If you’re a Google user like me and you frequently send out email marketing campaigns, you’re going to love this.
At the end of March Google and MailChimp announced that they had joined forces to produce a fabulous new email Add-on called “Merge” which enables users to send customised newsletters and email campaigns direct from Google Drive.
If you’re already familiar with MailChimp you won’t be surprised to learn that “Merge” works very much in the same way in that a template is designed and created as the basis of your newsletter and recipients’ data is pulled through from a spreadsheet in order to send it to a targeted group.
The benefits of using “Merge”
- You don’t have to have an account with MailChimp in order to use Merge;
- Since it works from Google Drive it allows users to share or work on a template collaboratively;
- Similarly, spreadsheets of data can also be accessed and updated remotely by co-workers or clients without the risk of having differing versions.
I’m about to send out a newsletter for a colleague of mine to showcase the launch of her new business so follow me and I’ll show you step by step how fantastically quick and easy it is to use “Merge” …
Start off on your Google Drive dashboard.
As always, click on the “Create” button in the top left hand corner of your screen to start a new document or select one from your drive if you wish to use a document you’ve already set up.
Google docs work in a very similar way to MS Word and has a fantastic array of fonts. Make full use of what there is available to enhance the style and tone of your newsletter.
The document you now create will form the basis of your template.
As with all social media, you need to make clever use of eye-catching images and logos and be imaginative with colour schemes to generate interest and hold your reader’s attention. Nobody likes to receive a bland newsletter with paragraphs of plain text.
When you’ve finished editing and proofreading your document template, save it as you would a Word doc.
2. Data Source
As with MailChimp, step 2 in the process is to choose your source of data which lists all the contacts you want to send your newsletter to.
“Merge” will allow you to create a new spreadsheet (the green tab on Google Drive) or pull in data from one you’ve already created.
All the information needed for the purposes of sending out an email campaign from “Merge~” is:
(i) First Name
(ii) Surname and
Create three columns within your spreadsheet for these headings. You can add any other information into your spreadsheet but the essential information will be taken from the first 3 columns above.
Now the fun starts!
Once you have all your data in place go back to the template document you’ve created and have a look at the tabs at the top of the page. You’ll find a tab called, “Add-ons“.
Click on that …
You’ll be given two options:
* Send email; or
* View reports.
Click on the “Send email” option … if you’ve not used “Merge” before you’ll notice a helpful window opens explaining how and where your data source will come from. Just slick on the “Choose spreadsheet” button at the bottom of the window.
4. Final Check
When the cogs have stopped whirring you’ll notice a new dialogue box opens up on the right hand side of your screen with 3 tabs at the top for “Data Source”, “Merge tags” and “Email info”.
This is your opportunity to check that all the information is present and correct before hitting the “Send” button!
N.B. Be sure to include all the information required in the “Email info” tab:
→ Populate the “From” field with your company name so that recipients know at a glance who the email is from, e.g. [Virtuoso Assistant] Nicky Pasquier
→ Make your email subject line POPS! Don’t forget the importance of headings (see a previous article for help on this subject)
→ Include a Permission reminder, otherwise you risk having your email marked as spam.
→ Contact Info: this is a legal requirement in some countries so make sure you include this. Don’t worry, it won’t be distracting and will be included in a discreet footer at the end of your newsletter.
You can preview your email campaign before you send it; it’s even worth sending a test to yourself to make sure everything works and looks good. There’s nothing worse than clicking “Send” or “Publish” only to realise that hundreds of your contacts are going to find a glaring error in your content.
Once you’re happy go ahead … SEND EMAIL!
And this is why I love the guys and girls at MailChimp … they’ve always got your back.
Before our email is finally launched we’ll be given a final checklist to run through just to make sure nothing has been missed.
Don’t forget, once your campaign has been sent, you can view a reports page which will let you have some basic analytics.
I hope this was helpful to you?
Do you think you’ll use “Merge” to send email campaigns? Do you have any questions?
Please do let me know what you think.
And don’t forget, if you’d like us to manage or produce your email campaigns with Merge or MailChimp we’d be delighted to hear from you. Just drop us a line using the Comments box below or send Nicky an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you next week!