This was the old process for sending an email: send an email … and that’s it. We have no idea what happens after that email is sent. Did they receive it? Did it get lost in their inbox? Did they click on my links? Open my attachments?

We have no idea.

Until now. Now, we have software that lets us know when someone …


Email tracking gives us the power to build and maintain relationships in this exceedingly crowded, competitive inbox environment. 

That’s what this guide is about: powering our inbox with email tracking to boost our email efficiency and productivity.

Know the second someone opens your email, send a perfectly timed follow-up, and  close deals faster than ever. Start tracking emails for free.



Okay, but how does it work?

Email tracking software

Email tracking notifies us when an email we’ve sent has been opened or clicked. Unlike read receipts, email tracking software works in the background without interrupting us or our recipient.

What do I get from tracking an email?

  Benefit 1: Save Time

If we see that a contact opened our email from a mobile device in Maui, Hawaii when they're typically working from a San Francisco based office, we know that he or she is most likely drinking a pina colada on a white-sand beach and unlikely to respond immediately. Thanks to this information, we no longer have to send an annoying, time-consuming “just checking in to see if you got my email” email. 

Similarly, if we see a contact opening our email from a desktop device, clicking on the links we sent and viewing a cover letter or a proposal that we attached, we know that we’re currently at the top of their minds. Reaching out to them at that exact moment, when we’re already on their minds, is beneficial for both of us. It isn’t interruptive and it could save our contact precious time which they would appreciate. 

Keep reading for specific examples to demonstrate the power of tracking emails in action. 

  Benefit 2: Get Context

Email tracking provides us with valuable insight into our email interactions with contacts, networks, customers, or prospects. We can use this insight to strengthen our outreach by catering to their specific relationship with us.

  • If we see that a contact has opened our email multiple times in one day, we can follow up immediately while we’re top-of-mind. 
  • If we included links or attachments in an email prior to a meeting, we can see if our contact has actually viewed them. 
  • If we sent a follow up email, we can determine if the recipient is reviewing what we sent.



Benefit 3: Gain Unique Insight

Let’s face it, writing emails can be daunting and frustrating. We rarely know how to begin or what to say to fill in that white space.    

With HubSpot Sales email tracking, we’re provided with more than just valuable information about our contact’s engagement with our emails. We also get to see their professional history, where they live, details about their company, their twitter feed, social profiles, our email history with them, and more.


Add email tracking to your inbox.

Learn when people open your emails and craft the perfectly timed response. Try our free email tracking tool and take the guesswork out of email follow up.

Add to Gmail

Add to Outlook

Add to Outlook

Now that we know the main benefits to using an email tracking software, let’s take a look at specific examples to demonstrate the value of tracking emails:

what-is-email-tracking-technical-functionality   TECHNICAL FUNCTIONALITY

Email tracking software places an invisible image pixel in our emails that can detect the exact time and date an email has been opened. Email tracking can tell us when, how many times, where, and from what device a recipient opened our email.

  • Use email tracking to close a $100,000 deal
  • Use email tracking to get to the decision maker
  • Use email tracking to connect to CEO's

Use email tracking to close a $100,000 deal

Last year I was POSITIVE we’d landed a contract with a huge eCommerce client. I thought we had the deal in the bag.   

After speaking for weeks, we sent our final proposal with a quote and entire process mapped out. And what happened? Absolutely no response. Silence.   

Fast forward three months later, a notification pops up on my computer letting me know that eCommerce company just opened my email … and clicked the link to our proposal. Later that day, I get another notification alert that they’re reading our blog posts.      

The next morning, I get yet another notification. They’re reading the case studies on our website! So I sent a follow up email, hoping that they were interested again. 

Three weeks later, we closed the deal, worth more than $100,000.

Mack McGee 
Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer 
SC&H Group 

Use email tracking to get to the decision maker

Email tracking has completely flipped the world of prospecting upside down for me.

Recently, I've been focusing my prospecting efforts on the top 25 financial services companies in the U.S. -- a 'title happy' industry where it's difficult to decipher if a VP has responsibility over a specific branch or at the corporate level.

Based off the information I sourced online, I started my campaign on each account by sending emails to the 5-7 individuals who looked to be a good fit for our product and had VP titles. By day two, after sending roughly 50 tracked emails with HubSpot Sales, I noticed that three of my emails had been opened 10+ times -- a sure sign they've been forwarded between colleagues -- and decided to focus my calling efforts on these accounts.

After a number of attempts that day, one in the morning and two in the afternoon, I had connected with two of the three prospects who I saw activity from, and had two meetings set with Senior Vice Presidents at a top five brokerage firm and insurance company. Without HubSpot Sales, my email tracking tool of choice, it typically takes me weeks to breakthrough to the right people!

Bryan Tucker
Regional Manager

Use email tracking to connect to CEO's

I've been nurturing a lead for about three months now, and my main contact has been the company's Business Development Director.

Recently my HubSpot Sales stream was showing that he was opening the initial emails from three months ago. This indicated to me that he was looking for a reference point for when we began working together.

Because he has been a "hero" for us (a huge advocate for bringing us into his organization) I knew that his reference point inquiry showed he was getting frustrated with the time it was talking his own company to make a decision and move forward.

So I reached out and asked if there was anything I could do to move the process along. Now, I have a meeting booked with the CEO of the company to discuss moving forward.

Josh Harcus
Director of Channel



Sending a tracked email is simple. It takes three steps.

1. Install an email tracking app.

There's a few different email tracking systems out there. We recommend using our product, HubSpot Sales. With free email tracking, we get live notifications when someone opens or clicks our emails. We also get real-time updates on when, how many times, where, and from what device a contact opened our email.

Oh, and it's free.

2. Compose an email.

Start typing away.

But, sometimes that’s easier said than done. Which is why we created a contact profile feature, like the example below, within our email tracking tool so you can see information about who you’re emailing. This gives us valuable context that can help kickstart our messages and make them more meaningful.



3. Check "Track email" box.

Every email tracking tool works slightly differently here. With HubSpot Sales, tracked emails are signified by a checkbox that will appear in your Gmail or Outlook once you download the tool.

We can compose an email as we normally would, and simply hit send.


4. Receive notifications.

Once we click “send now,” the magic begins. We’re automatically alerted whenever email recipients open our emails. We can use this real-time information to stay on top of work emails, when cold emailing prospects, sending networking emails, and to improve our email efficiency and productivity.


And that’s it. With four quick steps, you receive the power of knowing what happens after you click send on an email.


Add email tracking to your inbox.

Learn when people open your emails and craft the perfectly timed response. Try our free email tracking tool and take the guesswork out of email follow up.

Add to Gmail

Add to Outlook

Add to Outlook

Case-in-point: It just works.

quotes-openThey have one of the best experiences - I call it 'click, click, awesome.'

They basically make you install their Chrome extension -- and it's kind of done from there. Every time you send an email, it's set up to be tracked. But the cool thing about them versus some of the other companies that do the same thing is ... they went a little further and use the Chrome extension as a communication channel.

Let's talk about the whole flow: I sign up for HubSpot Sales, I add the Chrome extension, and then I basically send you an email. There's an auto-check box that says this will be tracked by HubSpot, and they have a really cool way of doing that. So the second that I send you an email, they've already started the process, and the feedback loop they give me is they pop up a thing that says, 'Sam just opened your email.'

That's it. And they remind me that they exist, and they're working for me.

I didn't type anything outside of what I was going to do normally. I literally didn't have to type a single thing. It just works.  


Hiten Shah
hiten-shah This message was originally shared by Hiten
on an interview with UserOnboard.


HubSpot's email tracking tool is free. Start tracking email opens today.



We hear it all the time:

What do I first say to someone who opens my email?
What are good ways to reach out? What do I say second?
Should I send an email? Should I call?

As with the answer to everything: It depends. Everyone is using these notifications differently. Here are some of the top use cases.

Call as soon as an email is opened: Immediate follow up can sometimes be the most beneficial way to use the notification to get in touch with a contact.

Do nothing, it’s just nice to know: Some users don’t take any action post-email open or click. The notification simply gives them the comfort of knowing their contact is engaging with them, and that there is no need to send a bothersome follow up email.

Follow up with specific context: Some use the notifications to better understand when they need to follow up with additional context. Let’s say a contact clicked on a link about company culture, perhaps we can reach out with additional information on that topic.

Create more touch points in sales process: By receiving email open and click notifications, users know their contacts are responding to them in some way, this interaction can be used as a touch point.

That’s email tracking in a nutshell. It helps people navigate their inbox productively, communicate effectively, and ultimately build and maintain meaningful relationships.

That’s why we built HubSpot Sales.

Seize control of your email, and start tracking activity with HubSpot.

There's a lot of uncertainty around emailing. But with email tracking software, there doesn't have to be. Use HubSpot Sales to know exactly when your prospects open your emails and when to follow up.

Take back control of your email. Start tracking today.


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