GMail Newsletters

Small Email Lists!

Keep small, dedicated lists separate


 

Here’s the plain truth: not everyone wants to spend the time to get to know MailChimp and other email newsletter management services. Moreover, sometimes you want a small list that’s totally separate, one in which you control every detail easily.

  • You want to gather names. For example, for a book reviews program.
  • You want to store those names yourself and have the information available whether or not you forget to pay your bill.
  • You want to email them when and you you choose, personally, without a lot of bells and whistles.

If that sounds like you, then I’ve just discovered the tools you need, and I’ll tell you how to get them, organize them, and then use them.

Coming to the rescue are three free tools that integrate with each other by design, and give you all the benefits of something like MailChimp on a smaller scale, and some nifty features MailChimp doesn’t.

Google Forms

You already know that you can set up Google Forms to gather data (including email addresses and names). They look slick and they’re easy to set up and share. Here’s an example. Kari’s look way better, but this was just a quick one.

When people fill them out, the forms automatically create…

Google Sheets

Essentially these are Google Docs version of Excel. The data from Forms is automatically filled, and it creates the GSheet for you. What’s neat is that you can edit the sheet like your own files. Add, remove, modify any data in it. Including adding email addresses.

Then, your automatically-created Google Sheet will interact directly with…

GMass

“GMass is a free Gmail mass mailer, mail merge, and follow up service.” That’s what the tool creators say. But what will it do? Their site details it all, but basically–

 

  • Use Gmail to send mail merge campaigns with automatic follow-up emails.
  • Connect to Google Sheets.
  • Personalize. Schedule. Track opens and clicks.
  • Create email lists based on search results.
  • Send emails as replies to the last thread with each person.
  • The killer feature: set automatic follow-up emails to be sent sequentially until you get a reply.

 

That last one does more than just that, though. It will send your message as a reply to the latest message chain you had with them (including the last GMass email you sent), creating the impression that you replied to them individually with the next email news you want to send out.

And you handle it all through the usual GMail interface with the addition of one add-on, which you get for free from the Chrome store.

It also will track opens and clicks. You can schedule the time and day to send them out. You can include an optional Unsubscribe link to avoid anti-SPAM laws. It sends using their name and email address like normal emails, drawing data from the GSheet your GForm created. It generates reports. You can set it to send automatic follow-up emails. What!?

Oh yeah–the paid version will also bypass GMail’s built in sending limits. You can send to up to 10,000 people, though it breaks them into a certain number each day to keep under GMail’s radar.

The free version is limited to 50 or fewer per day.

This means it isn’t great for large lists announcing sales or other really time-sensitive information, but how many of our newsletters really do that?

Sure, you can use MailChimp. But for smaller segments, such as your nonfiction followers if you mostly write fiction, this might be a perfect solution to reduce your email list size (and therefore the amount MailChimp charges you).

I hope this helps. For more posts on all things writing-related, visit my blog (jmenefeeblog.wordpress.com), or take a look at my books by visiting my author site (jsmenefee.wordpress.com).

Thanks!

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