouts with new colors, images, and more. So, that covers that first issue I was talking about. Fancy formatted emails built right in gmail.
The other update is the ability to multi-send emails.
Now, no need to send a BCC to all recipients! By using Multi-Send mode, each recipient gets a separate copy of the email AND it includes an unsubscribe link. These are both great news. The not-so-great news is the availability. Google Workspace for Education Standard and Plus users HAVE these features, while Education Fundamentals and Teaching & Learning Upgrade users do NOT have these features.
Once again though, I’m puzzled by this availability. Education Fundamentals is the free version, so I get why those accounts don’t have it.
Education Standard and Plus accounts are pretty pricy – $3 per student per year for Standard, and $5 per student per year for Plus. So I get why they DO get this feature. What I don’t like though: why don’t Education Teaching & Learning accounts get these features? They are per-staff member accounts that cost $4 per staff member per month. At $48 a year, why would they not get this feature? I know that’s less money than paying $3 of $5 per student per year… but it sure would be nice to give that feature to those Teaching and Learning Upgrade teachers.
A few months after rolling out the Multi-Send feature, Google then kicked it up a notch with personalization Merge tags.
In big email service providers like MailChimp, Constant Contact, BirdSend, and others you can add merge tags to fill in peoples’ first names in your greetings and such. Now you can do that in the Gmail multi-send option IF you are on Google Workspace for Education Plus. So, Education Fundamentals and Education Teaching and Learning Upgrade teachers, you can’t send multi-send emails, so this is no surprise. Education Standard users, though, you can send multi-send emails, but you cannot add this personalization is.
Those of you on Plus, you can now add @firstname, @lastname, @fullname, and @email into your multi-send emails so they look a little less like they were part of a multi-send campaign. You’ll also be able to have a preview email sent to you to make sure the tags are functioning correctly. To fill in those it’ll use the information from in your Google contacts to determine what to fill in there, so you may want to double-check what you’ve got in there.
Here’s a weird part – if you don’t have the recipients in your contacts or if you just don’t have their first name and last name filled in, Gmail will try to guess what to put in there! For the most part, this should work, because gmail will know the info for other gmail addresses. But can you imagine emailing JakeMillerTech@gmail.com and having it guess my last name was Tech or my first name was Jack? Embarrassing.
So, make sure you have accurate contacts for any multi-send recipients if you plan to use this new feature. Just head to contacts.google.com to do that.
And, a reminder, while Plus and Standard users can send multi-send emails, only Plus emails can use these merge tags.