In this article we will learn How to create a distribution list in Gmail. A distribution list refines your email list to send messages to some particular users or a group of users from a single email address. Both the Google Workspace Admin and users can create a distribution list. Using this list, we can send emails to multiple users from a particular email address simultaneously. We don't need to enter each recipient's email address one by one to send them a message. Thus we can make a list of users in Gmail from Google Contacts.

Understanding Distribution Lists

Before diving into the process, let's first understand what a distribution list is. In simple terms, it is a single email address that includes multiple recipients. When you send an email to this address, it is automatically forwarded to all the members of the distribution list. This saves you time and effort, especially when you frequently send messages to the same group of people.

Why create a distribution list in Gmail?

An organizational unit's administrators and managers may send important notices, agendas, project details, and roasters to their team members. Then you can create a distribution list for your team to send them emails. You can create multiple distribution lists for multiple teams. Also, you can add a new member or remove a member from your list. But whatever you do with this list, it will save a lot of your time from the repetitive task of sending emails to everyone manually. So, it helps to increase your business productivity also.

Also, you can use this feature for your personal reasons. Suppose you want to invite your family members to your home for a festival. You can create a distribution list for them and send the invitation message at that time. Simply, you have to give a name for your list in the ‘To’ field, instead of entering individual email addresses, and your message will be sent to everyone.

In the field of sales and marketing, this list helps to communicate with customers instantly through email. These will help you to deliver important news, offers, discounts, and other data within a few seconds.

Marketing through email communication will improve your ROI more properly. So, you can create a distribution list in Gmail to maintain a better ROI.

As a marketer, you can better understand your end users. You can collect reviews and feedback and provide subscription offers and newsletters to fulfill their interests. You can do these things easily with a distribution list.

For these reasons, we need to create a distribution list in Gmail.

Step-by-step instructions to create a distribution list in Gmail

You can create a distribution list in this way -

  1. Log in to your Gmail account.
  2. Open the App Launcher (nine dots) menu and select Contacts.
  1. Click the Create label option.
  1. Give a Name for the newly created label and click Save.
  1. Go to Contacts and select the checkbox for the contacts you want to add.
  1. Click Manage labels from the upper right corner.
  1. Select the name of the newly created label and click Apply.

You can find the contact's name by clicking on the label name.

How to open your Gmail account and navigate to the Contacts section?

  1. Go to your Gmail account and open the home page. In the upper right-hand side corner, you'll see the App Launcher, a square with nine dots.
  1. Click on that square. A drop-down menu will appear. It contains all the available apps from Google Workspace. You have to select the Contacts app from there. If you don't see the Contacts app, click More from Google at the bottom and you will find it.

How to select the contacts you want to include in your distribution list?

  1. You will find a checkbox beside each contact name. So, check the box for a contact name to select them.
  1. In the top right, click Manage labels.

Create a new label or group for your distribution list?

  1. Log into your Gmail account and click on the Contacts in the left sidebar of your Contacts app.
  2. Click on the checkboxes that appear next to the contacts you want to add to the group. After selecting them, click OK.
  3. Click on the label icon to create a Gmail group with your selected contacts.
  4. Drop down the menu and click Create a label.
  1. Give the name of your group and click OK.
  1. You will find your newly created groups under "Labels" on the left sidebar of your Google Contacts page. 

How to add the selected contacts to the new label or group?

  1. Open your Contacts. In the left corner under the search bar, click Manage labels. 
  2. Select the checkbox next to each contact name.
  3. Choose the group or groups you want to add your contacts. You'll see a checkmark will appear next to the groups you choose already.

How to name and save the distribution list?

  1. Click Create label (+) from the left portion under Labels.
  2. Enter a name and click Save.

Tips and best practices: Some tips and best practices for creating effective distribution lists

  1. You should carefully check your lists before sending a message. Confirm your email body contains correct content before sending them to a user. Ex. you should categorize the receivers who will receive the welcome messages or who will receive the daily newsletters.
  2. You should follow the terms and conditions to send your messages through a distribution list. It will manage the users’ data privacy. You have to obey your users’ opinions or consent as per the rules when you offer a subscription through email. Also, you should provide an unsubscribe option as per requirements. But make sure these options become easily understandable by your users. This assures your transparency and honesty to the users.
  3. Clearing your distribution list regularly helps you to manage the list more effectively. You can remove inactive users from the list or add new users. Also, for an OU, it’s necessary to remove those employees who left the organization. These help you to stay safe from any kind of data loss or vulnerable activity.
  4. Don’t send any attachments unless your users ask for so. The attachments carry a risk of virus affecting when the users download them and enlarge the email size. So, email software like Gmail automatically moves them to trash. In some cases, the software directly blocks your messages. Thus try to attach links to avoid these miss-happens.
  5. Before sending your emails through a distribution list, make sure an unauthorized user can’t view them. Also, make sure you are sending the emails at once. Sending the same messages over and over will harm your transparency.
  6. If you have a large audience on your list, you must check your writing before sending an email. You should maintain clarity so that your messages become easily understandable.

Troubleshooting: Some common issues or errors that people might encounter when creating distribution lists in Gmail, and solutions or workarounds for these problems

  • Bounced or rejected emails: Sometimes, the emails you send to your recipients get rejected through their email server. You will get some common error messages for this reason. Maybe the email account doesn't exist, the message is marked as spam or rejected, or the recipient server didn't accept the message, etc.

Solution 1 : You may create a typo when you choose your recipient's email address. Maybe they changed their address or used another address for your distribution list. Thus, you should cross-check your recipient's address before sending an email, or you can contact your administrator sometimes.

Solution 2 :The email you sent may be spam or rejected when it contains suspicious links, attachments, or texts, or you have many users. In this case, you should remove those links or create a Google Group to send the messages.

Solution 3 :If the Gmail software can't connect to the recipients' server, then your messages bounce due to some network error. This problem was solved automatically after a few times. But if it doesn't happen, then you can check if there is any error in the user's email address, or you can contact customer support.

  • Unauthenticated messages: Before sending a message, you can verify whether it's authenticated or not. If the recipient receives an email with a question mark, that means the source remains unauthenticated. Unauthenticated messages has a very high chance of being rejected or blocked by Gmail, as hackers often use these messages as a tool for spamming activity. 

Solution: You can authenticate your messages through DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) or SPF. Also, you can use RSA keys and create a policy to control unauthenticated messages and other authentication information from Gmail.

If you receive an unauthenticated email, you should inform your sender and inform them of Gmail's authentication rules. You can also refer to this help page, to check the authenticity of your email before sending.

  • Your recipients never got the email you sent: This happens due to a poor network connection, you may delete the email before sending it, or the recipients add your email address to your junk or spam folder, delivery error, etc. Also, the email takes a long time to send if you send it from email clients like Apple Mail and others.

Solution: So, make sure you have a stable network connection, messages don't send to the recipient's spam folder, and you don't use other email clients. Otherwise, you have to contact the recipient's email provider. 

Final words

You are reaching the end of this article. Now you have a clear idea about the distribution lists in Gmail. But remember, this is different from Google Group's distribution list. You can learn more with Foresight. It has different automated workflows to streamline your business, and it reduces time from complex tasks and increases business productivity. So, start a 14-day free trial with Foresight to explore its existing and newly added features. You can learn other related topics like – How To Create An Email Group In Gmail, Send attachments with your Gmail message, etc.