Email tracking software: Buying guide and top recommendations for 2022

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>87% of B2B marketers use email marketing as a distribution channel – it’s become a communication cornerstone that most companies can’t live without. But what happens to your emails after you hit “send”? That’s where email tracking software comes in.

Email tracking is an essential tool for measuring the impact of your communications with your customers and subscribers. It lets you know if your emails are producing results.

With email tracking software, you can see exactly how customers are interacting with your emails, allowing you to fine-tune your communications to drive more traffic and improve sales and conversions.

In this guide, we’ll go over what to look for in email tracking software, as well as our top recommendations that you can start using for free.

What is email tracking software?

Sending an email can sometimes feel like throwing a letter off a cliff. Where will it land? Will anyone read it? And how can you tell?

The early days of e-mail marketing were marked by this same uncertainty.

E-mail marketing before tracking software

Without e-mail tracking software, marketing departments had no way of knowing whether a recipient opened, read or clicked on an e-mail – assuming, of course, that it arrived in their inbox. As a result, e-mail marketing was all about guesswork and trial and error.

Fortunately, the days of blindly sending e-mails are long gone. With a wide selection of email tracking software now available, it’s easier than ever to track emails long after they’ve been sent.

Mailtrack email tracking software integrated with Gmail.

But what exactly does email tracking software do? While “tracking email” is technically the right answer, there’s more to email tracking than meets the eye.

What happens to your emails after you hit “send”? With email tracking software, you can see exactly how customers are interacting with your emails, allowing you to drive more traffic and improve conversions. Click to Tweet

What does email tracking software do?

Email tracking software tracks email opens, link clicks, and more. While tracking features and options vary slightly from one software to another, most offer the same

basic features.

  • Email click tracking and more. Most email trackers track activity through open tracking, where an invisible tracking pixel is attached to your emails. This pixel keeps track of the date and time and sends a real-time notification as soon as it is accessed (i.e. the email is opened/read).

Although most email tracking software allows you to track things other than opening emails (such as clicks on links, for example), this feature is the basis for most of the software available.

Most software also includes click tracking. Here, instead of an invisible pixel, the links embedded in your e-mail are sent via a tracking URL. When a recipient clicks on the link, they visit the URL, and your tracking software receives a notification.

Some software also includes activity tracking, which tracks the emails and inboxes of you or others in your organization. However, since this is different from what most email tracking software offers, we’ll focus on open tracking and click tracking instead.

  • Monitor email activity and interactions. Every email you send can track user activity between open and click tracking. Depending on the software you choose, you’ll receive real-time notifications whenever a user opens an email, clicks on a link, or in some cases, deletes the email or sends it to their spam folder.
  • Record contact activity and lead records. Email tracking doesn’t stop with notifications. Instead, most software also keeps complete records for each contact in your campaign, allowing you to see how much and how often each of them interacts with your communications.

Some software can even help you organize your email marketing campaigns by creating targeted lists of people who are more likely to respond well to certain types of emails.

  • Provide valuable data and insights. You can generate insights and trends for entire campaigns or individual prospects with the extensive tracking data available. This information can help you refine your email communications and build better relationships with your customers.
  • Allows you to compare different email formats and approaches. Although most software does not include A/B testing, email tracking will allow you to compare different formats, messages, subject lines and approaches in your campaigns. Therefore, email tracking software can be a handy tool for A/B testing.

Together, these features make email tracking an invaluable part of any email marketing campaign. Read on to discover some of the most significant benefits.

Benefits of email tracking software

As you can imagine, knowing how your prospects and contacts are interacting with your emails is a must.

There are many benefits to using email tracking software. Here are just a few of them.

Saves Time and Money

While “saving time and money” may be the most commonly (and falsely) advertised benefit of a product, it is one of the huge advantages of email tracking software

. Email marketing campaigns can be time consuming.

Communication takes time, especially when chasing a prospect or trying to attract one. When you don’t get the response you expect, it’s usually best to send multiple follow-up emails to encourage a response. But are multiple follow-ups really

worth your time?

That depends. Sending at least one follow-up email can increase response rates from 9% (no follow-up) to 13%, with experienced marketers enjoying an even greater increase in responses. While these statistics are promising, they assume that the recipient read the first email in the first place.

As a result, many e-mali marketing campaigns end up taking up valuable time, money and other resources sending follow-up emails to those who were not interested. That’s where email tracking software comes in.

With email tracking software, you can immediately identify recipients who did not open the first email, allowing you to avoid sending follow-up emails that would likely be ignored. Filtering out non-responders also allows you to build more targeted and personalized campaigns to those contacts who are actually interested.

Similarly, knowing whether a recipient clicked on a link or downloaded a file is also a good indication of a customer’s interest. Thus, email tracking software allows you to focus your time and money on your most promising prospects.

Provides valuable information

Email tracking is one of the best ways to get new information about your prospects, customers and other contacts in your networks, and how well your email marketing efforts are reaching them

.

But what information can email tracking software provide, and how can you use it? While open tracking and click tracking provide fairly straightforward statistics (e.g., open rates, click-through rates, etc.), leveraging them intelligently can give you a new understanding of how your contacts are responding to your email efforts.

These are some of the most valuable insights you can gain from email tracking software.

  • Who interacts with your emails. How many of your contacts open your emails? This number is the most fundamental metric in email marketing – and email tracking software is the key to unlocking it.

However, there is more to this statistic than just seeing who is reading your emails. Since most email tracking software also records opens and repeat clicks, you can see if a contact has opened an email multiple times and at what times.

How many times they opened it.

From this data, you can gauge a contact’s interest and the type of content they engage with the most

.

  • The leads with the best chance of conversion. By simply knowing who reads your emails and who doesn’t, you can instantly identify the most promising leads among your contacts. By repeating this process with additional follow-up emails, you further increase the chances of finding a lead ready to buy.
  • Best times of day to send communications. Don’t you just love getting a sales email at 6am? No one does. However, as time zones slowly fade as business becomes more global and decentralized, one person’s 6 a.m. is another person’s 5 p.m. – or any time in between.

As a result, different contacts will be more active and receptive at certain times of the day. By using email tracking software to track open and click-through rates at different times of the day, you’ll be able to identify optimal times to send communications.

Knowing this information can help you identify the best time to send follow-ups and other emails that will ultimately help generate conversions

.

  • Detailed information about your contacts. Many email tracking providers will help you keep detailed records of prospects, leads and other contacts. In addition to basic contact information, these records can also include a complete history of the emails you’ve sent them and how they interacted with all of those emails.
  • How many recipients clicked on links or downloaded files. While an opened email is a great first step to conversions, clickable calls to action (CTAs) and file downloads are better indicators.

After all, where many people open emails that don’t even interest them, only a select few click on links and make downloads. This small group is the primary target of any email marketing campaign, and tracking tools are a great way to find them.

Tracking clicks and downloads is not only valid for e-mail marketing, however. Many organizations also use email tracking to ensure that staff are reading certain emails and downloading certain documents. For example, a manager might use email tracking to ensure that employees have read a key email or document before scheduling meetings.

You can also extract even more information based on your email marketing strategies. Either way, all of this information combined can give you visibility…


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