There may be situations when you want to send the same email message to multiple people at once. Sending the same message to a handful of contacts is easy, just separate all the email addresses with a comma in the To: box. Gmail users can get this done in a few seconds without having to remember the email address of the recipients. Just type the first few letters of the recipient’s first name and the email address automatically appears in the To: box. This is shown in the following example:
However, if you regularly send bulk emails to the same set of people, you may want to use contact lists in Gmail.
Let’s say you work for a media company and have to regularly email reporters, writers and other employees regarding upcoming schedules, meetings and conferences. It would be better if you can create different contact lists and use these contact lists for sending bulk emails.
Advantages of Using Gmail Contact Lists
There are two advantages of using Gmail contact lists over the manual method. First, you don’t need to remember the email addresses or the names of each and every recipient. Second, you can download all the contact list information as a CSV file and import it in other email applications e.g Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Windows Live mail and so on.
Should you want to abandon your current email address and use a different one, you can simply download all the contact lists and import them into the new email account. No need to email each and every person saying “Hey! I have changed my email address. This is the new one, kindly update your address book”.
How to Create Contact Lists in Gmail
Recently, Gmail introduced the ability to create contact lists for sending bulk email messages. Following are the steps involved to create contacts lists in Gmail:
1. Login to your Gmail account and click Contacts at the left top of the browser window.
2. This will open the Gmail contact manager which is comprised of names and email addresses of the people with whom you have interacted at least once (in the past).
3. You will notice that next to each row in the contact manager, there is a small selection checkbox. Using this checkbox, you can select a contact and then add him/her to a contact group.
Select the desired contacts and then hit the Groups drop down menu, as shown below:
4. When you hit the Groups button, you will notice a Create link at the bottom of the menu. Click the Create new group link.
5. On clicking the Create New group link, an overlay browser window will appear where you can enter a name for the contact group. Enter any relevant name of your choice and then hit the OK button.
That’s it, you have just created a fresh new Gmail group and can use this group to send a common message to all the members of the group.
Similarly, you can create as many groups as you want. Gmail imposes no restriction on the number of groups you may want to create.
However, it’s advised to create email groups only when they are necessary, this will keep your lists manageable and improve productivity at work.
How to Work With Gmail Contact Groups
When you are done creating contact groups, you will find them listed in the left sidebar as shown below:
When you want to send the same email message to all the members of a Gmail contact group, hit the Compose mail button and type the first few characters of the group’s name. Gmail will automatically highlight the group name, as shown below:
Hit the return key and the email addresses of all the group members are added to the To: text box automatically. Write your message and then hit Send. Now isn’t that easy?
Overall, Gmail contact groups can be a lifesaver when you have to deal with the same set of contacts repeatedly. No need to remember email addresses, first names or last names – simply dump everyone in a contact group and send bulk emails in no time. Give this a try !