Using Gmail and my Gmail extension GMass, it’s easy to send a mass, personalized email to every email address in your Gmail account. You simply need to get all of the email addresses in the To field, compose your Subject and Message, and hit the GMass button (instead of the Gmail Send button). In this article, I will show you three different methods for launching that Compose window with all of your email addresses. Each has pros and cons.
1. Use the GMass “Build Email List” button
In Gmail, you can search your conversations using the Search bar at the top. Once you have a list of matching conversations, you can use the GMass Build Email List button (the magnifying glass) to scrape all the email addresses inside those matching conversations. It will find all of the email addresses in the From and To lines of those matching email messages.
For example, if I wanted to send a mass email to everyone with whom I’ve had a conversation about “iPhone”, I could search for “iPhone” in my Gmail account, and then hit the GMass Build Email List button to instantly create a list of all those email addresses.
So, if I want to search for something that will match just about every email message in my account, I just need to search for a short word like “the”. Assuming that almost every email will contain the word “the”, the Build Email List button will now create an email list of almost every single email address in your account. Note that this technique will pull all addresses in the To Line of each matching message. If you’re part of a group email to say 20 people, it will also pull those 19 other addresses, which may be people with whom you have no relationship. Once the email list is built, a Gmail Compose window will open with all of the addresses in the To line. Then just type a Subject, Message, personalize as needed, and then hit the GMass button to send individual personalized emails to each address.
Pros: Easy to do, requires no exporting/importing, and can be done via just the Gmail interface
Cons: May not find every single email address in your account, and may find some addresses of people with whom you’ve had no direct contact. Limited to searching through 5,000 messages max.
2. Use Google Contacts to select all of your contacts, then hit the Email icon
If you use Google Contacts to track your contacts, you can use the Google Contacts Interface to select all or some of your contacts, and then hit the Email button to launch a Gmail Compose window with all of those addresses in the To line.
First, from inside Gmail, choose Contacts in the upper-left menu:
Then, navigate to the list of Contacts, select all of them with the checkbox tool, and click the Email button. Note that it will only select the contacts on the current page, and you would have to go to the next page of contacts to separately select those. Therefore, this method is inherently limited because it will only allow you to select 250 contacts at a time.
Several important considerations when using Google Contacts:
- You can launch Contacts from within Gmail, which will nest the Google Contacts interface inside Gmail. This is the preferred method, and I’ll explain why shortly.
- Alternatively, you can launch Google Contacts in a separate window by going to https://www.google.com/contacts in a separate browser window. This is the least preferred method.
- Google has a new “preview” version of Google Contacts that has been around for a while, but is shunned by many in favor of the classic Google Contacts interface. The classic interface is far more useful, so for this demonstration of sending a mass email to all the email addresses in your Gmail account, we will stick to the classic interface, and I’ll explain why shortly.
After composing your email message, be sure to hit the GMass button instead of the Send button to send individual personalized emails to each recipient.
Why you shouldn’t use Google Contacts outside of Gmail
If you go to https://www.google.com/contacts/ directly in the browser instead of accessing your Contacts from inside Gmail as described above, you will run into the issue of the Email button failing when you select too many contacts.
If you select too many contacts, and hit the Email button, you will see this error:
Pros: Easy to do, and Google Contacts are often broken down into logical groups of people, so you can send a mass email to just certain groups of people.
Cons: If you select too many contacts at once, you may get a “Bad request” error instead of the Gmail Compose window launching. You also can’t select Contacts across multiple pages, and only 250 contacts are displayed per page.
3. Export the email addresses from Google Contacts into a Google Docs spreadsheet
Finally, you can easily export all of your Google Contacts as a CSV file, and then upload the CSV file into Google Sheets, and then use GMass to connect to your Google Sheets spreadsheet to pull out the email addresses. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds.
First, in Google Contacts, export all or some of your contacts to a CSV file.
Choose Export and then choose the Contacts you want to export. In my case, I will export all 25,005 contacts:
Then, upload the CSV file into a Google Sheets spreadsheet.
After your spreadsheet is created, you should clean it up by deleting the extraneous columns. If you don’t, your spreadsheet might have more data than GMass can process. So, just delete all the empty columns.
Then, use GMass to connect to the spreadsheet. If you’ve never used GMass before, here’s a detailed guide on connecting to your Google Sheets spreadsheet.
Finally, you’ll have a Compose window with all of the email addresses in the To line. If you have more than 1,000 addresses, GMass will consolidate the addresses into an “alias” address, as is shown in the screenshot below. This alias address is an address that represents all 24,997 addresses.
As is the case in the above screenshot, GMass may also hide the Gmail Send button in certain cases, to prevent you from clicking it accidentally and making a huge mistake. Hitting the GMass button will send a tracked, personalized email to each contact, while hitting the Gmail Send button will send one email to all of your recipients, exposing everyone in the To line to each other.
Pros: Will guarantee that you pull every single email address that is a Google Contact.
Cons: Not everybody you’ve sent email to / received email from may be a Google Contact. Requires the most effort, although it’s still pretty easy.
Stay away from the new “preview” version of Google Contacts
It’s pretty but it lacks all the important functions of the classic version.
- It doesn’t allow you to export.
2. You can’t select your Other Contacts, where most of your email addresses usually live.
3. There is no Email icon by which to launch a Compose window with the selected Contacts already in the To field.
Additional Things to Know:
- If you want to personalize each email with the recipient’s first name, you can use this syntax in your message:
This syntax is explained in detail in our mail merge personalization guide, but what it does is looks for a First Name associated with the email address in your Gmail account, and if found, then it’s used. If not found, then GMass will attempt to auto-detect the first name from the email address. Finally, if unable to auto detect the first name, it will just use “Hey there”.
- If you want to track opens and clicks, just make sure the appropriate checkboxes are checked in GMass Settings.
- If you want to pace out your emails at say, 50 emails/day, instead of sending them all at once, to make sure you don’t anger too many people at once, use the “Spread out” feature in the GMass Settings box.
- You may be wondering if the technique above are free, especially with the use of GMass. Anybody can use GMass for free to extract all of the email addresses from their Gmail account and get them into the To field of a Gmail Compose window. You can also send 50 emails/day for free with GMass. You would only need to subscribe to GMass if you want to send more than 50 emails/day. Therefore, you are “free” to use the GMass “Build Email List” or “Connect to spreadsheet” functions for free to just pull the email addresses out of your Gmail account. You could then take your email list and use it with a different email marketing system like MailChimp if you don’t want to use GMass for the actual sending.