If You’re Finding Clients Using Cold Emails, Here’s a Tool You Should Install Right Now
An email tracking app (or email tracker) is essential in my freelance toolkit. Since using this tool, my cold pitching strategy has changed a lot.
I’ve also landed more clients, saved more time, and worked more effectively.
There are many email tracking apps out there, for example, Streak, Boomerang for Gmail, Hunter’s MailTrack, and SalesHandy. These apps offer a lot of features, from email tracking to email scheduling to project management.
Here are three significant ways an email tracking app benefits your freelance writing business.
1. It tells you if a client gets your email
You’ve done a ton of research on how to write an effective cold email. You’ve spent hours polishing each sentence to show off your skills and experience. You’ve racked your brain for a catchy subject line.
Yay, done! You’ve sent the email to ten clients.
Every 15 minutes, you’ve checked your inbox with the hope of getting a response. Then every hour, then every three hours, then every day, etc.
“Have they gotten my email? Have they opened it? Have they read it? Should I send another email?” These questions have run through your head over and over again.
I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly what happened to me the first time I used cold email to reach out to companies.
It’s distracting and depressing. It made me want to stop.
Luckily, a friend told me about MailTracker by Hunter.io. I installed it without a second thought.
Since using Hunter’s MailTracker, I know when a client has opened my email and how many times they’ve done that.
For those unfamiliar with an email tracker, the tech is pretty simple. It embeds a line of code in the body of an email — usually in a 1x1 image pixel, so tiny it’s invisible. This pixel can detect the exact time and date an email has been opened by a recipient.
Here is an example:
2. It lets you know if your copy is interesting
In many cases, when you send emails to clients, you don’t hear back. There’s a chance they got your email but didn’t have time to reply. Your email could have also gotten buried in your recipient’s inbox or have gone directly to the spam folder.
But there are two more important reasons. Perhaps your email subject line wasn’t catchy, so clients ignored it. Or your email wasn’t effective enough to show clients what you can do and how you can help them.
Receiving no responses or just a few can be a sign that you should review your email copy. There might be grammatical errors or broken links that you overlooked before.
3. It lets you know if a client is interested in your service
An email marketing app helps you predict potential clients. If a client has opened your email five times in the last 24 hours and clicked your sample links twice, you might have caught their eye. In this case, sending a follow-up email right away could be a good move.
Yesterday I checked all emails I sent five months ago where I haven’t gotten a response. I noticed an email getting opened many times recently.
Thinking that the client might be looking for a freelance writer, I sent a follow-up email. Surprisingly, my guess was right. She replied to me immediately and said she was actually needing help with content. After two emails, she sent me the first assignment.
Sounds awesome, right?
Yes, it does. But let me tell you another side of email tracking.
An email tracker might stress you out
An email tracking app is useful to track your pitches, but over years of using one, I’ve realized tracking has some problems.
First, you may get tense if someone doesn’t answer your email. You may wonder what you did wrong. Why did they open your email several times but not respond? Even worse, you may question whether you’re a good writer.
Believe it or not, email tracking can cause unnecessary amounts of stress and frustration.
Second, many people think email tracking invades personal privacy. In a study of privacy risks in email tracking, researchers collected responses from 291 unique participants in 39 countries. They found that 86% of participants considered email tracking a serious privacy threat and would adopt email tracking prevention tools to protect their privacy.
Of course, recipients might never know they’re being tracked. But if you write a follow-up email saying “I noticed you read my email, but haven’t responded. That’s why I want to do a follow-up,” then they may guess you’re using an email tracker.
If a recipient feels uncomfortable being checked, they may not respond — or they may respond but use words you could never imagine (I’ve been there).
So why do I still write this article?
Well, it’s because I have some tips to avoid those problems:
- Don’t let clients know you use an email tracker, even if they might know it. That means you shouldn’t write a follow-up saying you noticed they read your email.
- Don’t rely heavily on an email tracker. It might be helpful, but it’s not accurate every time. Sometimes the problem is that a client receives too many emails, making your email get buried in the second page of their inbox. It might not be because your copy is bad. Use email tracking as a reference to try experiments.
- Use different ways to land clients. Cold pitches can be more effective when you have an impressive portfolio and know how to show it. If you just started writing content or don’t have much experience, think about other methods. For example, join Facebook groups for entrepreneurs and introduce yourself.
I read somewhere that a freelance writer’s life depends on email tracking. But I think that’s not correct.
As C.P. Snow said, “Technology is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.”
Like any technology, an email tracker is just a tool, and it’s not perfect. We’d better use it wisely — and not let it control our lives.