Track Who Opens Your Emails

Did you know you can track who opens your emails with free software from HubSpot? (I’m referring to email conversations, not a MailChimp mass mailing.) If that doesn’t raise your interest, maybe this story will…

I had nineteen names that I wanted to move from our paper prayer letter list to our email version because they had not given toward our ministry in many years. I had email addresses but didn’t know if they really used their email or wanted to receive our letter in that way. I turned on HubSpot’s tracking and sent personalized emails to each one.

Right after sending their email, an “open” notification came up from Bob and Sally, followed shortly by a response which read: “Dear Sus, we hope you & your family are doing well. We are taking it one day at a time, and are very blessed. We do prefer email. When we make a contribution, Do you get specific credit? We hope you do and it helps your mission. I know your system allows for that.”

Whoa! I didn’t expect that, so I immediately sent an email asking if they were available for a quick phone call. Again, I know that they read this email, but this time they didn’t reply. This told me they were busy or had some other reason they didn’t want to talk to me. One hour later, I sent an email thanking them for their interest and included all the information they needed to start donating again. I also asked if they had a prayer request. They replied immediately, which confirmed they did not want a phone call (at least at that time) and I was able to respect their wishes.

Hubspot also tracks clicks, so I also know that they didn’t click on the link to our Cru giving site. I know they’re interested, so we need to decide our next steps with them.

I knew if and when each email was opened that afternoon (I get a notice at the time they opened and can check later in a log, too). Five actually replied positively. I also know that three others opened, but did not reply. For the others, “unopened” doesn’t necessarily mean “unread.” If our friends used a preview pane to read my email, I don’t think Hubspot marks “open.” That’s the way MailChimp works, so I assume HubSpot is similar. My overall open rate is 74%.

How to Get Started Tracking Your Emails

If you’d like Hubspot to help you track and schedule emails (both Outlook and Gmail compatible), go to their sales software to get started.

After you have an account and Hubspot is connected up with your Gmail, you’ll see this when you’re ready to compose an email:


Sometimes, I forget to turn off tracking because I don’t need to follow every conversation. Hubspot only allows 200 tracked emails per month in their free service. I’ve had to wait a day or two occasionally before they would let me look at my tracking results until the next month started up again. I’m in a better habit of making sure my tracking is really off or on when I want it to be. See where I put the check? That’s where to mark if you want to track that email.

In order to track well, make each subject line unique. I did that by using their first names in the subject line, for example, “Bob and Sally, do you want paper or digital?”

You’re allowed five free templates from Hubspot. Create your own or edit the templates that Hubspot offers.  One HubSpot template I chose is “How to Follow Up Without Annoying Your Prospect.” Edit these templates so they’re what you want them to be by going to Templates in your HubSpot dashboard. Store documents to send as well (I haven’t tried this out myself yet).

Hubspot offers a variety of free (and paid) sales and marketing tools. I don’t use their other free services because it would duplicate what I already have.

You might work for a ministry that would benefit from the paid tools. For instance, with their Meeting function you could set appointments with ministry partners this coming year. The Pro users have access to Meeting (see the orange calendar icon) to set several available times for a phone call. They would then offer their email contacts to pick from those times and “set a meeting.”

Automated tools can free up your time for tasks you do repeatedly. Try HubSpot’s tracking and templates and let me know how they work out for you.


  • You might also be interested in using Boomerang.
  • Browse through HubSpot’s free tools here.
  • Here’s a free course from their learning center on using templates.
  • When creating a template, HubSpot uses Artificial Intelligence to help you make it even better.
  • Their app is for iPhone and for Android. They offer both “Sales” and “Marketing” apps. I’ve focused on Sales in this post.
  • HubSpot integrates with Zapier for creative automation of some of your tasks.
  • Outlook users: If you don’t see all the features you want for HubSpot, Check the boxes in the Trust Center (see screenshot), but only if you’re careful to always add trusted software to Outlook.outlook-trust-center

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.