In short: I can’t believe this tool is free.
I mean, there are paid versions – but I can’t believe the free version is free. And even though 90% of my time spent doing SEO is not on link building, I am what you’d call a “heavy user” of email. I know a promising tool when I see it.
Meet Yesware of Boston, MA (Hola, neighbor)
Yesware does a few things:
- Tracks emails – you can see when someone has read your email, and more (please read their FAQ for info on any limitations)
- Custom email templates
- CRM Sync – connect email right to your CRM
- Analytics – see your email analytics right in Gmail
It’s designed and marketed for Sales. But, “Hello” link builders… meet your new best friend.
The essence of what I’ll be reviewing today, is their free Gmail Plugin for email tracking – although they do have a variety of pricing options and levels. (FYI – Yesware did not ask me to write this review.)
1. The Tour
Sooo easy. This is one of the biggest selling points. The interface is incredibly easy to use, right from within Gmail;
The Compose Window
Here’s what the compose window now looks like – I was testing it out on Ross;
To track when an email gets opened and/or a link gets clicked from within an email, just check off “track” right within compose. Free users can track 100 emails a month.
Pop Up Alerts When Someone Reads An Email
This alert will pop up on your desktop when someone opens an email you’ve been tracking.
Alerts / Status Above Your Inbox
Note that it tells us:
- The time it was sent
- The time it was last read
- What device it was read on
- Where it was read
But wait. There’s more. Way more.
View Lists Of “Events”, Emails and Goals
I don’t even know what you can do with “goals” (I haven’t gotten that far) but it’s crazy what you can do with just Events and Emails.
There’s tons of data in here – and I have to say the interface does a good job at packing it in, but minimizing “overwhelm”.
The email data view is out of this world…
Notice you get:
- The ability to filter/search
- Open status
- Clicked link status
- Replied status
Ready to flip out?
Yep – they went there. I’ll say it again. Vista de mapa!! See all of your events on a map. Turn on satellite view for fun.
Yep – add reminders to each and every email.
According to Yesware’s faq page;
“RemindMe lets you set a reminder for yourself to follow up on an email. RemindMe will bring a message back to your Gmail inbox in the future if you haven’t yet received a reply. (You can also set reminders that come back to you even if a recipient does reply.)”
2. A Tool Like Yesware Changes The Game
Like I said at the beginning – I’m not doing intensive outreach-linkbuilding all the time. But, even as an email user – someone who also uses email to (sometimes) attempt to get a desired (re)action – I’m familiar with the process.
This process is blind. It would be like web analytics without “visits”.
I’ll say that again. In bold. Email without an “opened” metric is like a website without a “visits” metric.
The following diagram is a little in jest. But I’m willing to bet THIS is closer to how we imagine people open, read and respond to email than reality.
What REALLY Happens
We haven’t even added a time dimension to this yet. We’re just looking at open metrics. The recipient:
- Opened it once
- Opened it twice
- Opened it a third time
- THEN replied.
A Closer Look At The “Open” Metric
Let’s talk about the “open” metric (which is akin to “visits”). There’s a few dimensions to these:
And of course – “opens” being a metrics – you can have “amount of opens”. Here’s the reality.
People open emails, multiple times, on multiple devices, from multiple locations.
In the few days I was testing this tool – that’s the reality I saw more often than not. Here’s a REAL example.
Psychology Of Opening Mail – Mobile vs. Desktop
This obviously isn’t s scientific analysis – but I’m going to assume that, in general;
The key thing to realize here is - opened does NOT = read. Opened, in many cases (especially if from a mobile device) could more likely mean lost or forgotten.
3. Practical Applications
1. Make Better “Should I Follow Up?” Decisions
I think one of the key questions a tool like this can help us answer is: should I follow up? A tool like this adds a few HUGE data points to help you make that decision.
This should be a very personal and situation specific decision. But the fact is, where’re not in the dark anymore – for starters, we actually know if they even OPENED the email at all.
2. Correlate User Behavior W/ Likelihood To Get Response
I’m pretty sure once you get into it, Yesware will help you keep track of some of this stuff automatically. But automatic or manually – you should begin to correlate (even just intuitively) when you are most likely to receive a response – and you may even be able to segment this to different people.
- maybe a particular person checks their email at a certain time
- maybe a particular person responds to emails at a certain time
- maybe some people have the best intentions, intend to reply, but tend to be a little forgetful. If you see they’ve opened it already – wait a day and follow up.
3. Test Click Through Rate!
This is nothing new to email marketing. But why should the email marketers have all the fun? Email tracking for the everyday folk allows us to bring a more scientific approach to email subject writing.
Although not specifically about email, my guide on click worthy titles might help with that.
4. Time / Email Management
I LIKE that this adds a time management layer to email as well. As we all know, email can be a huge time-sink… but I think that’s ’cause in general it keeps a lot of the demand on our memory and repetitive manual processing rather than in the email its self.
I should note: I practice inboxzero – and this Yesware seems to play very nicely with the inboxzero method. Inboxzero is all about – “touch something once”, “act on it immediately or set a reminder to deal with it later”. In other words: get it out of your mental bandwidth.
5. Apply Empathy
This new awareness *should* evoke empathy.
Have YOU ever read mail, on your iPhone, away from the office, waiting for your mocha latte?
Me too. (swap mocha latte for espresso).
When I began to actually see what was going on with the recipient’s email reading habits, it inspired empathy. Instead of thinking “why have’t they responded to me?!” – I got it.
They’re out of the office.
They read the email literally two minutes after I sent it.
They’ve opened it twice - maybe I need to change what I was doing. Was my email too long? Too confusing?
they haven’t opened it at all.
That’s the ultimate point I’m trying to make. Outreach is about PEOPLE. Success with people requires empathy.
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Have a website? You might also be interested in my list of rank trackers.