How to Send Mass Personalized Emails: A Comprehensive Guide

how to send mass personalized emails cover with sharpies and name tags

There are many guides written on email marketing. You really want to enter the world of high ROI, but you keep finding different and often opposing information on mass email methods; personalization is one of them. How can I send mass personalized emails? You may wonder if it is even possible. 

The answer is — yes! With the right approach and tools, you can send mass personalized emails tailored to each of your audiences.

Together, let’s go through the different ways to personalize your mass emails, how to personalize them for various email clients, and email personalization best practices.

What Does Personalizing Mass Emails Mean?

Personalizing mass emails is the process of customizing information for each audience, such as including their names and tailoring email content based on past actions and user preferences. Sending specific and customized information in your mass emails encourages customer engagement and results in more conversions. 

You can personalize your mass emails by adding:

  • Recipient names,
  • Dynamic content,
  • Behavioral triggers,
  • Personalized recommendations,
  • Interactive content.

Most mass emails may sound generic and irrelevant to a large part of your audience. But you can personalize those emails to make them relevant for each of your audience, and we will show you how.

2 Best Ways to Personalize Mass Emails

The common ways to personalize mass emails are through mail merge and ESPs.

  1. Merge tags: Merge tags dynamically insert the recipient’s personal information in each of your mass emails. For example, each variable, such as the recipient’s name, is modified for every email you send out.
    This is done by adding tags [First name] or [Company name].
    Merge tags are usually available through major email platforms like Gmail and Yahoo.
  2. Use an email service provider: Use the built-in features and tools of an ESP to send mass emails. ESPs help you segment your audience, create automated workflows, and customize email content for each subscriber. 

While the above methods are the safest to send mass emails, there are other ways to send them too. However, these methods are generic and not as private as the above. 

Generic Ways to Send Mass Emails

The options below are generally not recommended because they can make you look unprofessional, which can decrease trust in your brand. So, use them only when necessary.

Using BCC to Send Mass Emails 

BCC is a built-in feature that allows you to send mass emails by hiding the email addresses of all your recipients. This means you can send one email to all your recipients by adding them to BCC.

This feature is usually available on all email platforms, with limited capabilities — you can only add a certain number of contacts to an email.

BCC is not entirely a private method of sending emails. If your subscribers find out about this, they may lose trust in your business and opt out of your mailing list.

Choosing a Random Email Service Provider

While ESPs assist you with sending mass emails, pay attention to the type of ESP you choose. A wrong choice can make your emails look impersonal and unprofessional. If an ESP isn’t reliable, emails might not land in your subscribers’ inboxes and end up in the dreaded spam folder. 

Such emails are mostly generic and have low open rates. If the ISPs sense that 

your emails are not important; they can send them to the spam or promotions tab, and your chance to reach your intended audience will grow slimmer. 

To escape this issue, send personalized mass emails from reputable email service providers with a proven track record. 

Besides the ESP, you will need another integrated solution to send personalized mass emails successfully. You will need Mail Merge.

What is Mail Merge and How Does it Work?

Mail Merge is an automated method of adding names and addresses from a database designed to help you build personalized emails. In simple terms, you create an email template, and Mail Merge inserts the required personalized information from the data source. The generic information is put in braces and the placeholder names should match columns or groups in your database.

For example, 

Hi {Name},

I hope you’re doing well. I saw you at the {festival name}, and wanted to reach out regarding {product name}. 

{name}, would you be up for a quick call about {product}?

Looking forward to hearing from you, {name}



Mail Merge then uses the predefined variables you set for all the emails you send out. Also, this option is usually available on all email platforms as well.

Let’s look at how to use the Mail Merge feature on different email clients and platforms.

Mass Email Merge on Outlook

Follow the steps to send automated bulk emails with Outlook:

  1. Launch Microsoft Word and create your email message.
  2. Open Mailings, choose Start Mail Merge, and click on E-mail messages.
  3. Select your email recipients from these options
  • Type a new list
  • Use an existing list 
  • Choose from Outlook contacts
  1. Choose the greeting field and personalize your message. 
  2. Go to the Mailings tab and choose Insert Mail Merge.
  3. Click on finish and merge.

You will need Outlook, Word, and Excel installed on your computer since they work simultaneously to use Mail Merge. 

Mail Merging on Outlook can be tedious and confusing. Whereas, the similar process in Gmail is a lot simpler. Let’s see how to send mass emails with Gmail.       

Send Mass Emails With Gmail

There are two ways you can send personalized mass emails:

  • Through MailMerge 
  • By installing Gmail extensions

We will first look at the MailMerge option:

  1. Click compose an email on your Gmail account
  2. Choose MailMerge from next to the ‘To’ column
  3. Add the email addresses to the contacts list column
  4. Type ‘@’ to personalize your emails
  5. Press send

You can also link contacts from Google spreadsheets using the MailMerge option. Note that any email address that contains special characters will be considered invalid. 

Send Mass Emails Using Gmail Extensions 

If you are looking for more flexibility with your mass emails, a Gmail extension like GMass or Yet Another Mail Merge (YAMM) work best. With these extensions, you can track results in real-time from your Google Sheets. 

To use the extension, follow the steps below:

  1. Write email content in Gmail,
  2. Include a greeting at the top of your email (this can be personalized later),
  3. Include the type of content you would like to personalize in curly brackets (braces) {},
  4. Prepare your email list,
  5. Choose the extension and start Mail Merge,
  6. Fill in the sender name and select the email draft,
  7. You can send the emails now or schedule them for a later time.

While Outlook and Gmail are big names in the email marketing avenue, you can also send bulk messages from other email clients such as Thunderbird.

Personalized Mass Email in Thunderbird

Install the Mozilla Thunderbird extension to send personalized mass emails quickly and efficiently, and follow these steps:

  1. Download the .xpi file of the extension,
  2. Navigate to tools > add-ons> extensions,
  3. Open Mozilla Thunderbird,
  4. Create your personalized message,
  5. Select the file and click on merge,
  6. Fill in the fields,
  7. Click OK.

Enclose each variable with the double curly braces, for example, {{lastname}}. And make sure you enter the variables as they are in your CSV file. 

If you own accounts with a lesser-known email client, you can still send personal emails from them.

Mass Personal Emails with eMClient  

eM Client follows a different approach to sending mass emails:

  • Create a new message and enter all email addresses in the ‘To’ field,
  • Type the email’s subject line,
  • Click on the arrow next to send and choose ‘Mass emails’ from the drop-down menu.

eM Client allows you to create distribution lists in place of manually entering email addresses. You can then add variables from the pre-defined general or contact variables list. 

No matter which email client you choose to send mass emails from, knowing these common mistakes comes in handy.

Common Personalization Mistakes

Personalization can be tricky if you are doing it without the help of email marketing software. Here are the common personalization mistakes and how to rectify them.

Over-personalization Avoid intrusive personalization and prioritize relevance.
Lack of viable data Regularly clean and update your email lists.
Inconsistent brand messaging Develop and stick to a brand style guide.
Ignoring cultural sensitivitiesResearch and consider cultural nuances in your messages.
Not knowing subscriber preferencesProvide a way for subscribers to customize their preferences.
Common personalization mistakes in mass emails

These mistakes can occur frequently, and that’s why using email marketing software is a more practical approach. 

Sending Mass Personalized Emails Using an Email Service Provider

If you tackle thousands of emails per day, an ESP is a better choice to handle your mass personalized emails. Choosing an ESP is challenging, and to help you narrow your options, we have a curated list for you.

ESPDynamic Content Automatic list cleaning Easy Automation Unlimited contacts Tag-based system
Campaign Monitor
Campaign Refinery 
Features of several different ESPs

Note that each ESP has different features and capabilities for each pricing tier. Look for relevant information and weigh the technicalities before making a decision. 

More Reasons Why You Must Opt For a Dedicated Email Software Solution

Although email clients support mass personalized emails, they usually have a cap on the number of emails you can send per day. For example, with Gmail, you can only send mass emails to 500 contacts in 24 hours. Whereas, ESPs have no limitations on the number of contacts you can add to your emails.

Here are 6 top reasons why using software is more convenient:

  • Access to analytics: Email clients typically do not show analytics, making it difficult to know your deliverability rate and other email metrics. Whereas, ESPs give you a dedicated analytics dashboard.
  • Less risk of data exposure: With a small mistake on your email client’s side, your subscriber list can be exposed to thousands of people. This is far less likely to happen using a reputable ESP.
  • Accurate market segmentation: It’s not possible to segment audiences based on their online behavior. This lack of segmentation can have a huge impact on your open and click rates.
  • Access to campaign scheduling: Most email clients do not facilitate scheduling and automation options. ESPs help you schedule as many emails and run them on autopilot. 
  • Enhanced personalization: Often, you have to pay and purchase additional tools to work with email clients. Plus, there are not many options to customize your emails. However, ESPs let you personalize every email you send out.
  • High deliverability rate: Mass emails can be risky when sent from unknown sources or random email clients. This can further lead to spam complaints, low deliverability, and ultimately domain blacklisting. However, you can achieve a much higher deliverability rate and sender reputation with reputable ESPs.

Why is Campaign Refinery the Best Choice for Personalized Mass Emails?

After working with many different business owners and sending millions of emails, Campaign Refinery understands that great email marketing starts with personalization and a high deliverability rate

That’s why we built the tools every email marketer needs to succeed — a beginner-friendly editor that allows you to create dynamic content with customization. Our platform helps you create as many email lists (because we don’t charge by the contacts, instead we have a credit system) and automate them with personalization and segmentation tags. 

These tags work based on user behavior and lifecycle stage. Plus, we make it easy to move your contact lists from any email client.

Want to hear more about how we can help you? Keep reading. But first, let’s break down the common best practices for sending mass email campaigns.

Mass Personalized Emails Best Practices

Sending mass emails requires consistency and thoughtfulness with every subscriber you reach. Here are best practices to help you send highly targeted content to each of them:

Know the Legal Side 

The CAN-SPAM Act establishes what you can send in your email marketing. If you are sending advertisements, you must state the purpose and provide an unsubscribe link. Ensure you obtain permission before you send out mass emails. 

Segment Your Email List

Divide your email list into groups based on demographics, interests, and customer behavior. This segmentation strategy will help you create more targeted and personalized mass email messages. 

However, ensure to position your customers based on their place in the email sales funnel. This will help you create tailored content for each audience segment. For example, TOFU (Top of the funnel) customers require detailed product explanations compared to BOFU (Bottom of the funnel) customers.

Utilize Merge Tags

Most email clients allow you to insert merge tags in your emails. Merge tags act as placeholders until the recipient’s information is filled in. Common tags include the recipient’s name, company, or location. 

Have a Compelling Design 

Use visuals and unique color schemes to elevate your customers’ interest. You can also create specific email templates for mass email campaigns. 

Optimize Email Content 

Mass emails are a great opportunity to utilize email headers, persuasive subject lines, and preview text. Optimizing your content increases the chances of people opening and interacting with your emails.

Understand the Goal of Your Email Campaign

Develop a reason to engage with customers — it can be to increase your brand revenue, get more subscribers, or drive more conversions on your website. Knowing your campaign goals makes it easier to craft relevant and personalized content for your audience.

Provide Value 

A big part of mass emailing is having a purpose and providing value to your recipients. There is a reason why your subscribers opted-in to receive your emails. Send them useful content with a take-away message.

Have a Clear and Compelling Call-to-action Button

Your CTA is the final step to persuade your subscriber to take action. For example, if you say ‘sign-up to learn more,’ your email body copy and visuals must play together to convince your customers to click on the button and sign up. 

Consider the following factors when creating your CTAs:

  • Placement: CTAs are typically placed in the beginning and at the end. If you have a short email copy, place your CTA below the visual. However, for longer email copy, guide your subscribers to the CTA at the end. Doing this gives you more room to tell your story and persuade your reader to click on the CTA.
  • Copy: Use compelling offers as CTA. For instance, get this item at 25% off will likely capture the attention of your recipients. 
  • Design: Keep your CTAs simple with one brand color and a clean design. You may use more colors provided there’s unity in your emails. 

Check Data Accuracy

Incorrect or outdated data results in lesser personalization and ultimately a negative user experience.

Regularly clean and update your contact list to stay safe from spam complaints, especially with mass emailing. 

You can manually maintain your lists or use Campaign Refinery’s automatic email list-cleaning feature. The tool removes harmful and inactive email addresses from your list before you send the emails. 

Send Your Mass Emails at the Right Time

The time you send your emails determines the effectiveness of your mass email campaigns. Experts believe the best time to send bulk emails is between 10 am and 4 pm. This is because employees are actively checking emails in the mornings and before they leave their offices.

You can figure out the best times to send mass emails based on these factors:

  • Analyze open rates: Review your previous campaigns and gather the average open rate. Look at the time those emails were sent and refine your current schedule accordingly.
  • Study competitors: When you don’t have sufficient data, you can see what your email counterparts are doing and adapt your timing strategies.
  • A/B test: You can also split test your send times to know the best time to reach your audiences.

Monitor and Analyze Performance

Tracking email metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions will help you improve your personalization strategy over time.

Ensure Your ESP Can Handle Your Email Volume 

If you work with an ESP and have a large email list, ensure your ESP can handle a high volume of emails.

Most ESPs require account upgrading to add extra contacts or send more emails. 

That’s why it’s critical to choose an ESP that can handle mass emails for a single monthly price.

Send Personal Mass Emails With Campaign Refinery 

While mass email personalization can enhance engagement and conversion rates, it comes with a set of challenges — segmentation difficulties and low deliverability rates. Even a well-known ESP can backslide on good sending practices from time to time. 

But Campaign Refinery goes beyond the traditional email marketing platforms in terms of personalization, deliverability, and pricing.

The ability to tailor messages to individual recipients, automate email campaigns precisely, and analyze detailed insights helps you make the most of your email list and send highly responsive mass email marketing campaigns. 

Our platform offers specialized tools such as automatic email list cleaning, tag-based customer segmentation, powerful broadcasts, and a rich campaign library with templates. As you use these to send mass personalized emails, we take care of your deliverability and sender reputation.

Our clients consistently see an increase of up to 6x in their deliverability rate after signing up with us. And we would love to help you achieve the best possible results with your email marketing, too. 

Apply to become our client and send mass personalized emails with the best results on the market!

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