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How to Properly Do an Email Merge for Your Email List



Sending emails to your target audience can be a tedious task when you’re trying to send personalized emails. You don’t want to spend hours sending individual emails because you have other important tasks to fulfill. Email merge is an effective method of sending bulk emails while still making them look personalized. It’s a great way to reach your target audience while saving hours of your precious time. In the end, any email marketing strategy should be focused on getting the best results. With email merge, you can improve your results while avoiding repetitive tasks. 

The concept of email merge isn’t new. Many popular email clients have included methods that allow you to send personalized emails to a list of recipients. But even though you might be familiar with email merge, odds are you’re not sure how you can get the best results while sending an email to a big list of recipients. Because sending an email is one thing, but turning your personalized email into business is much more critical. 

How does email merge work?

When you’re sending bulk emails, recipients will often know that you’ve included them in a list of other recipients. Within the B2B market, it’s essential to make sure your emails look professional. Email merge is a great way to send a lot of personalized emails to a large list of recipients without them knowing that you’ve sent this email to a list of people. 


To get the best results through your email marketing strategy, you should always focus on the factors that build more trust with your target audience. Using email merge will do precisely that, while also saving you a lot of time.

To take advantage of email merge, you can use any of the big email clients such as Outlook and Gmail. These email clients sometimes have built-in functions that allow you to upload a list of recipients, including additional details, to create a personalized email for every single recipient. You can even add specific information, such as personalized discounts within your emails. 


Email merge provides a strong addition to the email marketing strategies that you already included in your outbound marketing campaigns. And with the method being extremely user-friendly, it only takes a few minutes to set up a new campaign and reach dozens or even hundreds of recipients.


email merge

When it comes to providing data for your email client to use for the email merge, you want to make sure you stick to the right email list template. You need to provide specific details for every recipient, which can replace parameters that you add to the email. Below you will find an example of an email merge template.



First name

Last name

Email address

Patrick

Young

Patrickyoung@company.com

Kevin

Tew

K.tew@company.com

Brian

Rogan

Brogan@company.com

James

Angel

James.Angel@company.com

By uploading a CSV file containing columns similar to the ones in this table, you can use your email client to send out a new email to all the people on your list. Though not included in this table, email merge lists can contain a lot more information regarding your contact. You can include information such as:

  1. Company name

  2. Company location

  3. Their role within the company

  4. Links to articles about their company you’ve found online

 Any data that you have of your recipients can be used by using email merge, which is why it’s such an effective way of sending personalized emails. Providing additional data within your emails will make it much more personal and will quickly remove the doubt from your recipients whether this was a bulk email. 

Why should you send more personalized emails?

mail merge email

Personalized emails are much more useful than sending a pre-set message to your target audience. Our inboxes are filled with daily sales pitches that look like they’ve been written for anyone at all. But to sell to new companies within your target audience, you need to look professional. 


Sending a generic message to every single prospect on your email list will not seem professional. During the early stage of interacting with a prospect, you need to give it a personal touch so you can start building a relationship with this prospect. If they don’t trust you right off the bat, it’s hard to establish a good relationship later on.

Email merge gives the personal touch to the bulk email that you are sending to your prospect. Most people will ignore an email in their inbox if it’s not personal. If you don’t even include your prospect’s first name, it’s hard to make it look like you care about them. 


It just shows that you haven’t done your research and they will most likely not buy any products or services you’re offering. But by fulfilling only a small number of details, that will take you just a few minutes for a batch of a few dozen of over a hundred prospects, you will find it to be much easier to build great relationships with your prospects. 

Another important aspect of sending personalized emails is SPAM filters. If you’re sending the same email over and over again to a lot of addresses hosted on the same server, you can eventually end up on a blacklist. As a marketer, the blacklist is something to avoid at all times. 


It doesn’t just create a big dent in your reputation, it also has a significant impact on the email delivery rate of your marketing campaigns. If you hit the blacklist, most email service providers will no longer accept any emails sent from your IP address or domain. Any future emails will automatically be added to the spam folder or will not even reach the recipient at all.

What kind of results can you expect from email merge?

When it comes to any email marketing campaign, you want to know what kind of results you can expect before you invest any time in these campaigns. It’s much easier to get a higher response rate or click rate when you’re sending personalized emails through email merge. The emails look more personal. When you manage to get your content right, it will create a sense of interest and desire in your target audience’s brain. Though many factors impact the results from emails, personalization is one of the most beneficial elements. 

There’s no specific success rate for personalized emails. It heavily depends on factors such as:

  • The product/service you are offering

  • The recipients on your email list

  • Sending the email at the right time

  • And having a bit of luck sometimes

It also takes time to understand what works best for your company and your target audience. Sending personalized emails is not a single marketing campaign. You should analyze the results from different email marketing campaigns and experiment with new types of copy and subject lines. This will allow you to improve the results of your campaigns throughout a couple of weeks or months. By experimenting heavily, you will see much better results and can sign more new customers.

Even when your first campaigns won’t result in many new signed clients, it can lead to learnings that will result in better statistics down the road. You should prioritize experiments based on:

  1. The subject line of your emails

  2. The first two sentences of the email

  3. The quality of recipients on your list

  4. The call-to-action within your email

By separating your existing list into two or three smaller lists, you can track how changing specific parts of your email affects your bottom line. Campaign statistics could look something like this:

Batch number

Open rate*

Click rate*

Response rate*

Batch #1

35%

12%

15%

Batch #2

29%

5%

9%

Batch #3

41%

25%

18%

* Per 100 emails sent

Creating different batches can change the way you’re sending emails. With email merge, it’s relatively easy to create different batches by separating massive lists into smaller lists. You should aim to have around 150 recipients in a single batch to accurately track how using different subject lines and copy variations affect your results. With most email marketing campaigns, you want to work on improving results based on the following order:

  1. Improving the open rate of your emails

  2. Improving the click rate of a link to your website

  3. Improving the response rate from your recipients

Though it may seem more logical to focus on the response rate, it’s easier to track the response rate accurately if more people open your emails. By focusing on the open rate at first by using the right subject line, you will see better results at the end of the email marketing funnel. After you’ve established a specific benchmark for your email open rates, you should invest time in improving the click rate of a link to your website. Once you’re happy with the average click rate of your emails, you move on to increase the average response rate of your email marketing campaigns. 


email merge from excel

Using email merge in your email clients

When you’re using email merge, it’s helpful if you’re able to work right from the email client you are already using. Luckily, Outlook provides an easy email merge option that requires a few extra steps to send emails to your target audience. Gmail does not have a built-in solution for merging emails. There are several tools you can use to still be able to send personalized emails in bulk. Below we will explain how you can use Outlook, Gmail, and other software to send emails. 

Email Merge in Outlook

Outlook is still one of the most popular email clients out there. This mainly has to do with the easy to use software and benefits such as email merge. Here’s a step to step guide to create an email merge. 

  1. Launch Outlook on your computer

  2. Click Mailings > Start Mail Merge > Email Messages

  3. Upload your CSV file to create a new list of email recipients through Mailings > Select recipients

  4. Click File > Save

  5. Click Mailings > Greeting line

  6. Choose the field you want to insert > Click OK

  7. Click File > Save

  8. Click Preview Results, go through several previews by click “Next” or “Previous.”

  9. Click Finish & Merge > Send E-mail Messages

  10. Click “To:” and select the list of email addresses

  11. Type a subject line in the subject box

  12. Click Mail Format and pick HTML

  13. Click OK to run the mail merge

Email merge in Gmail

To use email merge for Gmail, you will need any of the following Gmail extensions. These extensions are built for your browser and allow you to send an email to a lot of different recipients quickly. Some of these extensions provide statistics for your email marketing campaigns, enabling you to understand how people are interacting with your emails. Pick any of the following extensions to start sending personalized bulk emails:

Be careful when you’re using email merge in Gmail, as Google limits the number of emails you can send within 24 hours. You are usually safe with up to 200 emails with a regular Gmail account. G Suite accounts can send up to 1,000 emails a day depending on the account age. Exceeding these limits might result in your account getting blocked temporarily or even permanently. It can also result in your IP address or domain name being listed on a blacklist. 


Being on a blacklist means almost nobody will ever be able to receive any email you are sending from that server or domain. You might also want to build your email list in Gmail first before you start sending out emails. Creating an email list means that you add all the recipients to your contact list first.

Other software

You can also choose software that is running outside of your email client to send personalized emails through email merge. These tools are recommended when you’re sending out bulk personalized emails often. They give you more insights into how well your emails perform compared to built-in solutions. It allows you to analyze your results after every bulk email. You can use the data from these campaigns to further improve the outreach campaigns you are using to increase the number of leads for your products or services.

How Anyleads handles email merge

With Anyleads, you get a suite of B2B lead generation tools that help you turn your outreach campaigns into data goldmines. You can also add automatic follow-ups through drip campaigns. These follow-ups can significantly increase the success rate of your email marketing campaigns. It takes a bit of time before you get everything going. 


Once you have a proper setup, you can add new lists of email addresses and additional data daily. The software will then add these new lists to the already existing drip campaigns, so it hardly requires any manual work.

By using your email marketing templates, you can turn new lists of prospects into website traffic and leads for your company. The drip campaigns allow you to build a proper marketing system that focuses on building relationships with your target audience. A drip campaign might look like this:

Email to be sent

At what time should it send it?

First introduction email template

Immediately after you upload a list

Follow up email

72 hours after your initial introduction email

Second follow up email

48 hours after the first follow up

Specific action email

30 minutes after the recipient clicks a link in the email such as an invitation email for a webinar

What should you focus on with email merge?

Email merge is a more effective way of turning email lists into leads as it automates most of the work. You don’t want to spend hours on end trying to type individual emails and log data in a spreadsheet to make these emails personal. Instead, you should focus on how you can automate most of this process. 


Downloading lists of data based on company profiles is an excellent step into the world of automation. Once you have the data, you can start sending emails. They may contain personalized data. Start building better relationships with people that might be interested in doing business with you. 

How do you send the best emails?

email merge outlook

Before you send an email, you want to make sure that you are already everything you can to maximize your results. The best emails provide a lot of valuable information in a few short sentences. No recipient is going to read a long email. Everybody is busy nowadays, and long emails will be added to the spam folder. By taking the following aspects into account, your personalized emails will perform much better:

  • Focus on using a catchy subject line

  • Capture your recipients’ attention in the first two sentences

  • Create enough interest for them to reply to your email

  • Focus on their problems, not on your solution

Focus on using a catchy subject line

When a recipient sees your email in their inbox, it needs to speak to them immediately. You can use the data within your email list to add pieces of content that will improve the open rate of your emails. Using their first name is often a great idea as it immediately speaks to them. Using short subject lines, of about 4 to 5 words, is always recommended. Email subjects which are longer than 50 words often don’t fully show on mobile email clients. 

Capture your recipients’ attention in the first two sentences

You want your recipients to get back to you based on the content of your email. By capturing their attention in the first two sentences, they are much more likely to read the whole email. Most internet users quickly go through the first sentences of an email and ignore it when it’s not interesting. By focusing on the first two sentences, you can grab their attention and influence them to read the rest of the email. Sticking to a business email template is recommended, as it will help you understand what’s working within your campaign.

Create enough interest for them to reply to your email

After the first two sentences, you should focus on turning the attention into interest. What’s the reason you’re trying to reach them by email? Why and when should they respond to the email? Or what’s another way to reach out to you? By providing context to your recipients, you are going to see much better results. 

Focus on their problems, not on your solution

Since you’re trying to build a relationship to sell a product or service down the line, you want to know whether recipients would be interested in what you’re providing. It might seem like a great idea to immediately pitch your idea and ask if they’re interested in buying. 


But you’ll see better results when you focus on your prospect and the problem they might currently experience. You can’t pitch a product or service at the right time if you don’t even know whether the prospect is looking for a solution right now. First, you need to establish that they’re experiencing a problem. Only then can you pitch your company’s solution to fix said problem.

Should you track results from your email campaigns?

Yes, you should always track the results of any email campaign you launch. This is especially important when you are using email merge to send personalized emails. You want to know how well your emails are performing. After sending several email campaigns, you will see patterns that are resulting in higher open rates, click rates, and response rates. 

You can analyze these patterns by tracking all the data around the email marketing campaign. Collecting the data will provide easy ways to optimize the marketing strategy and get a higher success rate with mail merge. It also provides insights into the quality of the email lists you are using. If you’re starting a new marketing campaign to get email addresses, you want to know how well they perform. You might also compare them to other strategies you’ve used in the past. Using data from your email marketing campaigns will provide valuable feedback on how well you’re performing. It will help you think of experiments you can launch to optimize your results.

 

Author

Mathieu Picard

CEO, Anyleads, San Francisco

We are the leading marketing automation platform serving more than 100,000 businesses daily. We operate in 3 countries, based in San Francisco, New York, Paris & London.

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