This article is a guide for GMass users that want to start using SMTP-based sending for their email campaigns in Gmail using GMass. Last week I announced this feature was coming, and starting today, we’re asking users to begin testing.
Update on 10/25/17: Note that this feature has now been officially launched! Go over to the official guide to unlimited mail merge in Gmail!
The advantage of this setup are:
- The ability to send virtually unlimited emails and not be constrained by Gmail’s sending limits.
- No risk of an account being suspended by Google.
The disadvantages of this setup are potentially:
- A slight decrease in deliverability, although from our testing, we’ve found the deliverability using Sendgrid as the SMTP server to be just as high as sending natively from Google.
Choosing an SMTP server
You have three choices to connect your GMass account to an SMTP server:
- If your email sending meets certain criteria, you can use my SMTP server, which is a high volume server with Sendgrid. Your email sends must be either a) non-commercial in nature (like school groups, membership clubs, social causes, churches) or b) completely organically developed. So, your emails can be of a commercial nature if your list is completely organic. If that’s the case, you’re welcome to use the SMTP service I have with my Sendgrid account. Contact us at email@example.com to make this request, and state the nature of your email sending.
- If your email does not match this criteria, or you just want to use your own SMTP service, then feel free to set up an account on your own with Sendgrid, JangoSMTP, Mailjet, or any other SMTP service provider. Your company may even have its own SMTP server that you can use. In a future post, I’ll be analyzing the popular SMTP providers, also known as transactional email services, and explaining which ones I think are the best and worst. Once you set up an account with an SMTP service provider, you’ll have to configure the account in certain ways.
- If you’re technically inclined, you can set up your own SMTP server on your own server. If you’re running Linux, here’s how to set up an SMTP service on a Linux server.
Configuring your SMTP service account
- GMass will connect without TLS/SSL to the SMTP server on the port of your choice. Most SMTP services allow you to connect on ports 25 and 2525 at a minimum.
- Ensure that open and click tracking are turned OFF with the SMTP server service. In fact, the SMTP server shouldn’t alter the message at all. It should just pass it through. This is because GMass will add the tracking for you if you set your tracking this way, and we don’t want the emails to be “double” tracked. Screenshot from Sendgrid:
- Ensure there are no quota restrictions on your SMTP account, or if there are, that they are sufficient to handle your GMass campaigns.
- Check to see what Envelope From, also known as MAIL-FROM or RETURN-PATH address your SMTP service will use when relaying your email. Most transactional email services like Sendgrid use a sendgrid.net domain by default, which makes it so you don’t necessarily have to alter your SPF records. Some SMTP services require domain verification, because the domain in your From Address will be the domain in the MAIL-FROM. Just be aware of this. You may need to alter your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records.
- Ensure that Bounce Notifications are on. Set them to go to the From Address. This will allow GMass to process your bounces, just like normal. Not all SMTP services have this capability. Sendgrid and JangoSMTP do. Mailgun and Mailjet do not. Screenshot from Sendgrid:
How to set your GMass account to send emails through an external SMTP server
- First, reload Gmail in your Chrome browser to make sure you have the latest version of GMass.
- Click Compose to launch a new window.
- Set the To field to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Set the Subject to the word set. Wait a second for the form to appear in the Message area.
- Enter the SMTP server, port, username, and password after the colons. If your server does not require authentication, set the Username to “noauth” (without the quotes) and leave the Password blank.
- Hit the GMass button. Do not hit the Send button.
GMass will attempt to relay a test message through the server to yourself. If successful, the SMTP server will be set for your account.
To clear out the SMTP settings, set the Subject to “clear”. To view the SMTP setting currently on your account, set the Subject to “status”.
Ajay is the founder of GMass and has been developing email sending software for 20 years.