How to Manage Group Email in Gmail

How to Manage Group Email in Gmail

Managing group email in Gmail is certainly possible and there are a number of different ways to do it. From email distribution lists to Google Groups, your family, friends or colleagues can all be involved in group discussions within Gmail.

catherine heath

May 4, 2023

10 mins read

Email is a medium that works best for one-to-one communication, but group email threads remain popular for spreading messages among multiple people at once. If you are using Gmail or Outlook for group email, you may find that you encounter some challenges when it comes to connecting with large numbers of people. There’s a reason that businesses are turning to internal communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams, but many are still using email for groups. 

The good news is that you don’t have to totally rely on Gmail for your group email messages. It depends what you want to do with it but there are solutions available that mean you can more effectively manage group emails while remaining in the Gmail interface. 

Especially for customer service teams, managing group email is an important priority because you may have many team members that want to collaborate on an email at once. Helping customers is a team effort and you’ll need to invest work behind the scenes to ensure that every query is resolved. 

What is group email management?

Group email management is when you want to send an email to more than one person. It’s likely that you’ll want to repeat this process on a regular basis, and that’s when you might start to desire a group email list. In Gmail, it is possible to send group emails in a way that goes beyond simply adding multiple email addresses to your draft email and hitting send. 

Want to boost collaboration in Gmail?
Keeping lets you manage a shared inbox within Gmail and collaborate on customer emails without collision.

You can create groups that you simply select every time and you can send an email that goes to all group members. There are also tools available – such as Keeping – that help you manage a group email address behind the scenes and also offer you enhanced features that make collaborating on emails a breeze. 

So managing group email means you are keeping everyone in a certain group updated in a single thread. Many users are wondering about the capabilities of Gmail for group email management and whether there is a way to simplify the process. 

The challenges of group email management

When it comes to mass communication, group email management can be hard with the result of too many cooks stirring the broth. Email as a platform can have some serious limitations for group email lists, especially for customer service teams who are looking to present a professional image for their valued customers. 

Read More: How to Make a Group Email in Gmail

Potential for embarrassing mistakes

First and foremost, group emails have the potential for embarrassing mistakes such as more than one person replying to a single email. In tools like Gmail, it’s impossible to see who is replying to a message at the same time within the interface, and so duplicate replies are highly likely when you are managing group email. Bombarding your customers with multiple answers creates a very bad impression of your company and suggests that one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. 

Hard to collaborate

In group email, the only way for multiple people to collaborate is to reply, or reply all, and this results in long email threads that ultimately fail to come up with the desired result. Gmail doesn’t have the ability to create shared notes on a group email which means that teams lack a way to communicate about the email itself. When communicating in this way, there is also the risk of including the customer in your email thread which is potentially catastrophic. 

Threads can become messy and unmanageable

As we’ve already touched on, group email can result in threads that become messy and unmanageable. This means that the members of the group might stop reading the updates and your group email updates become both a nuisance and useless. This means that group email is not necessarily the ideal communication tool for teams that want to collaborate on tasks and include everyone in the discussion. 

Important information can be lost

When lots of emails build up in your inbox, important information can be lost as your team members struggle to keep up with a high volume of messages. This results in a poor experience for customers who are relying on your customer service reps to come up with a viable solution to whatever problem they are facing. If you want to view an earlier discussion, your only choice is to scroll back through the thread and attempt to find the information you’re looking for. 

How do I create a group distribution list in Gmail?

In Gmail, it’s possible to use labels to create group email lists that you can use every time you want to send a group message. You’ll need to head over to Google Contacts in order to create your new email list from your existing contacts. Setting up a group email list means that every time you want to email your group in Gmail, you can simply select your contact list by typing the name in the “To” field in the Compose message window. 

Read More: How to Clean Up Gmail

Here’s how to create a group distribution list in Gmail: 

  • Navigate to Google Contacts by selecting the nine dots icon and select the Contacts option in the window that opens. 
  • This opens a new tab where you will be able to manage your Google Contacts. 
  • In your contact list, hover over the icon to the left of someone’s name and check the box that appears. 
  • Check all the contacts that you wish to add to your new Gmail label. 
  • Go to the top right-hand corner of your list and select the icon that looks like a label, which is called “Manage labels”. 
  • Either select an existing label or choose the option to “Create label”. 
  • In the “Create label” window that opens, type the name of your new label and hit “Save”. Your contacts will be added to your new label. 
  • If you are adding to an existing label, select “Apply”, and your contacts will be added to your existing label. 

Remember that you can add contacts to multiple labels, so that means you can have contact lists which are overlapping. To select your new contact list, head over to the Compose new email window in Gmail and start typing the name of your label in the To field and select. 

How do I manage a group email list in Gmail?

Once you’ve created your group email list, you may want to manage the settings in Gmail. Group email lists can change over time and you may want to change the name of your list, add or remove contacts from your list, or delete the list entirely. Luckily, there’s an easy way to change your group email lists. 

Here’s how to manage your group email lists: 

  • Navigate to Google Contacts by selecting the nine dots icon and select the Contacts option in the window that opens. 
  • This opens a new tab where you will be able to manage your Google Contact lists. 
  • On the left-hand menu pane, find the label for your list and select the pencil icon to change the name. 
  • Again hovering over your label, select the dustbin icon to delete your list permanently. 
  • If you want to remove a contact from your list, select your list name to open the list. 
  • Select the box on the left of your contact name to open a menu at the top of the list. 
  • Select the label icon and deselect the list you want to remove the contact from. 
  • Select “Apply” to save your changes. 

It’s a good idea to keep your lists updated to avoid sending unnecessary emails to particular recipients, or for when you want to add new members. 

How do I create Google Groups in Google Workspace?

In Google Workspace, you can use Google Groups to set up your own private email list for your school, work or organization. When you send a message to your Google Group, a copy is sent to everyone in the email list depending on the settings. One thing to remember when using Google Groups for email is that messages can quickly become unmanageable when group members receive an overwhelming amount of unread emails. 

Another thing to remember is that many people want to use Google Groups for setting up a shared inbox, or a Collaborative Inbox as Google calls it. The Collaborative Inbox is useful for groups such as customer service teams who want access to a shared email address with the ability for multiple people to read and respond to emails. 

Here’s how to set up a Google Group: 

  • Head over to Google Groups by clicking on the following link:
  • On the page that opens, you’ll see a list of your existing groups, along with a button labeled “Create group”. 
  • Select “Create group” and enter your group information in the window that opens. 
  • Fill in group name, group email address, and group description then select “Next”. 
  • Choose your privacy settings including who can search for your group, who can join your group, who can join conversations and who can post. Select “Next” to continue. 
  • Start adding group members by entering their email addresses, and choose existing contacts that appear in the drop down menu. 
  • Include an invitation message if you like. 
  • Select “Create group” to create your new group, and you will become one of the group owners. 
  • After a few minutes you will be able to send a message to your new group. 

As we mentioned, you might be interested in creating a Google Collaborative Inbox which allows multiple parties to monitor a single email address. Here’s how to turn your Google Group into a Collaborative inbox: 

  • Head over to Google Groups by clicking on the following link:
  • On the page that opens, you’ll see a list of your existing groups. Select the group you would like to change into a Collaborative Inbox.
  • In the screen that opens, scroll down the left-hand menu and select “Group settings”. 
  • Scroll down to the “Enable additional Google Groups features” section and select the radio button next to “Collaborative inbox”. 
  • Select “Save changes” to turn on Collaborative Inbox. 

Even if you use Google Groups’ Collaborative Inbox feature, you’ll still be missing important features that make your inbox a true shared inbox. Keep on reading to find out how you can access shared inbox features like collision detection and the ability to assign emails to team members using customer support software Keeping. 

How do I manage email groups in Gmail?

From time to time, you may want to manage or update your Google Groups and there is a simple way to do this. 

  • Head over to Google Groups by clicking on the following link: 
  • On the page that opens, you’ll see a list of your existing groups. Select the name of a group you want to edit.
  • On the left-hand menu pane that opens, select “Group settings”.
  • In the General section at the top, make the changes that you require.
  • Select “Save changes” to update your group.

Keep your Google Groups updated to make sure they always reflect the most accurate information. 

How do I manage email groups in Outlook?

If you happen to be an Outlook user, there is also a way to easily create and manage groups in your email inbox. Make sure you are logged into your Outlook account in order to follow these steps. 

  • Navigate to the left pane and expand the view to see the folder list.
  • You’ll see an option called “Groups”, and beneath this you can select “New Group”.
  • Input the name and description of your new group and then select the “Create” button.
  • In the screen that opens, enter the names or email addresses of the individuals who should be added to your group
  • Note that you can add email addresses for other providers such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail, not just Outlook.
  • When you’re ready, select the “Add” button.
  • If you don’t want to add email addresses to your group yet, select the “Not now” button.

You will have created a new group in Outlook which you can then select the next time you want to send a group email. 

How to properly manage group email using Keeping

If you’re a high-volume customer service team, you may be interested to find out how you can easily manage group email in Gmail. Keeping is the ideal solution if you have a shared email address such as that customers are emailing to get help. Using Google Groups Collaborative Inbox soon becomes a hindrance when you have a whole customer service team reading and responding to the same emails. 

Keeping expands your horizons and offers a truly shared inbox which means that multiple team members can read and respond to emails – without stepping on each other’s toes. 

1. Assign emails to individual owners

In most group emails, it’s impossible to keep track of who is responsible for what when it comes to incoming emails. You can mention someone by name but if they don’t pay attention to that part of the email then some tasks are going to get missed. Keeping has a fantastic solution to this problem of group email. 

Once you’ve set up Keeping as your shared inbox, you can assign incoming emails to individual owners. You can simply open the email in Gmail and in the right-hand pane, assign the email to any team member and the email will appear in their own private inbox. 

2. Track email status

When you have lots of email to your group, another problem that arises is not knowing the status of each email in your inbox. Along with assigning an email to team members, it would be great to have a way to know which stage your email is at in the process of being resolved. Luckily with Keeping, this is all possible. 

With any email that comes into your inbox, you have the ability to define the status as “Open”, “Pending”, or “Closed”. This means that any team member can become aware of the status of an email without having to ask a colleague or hunt through long email chains for the answer. 

3. Use collision detection to stop duplicate replies

Even with all these precautions in place, it still might be possible for multiple team members to respond to the same email if they are sharing an inbox. This results in embarrassing duplicate replies to customers who may even receive different solutions to the same problem! Keeping provides you with a way to prevent this. 

Collision detection means that an email is locked for editing when a team member is already reading or responding to it. Only one person can deal with a particular email at a time which means no more duplicate work in the inbox. 

4. Use shared notes to collaborate

Another pesky feature of group emails is the need for long email threads and discussions that surround a particular topic. The original email may even get lost as multiple recipients engage in a back-and-forth and it’s hard to address a particular individual in the email chain. In Keeping, you can use shared notes to have a behind-the-scenes discussion about a customer email and achieve more successful team collaboration. 

The shared notes, or internal notes, appear to the right of the original email thread and you can even tag other team members in the discussion. This is a much more professional way to collaborate on email and ensure that your customer service team arrives at effective solutions. 

Wrapping up

Managing group email in Gmail is certainly possible and there are a number of different ways to do it. From email distribution lists to Google Groups, your family, friends or colleagues can all be involved in group discussions within Gmail. As we’ve mentioned in this article, however, you may want a more powerful way to manage group email while staying within the Gmail interface. 

Keeping helps you overcome most of the problems that are inherent in group email by functioning as an add-on to Gmail. Groups of people can access the same shared inbox or group inbox, and reply to customers without ending up in the chaos of a Google Group or Collaborative Inbox. 

catherine heath

Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She often writes case studies, help documentation and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at

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