In the past, we barely had any control over our email campaigns. Today, thanks to the evolution of technology, we have a far greater level of control. With email intelligence tools, we are able to track multiple components of email marketing.
Email link tracking is a popular practice observed by several marketers and salespeople. One of the sole purposes of adding links in cold emails is for tracking purposes. If you’ve added a link, it only makes sense to know how many people have clicked on it and taken the action prompted. Beyond that, through the use of link tracking, you are able to identify where the traffic is coming from.
So what exactly is the issue then? It all seems pretty straightforward.
Adding trackable links is a little trickier than one might think. If you get it wrong, then your email will be relegated to the spam folder. The mechanism behind the link tracking tools is not perfect, often the links trigger the spam alert if the links are not set up correctly. Thus, this affects deliverability and defeats the whole purpose of your email campaign. Setting up a custom tracking domain is the safest route experts recommend for guaranteed deliverability. We will explain the relevance of a custom tracking domain for tracking your email links.
What Is Link Tracking In Cold Emailing? Why Is It Important?
When cold emails are sent to prospects, links are included in the content to bolster the message. Whether it’s a link to your calendar, website, social media, blog, LinkedIn; these links provide prospects with additional information. Tracking email links is important as it provides you with helpful insights into the performance of your email campaign.
The click-through rate is a strong indicator of the prospect that is interested in your product/services. This can help you zero in on high-engagement prospects and focus your efforts on them.
Cold email link tracking saves time and resources as you have a very clear indication of the interest level of your prospects. It is also cheaper and faster than many other analytical methods that often require costly tools. Email tracking tools in comparison are cost-effective and provide users with easy to read information, often, in real-time.
What Is A Custom Tracking Domain And Why Is It Safer?
As mentioned previously, adding tracking links in your email compromises your deliverability rates. Lucky for you, there is a way around this—through a custom tracking domain.
In short, a custom tracking domain is a URL used in analytics that tracks open rates and link clicks. It is a safer form of data collection without affecting your email deliverability. Using a custom tracking domain tailored to your specific needs is better than using a default tracking domain.
Spam emails have been on the rise, thus, white-labeling has become a criterion to ensure emails land up in the subscriber’s inbox. Through the use of a custom tracking domain, along with SPF and DKIM authentication, your emails are white-labeled—ensuring deliverability.
Additionally, another advantage of creating your custom tracking domain is building your own sending reputation. The use of a default tracking domain affects delivery rates as it is determined by the overall sending reputation of several companies.
How To Track Cold Email Links?
Default Domain Tracking
Step 1: Log into your email tracking tool
Step 2: Install the Chrome extension and add it to your browser
Step 3: In the settings section of your tool, find an option that lets you change the settings of different email accounts
Step 4: After this, find settings that encompass plugin preferences
Step 5: Over here, you will possibly find options that allow you to ‘always track email links’, turn that on
Track Links Through Custom Tracking Domain (Recommended Method)
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Step 2: Install the Chrome extension and add it to your browser
Step 3: Proceed to log into your account.
Step 4: Depending on where your website domain is hosted, log onto that particular page.
For the purpose of illustration, we will be using Google Domains.
Step 5: On the left-hand side, you will find the option of ‘DNS’. Click on that.
Step 6: Under the ‘Custom resources’ section, on the right-hand side you will find a button entitled ‘Manage custom records’, proceed to click on that.
Step 7: After this, click on ‘Create new record’
Step 8: Choose the ‘type’ of the record as CNAME
Step 9: For the Host Name, key in ‘trk’ (i.e. tracking)
Step 10: Then, key in ‘custom.saleshandy.com’ in the Points to/Value field
Step 11: Select ‘1 hour (3600)’ as the time
Step 12: Click on Save
(Please note: It takes up to 1 hour for the record to be propagated. In rare cases, 5 hours)
Step 13: Go back to Saleshandy and on the left-hand side select ‘Settings’, then ‘Email Accounts’
Step 14: Choose the email account you wish to track links for, and then click on ‘Set up custom domain’
Step 15: In the pop-up window, select ‘Domains & URLs’ and key in ‘trk.saleshandyteam’ (enter trk + the name of your custom domain)
(Select ‘apply this custom domain to all existing email accounts’ if you wish to enable tracking for all your email addresses)
Step 16: Finally, click on ‘save’.
Step 17: And you’re done! Your custom domain tracking is up and running!
In case you are still unclear on the steps, please refer to this detailed guide (inclusive of different domains such as GoDaddy, NameCheap, Bluehost, Cloudfare, etc).
Benefits of custom domain tracking
Tracking your email links with custom domain tracking is a lot safer and better for deliverability. There are a variety of advantages to this method as compared to the default domain tracking method, here are some of them:
1. Increased Control Over Deliverability And Sender Reputation
When you use a custom tracking domain, you are solely responsible for the sender’s reputation and brand image. The external third-party application you are using will have no part to play in the digital footprint you are developing through your campaigns. The sender reputation you build has a direct impact on the deliverability rates (i.e. if you are detected as a ‘non-reliable’ or ‘less reputable’ email service provider then you will most likely end up in the spam folder). So when you have your custom domain, you are in control of the brand image you build which in turn increases (or decreases) your sender reputation affecting deliverability.
2. Visibility Of Your Own Custom Domain Name In The Email
When email text is hyperlinked, and if we see a different domain name appearing upon hovering; our trust levels dip. We don’t trust the email nor the sender, immediately prompting a click on the ‘move to trash’ button. For example, if you are emailing a CEO, and he notices that the domain name doesn’t match your organization’s name, he will immediately mark the email as spam. Thus, it is recommended that email links are tracked with custom domains. This ensures that the visible component of the text in the email links will be branded with your custom domain name instead of the third-party service you are using. This practice builds trust and confidence.
Tracking your email links without external third-party software is not possible. So what do you do with the data you have collected through your link tracking? You use it to your advantage to close those deals! One of the biggest benefits of having this data at your fingertips is the ease and hyper-personalization of email content it provides. A little personalization never hurt anybody.
If your reports are showing uninterested prospects then it is safe to assume that their priorities lie elsewhere. For example, if your first email is unopened; then it’s a good idea to stop there and focus on other interested parties. Nobody wants a cluttered inbox largely because your efforts will not bear any fruit. The data collected will show you exactly how prospects are interacting with your content. Accordingly, tailor follow-ups and content with the data you have gathered. For example, if a prospect clicks on a link about ‘marketing hacks’, it automatically indicates that they are interested in this topic. Perhaps then, you can reach out with additional resources on that particular topic.
Go Beyond Tracking Email Links:
- Build your own custom tracking domain for each and every email account
- Get real-time notifications about email opens
- Predict deliverability rates before sending your emails