The free tool I use to create better marketing emails

If you’re reading this, you probably don’t know how effective your marketing emails are.

I used to be completely in the dark, too.

There’s plenty of advice online. but when do you know which methods work best for your potential clients?

And how do you sell your services without feeling so sleazy you need to take a shower afterwards?

Never fear, because even though you have questions, we have answers 🙂

(Can you tell I’ve been watching a lot of superheroes on TV lately?)

Want to Know People Are Opening Your Emails?

If you send a lot of email for marketing purposes, it’s important to know that the emails you send are being opened and links are reviewed.  Otherwise, you’re wasting time on an activity that’s not producing the results you want.

Enter Hubspot Sales (previously known as Sidekick by Hubspot)*.  Emails sent with Hubspot Sales allow me to see who’s opened my emails, when, how many times, and what links they clicked on.  You can use the Chrome extension to view data in your browser or go to the website to see your stream.

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It’s free for up to 200 emails a month, but you can pick and choose which emails you use it for to avoid going over the limit.

*Disclaimer: Hubspot isn’t paying us, they’re not a sponsor, and we’re just sharing what works for Sharon.


The stream shows vital information about your emails.  The example here (identifying details are intentionally blurred) shows me information on the last few emails I sent.

When the name is replaced with Someone, that means that the program can’t tell who opened the email.

An added bonus to Hubspot Sales is that I can schedule my emails to send at certain times.  If I don’t want people to know I have a full-time job, I can schedule emails to go during regular business hours.

What Should I Do With What I Learn?

The information you gather from Hubspot Sales can be used in a variety of ways:

If no one is opening your emails:

  • you are sending them to the wrong person, or
  • the subject lines need improvement

Think of your subject line as your headline. If it doesn’t grab the reader’s attention or accurately describe what’s inside, no one will open the email.

If your emails are being opened but links are not clicked:

  • links are not necessary
  • the description of the link doesn’t motivate someone to open
  • links should be there, but the reader just wants to know they are available

Sometimes, people want to know you have links to items like a portfolio or work samples, but they don’t really intend on looking at them. Sounds weird, but that’s how it is.  I wouldn’t worry too much if someone isn’t clicking the links if the emails are being opened.

If you get no response after emails are opened:

  • someone’s not interested
  • they forgot to answer
  • the reader intends to follow up at a later date

The great thing about Hubspot Sales is you know when someone opens your emails.  I will usually send a follow-up after someone looks at the message two or three times and doesn’t respond.  Your prospect might even comment on your “perfect sense of timing.”

Someone once said they won a proposal 11 months after sending it.  They followed up at exactly the right moment because they used Hubspot Sales and saw that the email was opened again almost a year after it was sent!

What Alternatives Are Available?

Unfortunately, Hubspot Sales is only available for Gmail.  But other services/software exists that do the same thing:

Is This Software Foolproof?

No software is 100%, no matter what.  Some people block the tracking pixel. But when Hubspot Sales says someone has opened an email, that is always accurate. (I learned this the hard way when I got an email from someone I thought had never opened it.)

What Else Can I Do?

If you plan on continuing to write your own marketing emails, get as good at it as you can.  Take the time to learn what motivates people to open, and use templates to make your life easier.  Just make sure that you personalize every email so the reader knows it’s not the exact same thing you sent to a thousand other people.  Millo has some great articles to help you get better at email:

How to write cold emails that not only work – but are welcomed with praise
5 Crucial phrases to put in your first email to new prospects
Boost your email open rate to 70% or higher with these simple steps
How our agency uses email marketing to find new clients fast
An awesome referral-generating email template to send your clients…right now!

Are you ready to send out marketing emails? Tell us in the Comments section what your email tactics are.

Disclaimer: we were not compensated in any way for writing this article.

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About Sharon McElwee

Sharon McElwee is a copywriter and freelance business coach dedicated to help people get better at making real money doing what they love. Check out her free e-course to earn an extra $1000 in the next 30 days.


  1. Hi Sharon, again a very useful post!

    I use MailChimp for my monthly newsletter, which gives full report of who opened, clicked a link and when.

    I recently started using GetNotify for emails I send to clients and professionals we cooperate.
    It’s good to know if and when somebody read our proposal, as you mentioned.
    Or, as it happened to me sometimes, it’s good to know if an email was really lost
    or if a contractor lies on purpose!
    “I didn’t receive your designs, so I couldn’t start working on the project! I don’t know what happened!”
    And it’s also interesting, because a lot of people don’t know that we know!
    It’s not good to lie, anyway!

  2. Lindsay Garrison says

    Hey Sharon!

    Thanks for this article. Email tracking is one of my favorite sales hacks.

    I thought I’d add some of my experiences that I’ve learned the “hard way” using email tracking tools.

    First off, Hubspot sales is great… if you use Hubspot. If not, it kind of feels like their entire goal is to upsell you on their ridiculously expensive service.

    You might also want to add Streak ( to this list, which is cool because it brings a CRM into your email account. Or RocketBolt ( which connects to the built in CRM in its app. BTW… both are free (at least up to some generous limits).

    Second, when using a tracking tool, you need to be careful about the number of links your include, otherwise your email can get marked as SPAM. I believe the limit is 3 normal urls (i.e. include “http”). You can have as many text links as you want.

    And, third, I’ve found that using templates can be a bad idea. Maybe very general ones, but the goal is to make the email sound as personalized as possible, otherwise people realize they’re being messages alongside who-knows-how-many other people, and tend to ignore you.

    • Hi Lindsay,

      Thanks so much for those tools, I may have to check them out now that I’m migrating away from HubSpot.

      When I use templates, I always have areas which I personalize to each lead or client to be sure they know that I’ve done my homework.

      Thanks again 🙂


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