You know the risks of sending all-staff emails

You know your communications would be more impactful if you started segmenting your distribution lists

You’ve even nailed down which employee distribution lists would be the most useful for sending more strategic, relevant communications. 

You’re ready to get down to business and start sending more relevant communications to employees. 

But waiting for IT to build you all of the relevant lists could take millennia.  

Sometimes if you want something done right (or done at all) you’ve got to do it yourself. And though creating and managing employee distribution lists is one of Bananatag’s specialties, we recognize that not all communicators have access to a sweet internal email tool like ours

But we’ve still got your back. 

While Outlook isn’t the most robust tool for creating custom distribution lists, it is possible, and we’re going to show you how

Disclaimer: Building Distribution Lists for Outlook versions released prior to 2013 and Outlook for Mac

The instructions that we outline below only apply to versions of Outlook versions released in 2013 or later. 

We’re not going to cover anything before 2013, so if you’re stuck using an ancient version of Outlook, we’re sorry (for everything). 

Also, keep in mind that if you work at a large organization and you’re using Outlook for Mac, making a custom distribution list is pretty impractical. While it’s possible to create distribution lists in Outlook for Mac, you’ll have to manually find and select each individual user and add them to your custom list.

It’s time-consuming to say the least, but if you feel like doing that, we won’t stop you. 

How to create employee distribution lists in Outlook

Note: Microsoft calls distribution lists ‘contact groups,’ but they function in the same way.

Step one: Create a Contact Group

First, open Outlook and navigate to the ‘People’ tab using the people icon in the folder pane. You’ll find the folder pane on the left-hand side of your Outlook screen.


Next, click ‘New Contact Group’ in Outlook’s main ribbon, located at the top of your screen.


Step two: Name and populate your Contact Group

Once you’re in the New Contact Group window, enter a name for your group. Your group name should be useful, relevant to the group, and easy to find amongst your other Contact Groups. We recommend naming the group after the people who will populate it. 

For example, let's create a group for Bananatag’s Kelowna office. 


Now it’s time to add some members from your address book. 

You can select members manually, or you can search by fields such as location or title if you have this information linked to your address book. Remember to select ‘More Columns’ before searching for an additional attribute. 

You can select as many contacts as you want before clicking the ‘Members’ button followed by ‘Ok.’



Step three: Don’t forget to save!


Step four: Use those lists!

Congrats! Now you have your very own, segmented distribution list that you can send to using the same emailing process you’re used to. 

No complicated workarounds needed and no change in workflow.

Next time you want to send an email that’s relevant or targeted to your new group, you can simply enter your new group name in the ‘To’ field and you’re all set!



How to Edit Distribution Lists in Outlook

Editing the distribution lists you create in Outlook is pretty straightforward. 

Simply create a new email, enter the list name in the ‘To’ field and right-click on it. 

From there you can reopen the contact group window and add or remove members.  



Take Control of Your Lists with List Management from Bananatag

Whether you’re relying on IT to create, manage and update your distribution lists, or you’re using Outlook to do it yourself, we know it can still be time-consuming, frustrating, and an all-around struggle. 

So, we designed our new List Management feature to help communicators like you take full control of your distribution lists without having to manually update all your Outlook distribution lists or needing to wait on IT. 

With Bananatag’s new List Management feature, you’ll have the power to easily create your own distribution lists in minutes, using any attributes that are stored in your company’s directory. 

We’ve also added the ability to send follow-up emails to employees who didn’t open your original email to help ensure your important messages don’t go unread.

If you’d like to find out more about list segmentation best practices or our List Management features, sign up for the webinar below.