Email outreach campaigns have been a leading light in marketing strategies since the dawn of the internet. Using them to find a route to achieving ‘just one more click’ can change the fortunes of a brand overnight.
Compared with many other areas of marketing, email outreach is also a great timesaver. Compare perfecting an email with, say, creating a website, building a physical store, or having a face-to-face meeting with a potential client. So whether you’re marketing a team chat app or a king-sized double bed, it plays a crucial role in your ROI.
To take it a step further, creating custom tracking domains for email outreach can optimize your marketing strategy in the same way that a free file sharing app does to a team’s collaborative organization.
Help your email outreach campaigns go that extra mile, and learn everything you need to about creating custom tracking domains, also known as CTDs, for email outreach with our guide below.
The difference between email outreach and marketing emails
It’s important to be aware of the difference between email outreach and a plain old marketing email. With the latter, you already have a ‘foot in the door’. The users you’re contacting are already aware of you. They’ve signed up to receive your mail or left a customer review. They want to hear from you.
By contrast, email outreach is a 100% ‘cold-calling’ approach. The average email open rate lies somewhere between 20 and 40%. So given the number of promotional emails that people receive on a daily basis, it’s going to take something extra-special to earn that click. You’re trying to get people to open something they never asked for.
Quick tips for email outreach
Before using custom tracking domains, you need a great email to be working with.
Writing a catchy header is a good start. Using a more engaging tactic such as quiz marketing in the form of your email can also help. We’re humans after all, and we love to be entertained!
Making sure you approach interested people is another essential ploy. When it comes to finding the right audience, social media research is a great way of sussing out potential consumers. Using enriched information in emails – that is, knowing personal information about your contacts so you can employ a personal touch – also tends to earn better opening rates than a nameless email.
Anything that adds a professional feel is a massive step in the right direction. With spammers lurking around every corner, earning the trust of your contacts is everything.
But it’s not just the names on your mailing list you have to win over. First off you need to get through Google’s ever-more-stringent anti-spam filter. Having a custom tracking domain is essential for making sure your emails don’t fall at the very first hurdle.
What is a custom tracking domain?
Now you have a great email outreach marketing strategy, it’s time to add a custom tracking domain into the mix.
Many cold email tools use a generic tracking domain to trace emails you send using its servers (whether people are opening, clicking, or unsubscribing, you’ll know here). However, by using a custom tracking domain, you can tailor these services to suit what you really need.
In any marketing activity, there needs to be some way of rating effectiveness. For example, using tools for competitor analysis and to keep track of your own website traffic is essential for seeing what’s working and what isn’t.
Likewise, with an email outreach campaign, there needs to be something in place to monitor the number of emails opened. This is dealt with by a third-party tracking provider. It’s no less important than keeping your client base organized with the likes of CRM software.
In the same way that you’ll want to use the best messaging app to allow your staff to communicate with each other effectively, it’s important to get the best tracking provider you can. The more data you can build from each email outreach campaign that you launch, the more you can learn. That way, you can clearly see the elements you need to improve on for next time.
Essential though this information is, a third-party tracking provider brings its own negatives. By installing tracking codes, the provider’s ID leaves its footprints all over your email. Earning the trust of both potential customers and Google is key when it comes to a successful email outreach campaign. And these footprints can ultimately stall your project before it’s had a chance to engage.
A custom tracking domain removes these footprints, allowing you to send emails free of a tracking provider’s ID.
Why use a custom tracking domain?
Avoiding the spam folder
So, the first part of any email outreach campaign is to reach your potential customers by ensuring your missive ends up in their main email folder. If a tracking provider’s ID is contained within your email link, this sends alarm bells to Google’s spam filter.
You can use all the power words you like to increase open rates, but your email is much less likely to end up as primary mail if your email isn’t 100% brand-related. Using a custom tracking domain along with good SPF and DKIM authentication means that it will stay in the right box and be seen and trusted.
Secondly, you’re competing with countless other cold emails for your contact’s attention. Anything that doesn’t look and feel 100% professional and trustworthy will simply get ignored. When the rate for the opening of cold emails is so low, you need to tick every box possible in order to get there.
Without a custom tracking domain, your brand is easily lost in the melee. It replaces cold email tools’ footprints with yours. What’s more, your domain name will be visible in the email rather than these tools’ domains, which makes you stand out and raises your consistency, strengthening your brand reputation.
When you’ve invested time devising and then mapping out a project with the likes of a Gantt chart in Excel, it’s frustrating when its success is taken out of your hands.
No one wants to lose their brand identity across their various marketing platforms, so why lose it here?
How to set up a custom tracking domain
Now you know about what custom tracking domains are and why they are vital for any email outreach campaign, here’s how to set one up.
1. Ensure you have administrator access to the DNS (domain name system) settings of your brand’s domain. You’ll need this to go any further, or you can send the details through for your web host to complete.
2. Add a tracking domain to your DNS settings. Keep this as close to your brand name as possible. Simply add the word ‘tracking’, so it’s clear to both you and Google’s bots what this is for. E.g. ‘tracking.your-domain-name’.
3. Pop a CNAME (canonical name) record in your DNS, set to DNS proxy. This allows your new sub-domain to link to whatever tracking app you’re using to monitor your email click rates.
4. Access your tracking app and alter the domain name. Instead of your main URL, input the new sub-domain you’ve just set up. This allows both your tracking app and your domain to work in sync. It’s just like integrating task management software to your team’s communication platform, instead of the two operating independently.
It’s simpler than you might have thought but certainly yields big results. Now, you can enjoy all the benefits of monitoring your emails, without the footprints left by your tracking provider.
Brands need to constantly innovate in order to stay relevant. Employing the latest tools and platforms is one thing. But sometimes it’s simply about refining what you already have. And it’s surprising how it’s the little things that so often make the biggest difference.
All you need to do now is find a list of verified customer email addresses, write an irresistible title, and a fabulous personalized email.
Victorio Duran III – RingCentral US
Victorio is the Associate SEO Director at RingCentral, a global leader in cloud-based communications and teleconference services. He has over 13 years of extensive involvement on web and digital operations with diverse experience as web engineer, product manager, and digital marketing strategist.