Speculating on whether or not prospects opened your email gets you nowhere. Should you send follow-up emails, remove leads from your list, or start a new campaign?
Email tracking eliminates the guesswork and helps you make data-driven decisions. It should be a standard in any business growth strategy. Although tracking might sound technical from the outside looking in—it’s not!
With the right tools and strategies, tracking can help you make informed, dollar-productive decisions to help your business grow sustainably. But before getting these benefits, we need to learn the following:
- What is Email Tracking?
- The key metrics we need to track
- What tools can track emails?
- How to track emails
- Using email tracking to improve, optimize, and streamline campaigns
What is Email Tracking?
There are several email marketing software that can track emails. Most of these tools use either open or link tracking. Here’s a quick look at both.
Open tracking embeds a “tracking pixel” (1x1 image pixel) in your emails. It’s basically an invisible image that records the number of times recipients open your email.
Link Click Tracking monitors the number of recipients that clicks a link inside your email. In most cases, you’d need to set up a custom tracking domain to ensure security and deliverability.
What Key Email Metrics Should We Track?
Email tracking is essential as it helps us monitor key email marketing metrics. Take note each business has its own unique goals for its email campaigns. Different goals require you to track different metrics. It may be one or multiple of the following:
- Deliverability: How many emails are landing in your recipients’ inboxes?
- Open Rates: How intriguing are your subject lines?
- Engagement: How many times do prospects click on your CTAs?
- Conversion rates: Are prospects going further down the sales pipeline?
- Forwarding rate: Do your emails create a viral networking loop?
- Unsubscribe rate: What are the weaknesses present in your campaigns?
- Bounce rate: Are there underlying issues that need addressing?
- ROI: How effective is your overall campaign at generating revenue?
Most email tools have built-in analytics. Choose a tool that offers an intuitive analytics dashboard, real-time monitoring, and A/B testing capabilities, such as the following.
What Tools Can Track Emails?
After developing a robust lead database, it’s time to monitor campaign efforts with an en email tool. But with dozens in the market with tracking capabilities, which one should you choose? Here’s what we recommend:
Instantly offers both open and link click tracking in all your campaigns. Setting up both options is as simple as clicking a button.
Once tracking is enabled, monitor the data on Instantly’s intuitive analytics dashboard. You can also track each lead's activity and engagement with your email.
Pro tip: Regardless of the email format, you'd want to use one CTA to help you optimize link tracking. If your email needs to have multiple links, you have the option of turning off the tracking for the unimportant ones.
Hunter created an email tracking tool aptly called MailTracker. It's a relatively simple tool on Gmail to see whether or not an email is open or read. You get a notification when recipients open your email and the devices they use.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have robust analytics capabilities. However, it's still a free tool you can use when you're just getting started. And, if you want to try tools similar to Hunter, check out some of our recommended alternatives.
HubSpot is the go-to for various marketing and sales needs that integrates seamlessly with most CRMs. The tool tracks email opens and engagement and offers A/B testing.
You also get real-time updates from your campaigns and track other activities, such as attachment downloads or website views.
If you want to scale your business through email marketing or establish a solid footing in enterprise sales, Salesforce's Pardot might be the tool you're looking for.
Pardot offers a range of marketing and email automation capabilities in addition to email tracking. But these powerful capabilities are costly. Pricing starts at $1,250/month.
Zoho allows you to do A/B testing on your email campaigns to pinpoint which strategies work, what needs improving, and what doesn't. Like HubSpot, you can integrate Zoho with most CRMs to sync your email campaigns, track key metrics, and optimize your marketing efforts.
The tool is excellent for integrating both marketing and sales departments into one universal CRM. Segmenting prospects and pushing them further down the sales pipeline are also streamlined.
Atomic Email Tracker
If you want to track your email newsletters specifically, try Atomic's email tracker. The tool gives insight into your subscribers, where they're from, and when they open your newsletters.
These features make Atomic's email tracker great for supplementing lead qualifying. You can also use strategies like BANT to fast-track your lead-qualifying efforts further.
Mailchimp is one of the most recognizable brands in the email marketing space. You can use it to automate email campaigns, track emails, and A/B test campaigns. Their A/B testing features let you test subjects and from lines, content, and even your reach.
Mailchimp used to have a stellar free plan. However, the free plan's pricing and inclusions changed when it was acquired. You’d be better off moving to a paid plan to have an email campaign with a significant impact.
How to Track Emails With Instantly.ai
Tracking versatility is one of the key advantages you get when using Instantly. You have options for both link and open tracking and delivery optimization. All you need is a couple of clicks.
To start tracking your emails with Instantly, you only need to go to campaign options and choose what type of tracking you want—open or link click.
Enabling track link clicks tracks the number of recipients that clicked on the link—not the frequency of clicks. Then, copy the hyperlink, and you’re set for email tracking. You can view the data from your email tracking on the analytics dashboard.
Use the data to see which emails work best and which need fine-tuning. To get a head start, try out these high-converting business email templates.
Improving Campaigns with Email Tracking Data
Analyzing tracking data transforms it into essential information. But, how we interpret data depends on your organization's specific goals. Here’s a look at what you can do with email tracking data to help you improve conversions:
Email tracking helps you identify the leads worth pursuing. Let’s say you’ve included resources or case studies in your email. When leads click on your links, you can segment them further.
How you segment or qualify leads depends on your operational standards. Some organizations use the MEDDIC sales methodology for lead qualification. It stands for:
- Economic Buyer
- Decision Criteria
- Decision Process
- Identify Pain
Email tracking supplements the MEDDIC framework well, as it helps identify factors like decision criteria, process, and pain points. Once you’ve collected the data, follow-ups or nurture campaigns become much more accessible.
When should you send a follow-up? The short answer?—it depends. It generally comes down to two factors—engagement or lack thereof.
If leads engage with your email, what specific content did they engage with? What are the links they clicked? How long has it been since a lead engaged with your emails?
Email tracking answers these questions for you. Even better, it helps you automate your responses. If a lead hasn’t engaged in a specific number of days, send a follow-up.
After three or four follow-ups with no responses, you can automatically set your email tool to purge them from your list. But, if they do engage, you can segment them further and send them in-depth, personalized content.
Further Personalize Content
Only send valuable and relevant content. Track what leads engage with and add on to that. Personalizing emails helps your team create irresistible offers that maximize response rates.
Remember, always provide immediate value to potential clients. Doing so allows your brand to stay top-of-mind within competitive industries.
Both you and your competitors are fighting for your leads’ inbox real estate. The secret to edging out your competition is staying top of mind. To do that, we need all the advantages we can get. Email tracking provides just that.
If a lead opens your email multiple times, you should send a follow-up while they’re still engaged. The same goes for when they download attachments, click links, or forward your email to their peers. These insights can help you develop standardized systems.
Developing Organizational Standards
Privacy and security are two crucial standards organizations should uphold, especially when you’re tracking user activity. You need to set boundaries.
It’s always best practice to define the limits of what you can track and disclose when you’re tracking. Then, your team can focus on developing standards for follow-ups based on user activity.
Standards vary between organizations. But you should have standards for the following:
- Daily sending limit based on user engagement.
- The time gap between each sent email.
- The maximum number of leads you want to send emails to per day.
Email Tracking Best Practices
Tracking emails is relatively straightforward. You just need the right email tools and strategies. But, to make the most out of the data we get from tracking, follow these best practices:
Create Internal Guidelines
Your team must be on the same page before starting any email marketing campaign. Email formats, tracking policies, and scheduling need to be standardized.
When you follow a standardized system, every step of your email campaign efforts is streamlined. You’d know exactly when to follow up, the best times to send an email, and how to handle objections.
Create Custom Tracking Domain
Your prospects’ privacy and security can’t be stressed enough. You’d be forced to use shared tracking domains without a custom tracking domain.
Bad actors, scammers, or phishing bots can penetrate these shared tracking domains without you knowing—until it’s too late. If your emails share the same tracking domain as these bad actors, your reputation can go into a nosedive.
Use a custom tracking domain to ensure you and your prospects are safe. Here’s our guide on setting up custom tracking domains for the top domain providers.
Email tracking should always be paired with analytics. What’s more important is how we use these insights to further specific campaigns.
If you’re still finding your footing, try different approaches in your emails. Then, use the data from email tracking to monitor which strategies you can iterate on.
Understand why certain emails get more clicks than others. It might be a better subject line, a more engaging CTA, or a stand-out introduction email.
Once you’ve figured out a system that works for you, start automating. Again, only automate email campaigns if you’ve had enough data from tracking to help you make informed decisions.
We don’t want to overwhelm our prospects with our email follow-ups. What we want to do is improve their experience with our brand through better, relevant, and engaging content.
The best way to do all of these is by analyzing data from email tracking. Then we can automate sequences based on user action to help us scale.
Email tracking allows us to contextualize the actions of our prospects. It helps us curate better content, segment leads further, and improve our leads’ overall experience. More importantly, data from tracking saves us hours of guesswork when doing email marketing. We get to focus on sales-ready leads, improving our revenue.
So, if you’re ready to start email tracking, remember the following:
- There are two types of email tracking—open and link tracking.
- Always consider using custom tracking domains to ensure the security of your links.
- Develop standardized guidelines for email tracking and automation.
- Use an email tool that integrates tracking data seamlessly with analytics.
If you want to make better data-driven decisions based on your prospect’s activity, look no further than Instantly! Try it out for free today.