It’s no secret that email marketing metrics offer great insights. They let you learn from your customers’ behavior and steer your marketing ship accordingly.
But how do you find the best strategy for connecting with customers and prospects directly? Welcome to the world of email tracking.
Email tracking will let you use context to your advantage. This is huge because getting in front of recipients at the right time will drastically increase your likelihood of winning their business.
How Email Tracking Works
Tracking platforms live on your email service. Most track opens, clicks, and responses, and they let you store and test email templates.
The technology works by embedding a small transparent image in each email, which is hosted on the platform’s servers. The platform knows the email is opened when the image is accessed. Email links are converted to tracked links so clicks can be measured.
The Right Strategy
1. Start with a Great Email
Your email should offer value. When you’re reaching out to a prospect or customer, ask yourself, “What will he helpful to this person, even if they never hire us?”
Here is an example. It’s optimized for tracking, which we’ll cover next.
|Hi Rachael,I’ve been a fan of [COMPANY] since I read about you in Inc. I’m glad I finally have a good reason to reach out.We created a tool for measuring email marketing ROI (attached), which we’re rolling out to two companies this month. Our owner suggested I include you because a couple of your competitors, [Co.A] & [Co.B], responded well.In addition to discussing the tool, I’d like to hear what you’re doing for email marketing. Even if you don’t hire us anytime soon, I promise you will leave with valuable information.
Can we have a quick call on Wednesday @ 2p? We’ll need less than 15 minutes.
2. Track Clicks Strategically
With the above in mind, include the tracked link at the end so you’ll know if the message was read.
3. Connect with Context
Use tracking to understand email context and respond accordingly. As Mike Volpe, CMO of Hubspot, argues, “Getting calls from reps when I’m on their website or actually reading their email is much more relevant to my day and my schedule.”
4. Follow Up at the Perfect Time
One of the biggest questions is “When should I follow up?” Tracking answers that question with concrete data. Use the technology in conjunction with other timing-based tools to improve your follow ups.
5. A/B Test Templates
When crafting email templates, make the differences big. Compare apples to apples: don’t stack the results from customers against those from prospects, and vice versa.
6. Measure Results
After you send a solid number of direct emails (ie. 50+), review the results. From there, create a new template and test it against the old one.
But What About Privacy Concerns?
If tracking feels weird, remember that you don’t have to track everything. Track your pitch email only. Also, you can include a line at the end of your message letting recipients know about the technology, and that no personal information will be shared.
Email Tracking Platforms
YesWare hooks up to Gmail as an extension in Chrome or Firefox. It’s free for up to 100 emails per month, and $12 per user per month for unlimited messages.
If you’re already on Hubspot, then HubSpot Sales might be your best bet. It’s free for up to 200 tracked emails per month, and $10 per user/month for unlimited.
Tout is another popular platform. It’s much more robust than the others in terms of analytics and other features. It starts at $30/month after a free trial.
SalesForce Tracking for Outlook
If SalesForce and Outlook are your world, then this may be most convenient.
Tracking is a valuable tool, but it’s not a silver bullet: it must be used in conjunction with a strong value proposition. Assuming you’re reaching out to the right person with the right message, tracking will leverage context and bring you to a higher level.
Dan Englander is the author of “Mastering Account Management”. He’s the founder of Sales Schema, a site that helps professionals find the right balance between sales and customer or client service. And he’s a decent living room guitarist. Follow him @danspalace