Unlimited Mail Merge Sending in Gmail: Official Launch

GMass Flying EmailsToday is the official launch of sending unlimited mail merge emails in Gmail. Now you can send mail merge campaigns as big as you want, right from your Gmail account. It works by connecting a third party SMTP service like Sendgrid or JangoSMTP to your GMass account.

Last month I announced this feature in beta. Now, I have perfected it using feedback from several hundred test users.

The advantages of this setup are:

  • The ability to send virtually unlimited emails in Gmail and avoid Gmail’s sending limits.
  • No risk of a Gmail account being suspended by Google.

How can you send unlimited mail merge emails from your Gmail account?

First, you need a GMass account. Then, you connect your GMass account to any external SMTP server. This will make it so your emails are sent from that server and not from your actual Gmail account, although everything will look as normal inside your Gmail account. Meaning, each email message will still show up in your Sent Mail folder, and GMass will still be able to track replies, bounces, and everything that happens after you send an email campaign.

The most noticeable differences with our launch today, compared to our beta launch a few weeks ago are that now:

  • You can choose SMTP sending on a per-campaign basis. Previously, once the SMTP service was set, all emails from your account would send through it rather than your Gmail account. Now you can selectively choose which campaigns are sent with SMTP and which are sent with your Gmail account.
  • If you don’t want to set up your own SMTP account, you might be able to use our internal SMTP service, which is a Sendgrid account. Now there is a process to request to use our SMTP service if you don’t want to set up your own.
  • You can use the SMTP setting with the Preview as Drafts feature to first create Drafts, and then send the Drafts with the SMTP server.

Step 1: Setting up your SMTP service

Option 1: Getting your own SMTP service

An SMTP server is simply an email sending server. There are many well-known SMTP service providers, including Sendgrid, JangoSMTP, Mailgun, Mailjet, and others. Pricing for SMTP services range from free plans which let you send a few hundred emails/day to around $20 USD/month for thousands of emails/month. Each service has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you’re free to use any SMTP service you like.

In our testing, we’ve found that Sendgrid and JangoSMTP are the two SMTP services that are most compatible with GMass, because of their flexibility in not requiring domain-based verification in order to start relaying email through them. This is especially important if you’re connecting a user@gmail.com GMass account to an SMTP service.

If you choose Sendgrid, here is a detailed guide to configuring your Sendgrid account for GMass use.

Option 2: Request to use our Sendgrid SMTP account

If you’re sending strictly low-volume non-commercial email, you might be eligible to use our Sendgrid account as your SMTP service. We are strict with our requirements and rather selective about who we let use our account, so please don’t take offense if we deny your request. Additionally, it can take a couple days for us to review your request, since we manually review every user’s sending history to determine if you are eligible to use our account. Still, if you’d like to request to use our Sendgrid SMTP account because you’re sending low-volume, non-commercial email, here’s how to make that request.

Request to use GMass's SMTP service
You can request to use our SMTP service if you don’t want to create your own SMTP account.
  1. Click Compose to launch a new window.
  2. Set the To field to smtp@gmass.co.
  3. Set the Subject to the word request.
  4. Hit the GMass button. Do not hit the Send button.

We’ll be notified of your request and will email you as soon as we complete our review. If approved, your account will be linked to our Sendgrid account. We won’t provide you with the username/password to our Sendgrid account, but behind the scenes, your account will be linked to it, and you’ll now see the choice to send either with Sendgrid or with Gmail in the GMass Settings box for your account.

Step 2: Linking your GMass account to the SMTP service

If you set up your own SMTP service, this is how to link the SMTP service to your GMass account. Note that if you’ve been approved to use our SMTP service, you will skip this step.

GMass SMTP Configuration
Configure your GMass account to send via an external SMTP server instead of your Google account. The Sendgrid credentials show above are not real.
  1. First, reload Gmail in your Chrome browser to make sure you have the latest version of GMass.
  2. Click Compose to launch a new window.
  3. Set the To field to smtp@gmass.co.
  4. Set the Subject to the word set. Wait a second for the form to appear in the Message area.
  5. Enter the SMTP server, port, username, and password after the colons.
  6. Hit the GMass button. Do not hit the Send button.

GMass will relay a test email through the server to yourself. If successful, the SMTP server will be set for your account and you will now see that setting appear in the Settings box.

To clear out the SMTP settings, set the Subject to “clear” and hit the GMass button. To view the SMTP setting currently on your account, set the Subject to “status” and hit the GMass button.

Step 3: Sending a campaign through the SMTP server

Gmail Mail Merge SMTP
You can choose whether to send a campaign via the SMTP server or via your Gmail account.

You’ll notice a new option in the GMass Settings box that allows you to set, on a per-campaign basis, whether the emails should be routed through the SMTP server for unlimited sending, or through your Google account, in which case you’d be subject to Gmail’s sending limits.

Note: This option will only appear if you have connected an SMTP account to GMass.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Q: What’s going on here? How do I use an external SMTP server and send unlimited emails from my Gmail account?

A: You simply set up an SMTP account with a popular provider like Sendgrid, Mailgun, Mailjet, or JangoSMTP. Then, you link your SMTP account to your Gmail account. Finally, for each campaign you send with GMass, you can choose whether to send the campaign through Gmail or through the SMTP server. If you send through Gmail, you’ll be constrained by Gmail’s limits, but if you send through the SMTP server, you’ll be able to send virtually unlimited emails.

Q: I’m so confused. I would love to be able to send unlimited emails from my Gmail account, but I’m not very technical and I know nothing about SMTP.

A: If you’re sending low-volume, non-commercial, email campaigns, you can apply to use our Sendgrid account using the directions above. Otherwise, please consult your organization’s IT person for further help. Setting up an SMTP account and linking it to GMass can be accomplished by any IT person with a basic knowledge of how email works.

Q: Doesn’t sending through an SMTP service eliminate the deliverability advantage GMass “normally” has, since normally GMass sends email through Google’s servers, which are the highest deliverability email servers in the world?

A: Theoretically, your deliverability may drop slightly if you switch from sending via Gmail to sending via an SMTP server. In our testing with several hundred users though, we have not seen a noticeable difference in deliverability, as measured by open and click rates. You should monitor your own campaign statistics though once you switch to SMTP sending, to ensure this is the case for you.

Q: It sounds like you’re getting around Google’s rules by sending this way. Won’t Google get upset with me if I use my Gmail account in this manner?

A: As far as we know, sending email campaigns like this doesn’t violate any of Google’s terms. Additionally, in testing with several hundred users, there haven’t been any reports of trouble. What we are offering here is simply a way to use the Gmail user interface to create, launch, and track an email campaign, while the emails are actually sent by a non-Gmail server.

Q: Do you charge more for sending via SMTP?

A: Currently, we are not charging any extra for relaying email through an external SMTP server, whether it’s our internal SMTP account you’re using or one you set up yourself. Your only additional costs will be the cost with the SMTP service provider, which may be an additional $10+/month USD, based on what kind of account you get. So theoretically you could pay $12.95/month to GMass for a G Suite Standard account, and pay Sendgrid an additional $9.95/month and send 40,000 emails/month or $19.95/month and send 100,000 emails/month. For your low-volume campaigns, you could still elect to send natively through your G Suite account, allowing for another 1,500-2,000 emails/day.

Q: Is the SMTP option available for free GMass accounts, or do I need to be subscribed to GMass?

A: It will work with a free GMass account as well, but using this option with a free GMass account defeats the purpose. GMass already limits free accounts to sending 50 emails per 24 hours, which is well under Gmail’s own limits, so connecting to an SMTP server to send high volume campaigns wouldn’t solve anything, since a GMass free account will already limit you to 50 emails per rolling 24 hours.

Q: Why should I use two services, yours and an external SMTP provider, when I could use one service like Sendgrid, which also supports sending newsletters?

A: You are free to use any service you like, but we think that GMass with an external SMTP service makes for a powerful combination for email marketing and email automation. The ease and familiarity of the Gmail interface makes sending an email campaign a time efficient process. Additionally, by combining GMass and an external SMTP service, you can send virtually unlimited emails with the auto follow-up feature, a feat that would be impossible without GMass, since GMass integrates with your Gmail Inbox. Using just Sendgrid in a standalone fashion won’t accomplish that.

Q: I’ve read that Gmail doesn’t allow its users to send “from” their Gmail accounts using outside servers. So how are you getting away with this?

A: It was thought that in early 2017, Gmail was going to update their DMARC policy to reject emails that are “from” a gmail.com address and sent by a non-Gmail server. Here’s some more detail on that prediction. That change hasn’t happened yet though. Here is Gmail’s DMARC record as of 9/28/17 11:24 AM CST:

Gmail’s DMARC policy hasn’t changed yet to reject emails sent “from” gmail.com from a non-Gmail server. Once they change it, p=none will become p=reject.

If you are sending campaigns from your @gmail.com address rather than your organization’s G Suite address, then this policy is relevant to you, and we’ll be monitoring it for changes. In our testing so far though, we’ve only found one email provider, AOL, that routes emails that match this criteria to the Spam folder. Even Gmail doesn’t reject email that is sent from an @gmail.com address by a non-Gmail server. For example, in my testing, I sent email “from” ajaygoel999@gmail.com through smtp.sendgrid.net to my ajaygoel8477@gmail.com account, and the email arrived to the Inbox at my ajaygoel8477@gmail.com account. If you are sending from your G Suite address, then you don’t need to worry about this policy at all, because you get to set your own policy for your domain!

Q: In my Gmail Settings under “Send mail as”, I can add another From Address to use, and then Gmail asks me to specify an SMTP server. How is that different from specifying an SMTP server this way?

A: When you set up a new From Address in your Gmail account, if the From Address is a non-Gmail address, then yes, you are asked to set an SMTP server. However, even in that case, the Gmail sending limits still apply because it is still Gmail that is relaying the emails through your SMTP server. With this new method of linking the SMTP account to your GMass account, Gmail isn’t “handling” any of the email sending and isn’t “aware” of what’s being sent, so the limits won’t apply.

Q: I want to send a 100,000 email campaign using GMass and Sendgrid. How long will it take my campaign to send?

A: Admittedly, because of how we are sending these emails, we have not optimized this process for speed. If you need to send 100,000 emails in an hour, then this isn’t the right solution. The rate of sending will be around 3,500 emails/hour. Why so slow? Because the processing power of both sending the email through an external SMTP service AND making sure your Gmail account knows about it is a “costly” procedure, from a computing perspective. So, if you need to send 25,000 emails throughout the course of the day, then this could work well for you. But if you need to send 25,000 emails in the next ten minutes, this is not the solution for you.

Q: Do I need to worry about SPF, DKIM, and DMARC?

A: It depends on which SMTP service you choose and whether you’re sending from an @gmail.com address or a G Suite address.

If sending from an @gmail.com account, you don’t need to worry about any of this, because Gmail handles it for you.

If sending from a G Suite account, then it depends on the SMTP service you choose.

The default setup with Sendgrid is such that you do NOT have to worry about SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. This is because in the default setup the MAIL-FROM used in email sending is a sendgrid.net address, so the SPF and DKIM signing is taken care of by Sendgrid’s DNS records and infrastructure.

If you opt for Sendgrid’s “whitelabel” option though, then the MAIL-FROM can be based on your own domain, and then you would need to ensure that SPF is set up to allow sending from your domain through Sendgrid, and you can then have emails DKIM-signed by your own domain as well. For other providers, like Mailgun, for example, you have to “whitelabel” your domain from the outset, and handle SPF/DKIM from the outset. Therefore we can conclude that getting set up on Sendgrid is easier because they don’t require this setup.

Q: Do you recommend certain SMTP services over others?

A: There are many SMTP services to choose from, including SendgridJangoSMTPMailgunMailjetSparkPostAmazon SES, and others. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and I’ll be detailing all of these in a future blog post. I’ve been testing extensively with Sendgrid, and so far, I’ve found it to be a good fit for this solution, because it doesn’t require any domain verification to get started and it sends bounces back to you. That’s not to say that another service wouldn’t fit you just as well. Personally, I’m most familiar with Sendgrid and JangoSMTP. Full disclosure: I created JangoSMTP back in the early 2000s, and it was acquired in 2013, but I’m still close to the JangoSMTP team.

Common Scenarios

When you link an SMTP account to your GMass account, you may encounter these common scenarios.

  1. You are sending a campaign with Gmail when before your campaign finishes sending, you start to get “You’ve exceeded your limit” bounces and GMass pauses the sending of your campaign. If you then link an SMTP account to your GMass account, GMass will switch any pending campaigns to SMTP sending so that you don’t get these bounces anymore.
  2. You’ve just linked your SMTP account, or we’ve just approved you to use ours. When you compose your next campaign, the option in the Settings box will default to SMTP sending. You can of course switch it to Gmail sending. The Gmail vs SMTP option in the Settings box will remember whatever you last set it to.
  3. You set your campaign to just create Drafts rather than send right away. When you then click the link to send the Drafts, you’ll be given a choice of whether to send them via Gmail or via the SMTP server linked to your account.

More Resources

If you’d like to dive deeper into Gmail, SMTP sending, and the correct configuration for an SMTP account, you might be interested in:

Using Sendgrid? The recommended Sendgrid configuration.

If you’re setting up an SMTP account, we generally recommend against getting a dedicated IP. Here’s why.

What is an SMTP server? Here’s the Wikipedia article on SMTP.

52 Replies to “Unlimited Mail Merge Sending in Gmail: Official Launch”

  1. Rajendira Prasad

    I need to send 10,00,000 email a month for 50K subscribers on an alternate day basis.

    Which plan should I choose in Sendgrid?

  2. Kenan

    I’ve been using your services for 2 months. I’am unable to send 20-30 emails at once. Once my account blocked by gmail. Can you assist me?

  3. Sunil

    We would like to send 10,000/-emails ( per email will have 1 mb size alongwith an attachment ) to different recipients through 50-60 email campaigns.Which plan would suit us and what would be monthly cost for us.

  4. Elena

    Hello! I have two questions:
    – What you count as low volume ? – under how many emails
    and
    – What you describe as a non-commercial email?
    Thank you in advance for your answer!

  5. Eric Spencer

    So it is saying I met my limit. I thought I was paying for Gmass so that I did not have to worry about this.

    I am a High School wrestling coach and send out these emails to my team to update them on things each week. I usually send about 250 emails 2 – 3 times a week. What would you recommend. I don’t want to pay for this if it keeps doing this. Is there another option?

    • Maya Quijada

      Hey Eric,

      I just put you onto our SendGrid account. Refresh Gmail in Chrome, then open up a Compose Window – under “Action”, you’ll see the option to send through Gmail or smtp.sendgrid.net. When you select smtp.sendgrid.net, you won’t run into any sending limits. Your emails will be routed externally through our external SendGrid server.

      Let me know if you have any questions – the best way to get a hold of us is to contact our support team through http://gmass.co/g/support

  6. James

    Very cool!!

    Any detailed reviews on setting up with Amazon SES?

    It looks like it is by far the most cost effective SMTP service, no? I also assume it has high deliverability? Any further pro/con you can provide?

    Thanks and great work again!!

  7. Diane Morales

    I’ve been blocked from my gmail for 2 days now. I can’t run a business this way. I signed up for gmass to avoid this issue. I’m a Realtor and am just trying to send a monthly newsletter to 1200-ish people. Why is this happening? I keep getting “bounces” — I need my gmail back and I need it TODAY. Please advise and/or stop the system so I can resume my work and reply to my emails. HELP. Please contact me directly.

  8. Diana

    hi, if Sparkpost requires domain verification does this mean I cant use it with Gmass?

    I’m using Gsuite, if this helps.

    And also Sparkpost’s dedicated IP which i will do warming up for.

    Thanks

    • Marvin Quinsaat

      Our subscriptions do not have usage limits. Although Google Apps accounts are officially limited to 2,000 emails per day, we have noticed over time that there are other factors that affect the send limits for an account. Age is a huge factor in this, as Google limit accounts to lower sending capacity until the account establishes its credibility. This is a measure to prevent scammers and spammers from opening accounts and sending at full capacity. 

  9. fabricio

    Hi,

    I am confused. If I choose:

    Option 2: Request to use our Sendgrid SMTP account

    Do I have to pay something extra or not?

    I wondering to have max 20,000 contacts and send 4 or 5 times per months.

    • Marvin Quinsaat

      To use GMass’ own SMTP service your campaigns would need to be low volume campaigns.

      For large scale mass mail, you would need to sign up for your own SMTP service.

  10. Sergei

    Hello, I have such a problem that I’m on a paid record at which I have to send 1950 letters a day I can not send more than ten while I paid a lot of money for using the program I can not use it completely please check my account and consider my question why this happens why is not the smtp server connected and I can not send a full number of emails a day, please answer my questions !!!!!!!!!!!
    I also have a domain and a paid account, but I can not use it

    • Marvin Quinsaat

      Hi Truett,

      If you can request for the following for your provider:

      SMTP server
      Port used
      API Key

      Then yes.

      Please contact our support team through http://gmass.co/g/support so we can address any questions you may have faster than we would be able to through this comment thread.

    • Marvin Quinsaat

      Hi Duy,

      Emails being marked as spam is due to a number of factors which includes but not limited to your domain, your content, and your email address’ reputation. This is all dependent on your recipients’ email provider’spam filters. We have our support team that you could have contacted to assist you in pinpointing what is causing your emails to be sent in spam and what steps you can take to resolve it.

  11. Chad

    I have an email address with a company that has SMTP outgoing mail server. I thought I could use that server to send from my gmass connected account. Note they are different emails. Eg.

    Email 1 – Company 1 – SMTP = mail.xxxongoing.com

    I wand to use the above outgoing mail server to send my gmass email account = chad@xxxx.co

    Is this not possible?

  12. Jap

    Hi, if I am on the free plan, but have connected my own SMTP. Am I still limited to the 50/day sending? Because I find that to be the case for me, or is the unlimited sending if you have an external SMTP not working anymore.
    Thanks.

  13. Afshin

    Hi Gmass.

    i have a business TASGS.com and i have about 400 clients i email to regularly per day. to remind them about payroll, new rules, new laws, welcoming, and informing. sendgrid was not a good option for me. i do not send in big bulks i just need to stay in touch with my clients. as of right now i am a paying gmass 500 a day email but it seems like i can not send out my emails, i am keep reaching my limit but i have not if i am at 99 emails. can i please get help from you guys. its very hard to run my business if i can not email all my clients to run payroll or simply tell them to have a great weekend or even say happy holidays.

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