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If you’re running SQL Server somewhere in Amazon Web Services (AWS), you’ve probably heard that it should not have a public-facing IP address. Your SQL Server likely stores your organization’s most precious data, and you want to protect it like you would your first-born, and that means cutting it off from outside access.

What happens when you have a public-facing SQL Server?

In time you will see lots of entries like this in your Event Application Log:

 

Even if you disable your “sa” account, you’ll still get hammered with login attempts, but with a slightly different Application Log message:

Every SQL Server that’s publicly accessible on the Internet is eventually subject to a brute force attack on the “sa” account. So not only should your SQL Server be protected from the outside Internet, the “sa” account should be disabled as well. Disabling the “sa” account is easy.

My trick to blocking public access to SQL Server

Setting up your SQL Server so that it can’t be accessed by the Internet but can be accessed by your web and application servers is trickier, though. Amazon provides an article on how to do that via multiple VPCs, but I’m a simple man, and I like simple solutions. After testing several scenarios, I arrived at the following plan that adequately protects my SQL Server instance and, incidentally, saves money on my AWS bill.

The trick is to put all of my servers, applications, web, and SQL Servers, in the same Availability Zone, and then lock down the Availability Zone using a Network ACL in my Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). A simple DENY rule blocking port 1433 to my VPC accomplishes this. Any servers in the same Availability Zone and subnet will still be able to access port 1433, since the ACL only protects the subnet from anything outside the subnet, not inside.

You’ll notice that I have an ALLOW rule for my own IP right above the DENY rule that blocks all access to port 1433, the standard TCP/IP port used by SQL Server. This is so that I can still manage my SQL Server from my personal workstation. You might be wondering why you need to bother with the Network ACL, which applies to the entire subnet, rather than just setting Inbound rules in the Security Group that holds the EC2 Instance. The reason is that Security Group rules are only for ALLOWING port access. You can’t put a DENY rule in a Security Group, but you can in a Network ACL.

Save money on your AWS bill

The added benefit of having all of your servers in the same Availability Zone is that you don’t pay for bandwidth between your servers. If your servers are across different Availability Zones, then you pay $.01/GB transfer. For me, that portion of my data transfer alone has been racking up $250/month in fees recently. Actually, there are two conditions necessary for avoiding data transfer fees between your instances: 1) They must be in the same AZ; 2) They must communicate with each other via their private IP address, not a public IP address.

It’s important to note that I host my own SQL Server on an EC2 Windows instance. I don’t use RDS, but the same concepts I’m using here should also apply if your SQL Server lives on an RDS endpoint. I considered RDS but decided against it because I’m a power SQLAgent user, and SQLAgent has restricted capabilities in RDS.

You might argue that putting all of your servers in the same Availability Zone is silly since the whole point of multiple AZs is to allow for redundancy in case one zone goes offline. You’d be right, but if a poor man’s solution to locking down your SQL Server appeals to you in the first place, I’m betting you’re not worried about redundancy across Availability Zones. In my 4+ years of hosting with AWS, not one of my Availability Zones has ever gone down.

Moving my servers into the same Availability Zone

To get this setup working, I had to consolidate all my servers into one Availability Zone, which was tricky because my servers were across three of them, us-west-2a, us-west-2b, and us-west-2c. To make matters worse, my SQL Server was on us-west-2c while most of my application and web servers were in us-west-2a. I had a choice to make: switch my SQL Server to us-west-2a OR switch the rest of my servers to us-west-2c. Because changing Availability Zones results in instance downtime since you have to stop and re-start the instance, and because taking down my SQL Server brings down my entire system, I opted to switch the rest of my servers to us-west-2c, which I could do in batches to prevent a disruption in customer’s email campaigns.

Lastly, to avail myself of the cost savings by having all servers in the same AZ, the servers must also communicate with each other by their private IP, not by their public IP. This makes sense, because if all of your application servers are hitting your SQL Server by its public IP, then the traffic is first leaving your AZ and then coming back in via a public routing. If, however, you connect by a private IP, then your traffic stays inside your subnet and AZ.

I had two options to change easily from public IP access to private IP access of the SQL box: change the DNS entry for database.gmass.co, or put in a “hosts” entry into all my application servers, hard-coding database.gmass.co to the private IP address so that it resolves to the private IP rather than the public IP from the Internet’s DNS system. The TTL on database.gmass.co was low enough that I just changed the IP address of database.gmass.co from the public-facing IP on the SQL Server to its private IP. Plus, this way, if I ever set up a new server, I won’t have to remember to put in that “hosts” file entry.

So now, while my SQL Server still has a public-facing IP address, it’s impossible to know what that IP address is. Furthermore, if someone did figure out that public IP, they’d be stopped in their tracks from accessing the server because between the Network ACL, which protects the whole AZ, and the Security Group’s Inbound Rules that protect the individual instance, no inbound access is allowed. Even Remote Desktop (RDP) access is allowed only from my personal workstation.

To lock down the SQL Server even further, the EC2 Security Group allows only outbound access over port 25 so that the server can send email notifications to me about certain events, such as a BACKUP success or failure.

 

Note: By the way, database.gmass.co isn’t the real domain name for my SQL Server.

Don’t like this approach?

If you’re an enterprise user and don’t want a “hacky” solution to securing something as important as your SQL Server, see AWS’s Best Practices Guide to SQL Server deployment.

Looking to change your email name or email address?

Your email name and address are the first things people see when they get your email, so it better be perfect, right?

But how do you edit your email name and address to fit your email sending needs?
You don’t have to be a chameleon to make it happen.

In this article, I’ll give you a simple walk-through guide on how to change your email name and address.

Here’s what this article contains:

(Use the links below to jump to a specific section)

Here’s a break down of the terms I’ll be using throughout this article:

    1. Recipient – the person who receives your email.
    2. Primary email address – the email address you use to sign in to your email account.
    3. Secondary email address – the email address you use as an alternative to your primary address, such as a business address or a recovery ID in case you forget your password.
    4. Google Account Name – the name you use across all your Google apps such as Docs, Drive, and Calendar, etc.
    5. G Suite Account – work or school Gmail accounts ending in @companyname.com or @schoolname.edu.

Email Names vs. Usernames: What’s the Difference?

Most people think email names and email usernames are the same things.
They’re not.

Young boy surprised that email name and email username are not same.

An email name (also known as a sender name) is the name that’s displayed when you send an email. Your email username, however, is your email address.

For example, in the image below, the email name is “John” and the username is “john@startupvoyager.com”.

How do you find this information?
In most email clients, you’ll have to tap or hover your mouse over your profile picture to access this information.

So how do you change it?
Changing your sender name is fairly simple.
However, you might not always be able to change the email username.

How to Change Your Email Name

Note – I’ll be talking about Gmail here, but the process is the same for different email services like Microsoft Outlook.com, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail. However, if you’re using Microsoft Exchange accounts, you can contact your administrator for help.

By default, your email name in Gmail and your Google account name are the same.

If you want to change your email name, you can choose to:

  • Change your name in Gmail only.
  • Change your name across all your Google apps.

Click on the links to jump to a specific method:

How to Change Your Email Name Only

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to edit your sender name.

Note – You can’t change the email name from the Gmail mobile app. You’ll have to do it through your browser.

Step 1
Open your Gmail account by typing in your email ID and password.

Step 2
Go to your account settings by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner of your inbox.
From the drop-down menu that pops up, click Settings.

Step 3
If you’re using a regular Gmail account (that ends in gmail.com), click on the Accounts and Import tab.

If you’re using a G Suite account, click the Accounts tab.

Step 4
Under Send mail as, click edit info against the email name you want to change.

Step 5
Enter the new name or alias you want to display in your emails in the name field.
Select the button next to your new display name and click on Save Changes.

How to Change Your Google Account Name

You can also change your Google account name. Changing your Google account name will also change your Gmail email name automatically.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do this:

Note – You can also update your Google Account name from the Android and iPhone Gmail app.

Step 1
Log in to your Google Account.

Step 2
Click Personal info in the left sidebar.

Step 3
Under Profile, click NAME.

Quick Note – You can also change your password by clicking the PASSWORD option.

Step 4
Click the pencil icon to edit your current name.

Note – If you’re using a G Suite account, you need to contact the admin to change your name.

Step 5
Enter your new name and click the DONE button.

How to Change Your Email Address (Username) in Gmail

Changing your email address can be tricky.

Why?
Gmail usually doesn’t allow you to change your email ID if it ends in gmail.com.

Usually?
While there is a step-by-step method in place, it doesn’t work for every user. Gmail doesn’t specify why, but you can always try it!

But if you have a G Suite account, you may find it easier to change your username. All you have to do is ask the G Suite administrator for help.

However, if you’re still unable to change your username, you’ll have to create a new Gmail account and import the data from your existing account.

Inconvenient, right?
But don’t worry.

I’ll show you Gmail’s method to change your username, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll show you how to import your user data quickly into a new account:

How to Change Your Existing Email Address

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change your existing email address in Gmail.

Note – this isn’t guaranteed to work for every user.

Step 1
Log in to your Google Account.

Step 2
Click on Personal info in the left sidebar.

Step 3
Under Contact info, click EMAIL.

Quick Note – You can add your phone number to boost your account security by clicking the PHONE option.

Step 4
Click on Google Account email.
If you can’t open this setting, it isn’t possible to change your email address.

However, if you’re able to open this, follow the next step.

Step 5 (If you can click on Google Account email)
Select edit, next to the email address you want to change. Enter the new email address for your account and follow the on-screen instructions.

Note – You will receive a verification email at the new address. To complete the address change, you need to click on the verification link in that email. 

Additional Tip: Add Secondary Email Addresses

In addition to your primary email ID, you can add other IDs to your Google Account and use them to sign in.

To do this, click on the Advanced option in the EMAIL section of Personal Info.

You can add secondary email ids like Contact email, Alternative emails, and About Me emails for your Google Account.

Note – Google will send a verification code to the secondary email address to confirm the update.

How to Import Data from an Existing Account to a New Gmail Account

If Gmail doesn’t allow you to change your email address, you’ll have to create a new email account (with the address you want) and import your existing data there.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do that.

I’m transferring data from an old ID – ross.kumar18@gmail.com to a new account – roshanv.gmass@gmail.com

Step 1
Create a new Gmail account and log in to it.

Step 2
Go to your account settings by clicking the settings icon (the gear icon) in the top right corner of your mailbox.

From the drop-down menu that pops up, click Settings.

Step 3
If you’re using a regular Gmail account (that ends in gmail.com), click the Accounts and Import tab.

If you’re using a G Suite account, click the Accounts tab.

Step 4
Under the Import mail and contacts section, click on Import mail and contacts.

Note – If you’re using a G Suite account and you don’t see the import mail option, you’ll need to contact your administrator.

Step 5
A new browser window will pop up.

In the text box displayed, enter your old address and click the Continue button.

You will now be asked to sign in to your old mail account.
Open a new browser tab and sign in to your old account.

You’ll now be signed in to both your old and new addresses.

Step 6
After signing in to your old account, click Continue.
Another browser window will pop up, asking you for access to your old email account.

Once you grant access, you’ll see a status message if the authentication was successful.

Step 7
Now close this window and go to the previous pop-up window (the one with your new account).

Select the import options for your old mail account.
You can now import contacts, old emails, and forward all new mail (for the next 30 days) from your old account to the new account.

Select the desired options from the menu and click on Start import.

Step 8
After the import is complete, a finished status message will be displayed on the screen.

Step 9
Now refresh your new Gmail account.
You can view the messages from your old mail account under the folder with your old account name.

Voila!

Note – To stop importing, click stop in the “Import mail and contacts” section. 

Conclusion

While it can be tricky to change the email name and Gmail address of your current account, it isn’t impossible.

Just follow the steps I listed above, and you’ll be fine!
If you have any more questions about this, let me know in the comments below.

Is Woodpecker the right email outreach tool for you?

This Woodpecker review will help you decide if Woodpecker is a good fit for your email requirements. I’ll also highlight three great Woodpecker alternatives that can address all your email outreach needs.

Here’s what this article contains:

(Click on the links to jump to a specific section)

Let’s get started.

What Is Woodpecker Email?

Woodpecker.co is an email marketing automation tool that lets you send emails and follow-ups from Gmail and Outlook. It’s chiefly used by B2B companies to personalize, automate, and track their outbound sales campaigns easily.

Shows Woodpecker's interface.

The Key Features of Woodpecker:

Here’s a closer look at some of Woodpecker’s key features:

1. Powerful Email Tracking

Woodpecker automatically tracks the various email metrics of your marketing and sales emails. It measures different stats, such as:

  • Open Rate – the percentage of email IDs that opened your email.
  • Click-through Rate – the percentage of people who clicked at least one link in your email.
  • Sent – the number of emails that were sent.
  • Delivered – the number of IDs that received your email, and more.

You can also manually mark your campaign replies as interested, maybe later, or uninterested. Woodpecker then analyzes this to calculate the number of positive responses you’ve received for a specific campaign.

This helps you identify which email templates, subject lines, and links are giving you the best results. You can then tailor upcoming campaign messages accordingly to boost your conversions!

Shows the metrics tracked by Woodpecker.

2. Cold Email Personalization

Woodpecker lets you add custom fields and snippets to give your mass cold emails a personal touch. This helps you edit each email on a person-by-person basis, making emails unique and personalized for each recipient.

Woodpecker automatically adds recipient details like:

  • Their first name.
  • Their company’s name.
  • The part of a prospect’s website or blog you liked the most.
  • The reason you decided to reach out to them, and more.

For added flexibility, Woodpecker even lets you import your contact data as CSV files for quick personalization.

3. Efficient Follow-ups with Email Automation

Woodpecker helps you send powerful automated follow-ups for your cold email campaigns. As these follow-ups are part of the same email thread, your clients will always have the context — even if they have not responded to your first email.

The tool automatically stops sending these follow-ups if it detects an auto-reply from the recipient. You can then choose to resume the sequence manually or not.

4. Simple Campaign Scheduling

Woodpecker lets you schedule all your emails and follow-ups in advance. This allows you to plan your emails and send them when and as required.

It lets you set a custom date and time within a chosen time zone to schedule your emails. As the tool automatically sends them when the time arrives, you won’t have to be online when they go out.

Displays scheduling settings of email campaigns in Woodpecker.

Three Drawbacks of Woodpecker Email

While Woodpecker is a good email marketing tool, it isn’t a perfect product.
Here are some of its drawbacks:

1. You Can’t Send Email Attachments

Woodpecker doesn’t let you add email attachments to your mass emails.

This can be a big issue when you want to send emails with documents such as presentations, white papers, or even proposals. As you can’t add attachments to your emails, you’re limiting the level of engagement you have with your prospects.

Additionally, email trackers that support attachments give you tons of helpful insights into your prospect interactions, such as:

  • The hours they spend on your documents.
  • The sections of the file in which they’re most interested.
  • If they’re forwarding or downloading your attachments.

If you use Woodpecker, you won’t be able to measure any of this. 

2. Woodpecker Works As a Separate Inbox

Another problem with Woodpecker is that it’s not embedded within your Gmail or Outlook inbox. Instead, it functions as a separate inbox altogether.

This may not be an issue for some users, but I’d rather have my email software work within my inbox.

Why do I prefer that?

  • I won’t have to open a separate dashboard or interface to monitor my email engagement.
  • The tool can categorize all my campaign replies, follow-ups, and reports under different labels right inside my inbox.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an option with Woodpecker.
If you use it, you’re going to have to juggle between tabs and inboxes to manage your emails.

3. It’s Expensive

The Woodpecker app comes with three pricing plans:

  • Start-up: $40/user per month.
  • Team Pro: $50/user per month.
  • Enterprise: custom pricing.

The Start-up plan offers automated email, analytics, and teamwork features. The Team Pro plan includes all this and integration features while the Enterprise plan comes with custom solutions.

While their plans come with a 30-day free trial (no credit card needed), it’s still far costlier than most other email marketing tools. Even their basic Start-up plan comes in at $40/user per month!

This can be a big issue for firms with multiple email marketers as you’ll have to pay $40/month for each of them!

Three Great Woodpecker Email Alternatives to Try

While Woodpecker is a powerful tool, there are some drawbacks to using it.
To help you solve those issues, here are three great Woodpecker alternatives:

1. GMass

Shows the GMass website and dashboard.

GMass is a powerful email marketing software that lets you run marketing campaigns from your Gmail inbox. Its mighty mass mailing capabilities have made it a popular email tracker used by employees from Google and Uber to social media giants like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

GMass lets you:

  • Automatically track your email campaign metrics.
  • Quickly send emails and marketing campaigns to tons of prospects and customers.
  • Automatically personalize mass emails on a person-by-person basis.
  • Easily schedule emails in advance.

What’s more?
You can instantly get started with GMass — just download the Chrome add-on, enter your email ID to sign-up, and you’re done!

It’s that easy!

Here’s a closer look at some of its key features:

A) Advanced Email Analytics and Mail Merge Reports

GMass’ Campaign Report is auto-generated after you send each email campaign. It highlights all the core marketing statistics you need to analyze your email engagement.

However, unlike Woodpecker, GMass places your campaign reports right inside your Gmail inbox. You won’t have to open a separate interface to use them; all reports can be easily accessed from the Gmail sidebar!

Shows the location of GMass reports inside your Gmail account.

Here’s what your GMass Campaign Report contains:

  1. Total Recipients:
    The total number of email addresses to which you sent your email campaign.
  2. Unique Opens:
    The total number of unique email IDs that opened your email. Note: GMass tracks only unique opens to give you clear email stats. If someone opens your email a second or third time, it won’t show up on your report to artificially inflate the number of opens.
  3. Didn’t Open:
    The total number of recipients that didn’t open your email.
  4. Unique Clicks:
    The total number of unique IDs that clicked at least one link in your email.
  5. Replies:
    The total number of recipients that replied to your email.
  6. Unsubscribes:
    The total number of recipients that unsubscribed from your emails.
  7. Bounces:
    The total number of emails that were undelivered because the address was invalid.
  8. Rejections because your Gmail account is over-limit:
    The total number of email IDs that didn’t receive your email because Gmail limited the sending ability of your account.
  9. Blocks:
    The total number of emails that were undelivered because the address marked your account as spam.

Shows a GMass Campaign Report with the metrics it tracks.

For detailed information on GMass’ reports, click here.

B) Email Follow-Up Automation

Most email marketers have to follow-up on their campaign emails.

But what if you have to follow-up on hundreds of replies?
You can’t do that manually!

Don’t worry, GMass can help you.

It automates the process of sending follow-ups with up to eight stages of follow-ups (one step further than Woodpecker).

You can even customize everything about these follow-ups, such as:

  • The trigger for sending follow-ups.
    For example, you can set GMass to send a welcome email automatically the instant someone signs up for your newsletter. 
  • The number of follow-up emails each person receives.
  • The time gaps between follow-ups.
  • The content of your follow-up email messages.

Shows follow-up stages in GMass.

You can click here for more information on this feature.

C) Powerful Email Personalization

Email personalization is the perfect way to engage your customers effectively.

Think about it.

With what are you more likely to engage?
A generic marketing email?
Or one that’s specifically tailored to you and your needs?

For example, if you send cold emails for a webinar invitation, adding each recipient’s name will boost your attendance rates.

However, when you have hundreds of emails, manually personalizing each one will take you forever!

Luckily, GMass supports automatic email personalization to help you with this.

It gives you features like:

  • Auto First-Name Detection and Entry – GMass auto-detects a person’s first name from their email ID and adds it to each email addressed to that person.
  • Add personalized blocks of text – you can customize entire paragraphs of your email message on a person-by-person basis.
  • Add customized links, images – you can include personalized links, e-commerce URLs, and photos for each email recipient.

Shows how personalization works in GMass.

D) Automatic Reply Management

Your email campaign will probably receive tons of replies, bounces, and blocks.
How do you sort through all this information quickly to identify the responses that matter most?

GMass can automatically organize all your campaign responses under the Reports label of your Gmail inbox.

It categorizes responses as:

  • Bounces – emails that were undelivered because the recipients’ address was invalid.
  • Replies – responses where the recipient actually clicked the “Reply” button (unlike autoresponders, which send a reply from a machine rather than a human).
  • Delays – messages that were delayed because the recipient is currently unreachable.

This way, it’s easy for you to identify your most important responses and deal with any issues in your outbound sales campaigns.

E) Easy Email Scheduling

Sending emails at the right time is a surefire way to maximize engagement.
Ideally, you’ll need to send your campaigns when your recipients are most likely to check their inbox.

How do you ensure that your emails always reach your recipients at the right time?
By scheduling them in advance.

With GMass, you can easily schedule your marketing emails.
Compose your email, schedule it, and the tool automatically sends it out at the specified time.

It’s that simple!

If there’s any change in schedule, you can always reschedule your emails from the Gmail Drafts folder. Simply edit the date and time, and GMass will send it then.

Shows the scheduling settings in GMass.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Can quickly integrate with your Gmail inbox.
  • Can create email lists instantly with Gmail account searches.
  • Supports downloading your campaign reports as CSV files.
  • Can easily import contact list from a Google Sheets file.
  • Can send email attachments.
  • Connect it with Zapier to automate email sequences.
  • Available as a powerful Gmail add-on for Android devices.
  • Powerful Salesforce integration.
  • Active customer support team.

Cons

  • The desktop version works only with Google Chrome.
  • GMass works only with Gmail and G-Suite accounts.

Pricing

GMass has three pricing plans:

  • Free: supports automated email tracking for 50 emails/day + all the other features.
  • Individual:
    • Minimal: $8.95/month – unlimited email tracking + all features except auto follow-ups.
    • Standard: $12.95/month – includes “Minimal” features + removes GMass footer from sent emails.
    • Premium: $19.95/month – includes “Standard “ features + auto follow-ups.
  • Team:
    • Premium: starts at $89/month for a group of 5 and includes all features.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 5/5 (270+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.8/5 (290+ reviews)

2. Bananatag

Shows the interface of Bananatag.

Bananatag is an email automation tool that works with Gmail and Outlook. It gives you detailed analytics to break down your campaign’s engagement.

Key Features

  • Sleek drag-and-drop interface.
  • Real-time email open and link click notifications.
  • Powerful schedule and snooze feature to manage emails effectively.
  • Email attachment tracking to see how recipients use your attachments.
  • Reports that can be exported as CSV or XLS files.
  • Can sync data to various CRM software like Pipedrive, Salesforce, and Zoho.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Can create custom email templates.
  • Gives you detailed insights into your email deliverability.
  • Track emails on mobile devices without using an app.
  • Available as Chrome and Firefox extensions.

Cons

  • Notifications come in as separate emails. This can clutter your inbox if there’s a large mailing list.
  • The tool doesn’t work for company email addresses (email IDs that end in @company.com).
  • The free version only tracks five emails per day.

Pricing

Bananatag is available in three pricing plans:

  • Free: automated email open tracking for up to five emails/day.
  • Pro: $12.50/month – track up to 100 emails/day with link tracking, detailed reports, and scheduling features.
  • Team: $25/month per user – includes Pro + track up to 200 emails/day + team management features.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 5/5 (6 reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4/5 (20+ reviews)

3. Hubspot Sales

Shows the interface of Hubspot Sales.

Hubspot Sales is a powerful cold email outreach tool that helps you track and engage your leads in real-time. It also helps you create email templates to save tons of time when composing emails.

Key Features

  • Real-time notifications for lead engagements.
  • Can easily import contact details to personalize emails.
  • Built-in activity stream that logs the email interactions of your clients and customers.
  • Predictive lead scoring to help you prioritize potential clients.
  • Detailed and customizable email reports.
  • Seamless Salesforce integration.

Pros

  • Powerful lead nurturing features.
  • Can automate the activities of your sales team.
  • Can schedule emails and follow-ups in advance.
  • IMAP integration support.
  • Works with email providers like Gmail and Outlook.

Cons

  • Initial set up can be complicated for novices.
  • No mass emailing features. You can build an email sequence, but you need to hit the send button for each email.
  • Their paid plans with additional features can be costly.

Pricing

Hubspot Sales comes in four pricing schemes:

  • Free: supports 200 email tracking notifications + email scheduling and CRM features.
  • Starter: $35/month – includes unlimited tracking notifications + 1,000 email templates + basic reporting and prospecting features.
  • Professional: $280/month – includes Starter + sales automation for 300 workflows + Salesforce integration.
  • Enterprise: $840/month – includes Professional with sales automation for 500 workflows + lead generation and team management + API access.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 4.5/5 (2000+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.3 /5 (600+ reviews)

Conclusion

While Woodpecker is a good email service, it isn’t a perfect solution. It’s expensive, can’t handle attachments, and forces you to switch between inboxes for your reports.

Why settle for that when there are better tools available?

While all three tools on the list are powerful, GMass has several advantages. It gives you powerful cold emailing and tracking features at a fraction of the cost! So why not download the Chrome extension today and try it out?

Want to send an email to undisclosed recipients?

The undisclosed recipients feature keeps your email recipients’ details confidential by hiding them from your other email recipients. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to use the BCC field to send emails to undisclosed recipients.

However, the BCC method has always had limitations.
That’s why I’ll also give you a simpler way to email groups of people while keeping their details private by using a free mail merge program.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Use the links to jump to a specific section:

Here’s a breakdown of the terms I’ll be using in this article:

  1. Recipient – the person who receives your email.
  2. Primary recipient – refers to the main recipient of your email (the person addressed in the To field).
  3. CC Carbon Copy recipients – refers to recipients that receive a copy of the email. They are included in the CC address field. They are visible to all the recipients in your email.
  4. BCC Blind Carbon Copy recipients – refers to hidden recipients that receive a copy of the email. They are included in the BCC address field. BCC recipients are the same as undisclosed recipients.
  5. Distribution list/mailing list – a list of email addresses to which you’re sending emails.

What Are Undisclosed Recipients?

An undisclosed recipient is a recipient whose email address is only visible to the sender. 

Nobody else in the email list — be it your primary recipient, CC’d recipients, or fellow BCC’d recipients — will be able to read an undisclosed recipient’s details.

How to Send an Email to Undisclosed Recipients in Gmail

Sending an email to undisclosed recipients with the Gmail client is easy.

But there’s a catch.
You have to include yourself as the primary recipient while including everyone else as BCC recipients. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to send an email to undisclosed recipients:

Step 1
To start, log in to your Gmail account and click “Compose” to open the Compose window.
Alternatively, if you’ve enabled keyboard shortcuts in your Gmail account, you can press the “c” key to open a new email.

Shows how to open Gmail's Compose window.

Step 2
Type “Undisclosed recipients” in the To: field of the new message and include your own email address within angle brackets (<>).

For example, if your Gmail ID is roshan@startupvoyager.com, you must type Undisclosed recipients <roshan@startupvoyager.com>.

Why include your own email address as “Undisclosed recipients”?
There’s nothing wrong with just typing your email ID in the To field of such emails. But when you do that, your recipients may find it awkward.

Why would someone address themselves in their own email, right?

To avoid this, you conceal your email ID under a term like “Undisclosed recipients.” However, you can also use other terms. For example, if you’re emailing your book club members, you can type “Book Club Members” instead of “Undisclosed recipients,” and then include your own email address within brackets (<>).

This is simply a form of email etiquette when you only have BCC recipients for your email.

Note – You can also create a new contact titled “Undisclosed Recipients” in your address book and then type your Gmail address in its Email field. As it’s now a saved contact, it’s far easier to add it whenever you compose an email for undisclosed recipients.

Step 3
Then, click the “BCC” button in the message window:

Shows the Gmail Compose window.

In the BCC field that appears, type the email addresses of the recipients who will be hidden. You can separate multiple addresses by using a comma, adding a space, or pressing the enter key.

Shows an email id in the BCC field.

Step 4
Compose the subject and text of your email message and click “Send” to send your message.

Note – When using Gmail for BCC recipients, Google adds a unique email header for each BCC recipient. This ensures that they only see their own address on receiving the message.

Three Benefits of Using Undisclosed Recipients in Your Email

1. Protects the Recipients’ Privacy

Using the BCC feature to send your message can help maintain a recipient’s privacy. By including a recipient in the BCC line, their address remains hidden from all other recipients in the To, CC, and BCC fields.

This makes it a good option for group emails, where you don’t want recipients to know who else was added to the email, or you don’t want to reveal the email addresses of individuals in the group.

2. Protects Your Recipients’ from Spammers/Email Trackers

Sending mass emails to recipients in the To and CC fields may inadvertently expose them to spammers and malware.

How?

If spammers find your mailing list, they can send spammy, malicious emails to these addresses and even track them.

However, adding them as undisclosed recipients guards against this problem. As they’re only included in your BCC field, malware will find it harder to read their IDs.

3. Reduces the Possibility of Being Marked as Junk

Sometimes, spam filters deliver mail to a recipient’s junk folder if there are too many recipients in the To and CC fields. However, if you leave the To and CC field blank (by sending it to undisclosed recipients), you can bypass this risk.

Three Problems with the Blind Copy Method

1. Unintentional Reply All

A BCC’d recipient may click “Reply to All” instead of the “Reply” button when replying to your email. This can share their response to every address in the email chain resulting in:

  1. An unintentional breach of privacy for that sender.
  2. Tons of unrelated emails for the other recipients.

2. Improper for Formal Conversations

Remember, even if your undisclosed recipients can’t see the details of other recipients on the BCC list, they’ll know that they weren’t the only ones added. This can create a bad impression or even a sense of suspicion among your undisclosed recipients.

Why?

They’ll be busy wondering about the identities of the other undisclosed recipients instead of focusing on your mail! You should avoid using this for formal conversations, as it could lead to decreased trust in your correspondence.

3. Can’t Add Individual Recipients’ Names

Whether it is used in Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Mail, iPhone Mail, or any other mail server, the BCC feature doesn’t let users personalize their emails.

You can’t add a BCC recipient’s full name or reference their personal needs in your emails.

The reason?
If you mention their names, their identity is no longer hidden!

That’s why undisclosed recipients often receive generic emails that don’t address their personal needs and preferences. While this protects their privacy, it can limit your chances of making a connection with them. Moreover, they may wonder why you hid their identity in the first place.

A Simpler and More Professional Approach than BCC: GMass

What Is GMass?

GMass is a powerful mail merge program that makes it incredibly simple to send personalized emails to multiple recipients with your Gmail inbox.

Its mass emailing features have made it a popular Chrome extension that’s used by businesses, individuals, and groups like clubs, schools, and churches to send emails to multiple recipients from their email account.

If you’re looking to send bulk emails while protecting your recipients’ privacy, GMass can help you!

Shows the GMass website and interface.

Why You Should Use GMass for Your Email Sending Needs

1. Quickly Add Tons of Recipients

Say you have a mailing list of 1,000 registered users of your product in Gmail.

When composing your email, manually adding each recipient can be time-consuming and error-prone. For example, you may leave out an email address or mistakenly include someone else in your email.

With GMass, this is no longer a problem.
GMass gives you two automated, error-free ways to include multiple recipients in seconds:

  1. Use Google Contacts
    If you’re using Google Contacts, select the contacts you want as recipients, and GMass automatically adds them to the address field. It’s far more convenient than manually identifying and adding each recipient from your address book.
  2. Use GMass’s Build Email List Feature
    The “Build Email List” lets GMass automatically identify your email recipients. Instead of manually searching through your address book to select an email ID, simply enter a search term in the Gmail search box, and GMass pulls up the details of all the relevant contacts. You can now easily add these IDs to your distribution list.
    For a detailed guide on how to use this feature, click here.

2. Add Names and Further Personalization to Your Emails

You can’t personalize an email for undisclosed recipients in your usual webmail client.

You can only create and send a generic email to all of them. However, doing this can limit your chances of making a personal connection.

Think about it.

You can’t expect too many people to subscribe to your service if you don’t even mention their names, right?

Luckily, GMass gives you a professional way to personalize your emails automatically. You can add personalization variables such as:

  • {FirstName},
  • {LastName},
  • {Company}, to your emails.

The values of these variables are automatically determined by GMass from the recipient’s email ID and other data. This way, you can personalize each email without manually doing a thing!

GMass also provides you other personalization features like:

  1. Auto First-Name Detection and Entry – GMass accurately auto-detects a person’s first name from their email address. This allows you to insert a recipient’s first name anywhere in your email.
  2. Customize links and URLs – You can include customized links and URLs for each recipient in your email.Shows how GMass personalizes your emails.
  3. Include a personalized image – GMass lets you add a unique image for each recipient in your email.
  4. Personalize entire paragraphs  – You can automatically customize large blocks of text on a person-by-person basis in your email messages.

Click here for a complete guide on email personalization in Gmail.

3. Easy Email Scheduling

GMass’s scheduling feature makes it incredibly easy to schedule your emails in advance.

How does this help?
You can send emails at specific times of the day to maximize email open rates. As you’ve already scheduled them, you won’t have to be online when they need to be sent.

Simply compose your email, decide when to send it, and GMass automatically sends it when the time arrives.

Shows GMass' scheduling settings.
You can enter a custom date and time or choose from a set of default times to schedule your emails. Scheduled emails can also easily be rescheduled from the Drafts folder.

Conclusion

Using the BCC field to send emails to undisclosed recipients is risky, tedious, and ineffective.

Why settle for it when you have excellent email marketing tools available in 2019?

Smart email programs like GMass can quickly draft and send personalized emails to a large group of undisclosed recipients without compromising their privacy. Why not download the GMass mail merge extension and experience it yourself?

In the meantime, why not check out the other articles on this blog for more tips, tricks, and rules about email sending?

Looking for the best email tracking software?

An email tracking tool can track email opens and other metrics to help sales and marketing teams run effective email marketing campaigns. It’s also useful for any professional who wants to know if their email has been opened or not.

In this article, I’ll cover why you need to track your emails and list the best email tracking software.

Here’s what this article contains:

(Use the links below to jump to a specific section)

GMass

MailTrack

Boomerang

Gmelius

LeadBoxer

Bananatag

Yesware

Hubspot Sales

Cirrus Insight

Streak for Gmail

Three Reasons to Track Your Emails

While anyone can benefit from email tracking, it’s especially useful for email marketers. Here’s why:

1. It Helps You Monitor Campaign Interactions

If you’re an email marketer, chances are you send emails to hundreds of people.
However, you can’t manually monitor each interaction, right?

Luckily, email trackers let email senders know when someone opens or engages with their emails. This helps you manage your email campaign interactions without having to lift a finger!

Most email trackers can track when:

  • A recipient opens your emails.
  • They click on any link present in your email messages.
  • They forward an email to someone else, and more.

However, that isn’t all.
You’ll also get an idea of when they opened your email. This can help you gauge when they’re most active and help you send follow-up emails at the right time for maximum engagement.

2. You Get Unique Insights Into Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Most email trackers do more than just track email opens.

They give you detailed reports on different aspects of your campaigns. You get information on campaign metrics like:

  • Open Rates (OR) – the number of recipients that opened your emails.
  • Click-through Rates (CTR) – the number of email IDs that clicked the links in your emails.
  • Bounce Rates – how many email addresses didn’t receive your emails.
  • Unsubscribe Rates – how many email IDs unsubscribed from your campaigns.

How does this help you?

These metrics will help you understand:

  • If your emails are going through.
  • If they’re connecting with your audience.
  • What’s going wrong with your emails.
  • What needs to be changed.

Email senders can use these metrics to fine-tune their emails to make them more attractive to their audience.

3. It Provides You with Context for Follow-ups

Your marketing campaign follow-ups need to be meaningful. You can’t afford to bombard your recipients with follow-ups they don’t want.

Why?

It’s a surefire way to get you marked as spam!

Think about it.

You can’t send a weekly follow-up email to someone who recently unsubscribed, right?

With email tracking, email senders get valuable insights into their prospects’ interests and behavior. This helps you tweak and customize your follow-ups for maximum engagement.

Here’s how it boosts your outreach:

If you know that a person regularly engages with your mails, chances are, they’re interested in what you’re selling. You can now move them down your sales funnel and maybe give them a call, as they’re primed for a pitch.

Email tracking helps you understand the kinds of content and links that engage your recipients. This lets you customize your follow-ups to appeal to their interests.

The Top 10 Email Tracking Tools

1. GMass

GMass is powerful email outreach software that lets you run marketing campaigns from your Gmail inbox. Its powerful mail merge capabilities have made it a popular email tracker that’s used by employees from Uber, Google, and social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

With GMass, you can:

  • Automatically track several email campaign metrics accurately.
  • Quickly send sales and marketing campaigns to tons of people.
  • Automatically personalize mass emails on a person-by-person basis.
  • Easily schedule emails in advance.

Here’s a closer look at GMass’s key features:

A) Advanced Mail Merge Reports and Email Analytics

GMass accurately tracks various email metrics to give you detailed marketing break downs in your Campaign Report.

What’s the Campaign Report?
The Campaign Report is automatically generated after sending each email campaign and highlights all the core marketing statistics you need.

Here’s what GMass’s automated Campaign Reports contain:

  1. Total Recipients:
    The total number of email addresses to which an email campaign was sent.
  2. Unique Opens:
    The total number of unique email IDs that opened your email.
  3. Didn’t Open:
    The total number of email IDs that didn’t open your email.
  4. Unique Clicks:
    The total number of unique recipients that clicked at least one link in your email.
  5. Replies:
    The total number of recipients that replied to your campaign.
  6. Unsubscribes:
    The total number of email IDs that unsubscribed from your emails.
  7. Bounces:
    The total number of emails that came back as undeliverable because the address was invalid.
  8. Rejections because your Gmail account is over-limit:
    The total number of email IDs that didn’t receive your emails because Gmail limited your account’s sending ability.
  9. Blocks:
    The total number of emails that came back as undeliverable because the address rejected your email as spam.

However, GMass’s reports are far better than your regular campaign reports.

Why?

Unlike other email marketing tools such as Mixmax, SalesHandy, and ContactMonkey, GMass places campaign reports right inside your Gmail account. You won’t have to open a separate tool or window to access it. Your reports will be waiting for you right in your Gmail inbox!

For detailed information on GMass’s reports, click here.

B) Powerful Personalization

Email marketing is all about making a connection.

And how do you make a connection?
By personalizing your emails.

Think about it.

What would you rather engage with?
Generic marketing emails?
Or those that are tailor-made for you and your needs?

But you can’t manually personalize hundreds of emails. That’s going to take forever!

Luckily, GMass can help with this.
The tool offers you automated personalization features to tailor your marketing emails on a person-by-person basis. It gives you features like:

  • Auto First-Name Detection and Entry – The tool auto-detects a person’s first name from their email ID and adds it to each person’s email.
  • Personalize large blocks of text – GMass lets you personalize entire blocks of text in your email messages on a person-by-person basis.
  • Include customized links and images – You can add customized links, URLs, and pictures for each email recipient.

As the tool does all the personalizing, you won’t have to lift a finger!

C) Email Scheduling

Timing plays a huge role in email marketing.

You need to send emails at the right time for maximum engagement.

For example, your email campaigns won’t be as successful if people receive your emails at 3 AM, right?

Ideally, you should send your campaigns when your recipients are most likely to check their inboxes.

To help you with this, GMass allows you to schedule your emails in advance to plan your campaigns carefully. Because the tool automatically sends these emails, you won’t have to be online when they go out.

If there’s a change of plans, you can always reschedule your emails via the GMass Drafts folder.

D) Automatic Follow-Ups

After analyzing your campaign responses, you’ll have to send meaningful email follow-ups, right?

But what if you have to follow-up on hundreds of emails?
You can’t do that manually!

Don’t worry.
GMass can automate the process for you.

It can send automated follow-ups to targeted recipients for maximum engagement. You can customize everything about these follow-up emails; such as:

  • The trigger for sending a follow-up. For example, GMass can send a follow-up email the moment a recipient clicks a particular link or replies to your email.
  • The number of follow-up emails each person receives.
  • The time gaps between each follow-up.
  • The follow-up email messages.

Pros

  • Quick setup and onboarding.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Build email lists based on Gmail account search results.
  • Easily import contact lists from a Google Sheets file.
  • Send automated email campaigns.
  • Available as a powerful Gmail add-on for Android devices, too.
  • Powerful CRM integrations with Salesforce and Hubspot.
  • Active customer support team.

Cons

  • The software works with Google Chrome only.
  • Only works for Gmail and G-Suite accounts.

Pricing

Besides the free plan, GMass offers two pricing plans — for individuals and teams.

  • Free: fully-featured free email tracking software that can send 50 emails/day.
  • Individual
    • Minimal: $8.95/month – unlimited email tracking + all features except auto follow-ups.
    • Standard: $12.95/month – includes GMass footer for sent emails and everything available in Minimal.
    • Premium: $19.95/month – everything available in Standard + auto follow-ups.
  • Team
    • Premium: starts at $89/month for a group of 5.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 5/5 (270+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.8/5 (280+ reviews)

2. MailTrack

Image Source: MailTrack Website

MailTrack is a simple web-based service that tracks Gmail emails to give you a read receipt for email opens. It adds a double checkmark (✓✓)  to your email message whenever a recipient opens it.

Key Features

  • Powerful notifications for email opens.
  • Reminders for unopened emails.
  • Reply monitoring to track email responses.
  • Integrates with CRM software.
  • First-open email alerts.

Pros

  • Powerful daily email campaign reports.
  • Real-time alerts are available on mobile devices, as well.
  • Has plugins for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Cons

  • Can’t track email opens when there are multiple recipients for the same email.
  • The app alerts you when you open your own emails. This can lead to tons of unnecessary notifications.

Pricing

MailTrack has two pricing plans:

  • Free plan: offers unlimited free email open tracking.
  • Pro plan: $4.99/month – unlimited open and click tracking + email and phone support + daily reports and reminders.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 4.5/5 (100+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.6/5 (50+ reviews)

3. Boomerang

Image Source: Boomerang Website

Boomerang is an email marketing tool that works with email service providers like Gmail and Outlook. Its powerful web-based service has made it a popular email tracker that’s used by tons of small businesses.

Key Features

  • Powerful AI assistant to help you craft attractive emails.
  • Inbox Pause to pause new emails from coming into your Gmail inbox.
  • Easy email scheduling with real-time alerts.
  • Can send recurring email campaigns and follow-ups.
  • Response tracking to track email replies.

Pros

  • Add private notes to scheduled emails.
  • The app alerts you if you don’t get an email response.
  • The app has powerful sorting features to declutter your inbox.

Cons

  • The initial setup is complicated.
  • The UI is difficult to navigate.
  • At times, you may have to log in repeatedly.

Pricing

Boomerang has four pricing options from which you can choose:

  • Basic: free email tracking service and AI features with 10 message credits per month. (Each message credit lets you use Boomerang for one outgoing message.)
  • Personal: $4.99/month – includes everything in Basic with unlimited message credits + notes for emails.
  • Pro: $14.99/month – everything in Personal + Inbox Pause and advanced AI features.
  • Premium: $49.99/month – offers Pro + additional customizations and support + CRM integration.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 4.5/5 (20+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.4/5 (450+ reviews)

4. Gmelius

Image Source: Gmelius Website

Gmelius is a collaborative workspace software that doubles as an email tracker. Gmelius’s powerful email tracking service can monitor everything that happens to your emails after you’ve hit send.

Key Features

  • Detailed reports and email analytics.
  • Real-time alerts on mobile and desktop for all events.
  • Automatic email categorization.
  • Personalized mail merge campaigns.
  • Collaborate on emails with your team.
  • CRM integration to sync all your email contacts.

Pros

  • Create email templates that can be personalized and shared.
  • Set reminders for automatic follow-ups.
  • Schedule recurring emails to send monthly invoices, weekly meeting agendas, etc.

Cons

  • The app notifications can clutter your inbox if you don’t use your device frequently.
  • Limited email tracking features in the free plan.

Pricing

Gmelius offers three pricing plans:

  • Free: offers email open tracking with desktop notifications.
  • Plus: $9/month per user – email collaboration features + access to email activity reports.
  • Growth: $19/month per user – everything in Plus + click tracking + mail merge features.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 5/5 (10+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.5/5 (20+ reviews)

5. LeadBoxer

Image Source: LeadBoxer Chrome Web Store

LeadBoxer is an online lead generation and marketing tool that tracks your newsletters and emails. Its powerful Gmail Chrome extension tracks email opens, link clicks, and more.

Key Features

  • Supports real-time alerts for your email opens.
  • Can automatically identify prospects from your marketing emails.
  • Provides detailed email campaign data such as your email click-through rate.
  • Automatic lead scoring to rank prospects.
  • Integrates with your CRM software.

Pros

  • Powerful Google Analytics-level reporting for email and social media campaigns.
  • Reports are accessible on mobile devices as well.
  • You can filter and prioritize email prospects by company name or location.

Cons

  • Expensive plans – starting at $79/month.
  • Difficult to use as a standalone email tracking software.

Pricing

LeadBoxer has three pricing plans with the same marketing automation features:

  • Starter: $79/month – supports a single user with one lead generation dataset.
  • Business: $199/month – supports three users and three datasets.
  • Corporate: $399/month – supports ten users and ten datasets.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 5/5 (5 reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4/5 (2 reviews)

6. Bananatag

Image Source: Bananatag Chrome Web Store

Bananatag allows you to track emails, schedule them, and create email templates in Gmail and Outlook. It also gives you advanced email analytics and reports to break down a prospect’s overall engagement.

Key Features

  • Schedule and snooze emails to manage your email schedules effectively.
  • Detailed email analytics and reports.
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
  • Attachment tracking to see how recipients interact with your email attachments.
  • Easy email scheduling.
  • Sync emails to your CRM software.

Pros

  • Can create email templates to save you tons of time when composing emails.
  • Simple setup and user-friendly interface.

Cons

  • The tool doesn’t work for corporate email addresses.
  • Notifications come as separate emails. This can clutter your inbox if there’s a large mailing list.

Pricing

Bananatag is available in two pricing plans:

  • Pro: $10/month (solo) – track up to 100 emails/day with detailed reports and scheduling features.
  • Team: $20/month per user – everything in Pro + track up to 200 emails/day + team management features.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 5/5 (5 reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4/5 (20+ reviews)

7. Yesware

Image Source: Yesware Website

Yesware is a popular email service for professional email marketers and sales reps. It gives you detailed data over your campaign’s open rates, click-through rates, and attachment downloads in Gmail and Outlook.

Key Features

  • Real-time notifications for email opens and link clicks.
  • You can personalize your emails by creating custom email templates.
  • Reply monitoring to track prospect responses.
  • Detailed tracking reports to help take stock of your campaign progress.
  • Attachment tracking to monitor how prospects use your files.

Pros

  • Simple setup and user-friendly interface.
  • You can easily sync your emails and activities through its Salesforce integration.
  • You can set reminders to follow-up on customers.

Cons

  • No auto-save feature for email campaigns.
  • The app notifies you when you open your own emails – cluttering your campaign data.
  • When there are multiple recipients for your email, it doesn’t clearly state who opened it.

Pricing

In addition to a free trial, Yesware comes in three pricing schemes:

  • Pro: $12/month per user – real-time sales email tracking + Salesforce sync + custom email templates and reminders.
  • Premium: $25/month per user – includes Pro features + marketing automation features.
  • Enterprise: $55/month per user – includes Premium features + Salesforce inbox sidebar + email and calendar CRM sync.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 4.5/5 (140+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.4/5 (600+ reviews)

8. Hubspot Sales

Image Source: Hubspot Website

Hubspot Sales is sales software that offers a suite of tools to boost productivity, track leads, and streamline the activities of your sales team. It can also be used as a powerful solution for email tracking.

Key Features

  • Built-in email activity stream that automatically logs each prospect’s email data.
  • Automated and personalized email follow-ups.
  • Predictive lead-scoring to help prioritize potential customers.
  • Customizable reports that break down email metrics.
  • Powerful Salesforce integration.

Pros

  • User-friendly UI.
  • Build email templates that can be customized and shared with your sales team.
  • You can schedule emails and follow-ups in advance.

Cons

  • No mass emailing features. You can enter them in a sequence to build an email list, but you need to hit the send button for each one.
  • The basic starter plan isn’t very feature-rich.
  • The reporting dashboard can be difficult to use.

Pricing

Besides a free email tracker plan, Hubspot Sales offers three pricing schemes:

  • Starter: $35/month – supports 1 user + basic sales email tracking and lead generation features.
  • Professional: $280/month – supports 5 users and everything in Starter + sales automation and Salesforce integration.
  • Enterprise: $840/month – includes 10 users + lead-scoring and team management features.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 4.5/5 (2000+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.3 /5 (600+ reviews)

9. Cirrus Insight

Image Source: Cirrus Insight Website

Cirrus Insight is a popular email open tracker that works with email clients like Gmail and Outlook.

Key Features

  • Email scheduling to send emails at a time of your choice.
  • Allows you to save, personalize, and reuse email templates.
  • Can send drip marketing campaigns to improve email outreach.
  • Email reminders to follow-up on sales and marketing pitches and quotes.
  • Can schedule meetings with prospects.

Pros

  • Detailed tracking of your email attachments.
  • Its Salesforce integration syncs your emails and contacts.
  • Syncs with your Google Calendar to manage email schedules.

Cons

  • The starter plan isn’t very feature-rich.
  • The UI can be confusing for beginners.
Pricing

Cirrus Insight is available in three pricing schemes:

  • Starter: $27/month per user – offers standard tracking and productivity features.
  • Closer: $245/month per user – everything in Starter + schedule sharing and team analytics features.
  • Enterprise: custom pricing – includes Closer + drip campaign and organizational features.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 4.5/5 (80+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.3 /5 (1000+ reviews)

10. Streak for Gmail

Image Source: Streak Website

Streak is a lightweight CRM and email tracking tool for Gmail. You can use it to track customers, emails and create mail merges.

Key Features

  • Intuitive email sidebar that displays each email’s tracking details.
  • Detailed reports for email insights.
  • Personalization features for mail merges and follow-ups.
  • Collaborate with your team on marketing emails.
  • Automatic email response tracking.

Pros

  • You can sort your emails based on the type of response.
  • Color codes and customization let you manage your campaigns efficiently.
  • Reports and data can be accessed from within your Gmail inbox.

Cons

  • There’s no dedicated Streak dashboard.
  • The app doesn’t clearly indicate which address in an email thread viewed the email.
  • Their free plan isn’t very feature-rich.

Pricing

Streak lets you choose from three pricing plans:

  • Personal: free email tracking software with basic CRM features.
  • Professional: $49/month per user billed annually – offers advanced CRM features like email filters, reports, call logs, and more + basic API and Zapier integrations.
  • Enterprise: $129/month per user billed annually – includes everything in Professional with full API access + advanced customizations.

Customer Ratings

  • Capterra – 4.5/5 (300+ reviews)
  • G2 Crowd – 4.5 /5 (90+ reviews)

Conclusion

Choosing an email tracking software doesn’t have to be tricky.

While each of these tools is good, GMass stays ahead with its powerful email tracking and mail merge capabilities. It’s got all the features you need to get the best out of your email marketing campaigns, so why not download its free Chrome extension and experience it for yourself?

A few minutes ago, we deployed a few enhancements to make scheduling, pausing, and resuming a better experience.

  1. “Skip Weekends” will now pause a long-running campaign as soon as it becomes Saturday. For example, if you start a large campaign on Monday, and you have applied the Skip Weekends setting, and the campaign continues to send 24 hours/day, as soon as it becomes Saturday, the campaign will pause and automatically resume sending on Monday morning, according to your local time zone.
  2. If you RESUME a paused campaign, you can now make changes at the same time, and clicking the RESUME button will both resume the campaign and save any changes you made. Previously, you would have to hit SAVE CHANGES separately from hitting RESUME.
  3. When editing a campaign, you can now change the time of a currently running campaign to a time in the future, click SAVE CHANGES, and the campaign will automatically stop and pick back up at the time you put in.
  4. The status message you get when you open up the DRAFT of a campaign is more informative, showing you when the campaign last sent, how many emails you sent, and providing links to download the list associated with the campaign.

 

Most email campaigns are click-tracked, meaning every URL is modified to be tracked so that the click is first registered on our server, and then the recipient is taken to the actual URL. In certain cases, though, you may want to disable click-tracking on a few select URLs, such as YouTube links. The reason you may want to skip click-tracking on YouTube links is that regular unmodified YouTube links generate a nice automatic YouTube preview for your email recipient.

Why should certain links NOT be click-tracked?

First, you should know that to turn ON click-tracking, you just make sure the option is selected in GMass settings:

Enable or disable click-tracking in GMass by ticking the “Clicks” box in Settings.

Let’s talk about YouTube as an example. If my email contains a link to my YouTube video at this URL:

https://youtu.be/QKt4Kv9xiRs

Then the email recipient will see an automatic preview in Gmail of the actual YouTube video.

Here’s what the recipient sees in his Inbox:

And this is what he sees when he opens the email:

 

But if this link is click-tracked, it would be modified to look something like this:

http://ec2-52-26-194-35.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com/x/d?c=5398772&l=ccedb989-b898-4897-b7c6-70fdb92bec9a&r=b5da9659-69d1-4707-beb0-a9147dfbf341

In this case, Gmail wouldn’t “detect” that this is a YouTube link, and so the video preview wouldn’t show up.

(Notice the tracking URL in the browser status bar at the bottom.)

This same concept also applies to links to Google Docs and Google Sheets. Gmail provides an automatic preview of the doc when it notices a link to a Doc or Sheet, but if the link is modified to be click-tracked, then that automatic preview won’t show up.

How do you prevent links from being click-tracked?

Assuming you have click tracking turned on in your GMass settings box, then to prevent a particular URL from being tracked, just add the parameter “gmasstrack=false” to the end of the URL. Make sure you do it in a syntactically correct way, though.

This YouTube link:

https://youtu.be/QKt4Kv9xiRs

would be modified to look like this:

https://youtu.be/QKt4Kv9xiRs?gmasstrack=false

This Google Sheets link:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZzHfxnODu_ce_cBizD-DHisA-rabdbBAvGhs-CRxAw8/edit?usp=sharing

would be modified to look like this:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZzHfxnODu_ce_cBizD-DHisA-rabdbBAvGhs-CRxAw8/edit?usp=sharing&gmasstrack=false

Whether you use a question mark (?) or an ampersand (&) depends on whether the URL already has a question mark (?) or not. If a question mark (?) is already present, then add “gmasstrack=false” with an ampersand (&). Otherwise, use a question mark (?).

You can easily make this modification directly in the Gmail Compose window.

(Click the “Change” link.)

Add the “?gmasstrack=false” portion to the link and click OK.

Change the URL to disable click-tracking in GMass. This allows a preview of YouTube videos or Google Sheets and Docs to appear in the recipient’s Gmail inbox.

What if you add gmasstrack=false but then turn click tracking OFF?

If you do this, you might worry about the presence of “gmasstrack=false” breaking your actual destination website, but fear not. GMass will always do a final “cleanup” of your links and will remove any “gmasstrack” URL parameters that it finds in your HTML message. And because Gmail automatically sets the Plain Text version based on the HTML version, you don’t need to worry about fixing the URL manually if you choose to turn OFF click-tracking altogether.

How does MailChimp do it?

Whenever I implement a new feature like this, I’m always curious how the most respected company in this space, MailChimp, does this. The regular MailChimp platform does not allow you to disable tracking on selected links, but their Mandrill transactional platform does. Mandrill allows you to disable tracking only on certain links, but they do it via a parameter in the “a href” tag:

mc:disable-tracking

I’ve chosen to do it via a URL parameter, because you can make this change simply in the Gmail Compose window, without having to modify the HTML behind the scenes. For MailChimp, their approach works, because you have easy access to the underlying HTML right in their web interface.

 

You’re preparing an email campaign, and you send it to a few of your own test addresses, only to find that it’s going to Spam. What do you do? If you’re like millions of other email marketers, you might try a different Subject line, or you might turn off tracking, or you might take out images, all in a trial-and-error attempt to bypass Gmail’s filters and make it to the Inbox.

 

This manual trial-and-error process is exhausting — changing your message, then sending to your test addresses, then waiting to see where the email lands — this is the least fun part of an email marketer’s job.

Our new Spam Solver automates this process, and reports Inbox vs. Promotions vs. Spam placement across 20 different Gmail and G Suite accounts, with different filters in place. You can see how your email campaign performs across a range of accounts that have additional filters from well known spam filters like Barracuda, Symantec, and Sophos. Let’s say across the 20 seed accounts, your email hits 5 Inboxes, 10 Promotions, and 5 Spam folders. Try eliminating images, to see if that helps. That didn’t help much? Try sending just a plain text version of your email.

Keep tweaking your email until you get the Inbox placement rate that you want.

How do you use the Spam Solver?

After you’ve composed your campaign in a regular Gmail Compose window, just click the “Spam Solver” button in the GMass Settings box. That’s it … just one click, and you’re off to the races.

Click the Spam Solver button and you’re one step closer to getting your email into your recipient’s inbox.

If you’ve been a longtime GMass user, you’ll notice that we’ve replaced the button “Inbox or Spam” with the new “Spam Solver” button. The old “Inbox or Spam” button would launch the classic Inbox, Spam, or Promotions tool, which showed a feed of emails going into the 20 seed addresses. You can still view that raw feed by going directly to gmass.co/inbox or by clicking the “raw feed” link from the Spam Solver tool. The Spam Solver tool uses the Inbox, Spam, or Promotions tool behind the scenes.

The list of tests and their meanings

Here’s a list of the tests that you can run to vary your email.

Eliminate Images
All <img> tags are removed and replaced with the ALT text, if available. If your email contains inline images, the inline image MIME part is removed from the message.

Plain Text Only
Instead of sending a standard HTML and Plain Text email, we send only the Plain Text version. This also has the effect of eliminating open and click tracking, and this will also eliminate images, since plain text emails don’t have links or images.

Remove Unsubscribe Link
If you’re using the GMass-provided unsubscribe link, this variation will remove that link and the sentence containing that link. For example, if at the bottom of your email, you have a sentence that reads:

Click here to unsubscribe.

that is hyperlinked to the generic GMass unsubscribe URL of

https://www.gmass.co/gmass/u?u=OUTBOUND

then that whole sentence and link will be removed.

Send from Ajay’s SendGrid
This will route your emails through our internal SendGrid account rather than through Gmail’s servers. The emails will still show in your “Sent Mail” folder though.

One-liner Test Email
This test replaces your Subject and Message with a simple one line statement.

Swap Out “From” Domain
This test replaces your actual From address with an entirely different address that we control and that doesn’t send outreach emails. This test is used to determine if your From address or From domain has a reputation problem. Because this test causes a different From address to be used, the emails are NOT sent from your Gmail account. They are sent from the Gmail account associated with our internal From address used for this test.

Make Subject Lowercase
Exactly what it says. It takes your Subject line and makes all the characters lowercase.

What about testing for SPF, DKIM, and DMARC?

If you’re sending your email from your Gmail or G Suite account, your emails are usually already SPF and DKIM compliant automatically, without any extra setup on your end. That’s because Google handles this for you. The Spam Solver can’t “test” a different version of your SPF or DKIM setup for you, but you can use our Email Analyzer to ensure your emails are passing SPF and DKIM. In most cases, however, the reason for ending up in Promotions or Spam is NOT because of SPF or DKIM.

What happens when you send a set of emails?

The emails are sent from your Gmail account to the seed address listed on our core Inbox, Spam, or Promotions tool. You can see the emails being sent by watching your “Sent Mail” folder. You can also see the emails arriving in real-time by having a separate browser tap opened to gmass.co/inbox.

All emails will show in your “Sent Mail” folder except if you run the “Swap out from domain” test. In this case, we take your email content, exactly as it is, but send it through an entirely separate G Suite account that we control. The From address, and therefore the From domain, will be among those that we control. The purpose of this test is to determine if your deliverability issue is caused by sending from a domain with a poor reputation. If you find that your email hits the Inbox by using this test, there’s a good chance that your from domain is the culprit in your Spam placement problem. What from address do we use to send your email? We don’t reveal that, but it changes at random — we use domains that we control that don’t typically send email campaigns, and therefore have no risk of being associated with spam. Lastly, because the emails are sent through a G Suite account that we control, you won’t see these emails in your “Sent Mail” folder.

You’ve run a variation that lands your email in the Inbox. Hooray! How do you apply those settings to your actual campaign?

Every set of tests that you run is actually a new “campaign” as far as GMass is concerned. Because every campaign you send is saved, once you’ve sent a variation that lands in the Inbox, if you want to send your actual campaign to your actual email list in the same way, you can easily emulate what the “spam solver” did in your campaign settings.

For example, if the test that landed you in the Inbox was “Turn off tracking,” then in your actual campaign in your GMass settings, uncheck Open Tracking and Click Tracking to mimic the same behavior. If “Remove unsubscribe link” resulted in the Inbox placement you want, then you can just select the last campaign from the “Prior Content” dropdown, and that will load the exact Subject/Message used in the most recent test.

What do you think?

The “Spam Solver” is a tool unlike any other in the email marketing industry. Please provide your feedback below. Also, if you have ideas for additional “tests” that should be included, mention that too.

If you’re using the Gmail API to send email, specifically using messages.send, you will likely notice some unexpected behavior with respect to HTML and Plain Text message parts. Like all Gmail API methods that deal with an actual email message, emails must be Base64 encoded before being submitted to the API, so my examples below will show the readable RFC-compliant message and the Base64 versions.

If you’re not interested in the details, here are the important things to know regarding sending emails with the Gmail API:

  1. You can send just a plain text email with the Gmail API, meaning there’s just one “text/plain” MIME part, and that’s it.
  2. You cannot send just an HTML email with the Gmail API, meaning you cannot send a “text/html” part without a corresponding “text/plain” part. If you try to do this, the API will accept the message, but behind the scenes, it will convert your “text/html” part to a “text/plain” part and add that to the message before it sends the email.
  3.  Setting individual HTML and Plain Text parts when constructing your RFC message is useless because the Gmail API will override the Plain Text part with its own Plain Text part, using the HTML part as its basis. Let’s say you construct your email with an HTML part that looks like “<P>hello there</P>” and a Plain Text part that looks like “hi there.” (Notice that one part says “hello,” and the other says “hi.”) When the Gmail API sends your email, your Plain Text part will be wiped out and replaced with a part that is converted from your HTML part. The actual Plain Text part that gets sent will say, “hello there.”
  4. Lastly, it’s important to know that the message that appears in your account’s “Sent Mail” folder is not the same message that is sent to the receiver. In example #2 above, if you try to do this, the “Sent Mail” email will show just an HTML part, but the actual received email will have both HTML and Plain Text parts. In example #3 above, if you set your own Plain Text part, the “Sent Mail” email will show your HTML parts and Plain Text parts just as you constructed them for the Gmail API, but again, the actual received email will have a different Plain Text part that was auto-generated by Gmail from your HTML part. This can fool even the most experienced developer, so it’s important that you don’t rely on what’s in your “Sent Mail” folder as proof of the email that was actually sent. This is likely a flaw in the API, where it mistakenly writes the email to the user’s “Sent Mail” folder before sanitizing and sending the email. The better approach would be to sanitize the email, then write it to the user’s “Sent Mail” folder, and simultaneously transmit the email.
  5. If you choose not to “send” an email, but instead to “insert” the email into someone’s Inbox via the Users.messages.insert API method, then you can set completely different HTML and Text parts and Gmail won’t alter them at all. You can only do this though, if you have OAuth access to the recipient’s Gmail account.

The proof is in the pudding

Now that you know the quirks of sending email with the Gmail API, let me show you some examples as proof. In code, I use Jeffrey Stedfast’s MimeKit framework to assemble and parse messages, but for the examples below, I’ll skip showing off the code that generated each message in favor of showing the end result message and Base64 encoded versions. Additionally, if you’re going to use an online Base64 encoder/decoder to test the API yourself, I recommend this one. It’s the only one that gets the encoding right so that it works with the Gmail API, and it’s the only one that properly decodes the Base64 string created by MimeKit.

In these examples, I’m sending email from my G Suite account, ajay@wordzen.com, to a test account, gmass100@silicomm.com, that receives mail on a server that I control.

  1. Sending just a plain text email

    The RFC message:The Base64 encoded version:Submission to the Gmail API:
    What appears in the “Sent Mail” folder of ajay@wordzen.com:What is received by the server for gmass100@silicomm.com:Conclusion: it works as expected!
  2. Sending an email with just an HTML part and NO plain text partThe RFC message:The Base64 encoded version:Submission to the Gmail API:

    What appears in “Sent Mail”:What is received by the server:

    Conclusion: I submit the email with just an HTML part, but the Gmail API forces a plain text part. Additionally, the “Sent Mail” folder deceptively shows that the email was sent with just an HTML part when it was actually sent with both parts.

  3. Sending an email with both HTML and plain text parts, but where we set our own plain text partThe RFC Message:Base64 encoded:Submission to the API:

    What appears in “Sent Mail”:What is actually received:

    Conclusion: The Gmail API replaces the plain text part that I’ve set with its own that is converted from the HTML part.

My GMass blog is all about educating people about Gmail, email marketing, and cold email. I’ve spent considerable time improving the blog recently by optimizing it for the best possible reading experience, and that required a deep dive into the blogosphere, WordPress, plugins, and SEO. I read lots of articles, did lots of research, tested lots of things, and ultimately formed my own opinions.

There are tons of generic articles and posts available on the web with mostly useless information about WordPress. A lot of these are written by people who are trying to sell you a particular plugin. In this article, I’m writing to inform and educate, and I’m not selling you anything!

Here are my insights into WordPress blog optimization, what I needed, what I didn’t need, and why. I’m not going to cover basic stuff like “how to create your first post,” because there are already a million articles covering that.

My insights below assume you have a basic knowledge of how to set up and run a WordPress blog, install plugins, write and edit posts, add and edit users, and the like.

Alright, let’s get started. Here are six things that do a lot for my blog, and can work for yours, too.

  1. SEO. Most people entirely MISUNDERSTAND how SEO relates to a WordPress blog. Most WordPress users have heard of a popular plugin called Yoast and know that it “helps with SEO” but probably can’t explain why or how. Let me break it down in simple terms.One of the critical elements of SEO is setting a “meta description” on a page. It is usually one or two sentences with a succinct and informative description of the content of a page. For my blog post on Gmail sending limits, I might want the “meta description” to be this:

    “In this article, I’ll teach you how many emails you can send per day from your Gmail account.”

    This description is what Google will display next to your page WHEN your page shows up in the search results. It is essential to understand this: This description does NOT help your page show up in the search results. Google doesn’t index the meta description to determine the search terms for which it will display your article. Setting a meta description is ONLY important because IF your article is displayed in search results, then the meta description can influence someone to click on it. And that — whether the user clicks — is what determines whether your article’s search results will improve. Get it?The meta description is NOT used by Google to determine where to rank your article. But because it’s displayed alongside your article, it is used by searchers to decide whether or not your article has what they are looking for, which leads them to click. And clicks lead to higher rankings.So then, why is Yoast so popular? Because WordPress doesn’t natively support the ability to set unique meta descriptions on a per-post basis. And that’s what Yoast allows you to do. So, I use Yoast.
  2. What’s changed? If you’re an obsessive-compulsive micro-manager like I am, and you have multiple writers and editors working on your blog, you might want to know what your team has been up to recently.I use a free plugin called Simple History. It’s highly rated and has lots of installs, which is usually enough social proof that it’s legit, especially for a relatively unknown plugin that doesn’t have the brand recognition of something like Yoast.With Simple History, right on my dashboard, I can see who’s posted recently, who’s edited an article, who’s uploaded a new image, who’s commented, and even who’s logged in recently.
  3. Let a non-user see a DRAFT. I work with an artist who illustrates some of my blog posts. She doesn’t have a WordPress login. She emails me the illustrations, and then I set them into my posts. She often needs to see the content of a post BEFORE it’s published so that she can decide on (or get inspiration for) the illustration she will create.When a post is in DRAFT mode, it’s viewable only by logged-in users. I use this hack to allow a non-logged-in person to see an unpublished draft. Of course, you can probably find a plugin that does this, but why install unnecessary software that bogs down your blog?
  4. Ugly vs. beautiful image popups. I use lots of images in my blog posts, usually screenshots. I want my readers to be able to click on them to see a higher-res version. By default, in WordPress, if you link an image to its high-res version, it works as a regular link. The reader clicks, the URL changes to the full-size image, and technically, the reader isn’t on your blog anymore. The user then has to hit the browser’s BACK button to go back to your blog post. That makes for a clunky user experience.It’s much slicker if the image opens in a lightbox. That way the user can X out when they’re done and return automatically to your article. I use this lightbox plugin to make that happen. It’s nice because it automatically works for all my current images that are linked to their high res versions. Also, it’s free.
  5. Comment spam. If your blog is at all popular, you are likely dealing with a deluge of comment spam. (If you’re not getting any comment spam, then I feel for you because your blog is not popular.) Blogs that have “made it” attract comment spam. My preferred methods of eliminating comment spam are:
    a) Eliminate the website field from the comment form.
    b) If you’re doing this after the fact, nullify all the existing author links with this SQL query:

    update wp_comments set comment_author_url = ''

    c) Use Akismet. You might think it sucks to have to pay for something to eliminate comment spam, but it is useful. If you are absolutely opposed to paying for Akismet, you can block comments without a plugin, but I’ve tried it, and it’s not as effective.

  6. Let’s date. It’s important for your blog posts to have dates so that readers know when they were written. If your post is about email marketing, and it was written in 2007, it has much less relevance to the reader than if it was written in 2019.Some blogs don’t have dates on them, and I think those blogs are terrible, and you should avoid reading them. Neil Patel’s blog doesn’t have dates, and that’s precisely why I avoid his blog like the plague. You can still ascertain the age of many undated blog posts by noticing the dates on the comments. But again, Neil’s blog is so deceptive that he’s eliminated dates from the comments too. There’s probably some strategy behind that, but to me it reeks of slime and duplicity. By default, WordPress shows the date that you first published a post. You may have made updates to the post since then, but again, by default, WordPress still only shows the “Published on” date. That’s to your disadvantage because if you update an old post with fresh, new content, you want readers to know that you’ve done it.I like my posts to show the “Last Updated” date instead of the “Published” date if I have indeed updated them since publishing. I don’t use a plugin to do this, although I’m sure one is available. A simple modification to functions.php accomplishes this.

Apply these tips to your blog and enjoy improved results!

We’ve just launched version 5.0.0 of the GMass extension, featuring a decidedly more modern design. (It no longer looks like a refugee from the 1990s.) Your Chrome browser should update automatically in the next 24-48 hours, but you can also manually update the extension if you’re anxious to get the new look.

To see if your browser has already updated GMass, go to chrome://extensions, and check the GMass version. If it says it’s version 5.0.0 or higher, then you have the update. If it says it’s version 4.x.x, then you have two choices. You can wait for your browser to update automatically, or you can force the update by clicking the “Update” button in the upper left corner when you’re on chrome://extensions.

The new design is aesthetically pleasing and matches our recent branding updates.

 

The buttons to the right of the search bar also fit better into the overall Gmail design and don’t stick out like a sore thumb anymore. But if you hover over them, then they’re highlighted.

Also, our popups have been re-designed to look more beautiful. Here’s the popup you’ll see when you click the Google Sheet connector.

Of course, a lot of code changed as part of this update. If you discover any quirks with the new extension, please contact our support team to let us know.

Want to learn about setting up email read receipts and how to use them?

“Read receipts” is a helpful feature that notifies you when a recipient reads your email. In this article, I’ll show you how to use Gmail’s read receipts in a step-by-step approach with screenshots.

I will also give you a far easier alternative to track your email opens and overcome the limitations of read receipts! If you don’t have a G Suite account (Google business), this is the option for you!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Use the links below to jump to a particular section:

  1. What Are Read Receipts?
  2. What Gmail Accounts Can Request Read Receipts?
  3. How to Set Up Read Receipts in Gmail (Step-by-Step Approach)
  4. 4 Problems with Gmail’s Read Receipts
  5. Better than Read Receipts: Using GMass to Track Opens and Clicks

What Is a Gmail Read Receipt?

Read receipts are notifications informing you that a recipient has opened your email. Because they track successful email delivery, they’re incredibly helpful to salespeople or marketing folks sending outreach emails. If you receive a read receipt, it means that your email reached and engaged the right person.

However, all business email users of G Suite can also use read receipts to send fewer emails and reduce unnecessary follow-up calls. For example, say you’ve sent an email that needs an RSVP from a recipient. Unfortunately, you haven’t received a response yet.

Why haven’t you received a reply?

Was there something wrong with the email delivery? Did it go into spam?
Was the message left unread?

Read receipts can help confirm this.
If you receive a read receipt from them, you’ll know that your email was opened.

They just forgot to respond.
You can now craft a polite follow-up email, reminding them to RSVP.

Important Terms

Before I show you how to use read receipts, let me clarify two terms I’ll frequently be using:

  1. Requesting Receipts – when you send an email and add the read receipts feature to it, this is termed as requesting receipts. Your email recipient can then mark your email as “read” once they’ve opened your email.
  2. Returning Receipts – sometimes, you’ll receive an email from a sender that asks you to confirm that you’ve read it. Confirming this is termed as returning receipts.

What Gmail Accounts Can Request Read Receipts?

Unfortunately, personal Gmail accounts (accounts that end in @gmail.com) can’t use Gmail’s read receipts feature.

Gmail allows read receipts only for G Suite (formerly, Google Apps for Work) accounts.

So if you have just a personal Gmail account, here’s how to use GMass to track email opens and clicks.

What are G Suite accounts?
Work or school accounts (ending in @companyname.com or @schoolname.edu) that subscribe to Gmail are G Suite accounts. The administrator of an organization’s G Suite account can allow users in that organization to request or return receipts.

If a G Suite administrator enables read receipts in Gmail, all email addresses allowed by the admin can send and return receipts. However, the admin can make the return receipts feature optional. In this case, Gmail will ask users if they want to send a read receipt when they open an email.

How to Set Up Read Receipts in Gmail (Step-by-Step Approach)

Now that I’ve covered what read receipts are, let me show you:

How do you turn on read receipts?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to set-up read receipts in a G Suite administrator account:

Step 1

Log in to your G Suite account from a browser.

Step 2

From the Google Admin console home page, click on the Main Menu (three vertical lines icon at the top left of the window).

Then, follow this path: Apps > G Suite > Gmail.

This path will take you to the screen below. Then click on User Settings.

Step 3 (Optional – only required if you manage multiple organizations)

Before clicking on settings, click on the Organizations list on the left side of your console. Select the organizational unit in which you want to set up read receipts.

If you don’t have sub-organizations in your console, proceed to the next step.

Step 4

Click on Email Read Receipts to enable or disable the read receipts feature for your users.

Once you’ve clicked the section, you’ll have the following options to choose from:

  1. Do not allow email read receipts to be sent
    This option disables the requesting and returning of read receipts for users in your organization.
  2. Allow email read receipts to be sent to all addresses in my organization as well as the whitelisted email addresses
    Select this option to enable your G Suite users to request and receive read receipts in Gmail. You can also allow specific external addresses to request and receive read receipts from your G Suite users.
  3. Prompt the user for each read receipt request
    This lets Gmail ask users if they want to send a read receipt or not. You can uncheck this box to send and receive read receipts automatically.
  4. Allow email read receipts to be sent to any email address
    Select this option to enable requesting and returning of read receipts from any email ID (within or outside your organization). In this case, a user is always prompted with a read receipt request.

Step 5

Click the Save button at the bottom of your console to apply these changes.

Note – It takes about an hour for these changes to apply to each user account. Changes can be tracked from the Admin console audit tab (they can be accessed from Reports on your Admin Home screen).

How to Request a Gmail Read Receipt

A user can request a read receipt only after their G Suite admin has enabled it. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to request a Gmail read receipt when you send an email:

Step 1

Log in to your Gmail account and click the Compose button to open the Compose window.

Step 2

Add recipients to the required fields of the new email and compose the Subject and Body.

Step 3

Click More options (three vertical dots icon at the bottom right of the Compose window) and click Request read receipt.

 

Step 4

Add your email signature and click Send to send the email message. When a recipient opens your email and clicks “yes,” you will receive an email notification stating who opened your email with a time stamp (as shown in the image below).

How to Send a Gmail Read Receipt

Your Gmail account may automatically send a read receipt based on the settings chosen by your organization. However, if you have to approve the receipt manually, Gmail prompts you with this read receipt request:

One or more senders in this conversation have requested a read receipt.
You can now choose to send a receipt or not.

This is what the pop-up looks like:

Note – If the recipient is using an IMAP server to read Gmail messages in email systems like Microsoft Outlook, the read receipt may be sent automatically. 

4 Problems with Gmail’s Read Receipt Feature

1. Can’t Be Used for Regular Gmail Accounts

The primary issue with Gmail’s read receipts is that they can’t be used with personal Gmail email accounts. If you don’t have a G Suite account, you’ll have to use email marketing programs like GMass to track email opens.

2. Need the G Suite Admin’s Permission

Even if you’re using a G Suite account, you need the G Suite administrator’s permission to use read receipts.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re using the Gmail web app on Chrome, Firefox, or the Opera browser. The same goes for the Gmail app for Android and iPhone — if the admin hasn’t enabled read receipts, you can’t use it.

3. No Guarantee on Receiving a Read Receipt

Sometimes, Gmail lets your email recipients decide if they want to send a read receipt to you.

And what can you do if they choose not to send a read receipt notification?
Nothing.

There’s no way to verify that they’ve opened your email if they decline to inform you.

4. Impractical for Email Marketers

Read receipts can be incredibly helpful for email marketing — theoretically! They could help marketers easily verify if their emails are being opened or not.

In reality, using Gmail to track this is impractical. Here’s why:

  1. In some cases, Gmail’s read receipts have to be approved by the recipient. Unfortunately, most people receiving marketing emails won’t bother to send you a read receipt. Instead, it could annoy them, and they might mark your message as spam!
  2. You have to request a read receipt manually each time you send an email. This can be tiring when you have hundreds of emails to send.
  3. Gmail read receipts only work when you address individual email IDs in the To and CC fields. You cannot use them with mailing lists.

A Better Approach: Using GMass to Track Email Opens and Clicks

If you’re looking for a far easier and more powerful way to track email opens, GMass is the perfect Gmail extension for you!

What Is GMass?

GMass is a powerful, but simple, email marketing tool that lets you run email campaigns from your Gmail inbox. Its powerful mail merge capabilities have made it a popular Chrome extension that’s used by employees from Google, LinkedIn, Uber, and Twitter.

However, it is not aimed at email marketers alone.

The GMass app can also be used by individuals and groups, like schools and clubs, to send emails to their members from their Gmail client.

GMass’s Advanced Email Reports and Analytics

GMass has a powerful Campaign Report for detailed breakdowns of your email statistics. It’s automatically generated after sending an email campaign and summarizes all the core marketing statistics you need.

However, GMass’s reports aren’t your regular mail merge campaign reports.

Unlike other email services, GMass places your campaign reports inside your Gmail account itself. You won’t have to open a separate tool or window to see it — all the data you need is in your inbox!

Let me show you how GMass’s automated Campaign Reports help you track email statistics.

A) Email Open Tracking

The Gmail Problem

Although Gmail’s read receipts help you verify if your emails were opened, it sometimes depends on the recipient. Remember, your recipient can always decline to send you a read receipt.

The GMass Solution

GMass’s campaign-level reports give you two metrics to track email opens in real-time. Opening an email triggers the automatic download of a tracking pixel to measure opens. As GMass tracks email opens automatically, you won’t have to worry about your recipient approving this or not.

You can find these statistics in your Campaign Report under:

  1. Unique Opens – the total number of email IDs that have opened your email. But what if a recipient opens your email multiple times?
    Don’t worry, only the number of unique recipients who opened your email is tracked. Whenever someone opens an email for the second time, it won’t show up on this report.
  2. Didn’t Open – the total number of email IDs that have NOT opened your email. 

Additionally, whenever a recipient opens your email, a notification is added to the GMass Reports > Opens label in your Gmail inbox. This makes tracking your email opens a breeze!

B) Email Link Tracking

The Gmail Problem

The Gmail client doesn’t let you track the number of link clicks in your Gmail messages.

Why does link tracking matter?
Without link tracking, you won’t know how many recipients are engaging with the content in your email. They could just open your mail and ignore everything it contains.

The GMass Solution

GMass’s mail merge campaigns can accurately track link clicks in your emails. When someone clicks on a link in your email, a mention is added to the GMass Reports > Clicks label in your Gmail inbox. The following metrics are tracked:

  • who clicked your links
  • the click rate per link

With GMass’s link tracking, it becomes incredibly easy to measure your subscriber engagement.

You can find this statistic in the report under:

Unique Clicks – the total number of unique email IDs that clicked at least one link in your email. 

This click tracking feature can be used to track links and determine the most attractive anchor texts in your emails. For more information on click tracking with GMass, click here.

C) Replies, Bounces, and Blocks

The Gmail Problem

The Gmail client cannot track bounces, replies, block-notifications, and other types of email replies. This is an issue as you can’t measure email variables like:

  • Did the emails reach the intended contacts?
  • Which responses require your immediate attention?
  • What email IDs are incorrect?
  • Who needs to be removed from the mailing list?
The GMass Solution

GMass, however, automatically organizes and tracks replies to your Gmail messages using its Auto-Reply Management feature.

GMass’s Campaign Report summarizes reply stats under:

  1. Replies – the total number of email addresses that replied to your campaign.
  2. Bounces – the total number of emails that came back as undeliverable because the address is invalid.
  3. Blocks – the total number of emails that came back as undeliverable because the address rejected your email as spam.

After you’ve sent an email campaign via GMass, all replies, bounces, and blocks to your campaign are categorized under these labels. Whenever you need to take stock of your responses, look at these stats for all the information you need.

D) Mass Emailing

The Gmail Problem

It’s highly impractical to rely on Gmail’s read receipts when you’re sending hundreds of emails.

Why?

You’ll have to request a read receipt manually each time you send an email. Plus, you’ll have to send each recipient a separate email for the read receipts to work. That is going to take forever!

The GMass Solution

GMass, however, automates and streamlines this service. It uses open tracking, click tracking, and auto-reply management to generate accurate reports on all emails that you send.

You won’t have to lift a finger — GMass does it all for you!

3 More Ways GMass Increases Open and Conversion Rates

In addition to its powerful campaign reports, GMass has tons of other solutions for your email sending needs.

1. Automatic Follow-Ups

What do you do if a recipient doesn’t respond to an important email?

You send follow-up emails as reminders.

But what if you have to send reminders to hundreds of people?
Doing that manually is impossible!

However, with the GMass browser extension, you won’t have to do all that manual work.

Instead of manually following up on each email – GMass automates it for you!

GMass has an automated email follow-up service for your campaigns. It lets you customize everything about these follow-up reminders such as:

  • The number of follow-ups you send to each recipient.
  • Each follow-up message.
  • The time gaps between follow-ups for a recipient.

Click here for a detailed guide on automatic follow-ups in GMass.

2. Personalization

If you want to boost your conversions, you’ll have to personalize your emails.

You’ll have to address a recipient by their name or reference their company to increase your chances of receiving a favorable reply.

Why?
Personalizing your emails makes them more relevant to your recipients.

Think about it.

What would you rather receive?
A generic, bland email or one that’s carefully personalized and addresses your needs?

But you can’t manually personalize hundreds of emails at a time, right?

Luckily, GMass offers you an automated personalization service to streamline this process. You get features such as:

    1. Auto First-Name Detection – GMass auto-detects a person’s first name from their email address and automatically inserts it in your email.
    2. Customize links and URLs – you can include customized links and URLs for each recipient in your emails.
    3. Include a personalized image – GMass lets you add a unique image for each recipient in your campaign.
    4. Personalize entire paragraphs – you can automatically customize large blocks of text on a person-by-person basis in your Gmail messages.

3. Break Gmail’s Sending Limits

Did you know that your Gmail web account has an email sending limit?

You can send only 500 emails every 24 hours using a Gmail account, while you can send up to 2,000 emails every 24 hours with a G Suite account.

The GMass browser extension, however, allows you to bypass this limit when sending emails that aren’t time-sensitive.

With GMass, you can send up to 10,000 emails at a time! 

How?
The tool automatically distributes these emails over several days based on your Google account’s sending limit.

For example, say you’re sending an email to 6,000 addresses from a G Suite account. When you click the GMass button, 2,000 emails are sent immediately. The next 2,000 are sent 24 hours later, and the final 2,000 will go out 48 hours later. This way, you won’t have to log in for three successive days to send all your emails.

Conclusion

Gmail’s read receipts weren’t designed as a reliable method for tracking email stats. If you’re looking for a comprehensive email tracking app, why not try out the GMass Gmail extension instead?

The tool has everything you need to quickly send, manage, and track your emails in seconds. Download the GMass Chrome Web plug-in today and try it out for free!