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Email read receipt: 3 typical use cases of email read receipts

Explore typical use cases of email read receipts with Mailbutler and elevate your email tracking strategies for better engagement.

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    By James

    James has seven years' experience as a Content Marketer, bylines on Left Foot Forward, Submittable, and INOMICS, and a Master's in History. In his free time he likes to read, play guitar, and write for his personal blog.

    Smart communication lies at the core of every successful business. We exchange a lot of information with email, but how exactly can you optimize this process and maximize the benefits of each message?

    Learning as much as possible about your recipient is one of the best ways to do it.

    This is the point where all the existing analytical, data collection, and sales acceleration software comes into play, among which email tracking applications deserve special attention.

    In this article, we'll take a closer look at this helpful tool and examine the 3 actual use cases of email read receipts.

    Unlimited Email Tracking

    Mailbutler Email Tracking fits right into your Outlook, Gmail or Apple Mail directly alongside your inbox.

    Definition of email read receipts

    Read receipts are notifications that inform the sender of a message when the recipient has opened or read the message. This feature is commonly found in messaging apps and email platforms. When enabled, read receipts work by sending a signal back to the sender's device to indicate that the message has been read by the recipient.

    The purpose of the email read receipt is to provide the sender with the assurance that their message has been received and acknowledged. It also allows the sender to gauge the recipient's level of interest and responsiveness. Users have the control to enable or disable email read receipts for their messages, depending on their preference for privacy and communication style.

    To enable read receipts, users can typically find the option within the settings or preferences section of their messaging app or email platform. Once enabled, the sender can usually check the status of read receipts for their messages within the app by looking at a specific icon or indicator next to the message.

    Benefits of email read receipts

    • Know When Email is Read: You can see when someone opens your email.
    • Better Planning: Helps you decide when to follow up if you know they've read your email.
    • People Are More Responsible: When people know you can see they read the email, they may reply quickly.
    • Less Confusion: You won't wonder if your email got lost or if they just haven't seen it yet.
    • Good for Working Together: Makes it easier to work on things together, especially in a team.

    How does email tracking work?

    How does email tracking work

    The email tracking technology relies on a 1-pixel image in the email. If a person activates email tracking for a specific email, the corresponding application includes a hidden 1-pixel image with a unique mail-ID in the outgoing message.

    Once the recipient opens the email, their mail client or web service sends a request to the sender’s server in order to load the hidden 1-pixel image.

    The information about such requests (mail-ID and the date/time) is being collected and stored on the sender’s server.

    Thus, it can be passed further on to the corresponding software, which, in turn, displays it to the mail user. If you want to learn more, you can check out our email tracking guide.

    How can I use email tracking?

    With email tracking, you always know if the recipient has actually opened your email.

    It provides you with the necessary information to plan your next step in communication with a person, which can be extremely useful for business purposes.

    Communication with business partners

    Imagine you’re a sales manager hunting down an important customer for your company. After having sent him an email, you haven’t heard back for two days. What is the best way to react in this case?

    Normally you would think of sending a reminder.

    However if the potential customer hasn’t even read your email yet, this might not be the best option. On the other hand, waiting for some more days might make you lose the customer.

    Email tracking gives you a better understanding of your current position in the correspondence.

    If you know that the first email has already been read, you can proceed with a follow-up email.

    If it has not been read, you should rather wait for some more days, or send them an email that reiterates the previous offer.

    Communication with customers

    Open rates of your emails give you direct insight into your content performance. You can see how your customers react to different newsletter headlines, designs, and topics.

    Try splitting your recipient list into several equal parts and experiment with your newsletter by changing only one component at a time (for example, the title, then the design, etc.).

    By analyzing this data you can:

    • Determine what to work on in your emails to make them more effective, and
    • Choose the best communication strategy for each group of recipients.

    More awareness of your customer behavior means better chances to compose your emails in such a way that they get more responses; and finally, leads to more conversions.

    Communication with colleagues

    You can also use email tracking within your working team on a daily basis for better task supervision.

    email link tracking

    We often delegate tasks on short notice because of their urgency, and it’s extremely important that the person in charge gets the information as soon as possible.

    Knowing that the recipient has already read the email with the assignment saves the sender nerves and time spent on supervision.

    Moreover, if you're using Apple Mail and an IMAP or iCloud email address, you can use Mailbutler's Per Recipient Tracking feature (on the Professional+ and Business plans).

    This feature allows you to see exactly which one of your recipients - in this case your colleagues - has opened your message, so you know exactly who has the required information and who you need to follow up on.

    Gain deeper insights into your emails with Mailbutler

    Mailbutler's email tracking, when smartly used, has great potential to raise your productivity and effectiveness and take your sales rate to a whole new level.

    email tracking details

    Mailbutler offers a powerful email tracking tool for Gmail, Apple Mail, and Outlook that keeps you informed of your email status. You can even keep track of important details such as open date, device, location, and more.

    For me, tracking my clients’ opening of emails is a real game-changer. It helps me plan, it lets me know what to prepare for our next call, and it gives me a sense of peace knowing they’ve seen what I needed them to see. I love this app!

    Erica Yocom at Virtual Personal Assistant

    Whether you want to reach out to your leads strategically, test the best communication strategy for your newsletters, or keep your colleagues in the loop - Mailbutler offers you one of the most powerful email tools that will raise your productivity and communication effectiveness in no time.

    Make sure to also check out our blog post on tracking links inside your emails. Or if you would like to explore all of our posts on Mailbutler Features, you can find them on our blog.

    Email read receipts FAQs

    What are read receipts?

    In the context of email, read receipts are notifications that inform the sender when their email has been opened by the recipient. Most email clients offer this feature, which can be enabled by the sender when they compose an email.

    When the recipient opens the email, the email client may ask them if they wish to send a read receipt confirmation back to the sender.

    What does read receipts off mean?

    Turning off read receipts means that the recipient has chosen not to send notifications back to the sender when they open an email. This can be a global setting in the email client, which applies to all incoming emails, or it might be decided on a per-email basis.

    When read receipts are off, the sender will not receive any confirmation about whether their email was read.

    How do you know if someone turned off read receipts?

    Generally, it's challenging to know for sure if someone has turned off read receipts in their email client. If you send an email with a read-receipt request and don’t receive a notification back, it could mean one of several things: the recipient hasn't yet read the email, they have read receipts turned off, or they chose not to send a read receipt for that specific email.

    Some email clients also offer the option to ignore read receipt requests, and there's no standard way for the sender to know if a recipient has this feature enabled or has chosen to ignore the request.

    Why would you use a read receipt when you send an email?

    The main goal of using email read receipts is to improve your email communication. Knowing if and when your recipients opened your emails allows you to plan your next steps.

    Email read receipts can come in handy when you communicate with business partners, current and potential customers, and, of course, teammates.

    For example, receiving a read receipt when you send an email to one of your hot leads helps you decide whether or not and when to send them a follow-up message.

    Why do people use read receipts on Outlook?

    Outlook account owners use read receipts to save time, get valuable insight into their email communication with key contacts, and ultimately boost their productivity.

    Outlook users can request delivery and/or read receipts for all or some of the emails they send. However, it’s important to note that their recipients have the right to choose whether or not to send the requested receipt(s).

    Getting read receipts in Outlook is possible with third-party email tracking tools, too.

    Mailbutler is one of the most powerful email tracking tools for Outlook currently on the market. It lets you see when, where, how many times, and what device your contacts used to open your emails.

    Are email read receipts legal?

    Yes, they are. However, as a business owner, you should use email tracking technology responsibly to ensure a good customer experience. Basically, this means you should determine how and when to follow up on your emails after you receive read notifications.

    You should also consider letting your email newsletter subscribers know that you’re using an email tracking tool.

    To avoid any negative scenarios, you should make these decisions before you install an email tracking extension.

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