If you’ve ever found yourself typing out a dozen or more different email address to send a message to a group of people in Gmail, you’ve probably wished for a more efficient way to send a group email.
Fortunately, there are a few approaches that can help you manage group emails more efficiently in Gmail.
In this article, we’ll cover how to send a group email in Gmail!
Table of Contents
- What Is a Group Email in Gmail?
- How to Create a Gmail Group
- How to Send Email to a Group in Gmail
- How to Send a Group Email in Gmail Without Showing Addresses
- How to Send a Group Email in Gmail on iPhone
- Issues to Note When Sending a Group Email in Gmail
- Alternative Options for Sending a Group Email in Gmail
What Is a Group Email in Gmail?
For our purposes, a “group email” in Gmail is any conversation thread that includes multiple participants. By default, if you include multiple recipients in the “To” or “CC” field in Gmail, you’ll immediately start a group email (aka a conversation thread).
However, you may also hear of “group emails” in the context of Gmail Groups. Gmail Groups are predefined sets of contacts who are assigned a similar label in your Google Contacts. For example, you might have an accounting department that consists of Abby, Brady, and Coraline. If you create a Gmail Group for these people called “Accounting,” you can send a group email to “Accounting,” and start a conversation with those three people.
Ultimately, group emails are useful for:
- Mass communicating information. If you need to make a broad statement, or make an announcement to a specific group, a group email is the best approach.
- Starting a discussion. You can also use group emails to gather responses from multiple people at once, or manage a discussion (though most dialogues are better handled in a chat or phone call).
- Making introductions. Introducing someone to multiple people at once is something best handled with a group email.
- Following a project or ongoing task. You can also use a group thread in Gmail to keep everyone up-to-date on the latest developments for a project or ongoing task.
How to Create a Gmail Group
While you can technically create a group conversation without a Gmail Group, creating Gmail Groups will make it easier on you—especially if you’re dealing with large groups of people, or if you’re emailing the same groups of people over and over.
The process of creating a Gmail Group is simple:
1. Open Google Contacts.
First, open Google Contacts. You can find an icon for this in the upper-right corner of Gmail, or you can visit it directly.
2. Select contacts you wish to add to the Group.
You should have a list of all your Gmail contacts here. Mark the ones you wish to add to your new Gmail Group.
3. Create a Label for these contacts.
Click the Labels icon at the top of the page, and create a Label for these contacts (something you’ll remember, like “Accounting” or “D&D Nerds”). Save when done.
Note that you can also edit your Groups in the future, if you need to add or remove contacts. Just select the Group you want to edit from the Labels section and make changes as you see fit.
Here’s a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for how to create a Gmail Group, which is only briefly summarized above, so be sure to consult it if you have any issues.
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How to Send Email to a Group in Gmail
Once you have a Gmail Group created, you’ll be able to call upon that group in Gmail.
4. Compose a new email
Compose a new message, and begin typing the name of the Group in the field of your choice (To, CC, or BCC). If you click it, the names of the individual members of that group should populate.
Make sure you double check the addresses and the message before you click send if you want to be safe.
Of course, you can also send a group email the way you would normally, though this requires the manual entry of each individual address. If you prefer, you can learn how to export Gmail contacts and enter them manually in your email.
How to Send a Group Email in Gmail Without Showing Addresses
If want to send a group email in Gmail without showing the addresses of the recipients, you’ll need to use the BCC line. Individuals in the BCC line won’t have their address shown to other recipients of the message. Accordingly, they won’t receive responses sent via Reply All, so you can’t count on this option as a precursor to conversation.
You can fill in any address to the To field, including your own.
How to Send a Group Email in Gmail on iPhone
Good news; once you’ve created a Gmail Group, you can call it up using any iteration of Gmail, including the Gmail app on iPhone.
Simply start typing the name of your Group when drafting a message, and you’ll be able to call up the same list of contacts that would appear on the desktop version.
Issues to Note When Sending a Group Email in Gmail
Group emails are fantastic for coordinating discussion via email, but they’re not a perfect communication medium, and they come with a handful of issues. Anticipate and mitigate these issues if you want to increase your potential for success.
- Manual effort. No matter what, there’s some degree of manual effort required to send and coordinate group emails. Even if you take advantage of the Gmail Groups functionality, you’ll still need to type it out and verify your work.
- Lack of personalization. Sending a message to a group prohibits you from personalizing the message. Mass-sent emails tend to be impersonal, which could be a problem in certain situations.
- Risk of error. If you’re dealing with large distribution lists in your Gmail Groups, or if you’re adding people manually, you’re going to be dealing with a risk of error. There’s always the possibility that you’ll include someone who shouldn’t be included, or that you’ll exclude someone who should be privy to this situation. Double checking your email drafts before sending them is the only real way to avoid this.
- Group management. Ongoing management of Gmail Groups can also become cumbersome. This is especially problematic for distribution lists related to departments, which may be constantly hiring and losing people. You’ll need to edit your contact labels consistently if you want to avoid unfortunate omissions.
Alternative Options for Sending a Group Email in Gmail
This guide illustrates how to send a group email in Gmail using the default features available in Gmail, along with the Group mechanics from Google Contacts. However, you should know there are other group email options available which might suit your needs better.
For starters, you could use a third-party Gmail tool to coordinate the creation of new groups, or the dispatch of more advanced group messages. We’ve got a list of 61 Gmail tools worth exploring if you want to expand Gmail’s functionality, and many of them offer some variation of contact management and email coordination.
Additionally, if you’re interested in sending mass messages as part of a marketing or sales campaign, it’s best to use an email marketing tool designed for the job, rather than Gmail by itself. This is especially important if you’re dealing with a distribution list of hundreds or more.
One of the biggest drawbacks of group emails is that they become unwieldy fast, especially if multiple people are sending replies or if the conversation lasts longer than originally intended. Fortunately, with the right analytics tool, you can get a better grasp on how your organization handles group conversations.
Enter EmailAnalytics. Once installed, EmailAnalytics can help you visualize and analyze your group thread activity in Gmail—as well as dozens of other email metrics, including the number of emails you send and receive and your average response time. Sign up for a free trial today to learn more!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.