I had a problem to follow the activities of contacts after I sent them an email through Outlook. This was not a typical problem of email conversion and clicks tracking because I didn’t use Outlook to send mass emails. Solutions I found could be applied to everyone who sends newsletters and has large email campaigns, but this article is more for the one who uses Outlook (or Gmail) to send mass or personalized emails. It is much easier to track user behaviour when you use a service such as Mail Chimp, but the problem starts when you send a single mail from Outlook.
After I did this research I found three different options. As you already know nothing can be cheap, fast and good at the same time, so neither do this. These three options are the combination of those three factors:
- Cheap and fast – Google Analytics
- Fast and good – BananaTag
- Cheap and good – Mandrill
Cheap and Fast – Track Email Conversions With Google Analytics
Why I said Google Analytics can’t be good? Because you can’t identify exact contact who clicked on the link you sent within the email. There are two options that you can use to track email conversions with Google Analytics. One is harder to setup, but your contacts won’t see that you are tracking them, and with other solution, they will know.
First Option: Creating referral page
How it works: Client clicks the link you sent him and open the page that refers him to the page you want. E.g. from blog.ivanaveljovic.com/test to blog.ivanaveljovic.com.
How to setup: Create HTML page with this code:
Remember to change the desired page and Google ID. Upload the page to your server. As you can see I created a folder direct in Public_html folder. Created folder has the same name as referral page.
After that go to Google Analytics and create destination goal for referral page. If you don’t know how to create the goal check this article Track the Right Metrics for Your Startup or Blog. Once you create the goal, you will be able to track the number of visitors who clicked on your link. You will also be able to see how long they were on your page and etc.
Second Option: URL Builder
The second option is much easier to setup. Go to Google URL Builder, enter the URL of your website, give a name for the campaign source (could be Cold Email), add a medium (could be Email) and submit all changes. Builder will give you a new URL address that you have to use every time you send the email you want to track.
NOTE: As Google URL Builder was updated check the article A Complete Guide to The New Google URL Builder for more information.
After contact receives the email and click on the link, it will automatically appear in Google Analytics as a visitor from email medium and that is how you will recognize your contact.
Fast and Good – BananaTag
BananaTag is an email service that allows you to see email open rate and track clicks. There are also other great options such as sync with CRM, reports, list of contacts etc. The only catch is that isn’t free. It is only $5/month and you can send 100 emails per day. BananaTag is easy to use, all you have to do is to sign up and install plugin for Outlook or Gmail. Thing I didn’t like about this service is that they use Mandrill to send their emails. So what that tells you? Go and setup the Mandrill!
Third Option – Mandrill
Mandrill is Mail Chimp’s service, and it is more used for personalized emails rather than bulk emails. With it you can send up to 12k emails per month for free, which is a lot. In mine opinion, their support page is awful, probably because I don’t want to code emails, but either way they should explain better all problems. However, I linked Mandrill with my Outlook and CRM and now I can easily track clicks and opens per contact. They have great report tools also.
How to setup: I don’t want to explain the process of linking with Outlook because you have all in here (this is the only thing that is easy to understand 🙂 ). I will explain how to setup clicks tracking. Open your server panel, I hope you have C-panel and find advance DNS editor. Select your domain and create CNAME record that will point from your subdomain to mandrillapp.com. You don’t have to create a subdomain separately. I hope this picture below will help you understand how to create and setup CNAME record. For more info go to this link.
After this step, go to Mandrill settings than tracking domains. Enter your subdomain and click Add. Click Test DNS Settings to check the DNS settings for the subdomain you’ve added. Once the test is complete, click the View DNS settings link below the results for more detailed information about your current settings. You can enable a custom tracking domain for your account under Settings > Sending Options > Custom Tracking Domain. Now you may send emails through Outlook and all clicks will be tracked within Mandrill.
Thing I don’t like here is that your tracking URL become so long in order to work, so it looks something like this.
I hope this research will help you to choose the best solution and tool you could use in order to track email conversions and clicks. I decided to use the combination of Mandrill and Google URL Builder because with these tools I can track each click and see email conversion for free.