Are you sending an email to a group of people but don’t want them to see the other recipients? Luckily, there’s a way to hide recipients in Gmail. This simple process makes it so you’re not showing everyone all the email addresses you’re sending to, protecting their privacy.
In this article, we’ll show you how to send an email without showing your recipients with Bcc and an alternative that does this even better: mail merge. Let’s get started!
How to hide recipients in your group emails on Gmail with Bcc
Step 1: Click “Compose”
To get started, log in to your Gmail account and click on the "Compose" button on the top left-hand side of the screen. It'll open up a new email for you to compose.
Step 2: Type in "Undisclosed recipients"
In the "To" field, type in "Undisclosed recipients" followed by a colon. After the colon, enter your email address within <angle brackets>.
Step 3: Select the “Bcc” field
Next, click on the "Bcc" field. This new field is where you will enter all the email addresses you want to send to. Using “Bcc” is essential, as otherwise, this won’t work.
“Bcc” is short for ''blind carbon copy.” When you send an email to someone using the Bcc field, they will not see the other email addresses that were included in the Bcc field.
Step 4: Insert recipients or Gmail group
Now that you've selected the Bcc field, it's time to insert your recipients' email addresses.
One way to do this is by typing in each recipient's email address manually. You can add as many email addresses as you want, but separate them with a comma.
You can just enter the label in this field if you’ve created a Gmail group in Google Contacts. All of the contacts in that group will be inserted into the email, and they won’t be able to see each other's email addresses.
Once all those addresses have been entered, it’s time to write your message.
Step 5: Create your email message and send
You're almost done! You just have to write out the email.
Write a subject line that addresses the receiver generally. Since they don’t know who else you’re sending to, make sure not to address the receiver as a group. Then, write out the body of the email.
When you're done, just click the "Send" button. Your email will be sent to all of the recipients in the Bcc field without them being able to see each other.
Simple as that! You've successfully sent an email to a group without showing your recipients.
Accidentally sent an email? Learn how to retract an email in Gmail here
Risks and limitations of using Bcc to hide recipients
You risk revealing recipients when using “Reply All”
The “Reply All” function isn’t available to recipients. This is because they’re in the Bcc field, and this function only works for those in the “To” or “Cc” fields. This is great, as recipients can’t accidentally reply to everyone you sent the email to, blasting their inboxes and revealing their addresses. (Sidenote: We've also got some good tips for building an email blast.)
However, you and anyone else you’ve included in the “To” or “Cc” fields still have this available. If you accidentally use “Reply All,” your efforts will be for nothing. Using this will reveal everyone’s emails even if you hide the recipients initially. Thus, the risk is still there.
Entering recipients manually is a burden
Entering each recipient, especially with an extensive contact list, is a lot of work. Let’s say you’re sending the email to 50 people. You’ll have to copy over or type 50 email addresses. That takes a lot of time, time that could be used more valuably elsewhere. Also, it’s really hard to see if you’re missing any of your contacts.
To keep accounts safe, Google limits the number of emails you can send daily: 500 for a regular Gmail account and 1,500 for Google Workspace. If you pass your limit, you’ll get an error and be unable to send emails for 24 hours. When you send group emails this way, tracking how many recipients you’re sending to is difficult.
While not as big a risk, if you end up mistyping one of these addresses, it could cause your email to bounce back. This means the recipient won’t receive your email and could negatively affect your sender reputation. This might also put a hold on your account for 24 hours.
You can’t personalize your emails
Even though the email addresses are hidden, your message must be general. This means that you cannot personalize the email for each recipient.
For example, if you were sending an email to a group of customers, you would not be able to address each person by name in the email. If they’re paying attention, they’ll be able to infer that it's a group email and not a personal message.
This could be a problem if you're trying to build relationships with your customers or create a sense of intimacy. “Bcc” is essential when sending group emails to maintain confidentiality, but this is a crucial drawback to keep in mind if you’re using it as an email marketer.
A mail merge is a better option for sending group emails
Each email is individual, so you don’t risk showing your recipients
A mail merge offers several advantages over sending group emails. The first is that with a mail merge, you send individual emails to recipients rather than one email to a large group. You can still send out emails to each contact, but you won’t need to worry about using “Undisclosed recipients.”
This means you can still send out mass emails to everyone you need to without having to do so yourself, saving a lot of time. It also means you can’t slip up and accidentally reply to everyone, revealing the recipients you’ve hidden.
You don’t have to enter your email list manually
Another great advantage to using a mail merge is you don’t have to enter your list manually. A mail merge takes your contact list and sends individual messages to each recipient on your behalf. You will not have to go back and forth between tabs, copying and pasting the emails into the Bcc field.
This is made even easier if you use YAMM. YAMM is a Google add-on that works directly with Google products. YAMM can take your email list directly from Google Sheets and use it to send out mass emails. There’s no need to upload your list to the service; you can just give YAMM permission to use the contacts.
Emails can be personalized
If you want your recipients to be more likely to open and engage with your email, you need to personalize it. This could go as far as simply adding their name to the subject line. With a mail merge, you can personalize each email you’re sending out because it sends out emails individually.
Personalizing your emails means you don’t have to risk your emails being too general. Readers are intelligent, and they’ll be able to pick up if they’re receiving a mass email if it’s too general. With personalization, they’ll be more likely to open your email, which isn’t an option with Gmail natively.
Send personalized emails to large groups with YAMM!
Not showing your recipients in Gmail is easy; you only need to follow a few steps. However, it’s not the best option if you’re an email marketer or consistently send out mass emails. A mail merge tool is a much better alternative.
YAMM is an extension that grabs the email addresses from your Google Sheet, so you don’t have to create a Gmail group or type in addresses manually. You can personalize your emails to each recipient for an individual touch.
If you’d like to try it out, head to the Google Workspace Marketplace and install YAMM today!