August 16, 2012

In The Next 10 Minutes: Evaluate Your From and Reply Addresses

by Kestrel Lemen, Marketing Strategist at Bronto Europe

10 minutesAs a busy marketer, your From Name and Reply To address may seem trivial, but not to your subscribers! From Name and Reply To address could be the first thing they recognize (or fail to recognize) when receiving an email. You want that to be a positive experience, right? Of course! So, take 10 minutes and make sure you are putting your best foot forward. 

In the next 10 minutes:

  • Evaluate your From Name: Your From Name is powerful! In an earlier Bronto Blog post, we discussed the value of the From Name in identifying the sender and the email's potential value to the subscriber. While it maybe fun to send a message from Don Draper, star of Mad Men, does that really convey your brand? Take a look at your From Name in the inbox. Does it convey your branding?  Does it make a clear connection with your brand to help deliverability? Can subscribers see the From Name in it's entirety? You want people to know who they are hearing from! Make sure your From Name is quick and easy to read.
  • Evaluate your Reply To address: Is this address something warm and helpful like customerservice@company.com or contactus@company.com? No? Is it something like donotreply@company or getoffmylawn@company
  • Make a change! If you evaluated your From name and Address and you are indeed sending from a name that doesn't connect or use a  donotreply@company.com address, then it's time for a change. In the interest of deliverability make gradual change over time, sending to some of your list with your new friendlier address and then more over time. It may take a bit of time, but ultimately you want to get away from "do not reply."

What’s the Value?

A clear From Name will help maintain deliverability.  Don't change your From Name on a regular basis to grab the attention of the user.  While it may help attract the attention of a Mad Men fan (if the email comes from Don Draper), it may actually deter subscribers from opening.  If you've experienced any spam complaints, take a a look at Spam Complaints: How they Occur and How You Can Reduce them, which addresses how familiarity of from name and brand consistency can help you avoid compliants in the future.

Improving your reply address will help your company to be approachable! donotreply@company.com is basically saying notinterestedinhearingfromyou@company.com. If your customer wants to reach out to you by replying to an email, then let them! Don't make it hard for them to find a customer service email address, just give it to them upfront. What if they were just about to make a purchase but had a quick question? Show that you are open to responses, email is a two-way channel, don't expect to send out messages without any response. Also, to be CAN SPAM compliant, you must allow subscribers to reply with a request to be removed from your list.  Make sure you don't annoy your subscribers further with a do not reply address.

Disclaimer: Obviously, if you don't have someone, or a team, to respond to contacts to that reach out to you then you have a bigger issue on your hands than 'just a 10 minute tip'. Hopefully this sparks you to look at your From Name and Address and start the process of building a way for contacts to respond to you. 

Personally, I am disappointed when I receive an email with a "do not reply" address. I don't think the company cares about what I have to say, even if it's to send a compliment.  So be sure to just take 10 minutes to evaluate your From Name and Reply To address to make your emails approachable and a great extension of your brand!

Kestrel Lemen
Marketing Strategist at Bronto

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Kestrel Lemen, Marketing Strategist at Bronto Europe

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Comments

Also I have seen "DONOTREPLY@company.com" - also horrible for delivery. They had the from name as DONOTREPLY@company.com (yes, all caps part too) and the from email address was an actual person's email address at the company. Still sends a message that you can reply, if you are smart enough to figure it out, but they don't want you to.

I have also tested and found that the more personal a from name is, the more conversions you get - they see you as a real person instead of 'just someone at a desk or department.'

Businesses using email marketing must use a company email address and use it consistently so - hopefully - I look forward to reading what that business has to say.
If I'm getting a marketing email, I have no idea who the CMO, CEO or the CIO is of the company and obviously, I won't recognise them in the inbox "From" column.
If I don't know their name, it gets binned.
Don't ruin your campaign by assuming we'll know who Jim Smith is, or whatever. We won't, and we probably won't read your carefully crafted message.

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