How do I send 100 emails with custom name inserts... as personally as possible
September 25, 2012 9:35 PM   Subscribe

What are my options for sending out 100-200 customized emails? Using Gmail? Using a NameCheap domain? I want it to be as personal as possible.

I am sending out emails to a cold list of 100-200 people, I basically want to politely ask if the could provide information about their industry for some research I am doing. I intend to insert their first name in the greeting.


I am ok with using my personal Gmail account, but I understand that there is a 100 recipient a day limit in Gmail. Also, I don't REALLY want to use the BCC field since that looks spammy (right?). And I don't know how to do the name insert in gmail.

As an alternative, I have some domains I own on NameCheap, and one is appropriate for the research I am doing. But the domains are not hosted yet, should I go through the process of getting it hosted? Once I do how do I actually send the messages and... again... insert the names?

I can setup Outlook for the mail merge (I think) but will most web hosting have the same recipient limitations as google? And won't a brand,-spanking-new commercial domain be more likely to encounter spam filters than, say, Gmail?

I am interested in doing marketing blasts for my business in the future, so I would be interested in investing in learning how a commercial grade system works but... that is not strictly necessary for this one off project.

Thanks for any ideas.
posted by DetonatedManiac to Technology (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
By the way I say "(I think)" about outlook because I never use it and I don't really know how to setup the mail forwarding etc. It seems like a hassle and I am not sure it is the best way.

But I know outlook has mail merge functionality :)
posted by DetonatedManiac at 9:38 PM on September 25, 2012

You don't want to set this up using Outlook, because you may get blacklisted for sending out spam (you may not be able to receive emails again).

The easiest way to do this is to use MailChimp or Campaign Monitor. Both have free options that will do exactly what you want to do.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:48 PM on September 25, 2012

Seconding MailChimp, I love them. Using it would allow you to include an 'unsubscribe/opt-out' link on the bottom of the email, which may help it to appear less spammy.

Also, I don't know exactly how Gmail's spam filter works, but I imagine getting a BCC is much worse than getting an email addressed to you specifically.
posted by blazingunicorn at 10:27 PM on September 25, 2012

I suggest campaign monitor.
posted by i_wear_boots at 10:32 PM on September 25, 2012

Of the two, Campaign Monitor is easiest to use, although MailChimp is more powerful (if you need something that is more powerful).
posted by KokuRyu at 10:34 PM on September 25, 2012

this could do it with outlook
posted by anon4now at 1:12 AM on September 26, 2012

There's also Emma. They're almost always running a special where you can try them for free for a month, so you could try out a commercial grade service and do this one project for free. I've used them for my small press / editing business and they're great -- also very affordable.
posted by sweltering at 1:26 AM on September 26, 2012

AFAIR most of the bulk mail services (like MailChimp) have strict procedures about uploading email lists that haven't been through an opt-in process - which yours haven't.

One I used required that they send a "do you want to be on this list?" email before I could mass email to it. And obviously only people who responded yes were put in the list. This is how they protect their reputation and so their email gets though. Otherwise all the viagra scammers would just use their services.

I think you have to do it yourself.

I'd use Thunderbird, an add-on call Mail Merge and another add-on called Send Later.

Once you have setup the personalization and run the merge, set it up for delayed sending. Send them out in batches of say 10 at a time over a period of several hours.

200 isn't so many but you don't want to do all 200 at one time. You might also want to spread out the destination domains a bit (ie if your list has 20 people with "" addresses - make sure each batch only has a couple address in each.) Some incoming mail servers will look for multiple emails incoming and although the first few will get through, they'll flag the later ones as spam. You do this spreading out when you sent up the data for the mail merge in Thunderbird.

But for 200 you could edit them manually - you could type out 200 personal emails in the time you'll be setting up all this other stuff!
posted by Xhris at 5:22 AM on September 26, 2012

So.... where did you get the list? You understand this is spamming, right? Even if it's only 100-200 people and you are asking really politely.

An employer had me do this once. The amount of blow back really surprised me. I won't be doing that again.
posted by scottatdrake at 10:34 AM on September 26, 2012

Well.... now that I think about it some more.... maybe not. If you aren't selling anything (like we were) and let them know where you got their email, maybe that's fine.
posted by scottatdrake at 10:54 AM on September 26, 2012

Thanks for the info all.

I setup a Campaign Monitor account and did a test. It seems that it would work with a plain text email. Meets my needs plus gives a little bit of data back with an email success pie chart. The one problem is that the email says " via" when I look at in gmail. I am not sure if I should be worried about that.

They force you to add an "unsubscribe" link (which is a really ugly url). I don't mind, but I don't ever intend to send to these people again, unless they respond to me, in which case I will be replying to them personally. I added myself (alternate email) to the list and it did not send an "Ok to add you to an email list?" verification. But if it does do that I will try the Thunderbird method.

To answer your question scottatdrake... I guess I sort of am skirting the line on spam but that is not my intent. I am asking them if they are interested in helping me learn more about their industry. I feel sending an email is less intrusive then cold calling them on their business phone line. I basically just want to interview them if they are interested and have time

The content of the email will just be my request, my email and links to my LinkedIn profile to prove who I am. These are all people I got off an national certification association website which led me to their public email information on their business sites.

posted by DetonatedManiac at 2:02 PM on September 26, 2012

MeFi ate my brackets... that was supposed to be "(((my_email_address))) via" when you look at the "from" address in gmail.... Should I be worried about that?
posted by DetonatedManiac at 2:04 PM on September 26, 2012

I've used a system called Vertical Response for this sort of thing. Didn't really love it, but it is an option.
posted by silvergoat at 3:58 PM on September 26, 2012

So I sent out 100 emails with Campaign Manager. It sent worked pretty good, but then they asked me about how I got the emails. I was honest with them and they recommended I not do that thru them again :)

So I will just setup the Thunderbird option and send out chunks at a time in the future.
posted by DetonatedManiac at 12:49 PM on October 2, 2012

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