Automated Email follow-up with ChatGPT

Trade show follow-up Made Easy

Over the years as a tech marketer, I have attended hundreds of trade shows. This week is the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s Kubecon Europe event in Amsterdam, which I’d normally attend. But since I couldn’t make it, I was inspired to help out my friends who were attending the event with an artificial intelligence productivity hack. After an event, we, as marketers, often create a form letter and send it out via our marketing email platform or hand out the leads to the sales development reps(SDRs) to send out a personal email. That means that we often lack personalization, or writing personal emails to each prospect is time-consuming—automated email follow-up with ChatGPT and a few clever spreadsheet tips can save you loads of time.

Collecting leads is one of the most important things for many exhibitors at trade shows. Normally, at a trade show, you are given a badge scanner that allows you to collect contact information and add notes. After the event, you typically receive a CSV (comma-separated values) file with the contact information that you can use to reach out and follow up.

Add ChatGPT capabilities to Google Sheets and Docs

Whether you follow this recipe or not, you might want to add the capabilities of ChatGPT to Google Docs and Google Sheets. You can do this using a plugin for Google Apps called ChatGPT for Sheets and Docs, which is a free plugin for Google Apps in the Google Market Place while in beta. You will need to create an API key from your OpenAI Platform Dashboard. I created one called Google Docs for this application so I know where it’s being used and can revoke it if I want to later.

The steps to set up your sheet with ChatGPT for Sheets and Docs:

  • Take your Leads Spreadsheet (Usually a CSV) and upload the sheet to Google Sheets.

  • Now you install the GPT for Sheets and Docs from the Google Workspace Marketplace, which was in free beta at the time of this writing. (There are other ways to add ChatGPT to Google Sheets, but this was the most popular).

  • Open your Sheet with your leads in your web browser.

  • Choose ChatGPT from Extensions > GPT for Sheets and Docs > Launch Sidebar

  • You will be prompted to add your OpenAI API Key in the sidebar. If you don’t get a prompt, you can choose API Key from the hamburger menu though it may appear automatically.

  • Now you are ready to start customizing your auto-responses.

  • GPT for Sheets and Docs Sidebar

  • Installing GPT for Sheets and Docs – First Step

  • Installing GPT for Sheets and Docs , 2nd Step

  • GPT for Sheets and Docs Sidebar

  • Installing GPT for Sheets and Docs – First Step

Installing GPT for Sheets and Docs – First Step

Using ChatGPT to Generate Custom Emails Automatically

I suggest you start with a copy of your leads in a Google Sheets Spreadsheet. Then you start to create the mail merge template. Here are the simple steps I have included an image below to the final product below.

  • I recommend creating a new tab in your mailing list spreadsheet.

  • If you want to use the free Mail Merge script from the Google Developer Library below, you need to change the Email heading to Recipient.

  • Copy the leads to the newly created sheet and paste them about 15 rows down.

  • Once you do that, I am going to suggest that you group everything so you can drag and drop and include the ChatGPT prompt and the headings you want the prompt to be aware of. I chose to create a rectangle that starts at B2 and goes down to E15. This was so I could put the prompt in the cells and grab the headers for the fields by dragging and dropping. I wanted to include easily: First Name, Title, Company, and Notes were located right below my ChatGPT prompt.

  • Now you author the ChatGPT Prompt; use a new line for each instruction. You can vary any line with different input I use the colon for my own visualization and keep two columns to make it easy to replace and use this for multiple people or future events. Here’s the code I used:

Task: Write an Email Style: Friendly Tone: Casual Include: Thanks for stopping by our booth Starts With: Hello Reference: Meeting at Kubecon 2023 in Amsterdam Relate: with their to the topic Reference their company: Offer: Offer a Meeting that they can schedule through Calendly at Signature: Mark Hinkle, CEO, Peripety Labs,

Now you go to the first cell Under Email Message and enter a formula that calls ChatGPT. The first range is the range for the prompt (the green area below). The second range is the data range. The third variable is the ChatGPT Temperature setting. The temperature setting is a measure of randomness where “1” is the most random and “0” is the least. You should get the same output if you enter the same prompt twice with the ChatGPT temperature set to “0”. You may want to play with this setting, but I used a “1” for my example to see how random the responses would be. Note that I said random and not creative, as sometimes we tend to anthropomorphize AI, but really what we perceive as creativity is more a function of randomness.

=GPT(B$2:E$15, B16:E16,1)

  • Now that you have filled the block, you should see it generate a single response. If not, you may need to tweak your prompt and/or your spreadsheet ranges.

  • Also, I have added an Email Sent column. This is if you follow the steps below for a mail merge with Gmail that provides feedback on the send status.

  • Finally, you have a spreadsheet with auto-generated responses to your lead list. They aren’t a form letter, and you did this in a very short amount of time.

Now this ends the AI portion of the recipe next is to find a way to send the mail via mail merge to Gmail.

Mail Merge from Gmail and Google Sheets

There are multiple ways to do a mail merge from a Google Sheet, but there’s an FAQ on how to do this on Google Developer Network – Create a mail merge with Gmail & Google Sheets. If you prefer to watch a video, I embedded one that walks you through the mail merge process to follow below. This is the method I used to author the spreadsheet above. Also, the maker of ChatGPT for Google Sheets and Docs does make a Mail Merge add-on, Yet Another Mail Merge, which has a free plan for less than 50 emails and some upgradable features for bigger jobs and staggering email sends.

Automated email follow-up with ChatGPT a Huge Time Saver, a Better Experience

I really like this hack to improve the follow-up at a trade show. It makes it easier to provide a more personal experience. Likely you will still send out a traditional email blast to all your attendees, subscribe them to your newsletter, or provide other incentives. However, if you want a more personalized experience or want to follow up with a small subset of the attendees using ChatGPT to create custom outreach is a huge improvement over the status quo.

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