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Google Groups Can Help Solve That Big Email Question

by Keith Gatling | 11 months ago

Last year I posted about the patron who came in, looking for a simple way to send email to the same 40 people each time. He was using Gmail, and could easily do it from his laptop; but when he tried it on his iPad or iPhone, it was no dice.

We tried a number of things, but the best I could come up with for him was to just create a list of the email address stored in a word processing document, and then he could copy and paste them into the email when he wanted to send something to those 40 people.

It wasn’t elegant, but it worked.

Then last week I got a message from a friend of mine who wanted an easy way to send a message to all 150 members of her church. She was using Gmail too. I took a look at the Contacts feature to see if anything had improved within the past year, but nope. Things were just as disappointing now as they were then.

But later on in the day, while watching a webinar about the Google Suite of apps (and there’ll be a whole ‘nother blog post on that), I saw a thing called Google Groups. I may have known about it before, and considered it too cumbersome at the time; but this time I decided to try it again.

Well, as good old Archimedes shouted when he discovered water displacement, “Eureka!” This was exactly the tool we were looking for.

There’s a lot that Google Groups lets you do...and I mean a lot. But if you just want to create a mailing list address that you can use from any device, this is the tool you want.

I won’t go into all the details here, but you can go to groups.google.com, and follow the steps for creating a group that you’ll be the owner of. The domain will always be google groups.com, so if I created a group called MrGTest, the actual email address would be mrgtest@googlegroups.com.

After you’ve done that you get to add people to your group. You can do this either by inviting them and waiting for them to respond, or by adding them directly. But even when you add them directly, an invitation message goes out so that you can’t “stealth add” people, and they have a chance to unsubscribe.

What else can you do? All kinds of neat little settings you can play around with! The best is the one that lets you limit who can send to that address. The default is everyone, but you can make it so that only certain approved people can send to it, or only you as the owner.

What happens if someone who’s not approved tries to send a message to the group? They get a message back saying that they’re not allowed.

Like I said, take the time to poke around here, there’s a lot to this, because it’s designed for so many much more sophisticated uses that just a mailing list for everyone in your church or on your soccer team.

And don’t forget, there are more than a few YouTube videos you can watch for more information.

But yeah...this is definitely much better than the solution I gave last year!