Yesterday I tested a new algorithm we just wrote that intelligently determines someone’s first name from just their email address. The algorithm is purely an analysis of the email address characters and doesn’t query any APIs that provide demographic data on email addresses.

I ran my test on an actual campaign to GMass users announcing a couple new features (but not the first-name detection feature). Here’s a screen shot from my Sent Mail of my own Gmail account (click the image to see it bigger):

The green rows indicate rows where the first name was correctly determined, while the red ones indicate an incorrect guess.

As the above screen shot shows, the algorithm guessed the recipient’s first name in most cases. Only 5 out of this sampling of 50 produced an incorrect guess, and the unmarked rows are ones where the first name was impossible to guess because it wasn’t present in the email address.

Over the coming days, I’m going to fine-tune the algorithm and then make it available to all GMass users.

Powerful Mail Merge Tool Works for Small Businesses, Students, Everyone!

GMass is a new email marketing extension that works with any Gmail account. It was designed by a talented programmer and email expert who wanted to something with email marketing that was different than all the other programs, something that would get real results for users.

Many people have a negative feeling about email marketing because of one word: spam. A survey asking people what they hate the most put spam in third place after robo-calls and traffic.

GMass is geared toward sending targeted e-mail designed to reach people with a personal message about a business, event, or personal message. While it is designed to send large numbers of email messages at the same time, we encourage our users to use personal greetings and include an opt-out button so people can stop receiving messages if they choose.

We asked some of our regular users why GMass works for them, and we received a wide range of responses.

A Student from Berkeley, California told us he loves GMass because it’s fast and easy to set up a campaign, and he gets great response. “I use GMass for communicating with all the members of a club I organized,” business student Fred told us. “I love being able to build my list of members in Excel, then I just add it to my personalized message, and push send.”
Fred uses tracking to see who responds and he loves being able to follow up quickly and easily.

Linda, a florist in Chicago uses GMass to tell customers what flowers and plants are in season, and to offer discounts on seasonal plants. “Every customer who comes in to my shop is invited to fill out a card for a chance to win a dozen roses,” Linda told us. “Who doesn’t love roses?” People write down their email address and then Linda adds them to her customer list. “I make my messages very personal, with tips on how to keep their homes bright with flowers even in the dead of winter, and I get great feedback. People love it.” Linda has built her customer email list from 24 to over 1200 in just two years. “There is no doubt that email marketing has boosted my business.”

The travel agent business is a tough one these days, with most travelers using the Internet to book their trips. But Arlene, a travel agent in Boca Raton, Florida knows that many people still like the personal touch of a travel professional. “I respect my customer’s time and their privacy,” said Arleen. “I ask them upfront if they will permit me to send them occasional emails about really special packages that I become aware of,” and if they opt out of my monthly campaigns, I delete them from my list, but that rarely happens.”

A pastor in Mobil, Alabama uses GMass to deliver his monthly newsletter to recipients and he loves it because it’s easy to quickly set up a new massage and easy to merge with his congregation list. “I’m not a very technical person, so I need something that’s easy to use,” he told us recently. “I like the fact that the mails are personalized and come right from my personal email address. People like that.”


GMass is rated ★★★★★ on the Chrome Web Store

GMass is easy to install, easy to use, and is getting rave reviews from users across the country and around the world. A YouTube video shows you how to get started, and the GMass website and Twitter account keep you up-to-date with the latest features.

I just launched a GMass enhancement that I’ve been needing for my own purposes for a while — the ability to easily load a Subject and Message into the Gmail Compose window from a previous mail merge campaign, without having to copy/paste.

Choose Your Content

In the GMass Settings box, you’ll notice a new “Load Content” dropdown. All of your past campaigns will appear here. Just choose one, and watch the magic happen. The Subject/Message will be filled out for you.

The Subject/Message have been pulled from a previous email campaign.
In this example, I’m loading the content from the last GMass feature announcement, regarding CSV reports. The content is pulled straight from your own Gmail account. Note that a couple weeks ago, GMass started saving all of your sent email campaigns under the “Sent Copies” Label under “GMass Reports”. When you choose an old campaign from this dropdown, the content is pulled from that “Sent Copies” area.
Don’t see the “Load Content” dropdown?
Just reload Gmail in Chrome and GMass will be automatically updated.

Today we launched a new feature that allows G Suite (formerly called Google Apps) users of a single organization to use the unsubscribe and bounce lists of each user in the organization. This eases the pain felt by multi-user organizations where if a particular recipient unsubscribes to one user, that recipient may get angry if he then gets another email from a different user in the same company, since GMass Unsubscribe lists are particular to each G Suite account.

For example, your organization has the following five users:

ben@company.com
joe@company.com
sarah@company.com
kim@company.com
matt@company.com

All five are using GMass, and there may be some email addresses that are common to a couple of the users. Let’s say ben@company.com and joe@company.com both send emails to leads and therefore sometimes send to recipients in common with each other.

Normally, if a recipient unsubscribes from ben@company.com’s emailings, the recipient could still potentially receive emails from joe@company.com. With the Global Unsubscribe feature turned on for company.com, the subscriber would not receive emails from joe@company.com or any other user @company.com. The unsubscribe list for each user would be used to suppress addresses for every user in the organization.

Similarly, you may also want to turn on Global Bounce suppression. If a particular email address bounces for ben@company.com, then it benefits joe@company.com from an email deliverability perspective to avoid sending to the same invalid email address. Normally, an attempt by joe@company.com to send to that address would result in a send and then a bounce. With Global Bounces activated, the attempted send to that address by joe@company.com would be suppressed by GMass.

How to turn ON Global Unsubscribes for your Domain

  1. Click Compose to launch a new window.
  2. Set the To field to globalunsubs@gmass.co.
  3. Set the Subject to the word on. (If you change your mind later, repeat this procedure, but with the word off.)
  4. Leave the Message blank.
  5. Hit the GMass button. Do not hit the Send button.

How to turn ON Global Bounces for your Domain

  1. Click Compose to launch a new window.
  2. Set the To field to globalbounces@gmass.co.
  3. Set the Subject to the word on. (If you change your mind later, repeat this procedure, but with the word off.)
  4. Leave the Message blank.
  5. Hit the GMass button. Do not hit the Send button.

We just eliminated the fear of sending an email marketing campaign.

Afraid that personalization won’t work? Afraid your tracked links won’t work? Afraid the unsubscribe link won’t work? Afraid the images won’t show? Fear no more!

We just launched a new capability that allows you to create all of your emails as Drafts first, and then after you’ve reviewed them to make sure they look okay, you can send them with one click.

How to use

GMass has always had the ability to Just create Drafts rather than send actual emails. The setting is in the settings box next to the main GMass button:


Until now, however, there was no way to do anything with those Drafts. You could open up each Draft and hit the Send button manually, but that is a time-consuming process. If you didn’t want to send the Drafts, and instead wanted to delete them, then you would have to select all the Drafts, and click the Gmail Trash icon to remove them, and then go to the next page and repeat the process.

Now, after GMass creates your Drafts, you can either SEND them if they look how you want, or DELETE them if you wish to start over. Either option requires simply clicking a link that GMass will send you after your Drafts are created.

First, review the Drafts to make sure you approve:

Here’s the email you will get if you choose the Just create Drafts option when using GMass. You can choose to SEND the Drafts or DELETE them if you made a mistake:

Clicking the link to SEND will take you to this page:

From here just click the button to confirm, and within a few minutes, all of your Drafts will send.

Should you use the GMass link to send the Drafts, or can you open them up and send them on your own?

The best practice is to use the GMass-generated link to send your Drafts. While you could open up each Draft individually and hit the regular Gmail Send button, that would prevent GMass from recording that each Draft has been sent. That would also prevent GMass from being able to track certain metrics on the email, like detecting if the recipient replied, which would have repercussions if you’re also using auto follow-up emails based on replies.

Whatever you do, do not open up each draft and click the GMass button. Since the Drafts were already created by GMass, they already have open tracking, click tracking, and other attributes incorporated into them, if those options were chosen. If you click the GMass button on each individual Draft to send it, then not only will they be double open and click tracked, but then each individual recipient email will be treated as a separate email campaign, which will muddle your Reports with extraneous and meaningless data.

Technical Details for High Volume Senders

  1. If you enter a value for Schedule when other than Now and select Just create Drafts, then the schedule will be honored and your Drafts won’t be created until the specified time.
  2. When you send normally, without choosing Just create Drafts, GMass employs a number of tactics to distribute large campaigns over multiple days and prevent your account from sending beyond its allowed limits. These same tactics apply when you choose Just create Drafts. Only the allowed number of Drafts will be created,  based on how many emails you’ve sent in the last 24 hours, while the rest will be scheduled for creation on subsequent days.
  3. When you click the SEND THESE DRAFTS NOW button, all Drafts for the campaign, regardless of number or schedule, will attempt to send. For example, if you initiate a campaign to 3,600 recipients from a G Suite account, and you set it to distribute 1,800 emails/day, then 1,800 Drafts will be created the first day and 1,800 Drafts will be created the second day. If you don’t click the SEND THESE DRAFTS NOW button between the first and the second  day, and only click it after the second day, GMass will attempt to send all 3,600 Drafts, and this will result in you exceeding your Gmail account limits.
A couple weeks ago we started pushing new campaign reports to the [CAMPAIGNS] Label under the “GMass Reports” Label in your Gmail account. Yesterday, we enhanced that report to include download links next to all major metrics. Now, along with seeing how many people opened, clicked, replied, bounced, and unsubscribed, you can now click the “download” link to see exactly who took each action. You even get a detailed breakdown of who clicked on what URL, if you turned on the option to track clicks in your campaign.

This is useful if you want to sync mail merge campaign data back to a CRM system like Salesforce.com or an internal database.

Here’s a sample of a campaign I recently sent out to promote a new GMass feature:

We just deployed a bug fix that corrects an issue where you would receive an error when connecting GMass to certain Google Docs spreadsheets where an email address had more than 100 characters.

This would be the case if your spreadsheet’s email address column accidentally had text that wasn’t an email address or had multiple email addresses in it. If GMass detected a row in the email address column with text greater than 100 characters, you would get this “entity validation” error:

We have corrected this now by truncating the value of any email address to the first 100 characters. That way, GMass will still connect to a spreadsheet with a “bad” row and pull your email addresses and other fields, but any rows containing an email address value of more than 100 characters will be discarded in the actual sending process, since these addresses will likely be invalid.

Here is an example spreadsheet with an invalid value in the email address column. In this case, the 4th row would be truncated, resulting in an invalid address, and none of the addresses in that row would be sent to.

Note that other non-email address columns may still have values greater than 100 characters. For example, if you have a “Greeting” column, where the column stores a customized greeting sentence that is personalized to each email address, then this sentence can certainly be greater than 100 characters.

Also note that GMass auto-detects which column stores your email addresses versus columns that contain other data (like Greeting, FirstName, LastName, etc.). You won’t need to tell GMass which column in your spreadsheet contains the email addresses to send to. Also, the column need not be named “EmailAddress” as shown in the example — it can be named anything.

Want to see a record of what you sent and to whom? Want to copy/paste the content of a previous email marketing campaign into a new campaign?

Now you can!

All mass emails sent from GMass are now archived under the “Sent Copies” Label under “GMass Reports”. Each archived message will show the original Subject/Message of your mail merge campaign and include the addresses in the To field. You can use the “Sent Copies” area to easily review past emails and to copy/paste a previous email marketing campaigns into a new campaign with additional email addresses.

What is not stored here?

GMass will not store your test emails (emails sent with the “Send Test Email” button) here. Also, if you reply to an email and click the GMass button, the reply won’t be stored here. Only actual broadcast email campaigns where you click the GMass button are stored here.

 
When will a campaign show up here?
A campaign only shows here after it has begun sending. For example, if you schedule an email campaign to send tomorrow morning, the campaign won’t show under “Sent Copies” until tomorrow morning.

How can you use this area?

You can copy the Subject/Message of campaigns from here and paste into a new Compose window to re-send a previous campaign to new recipients.

Why has the From Address been changed from your actual address to GMass_Sent_Copy@gmass.co?

We did this to differentiate between the individual emails that were actually sent versus the messages that show here, which are just a record of the content you’ve sent and to whom.

What’s the difference between this “Sent Copies” area and Gmail’s “Sent Mail” folder?

The difference is that the original email campaign is stored here as a “template”, meaning the content of the email before links are tracked, before open tracking is added, and before personalization is added. If you look in your Gmail “Sent Mail” folder, you will find the individual emails that were sent to the individual email recipients, and those copies show the detail of the tracked links, personalization, and other changes that are custom to that recipient. If you wish to use an old message for a new campaign, you should copy/paste from this area, NOT the Gmail “Sent Mail” folder, since there you will find the individual emails which have been customized for each individual recipient.

Note that in this area, your campaigns are stored with all of your recipient addresses in the To field. But do not fear, because that is not how the emails were actually sent. The emails were sent out individually, and your email list has not been exposed to your recipients.

Email Marketing Remains the Best Channel to Reach Customers – if it’s Done Right
You look at your email inbox, and there are 8 unread messages. Four look like spam, three are from companies you do business with, and one is from a friend. Which one gets opened first?
Pretty easy choice.
An old adage says “people do business with people they like,” and another of my favorites is “people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Make your customers feel good!
So, here are a few tips to help your emails get opened, read, and then hopefully converted to sales.

General Tips
1.     Don’t waste people’s time. Never send an email unless it will benefit the reader. Offer something – a discount, a freebie, even a tip that might help make them healthy, wealthy or wise.
2.    Use your name as the “from” address – it’s more personal than a company name and most people appreciate that.
3.   Personalize the email with the recipient’s first name. “Dear Bob” is better than “Mr. Smith” but don’t overdo the name in the content of the message. You don’t want to come across as creepy.
4.     Respect your reader’s time and intelligence. Keep it short, to the point, and friendly.

Subject Lines
Again, keep it short, and be different. I sent out a campaign once with the subject line “You’ll be Happy if You Open This.” It worked! Hillary Clinton once sent out an email blast inviting people to attend a $500-a-plate fundraiser and her subject line was “Lunch?” It was very successful.

Experiment, and track results.


Content
It’s a good idea to start by stating the purpose of the mail, then write 3-4 bullet points and a summation. Include a call to action, and always, always, always thank the customer!

GMass
If you’re using GMass you probably already know that personalizing is easy with the mail-merge function, and you can see who opens the emails with Tracking and then follow-up with Automatic Reply Management. We are always adding new features and functionality.

We get the message to the reader, it’s up to you after that!