Fully Booked VA Blog

Know Who Opens Your Emails (and Get Them to Respond!)

Do you ever wonder if someone actually opens and reads your emails?

I do!

Especially when I’ve been busy sending out pitches to prospective clients or just delivered an article to a new client and am excited to hear some feedback.

It was just a few months ago that it was just my best guess if and when these messages were opened.

But not anymore!

Now I know exactly when and how many times an email that I send has been opened. It’s a little stalkerish/creepy, but overall really enlightening!

Today I’m going to share two of my secret weapons with you. The first will give you the same “mind reader” capabilities that I have to know who opens your emails (and when). The second is an email template that my mastermind group shared with me that almost guarantees a response. Let’s dig in!

Pulling Back the Email Curtain

The tool that I use to see who and when the emails I send are opened is called Sidekick by Hubspot. It’s a free app that you can use to track who and how often someone opens your emails.

The free version lets you track up to 200 emails per month. Of course there are premium options as well. I started with and am still using the free option. It works great for me!

Screenshot 2015-07-22 at 10.42.35 AMHow Does It Work?

Keep in mind the method probably varies for different computers and browsers. Personally, I have a Chromebook (Amazon affiliate link) and I was able to add “an extension” for Sidekick. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to set up your own account.

Here’s what the (super easy) process looks like for me. When I compose a new message that I want to track, I just select the little orange circle in the bottom menu bar on the right. Then, I just hit the (now orange) “send” button.

Screenshot 2015-07-22 at 10.51.34 AM

Then when someone opens the tracked email (you have to have your email account open to see it real-time), a notification pops up in the bottom right of my computer screen. So as long as I’m on the computer and have a window for my email, I’ll see exactly when that person opens it on their side. Cool, huh?

You can also login to your Sidekick account and see a full activity stream, reports and additional data. I hardly ever do. But it’s just like me to use a tool in its simplest form. 😉

What Should You Use It for?

You shouldn’t need to track ALL emails that you send. Just the ones that are urgent, important or otherwise worth tracking.

As a freelancer, I would save my allowance for contacting clients, prospects and other important contacts that I’m patiently awaiting a reply from. So whenever you submit a pitch via email, check the box. Whenever you turn in an article to a new client, check the box. So on and so forth.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Getting Someone to Reply to You

Okay, so now you know if someone is opening your emails. But, what if they open them and aren’t responding? Does that automatically mean they’re not interested?


It could mean that. But it could also mean they’re busy, your email is way too long (thus overwhelming), they want to take the time to provide a thoughtful reply or something else.

When we send emails our issue is top of mind. That’s not the case for the receiver. They might have more pressing projects or to do’s on their plate. In essence, many times:

“It’s not you, it’s them.”

The ‘Magic’ Email

My friends Erik and Jeff are a couple of very smart dudes (they comprise one of my mastermind groups). If you haven’t read it yet, Jeff recently wrote a post for this blog on why smart people shouldn’t quit!

They’ve given me a lot of good advice and little nuggets over the last year, but one of my favorites is the magic email.

What is it?

Basically, a template email that you can send to someone that hasn’t replied to you, but should have. Here it is in its rawest form:

Dear Mr. Smith,

I haven’t heard back from you on [xyz project/opportunity], so I’m going to assume you’ve gone in a different direction or that your priorities have changed.


Short and sweet, huh? Basically, you’re taking control, closing the loop and asserting yourself.

And here’s the thing, people don’t like being rejected or told no. When you take [xyz project/opportunity] off the table, the recipient feels like you’re taking something away from them. And no one likes that! (It’s totally our inner toddler.)

Give it a try. I’m sure you have prospects that you haven’t heard back from. Email them using this template and see what they say. You have nothing to lose!

Putting Everything Together

The best way to utilize these tools is together. A little “one, two punch,” if you will.

If you have gigs that you’ve applied to (or other people you’re waiting to hear back from), try sending out an email to touch base and then tracking if/when it’s opened. When you see them open it more than once, but you haven’t gotten a response, it might make sense to email the magic email right then. (You’ve already got their attention… )

Or you could always start with the magic email and track it to get started instead. It really depends on you, the person you’re targeting and your preference. I don’t have a perfect process for you – just a couple of cool tools/templates and at least one idea how you could use them to try and get different results than you are right now.

Give them a try. What have you go to lose?

Have you used Sidekick or the magic email before? Tell us your results or how you plan to use them in the future in the comments!

*Sidekick links are referral invitations that would enable both of us a free month of the premium account. The free account works just great for me.

Photo credit: Thomas Lefebvre via Unsplash

Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey


Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

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