How to Read Your Prospect’s Mind with Read Receipts


You’ve spent tons of time (and possibly, money) identifying your prospects.

Now, it’s time to reach out to them. You’ve crafted the perfect email to get their attention.

But how do you know if someone opened your email?

Email receipts are the original read notification.

Everyone knows read notifications because you see them on Facebook. They show you which of your friends have “seen” your message.

seen notification aka read receipts of social media

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Why not apply that to prospect outreach?

If you got a prospect to open your email, you’re one step ahead of the game.

The average email open rate across industries is only about 15-27%.

So you’re doing something right if prospects are actually opening the emails you’re sending their way.

But if you’re sending messages to a prospect time and time again and they’re reading them but not responding, you’ll want to stop emailing them. Or change your approach.

And if someone isn’t opening your emails at all, it might be time to take them off your list completely.

Why Read Receipts Matter

Read receipts can tell you if someone missed your email and needs another follow-up, or if they did read it but just might not be interested.

You need a way to know if an email was actually received and read so that you can customize your follow-ups to reflect that.
Read receipts can help tell you what to send next and why.

You never want to start off with a big ask when reaching out to prospects. But if someone has been reading your emails for awhile and hasn’t responded, it might be time to request a meeting or phone call with them.

It takes about five follow-ups to close a sale.

why you need to follow up


Send them an email they can’t ignore, like this example from Art of Emails:

irresistible email

Prospects who have opened your email were interested in you enough to click. While it may not be a reply, it puts you on the fast track to getting one.

Here’s how to add read receipts so that you can optimize your prospect outreach campaigns.

Add Read Receipts Manually

In both Gmail and Outlook, the option exists to request a read receipt manually.

When you’re writing an email in both of the platforms, just click on “options.” Then select the box that says you want to request read receipts for that particular email.

Once your recipient opens it, they can send a receipt back to you that says they have read it over.

read receipt permission

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While the process for both platforms is pretty similar, there are a few obvious differences.

Here’s how you can add in read receipts manually for both Gmail and Outlook.  

For Gmail

Before you can send read receipts in Gmail, you must enable them on your domain through your Google Apps Administrator.

If they aren’t enabled, you won’t be able to access this feature. Contact your Google Apps Administrator for more information if read receipts are disabled.

Here’s how you can request Gmail read receipts:

  1. Compose (or Reply to) a message like you usually would in Gmail.

setting up Gmail read receipts

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       2. Click on the “More Options” icon. This is located in the lower right-hand corner of the compose window.

       3. Click “Request read receipt” in the drop down menu.

request read receipt

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     4. Finish composing your message and hit “Send.”

The receipt requests will go out to every recipient in the To: and Cc: fields. But they won’t be sent to to those in the Bcc: field, so just remember that as you’re filling out those fields.

And now you know how to add in manual read receipts in Gmail.

But what if you use Outlook? We’ll cover that next.

For Outlook

In outlook, read receipt requests are located next to delivery receipt requests. Read receipts, as you already know, will track whether or not the email was opened.

Delivery receipts are a bit different, so don’t confuse the two. These show that the email was (or wasn’t) delivered to your recipient’s inbox, so there’s no guessing about its status.

Both are handy tools, so you may want to go ahead and request delivery receipts if you’re already planning to request read receipts.

Outlook read receipt setup

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It’s also important to note that email recipients can decline to send read receipts. Or they may be using an email program that doesn’t support receipts of any kind.

But at least if you’re using Gmail or Outlook, you can be sure that you have the capability of sending them.

Here’s how to send read receipts when using Outlook on the web:

  1. From your new email, click the … icon.
  2. Click on “Show message options…”

setting up read receipts for Outlook web

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        3. Check off the box for “Request a read receipt.” Here you can also check off “Request a delivery receipt.”

Outlook request read receipt

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Seems easy enough, right?

Here’s how it looks in Outlook 2013/2016.

To apply receipts to just one message:

  1. Select the “Options” tab within a new email.
  2. Select the checkbox for “Request a Read Receipt” (or “Request a Delivery Receipt”) in the tracking section.

To apply receipts to all future messages:

  1. Click the “File” tab

read receipts to all future emails

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       2. Select “Options.”

Outlook options for read receipts

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      3. Click “Mail.”

Outlook mail options

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       4. Scroll down until you reach the “Tracking” area.

       5. Check the boxes under “For all messages sent, request: Delivery receipt confirming the message was delivered  to the recipient’s email server” and “Read receipt confirming the recipient viewed the message.”

read receipt confirming recipient received

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This is how your request will appear to someone who opens your email:

read receipt notification

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And they can select whether or not to send a receipt.

However, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of adding read receipts manually, you can use an email tracker that will manage these requests for you.

The best part? You can collect data on who is reading your emails and save it all in one place.

Here’s how to simplify your read receipts with an email tracking tool like ContactMonkey.

Simplify Read Receipts With ContactMonkey

ContactMonkey will allow you to send plain old emails but with an upgrade: read receipts and email tracking are right on the “Compose” page and can be added in with just one click.

You can install the tool on both Gmail and Outlook, so it doesn’t matter which platform you’re using.

It’s as simple as requesting read receipts for the emails (and links) you want without all the extra steps.

And ContactMonkey has a feature that you don’t get by adding in read receipts manually: real-time updates for opens, reopens, and clicks.

You can track all of this information without interrupting the email recipient, too. It runs in the background, unlike a read receipt.

On the recipient’s end, a tracked email will appear just like every other email they have ever received. But to you, it will be tracking information from the moment you hit send.  

ContactMonkey also allows you to visualize this information using graphs. They can show your top performing subject lines, cities, links, and more:

ContactMonkey stats

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Before you can do anything, you’ll need to sign up for ContactMonkey.

It’s an easy process, and it comes with a free 14-day email tracker trail, so there’s no guessing about whether you like the features.

If you do choose to officially sign up for the paid version after the free trial ends, you’ll be saving a ton in comparison to other email tracking software.

The “Professional Package” is $10 per user, billed annually, or $15 per user, billed monthly.

Some features of this package include unlimited email and link tracking, a real-time sidebar, live notifications, a deep analytics dashboard, a self-serve help center, and more.

The “Team” package is $15 per user per month. It includes additional features such as team performance reports, email support, centralized team billing, etc. (More on this later.)

The “Salesforce” package is $25 per user per month. It includes additional features such as Salesforce templates, a Salesforce sidebar, custom field support, an automated Bcc to Salesforce, and more.

Here’s how ContactMonkey works for Gmail.

For Gmail

You’ve probably been left hanging when it comes to sending emails many times in your life.

Were they interested in what you wrote? Did they click on the link? When should you follow up? Did they even open it at all?

The Gmail Read Receipt can answer all these questions… and probably more.

And you’ll get live updates, too:

read receipt Gmail notifications

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It’s as simple as installing ContactMonkey and tracking emails from your Gmail inbox.

Couldn’t be more convenient, right?

Usually, once you hit send on an email, the rest is a mystery. You have no idea if the recipient was interested in what you had to say.

With a Gmail read receipt you can collect and track data for:

  • When your emails get opened
  • How many times they get opened
  • What location they get opened in
  • If links within your email get clicked

Seems like the answers to all your questions, right?

And the software will look just like your regular inbox when you’re composing, but two new buttons will be added in:

  1. Track Message
  2. Track Links

track links track messages

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Simply select one or more boxes if you want to track a particular email, and start collecting data within seconds.


So what does checking whether someone has opened an email, selected a link, or passed it on to someone else look like?

After installing the tool, you’ll have a sidebar on the right-hand side of Gmail. This sidebar will be updated with information about your email in real time. Here’s what it looks like:

email stats real-time

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As you can see in this example, the last opened email sent to was opened six days ago using Outlook in Toronto.  

And you can see that it was also opened on the same day in San Francisco using an iPhone. There’s no guesswork about which devices people are using to open what you send.

This information is like gold, especially since at least 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices:

email opens on mobile

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Email tracking and insight don’t have to be difficult. Here’s how you can do it in Outlook, too.

For Outlook

Read receipts within the Outlook platform don’t look too much different from Gmail.

And the setup is fairly similar, as well:

read receipt Outlook notifications

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In Outlook, you can get desktop read receipt notifications every time an email is clicked or opened just like in Gmail.

And since the updates are live, you can act fast on read or unread emails. Focus on the leads that are the hottest and come up with a game plan for the ones that aren’t so hot.

ContactMonkey gives you the option to view sent emails by the hottest, the most recent, clicked, or unopened. You can also star certain emails you want to keep a special eye on.

ContactMonkey filters

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Track as a Team

The best part about ContactMonkey’s email tracking and read receipts is that your entire team can track email performance together with the “Team” and “Salesforce” packages.

All the stats are laid out visually for every team member to access, so more than one person can focus on prospect outreach and management.

Time is of the essence when tracking and nurturing leads. If you don’t act soon, you could miss out on an opportunity in no time.

Since your team will have access to all the live updates in real time, the progress report of your prospect outreach will never sleep.

team tracking stats

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View metrics such as:

  • Emails tracked
  • Emails opened
  • Open rate
  • The open rate of those who opened the email multiple times
  • Average number of opens
  • Average time to open

You can set goals for each of these metrics with your team and monitor them together.

And this means that sales and marketing can come together for prospect outreach, too.

If one or more metrics aren’t performing like you want them to, you and your team can configure a new approach to reach your performance goals.


You know who your prospects are and you’re reaching out to them.

But you’ve got to figure out which ones are opening what you’re sending their way. That way you can figure out how to follow up.

Read receipts are the answer to finding out who has seen your emails, and who might be deleting them or ignoring them altogether.

If a prospect is reading what you’ve sent, you’re doing something right, and you can adjust your approach accordingly.

If someone isn’t reading them, it might be time to stop emailing them and reconfigure your prospect list.

You can add in read receipts manually in Gmail and Outlook with a few clicks.

Or you can simplify the process with ContactMonkey for both Gmail and Outlook with just one click.

And the best part? Using the tool lets you get your entire team on board when it comes to tracking read receipts.

Read receipts mean less wasted time emailing people who aren’t responding. At the same time, they allow you to optimize your prospect outreach to cater to those who do.