In the last few days, we’ve noticed an increase in the number or errors returned to GMass by the Gmail API. The Gmail API is the interface by which GMass connects to your Gmail account and sends email messages through your Gmail account. When the Gmail API spits back an error, it is usually temporary and intermittent and errors received during campaign sending can be overcome by resending your email to just the recipients that resulted in errors in the first place.

These errors are taking place on Google’s servers and are not indicative of anything being wrong with GMass.

Usually you will notice errors in the form of a “backend error” from the Gmail API and you will see these in the email confirmation that you get after a campaign finishes sending. You might see:

Google.Apis.Requests.RequestError
Backend Error [500]
Errors [
        Message[Backend Error] Location[ – ] Reason[backendError] Domain[global]
]

listed under the Individual Recipient Send Errors of the email confirmation.

If you see that your mail merge campaign resulted in these errors, you can resend your campaign to just the email addresses that didn’t receive it because of this error.

The GMass team is working on a way to automatically re-try sending these emails, but for now, you can follow the instructions below to manually resend your campaign to the errored addresses.

Using the GMass manual follow-up tool, doing so is just a matter of a few clicks.

1. Click the red @ button near the Gmail Search bar. This is the manual follow-up tool.

2. Choose the campaign from the dropdown that experienced the blocking.

3. Under Behaviors, choose Gmail API Errors.

4. Next click the main COMPOSE FOLLOW-UP button.

5. A Gmail Compose window will launch and the To field will be filled with the addresses you want to send to, the addresses that previously blocked your campaign.

6. Next load up the content of your campaign by clicking the GMass Settings arrow and choosing your original campaign from the Load Content dropdown. Your Subject and Message will be set.

7. Lastly, ensure all other GMass Settings are how they should be, such as Tracking of opens and clicks, and make sure the Schedule is set to the desired time of sending.

8. Finally, hit the red GMass button to send. Your campaign will now go to the email addresses that errored out the first time.

GMass, the ultimate email marketing tool for Gmail, offers lots of mail merge personalization options, from simple mail-merge personalization to fallback values and even automatic first name detection. Sometimes, you may need to get a little more sophisticated and include a personalized link or URL for each recipient of your email marketing campaign.

The best practice for including a personalized URL is to include the full URL, with personalization in place, or an HTML code snippet of the link, as a column in your Google Docs spreadsheet.

Raw URL Example

Below is an example of a spreadsheet where the personalized link is in raw form, with just the URL specified.

After using GMass to connect to your spreadsheet, the Compose window launches, and your message might look like this:

When your email is sent, the recipient, maria@google.com, will get a message that looks like this:

The link appears just as it did in the row for maria@google.com in the spreadsheet. Hovering over the link shows that it points to the same URL as is displayed.

URL with Anchor Text Example

Next is an example of a spreadsheet where the personalized link is part of an HTML anchor tag, such that meaningful text is displayed that, when clicked, will take the user to the personalized URL. The full <a href> anchor tag will be inserted into the HTML message at the point designated by the {PersonalizedURL} mail merge tag.

After using GMass to connect to your spreadsheet, the Compose window launches, and your message might look like this:

When your email is sent, the recipient will get a message that looks like this:

The anchor text is displayed, since it was surrounded by <a href> tags in the spreadsheet cell, but hovering over the link displays the target URL in the bottom status bar of the browser (highlighted in yellow).

Click tracking will not be applied

If you enable click tracking in GMass settings, these particular links will not be modified, regardless of whether you use the raw URL or anchor text approach. That’s because GMass applies click tracking to links before it applies mail merge personalization, so by the time the links are personalized, the click tracking process has already finished altering links in the campaign. In addition, theoretically, because these links are unique to each recipient in the first place, it’s not necessary for GMass to click-track them since they are trackable on the web server of the domain in the personalized URL.

Do not personalize links directly in the Compose window

The reason we advocate placing the full personalized URL as a column in your spreadsheet is because the Gmail Compose window is prone to altering a personalized link and rendering it a broken link. This is due to how Gmail encodes a message behind the scenes.

In this example:

Do NOT personalize URLs as shown above.

The user has attempted to personalize a URL directly inside the Gmail Compose window, by inserting the mail merge personalization variables as part of the URL. In theory this should accomplish the same objective as placing the full personalized link in the spreadsheet cell, but this actually does not work because Gmail encodes the curly brackets into their HTML-encoded form, replacing the left curly bracket with %7B and the right curly bracket with %7D. This encoding would break the GMass personalization process, causing these merge tags to not be replaced with their appropriate values.

Summary

If you need to send personalized URLs as part of a Gmail-based email marketing campaign, include the full personalized URLs, one for each recipient, in your Google Docs spreadsheet rather than including the mail merge personalization variables as part of the link in the Compose window.

If you’ve ever been locked out of your Gmail account while sending a large mail merge campaign, you’re not alone, and don’t be alarmed. It’s normal Gmail behavior, and you’ll be able to use your account just as soon as sending is complete. During a large mail merge with Gmail, you might see this message telling you “the system encountered a problem” if you’re already in your account:

You may see this “Oops” message when trying to check your email while a big mail merge campaign is sending.

Or, if you’re trying to reload Gmail in the browser, you might see this “Temporary Error” message:

If you reload Gmail during a big mail merge, you might see this screen.

Why does this happen?

Gmail wasn’t originally meant for sending mail merge campaigns or email marketing campaigns. GMass has finagled Gmail to make it possible, but Gmail’s User Interface isn’t able to process all the network activity that takes place during a mass email send. Whenever you send an email in Gmail, your browser makes several requests to the Gmail server in order to update the User Interface on screen in front of you. When sending hundreds or thousands of individual emails, the User Interface can’t keep up with this network activity. Therefore, in order to protect itself from even more network activity, it withholds your access until sending of the email campaign is finished.

If you sent a mail merge campaign with GMass and found that some addresses bounced because you went over your Gmail limit, you may want to re-send your email to the email addresses that bounced the first time, if you’ve now waited a day or so to let your Gmail limit reset.

Using the GMass manual follow-up tool, doing so is just a matter of a few clicks.

1. Click the red @ button near the Gmail Search bar. This is the manual follow-up tool.

2. Choose the campaign from the dropdown that experienced the blocking.

3. Under Behaviors, choose Over Limit.

4. Next click the main COMPOSE FOLLOW-UP button.

5. A Gmail Compose window will launch and the To field will be filled with the addresses you want to send to, the addresses that previously blocked your campaign.

6. Next load up the content of your campaign by clicking the GMass Settings arrow and choosing your original campaign from the Load Content dropdown. Your Subject and Message will be set.

7. Lastly, ensure all other GMass Settings are how they should be, such as Tracking of opens and clicks, and make sure the Schedule is set to the desired time of sending.

8. Finally, hit the red GMass button to send. Your campaign will now go to the email addresses that blocked you the first time.

Further Reading

If you sent a mail merge campaign with GMass and found that you experienced some blocking, you may want to re-send your email to the email addresses that blocked you the first time. You may especially want to do this if you’ve taken some action to fix the blocking issue, like setting up a dedicated tracking domain.

Using the GMass manual follow-up tool, doing so is just a matter of a few clicks.

1. Click the red @ button near the Gmail Search bar. This is the manual follow-up tool.

2. Choose the campaign from the dropdown that experienced the blocking.

3. Under Behaviors, choose Blocks.

4. Next click the main COMPOSE FOLLOW-UP button.

5. A Gmail Compose window will launch and the To field will be filled with the addresses you want to send to, the addresses that previously blocked your campaign.

6. Next load up the content of your campaign by clicking the GMass Settings arrow and choosing your original campaign from the Load Content dropdown. Your Subject and Message will be set.

7. Lastly, ensure all other GMass Settings are how they should be, such as Tracking of opens and clicks, and make sure the Schedule is set to the desired time of sending.

8. Finally, hit the red GMass button to send. Your campaign will now go to the email addresses that blocked you the first time.

Sometimes specifying who is getting your mail merge campaign is just as important as specifying who should NOT get your mail merge campaign…thanks to our new Suppression Lists feature, now you have even more control of exactly who does and doesn’t get your emails.

Any email address on the suppression list will be filtered out of the current campaign.

To set a suppression list for a campaign, just select the past campaigns whose recipients you want to eliminate from your current campaign. Each past campaign in your account can be used as a Suppression List, meaning you don’t create a Suppression List separately from campaigns.

You can select a single campaign or multiple campaigns from the dropdown. Use the CTRL key on Windows or the Command key on a Mac to select multiple lists from the Suppression select box.

Any email address that was part of the chosen campaign will be suppressed, or eliminated from, this current campaign.

When do Suppression Lists come in handy?

Let’s say you’re using GMass to invite 100 people to a party. You create a Google Docs spreadsheet with your 100 invitees. You then send a GMass campaign to the people on this spreadsheet.

The next day, you realize you forgot to invite 5 of your friends. Oh no, how can you easily re-send your invite to just those 5 missing friends?!

You could just add the 5 email addresses to your master spreadsheet, use the GMass spreadsheet button to connect to the whole sheet and send to the same list, but then the first 100 people will get the same email again, making you look sloppy. If you use yesterday’s campaign as your Suppression List, however, then only the 5 new people will receive the email.

Another use might be if you’ve collected a do-not-send list over time, and want to ensure that a particular campaign doesn’t go to anyone on this list. You could add your do-not-send list to your Unsubscribe List, but that would prevent them from getting any future email campaign from you, and you may just want to use your do-not-send list on this one particular email campaign. In that case, you can create a manual Suppression List.

To manually create a Suppression List:

Since Suppression Lists are simply the email addresses tied to your past campaigns, you can create a “fake” campaign that won’t actually send but will hold the addresses you wish to suppress. To do so:

  1. Enter the suppression addresses in the To field of a new Compose window. Alternately, if you have a large number of email addresses, consider putting them in a Google Docs spreadsheet and then using GMass to connect to the spreadsheet.
  2. Enter a name for your Suppression List as the Subject.
  3. Set the GMass Action to Just create drafts. This will ensure that no emails are actually sent.
  4. Click the red GMass button.
  5. After the Drafts are created, you can click the link in the email you will receive to DELETE the Drafts.

Now your Suppression List has been created and you can choose this campaign to suppress these addresses.

What’s the difference between my Unsubscribe List and a Suppression List?

They are actually quite similar, in that both lists are used to filter out recipients from a campaign.

Your Unsubscribe List, however, is universal to your account, and is used to filter out recipients for all of your campaigns automatically. You can’t control when the Unsubscribe List is used to filter out recipients, because it is always used on every campaign sent from your account. Email addresses are added to your Unsubscribe List when they click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of your emails (if you included it), or if you manually import email addresses into your Unsubscribe List.

Suppression Lists must be applied to specific campaigns where you want to eliminate that set of email addresses for just the current campaign. Any past campaign can be used as a Suppression List, which is why all of your past campaigns show up in the Suppression dropdown menu.

Resources

When you send a Gmail mail merge campaign with GMass, reports are generated and placed under the GMass Reports label. Everytime an email is opened, an “open” notification goes into the Opens label, every time an email is clicked, a “click” notification goes into the Clicks label. Additionally, campaign reports with detailed campaign analytics are placed in the [CAMPAIGNS] label. In most cases, GMass Report notifications are tucked away in these Labels and won’t clog up your Inbox. In rare cases, however, like if you’re using an email client like Apple Mail that doesn’t respect Gmail’s Labels, GMass report notifications may fill up your Inbox and you may wish to turn off GMass report notifications.

In the Gmail inteface, GMass Reports are tucked away under sub-labels of the GMass Reports label. Categories include Opens, Clicks, and the main [CAMPAIGNS] area that stores detailed campaign-level reports.

To turn off GMass report notifications:

You can turn GMass Report notifications off if they clog up your Inbox.

  1. Launch a new Compose window in Gmail.
  2. Set the To field to notification@gmass.co.
  3. Set the Subject to either “off” to turn notifications off or “on” to turn them on.
  4. Click the red GMass button. Do not click the Gmail Send button. You must click the red GMass button.
As a GMass user sending mail merge campaigns from your Gmail account, you are likely aware that campaign-level reports are sent to the [CAMPAIGNS] Label, which is a sub-Label of the GMass Reports Label. Campaign-level reports are updated every 10 minutes, as new campaign activity is recorded, like opens and clicks, however, if open-tracking is turned off, then a campaign report may never appear.

Therefore in certain situations, you may want to manually request a campaign report. These situations include:

  1. You haven’t received a particular campaign report, because you had open-tracking turned off.
  2. You have turned off GMass report notifications, in which case you will never receive a campaign report.
  3. You wish to see the campaign report for an old campaign that was sent before GMass campaign reports existed.
To request a campaign report on demand, follow these instructions:
I’ve set 552127 as the Subject, since that is the Campaign ID. After hitting the GMass button, my campaign report will be generated.
  1. Launch a new Compose window in Gmail.
  2. Set the To field to report@gmass.co.
  3. Enter the campaign ID of the campaign whose report you would like in the Subject field. If you do not know the campaign ID, you can find it in the email confirmation you received after the campaign finished sending. This email message will contain the campaign ID or a “Schedule ID”. Either ID is acceptable.
  4. Click the red GMass button. Do not click the Gmail Send button. You must click the red GMass button.
  5. Go to the [CAMPAIGNS] Label under GMass Reports and you will see your new report.
Occasionally, after you’ve composed your mail merge campaign in Gmail and hit the GMass button, instead of sending, you may receive this error in the yellow status bar up top:

Your mass email has NOT been processed by GMass. Error details: Google.Apis.Requests.RequestError Requested entity was not found. [404] Errors [ Message[Requested entity was not found.] Location[ – ] Reason[notFound] Domain[global]

This is a temporary and rare error that sometimes surfaces due to how GMass communicates with your Gmail account. Technically it means that GMass wasn’t able to retrieve an identifier to your message that is assigned by Gmail.

In almost all cases, this error will disappear and you can send your campaign by re-loading Gmail in your Chrome browser. When you do so, your Compose window should re-appear with your Message just as you left it. You will not lose any of your work. After you re-load, just hit the GMass button again and your campaign should send as normal.
A few years ago, I attended a marketing conference designed to help physicians boost their visibility online, where I met several enthusiastic medical professionals. To this day, one interaction with a doctor stays with me. After I explained our goal of luring more customers to their website and to their offices, he retorted indignantly, “They’re not customers, they are patients.” And indeed, he was correct.
Doctors serve patients in the most important commercial transaction there is: human healthcare. Advertising, money, and marketing metrics are not the focus in their industry.
At one time, doctors didn’t advertise at all. From the Journal of Medical Ethics, January, 2006: For generations following the first American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Ethics in 1847, the relationship between doctors and advertising remained unambiguous—advertising was forbidden. In 1975, however, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused the profession of “restraint of trade” and legally persuaded doctors to permit advertising amongst their clan.
Today, almost every doctor has a website. Many use their sites to lure more patients, but some are interested only in having a place to post their credentials and contact information. Because websites like Angie’s List, Google, and even Yelp regularly post reviews for doctors, many see the potential benefit of having influence on their online presence and a place to post assurances of their legitimacy and qualifications to prospective patients.
Email Marketing is a valuable tool for physicians when communicating with existing patients. It’s a great way to remind people of health information that’s currently making news, like the spread of a new disease. The sudden and concerning spread of Zika is just one example of an opportunity for physicians to notify patients of precautions and new information.
However, email marketing can be used for simple administrative purposes as well, such as  changes in office personnel. Patients are often interested in this information, especially the addition of a new doctor or nurse. Many doctors utilize email marketing to send regular communications or newsletters to their patients.
Why is GMass a great platform for medical professionals? GMass emails come directly from the sender’s Gmail account, via Gmail servers, resulting in much higher delivery rates than those from the other email marketing companies such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, and IContact. The email messages sent from those providers are often perceived by email filters as spam, and they do not reach the recipient’s inbox.
GMass permits our users to inject (no pun intended) the patient’s name directly into the subject line and greeting, making the message more personal and private, something patients will appreciate.
Of course, it is important for any healthcare professional to be aware of certain restraints when it comes to medical marketing, and they should always check to make sure they within boundaries of their state medical society, board, or any hospital guidelines.
GMass has a YouTube channel with videos showing how to install and use our email marketing platform; subscribe or visit gmass.co for more details.

Click here to sign up for GMass now.

GMass is a bigger operation than it was when it launched in September of 2015. Now there are multiple team members, we use Zendesk as our support ticketing system, and we have lots of blog content answering almost every question imaginable.

We do not respond to all requests. GMass is a low-cost, self-service (mostly) system. If a question has an obvious answer or an answer easily found on our blog, we may discard the request in the interest of time and keeping GMass an efficient operation. We do not offer phone support.

Here are some additional steps you can take to ensure the best possible GMass support.

Please do:

  1. Please send one single email to our support address (given below) and not to any other email addresses.
  2. Make sure your email comes FROM the Gmail account for which you are seeking help. If your email comes from a different From Address, be sure to specify the Gmail account with which you’re using GMass and want help. If you send us an email “from” an address for which we can’t locate a GMass account, and no other email address is mentioned, the support request will be discarded.
  3. Include screenshots and videos where applicable to illustrate the issue. Both Windows and Mac computers have keyboard shortcuts to capture your screen. If you want to get fancy, you can use a tool like Snagit to capture your screen and annotate it. And if you want to make a video demonstrating an issue, you can use the free version of Screencastify.
  4. If your question has to do with a specific campaign, include the campaign ID in your request.

Please don’t:

  1. Please do not email team members directly for new requests. This can either result in no response or a severely lower response time (a month or more), since the team member has to first notice the email, and then has to forward the email to our support address in order to create a ticket. In most cases, emails sent directly to team members asking for support are missed or discarded.
  2. Do not respond to mass emails from GMass staff announcing new features asking for account-specific support.
  3. Usually a support requested can be answered by a blog post. Please do not be offended if your support question is responded to with a simple link to a blog post rather than a complete sentence.
  4. Do not respond to an old support ticket from a long time ago introducing a new issue unrelated to the previous issue. Instead, create a new ticket by sending a new email to our support address, given below.

The most popular support questions and answers

  1. If you’re trying to cancel a campaign, read this article.
  2. If you’re looking to stop other types of GMass emails from sending, read this article.
  3. If you’re looking to cancel a paid subscription, follow these instructions. Do not contact us to cancel your subscription. You must do it yourself.
  4. If your emails are bouncing because with a “You have exceeded your limit” message, read this first.
  5. If you are trying to cancel a GMass subscription or request a tracking domain or do anything that requires an @gmass.co command in the To field, and you get a bounce, it’s because you hit the Send button when you were supposed to hit the GMass button. Please do not contact us to tell us that an email to an @gmass.co address bounced.

Thank you for reading through this post before contacting us for support. Our support address is support@gmass.zendesk.com.