Well, Google has an URL shortening service which will let you know if a link has been clicked and even more useful you’ll know the exact time of reading. You will know also the country, web browser and OS platform of the recipient.
This method is based on the assumption that the email contain at least one link on which one you used goo.gl URL shortening and that the person you sent the email won’t be suspicious and will click that link.
To be honest I’m not a big fan of this kind of shorten URL as you will never know what’s behind it so I’m trying to avoid clicking on those. Also is a bit unusual for somebody to hide the link behind a short URL when sending emails – this may rise suspicions, why would you use this service? This method of shortening URLs is pretty common on Twitter because of the limited number of chars you can type but it will be at least odd to make use of it anywhere else.
One method is to inform your recipients that you will be using short URLs in emails so they will be aware and will click those links without being suspicious.
The safe method I am using as I am working everyday with code is using for the anchor text of the short URL the exact address of the webpage will open. E.g. http://dharmikc.blogspot.com. This won’t rise any suspicion at all, is 100% safe but you’ll have to know a bit of coding or at least how to use the WYSIWYG from your email – in Gmail switch from Plain text to Rich formatting, paste your short URL and then select it and click on the “chain” icon from right above your input box. This will open a small line – click on Change then in the Text to display field write / copy the long URL. You can also can just use an anchor text like “Click here to see my pictures” or something like that.
Known fact – this method won’t tell how many times one recipient is clicking your link – it will just tell if the link was clicked once or not (1 or 0). This means if you think of creating a small email campaign and you will send your message to 100 different email addresses, you will know exactly how many of these people opened up your product link.
This will come in handy when having a small company and you decided to use a regular email address for marketing purposes as you’re not interested in paying for dedicated email marketing services. Still proceed with precaution as is quite unusual for somebody to send out emails to 100 recipients at once – your emails can go straight to the junk / spam folder as your email provider might qualify you as a spammer.