Hidden Ways the From Address Can Help or Hurt Your Email Marketing
Email marketing allows you to reach a virtually unlimited number of people. One secret to getting a higher ROI from your campaigns is to make your subscribers feel like they could reply to you.
In fact, if you write personal sounding emails, it is high praise indeed when you do get replies from subscribers who believe you are writing just to them.
It’s true; the vast majority of your subscribers intellectually know that your messages are not just sent to them. And yet, allowing them to suspend their disbelief is a powerful conversion helper.
So, even if you are beholden to the most corporate tone in your email marketing, you don’t want to allow your ‘From Address’ to break the trance and remind your subscriber that they are just an email address in your eyes.
To underscore the significance of this dynamic in practical terms, let’s look at the three core elements of an email message:
1) The subscriber and their email address
2) Your ‘Sent From’ Name and Email address
3) The Subject line
For now, we’ll disregard the content of the email message because if these first three elements don’t get the email opened, whatever you put in the body of the email won’t matter, will it?
If you ask most email marketers the most important of the three elements, they’ll answer ‘subject line’ in a flash. However, the combination of the other two is actually more important in how people actually manage their inboxes.
For example, if you get an email from a dear friend or family member, do you debate whether you will open it based on the subject line, or who it’s from? It’s an easy question to answer because someone who is important to us could send a message with nothing in the subject line and we’d still open it.
And, on top of that, many people organize their inbox into folders according to the sender’s email address.
So, why do too many email marketers give little to no thought to their From Address?
The most egregious of them send their messages deliberately from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
If you want to break the trance and have your subscriber understand with crystal clarity that you have a one way relationship, use ‘noreply’ because it communicates that message perfectly.
So why would anyone use such an impersonal and even offensive From Address?
It’s more convenient for the marketer.
If you don’t see the replies to your emails you don’t have to look at spam complaints.
You won’t see out of office messages or those spam verification emails, either.
And, the truth is some want to project an image of authority and detachment so their company appears busy. Or, frankly, they just use a ‘noreply’ because so many other marketers do and it’s the accepted standard.
Those aren’t exactly compelling reasons to use ‘noreply’ as a From Address.
The problem is that there can be a considerable downside that deserves careful consideration.
Here are 5 reasons why you don’t want to use ‘noreply’ as your From address:
1) Spam complaints: No one likes to see spam complaints, but a surprising number of people will choose to reply to an email rather than click an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your emails. If they try to reply and discover that they’re stuck with a ‘noreply’ address their next step could easily be to click ‘This is Spam’ instead. In the course of conducting the best permission email campaigns you can still receive even a small percentage of spam complaints. So there is only ownside and greater spam complaint rates awaiting those who insist on using ‘noreply’ as their from address.
2) Legal compliance: According to U.S. Can Spam law, you are legally obligated to remove subscribers from your list and maintain a suppression list of people you must not email anymore. However, if you are not getting people’s requests to be removed from your list because of a ‘noreply’ From Address, then you risk missing requests to be unsubscribed. Laws in Europe bar the use of ‘noreply’ addresses. As with recent changes to Canadian law, the fact that you are mailing from America won’t make you exempt from these laws.
3) Notifications: Many people use services to require verification from unknown senders. You only have to confirm these once and then the service will let your emails through. If you don’t confirm, then your subscriber won’t see you messages at all. Yes, you’ll get annoying ‘out of office’ reply emails, too, but that is a small price to pay for the goodwill a real From Address can build with your subscribers.
4) Engagement: A major problem for email marketers is that the major ISP’s such as Gmail will penalize deliverability if there is minimal engagement with subscribers. One way to show engagement is to encourage new subscribers to reply to your email. Regardless of what you encourage them to write to you for, the mere act of sending you an email shows engagement to the ISP’s and can boost your deliverability rate. If you have a ‘noreply’ address, this is not possible.
5) Relationship: As mentioned in the beginning, a ‘noreply’ From Address breaks the feeling of a relationship for your subscriber. Your messages will be perceived as a one-way conversation and the worst part is that it will be the truth. With the rise of Twitter and Facebook and other social media communication channels, people have become accustomed to being able to interact and view those who have no means for receiving feedback as being untrustworthy and arrogant. In email and social media, there is an expectation to interact with a live person and to get a response. So whether it’s your help desk or your newsletter or a broadcast campaign, make sure your reply to address is points to an email account that someone will actually see.
Now, if you have a large enough email list the number of responses that you can get in a given day can be overwhelming. If it will take more than 24 hours for you or your support team to respond to reply emails, it may make sense to evaluate other options to at least acknowledge receipt to an email with an autoresponder message.
If you choose to send an automated reply to any inbound email address to acknowledge that you got their message and intend to respond, be sure to write it so that it feels like a person sent it rather than a machine if at all possible. People will appreciate that they got a response. However, it makes sense to humanize the automated reply as much as possible.
It can be tougher than ever these days to build a strong relationship with email subscribers. You certainly don’t want to be shooting your email marketing in the foot by including a ‘noreply’ From Address that has the potential to cause so much grief.
Now, there is no requirement that you put your personal or direct email address in your messages, but you should use an email address in the ‘From Address’ that will be read by a human being. The best news perhaps is that when you use a real ‘From Address’ and actually read the reply emails that can be an invaluable resource for keeping your finger on the pulse of what your most active subscribers think. After all, if you can’t see the replies, you can’t be aware of what your subscribers are trying to tell you. That could be a costly mistake, especially considering that the means of providing a real email address is so easy to accomplish. Doing so could have a surprising effect on your conversions and profitability.
For over a decade Heather Seitz used email marketing to build successful companies and had to solve the biggest barrier to consistent profitability: deliverability. Today she is the Co-Founder and CEO of Email Delivered.
To know how your from address can help or hurt your email marketing , visit http://www.emaildelivered.com/from-address-can-help-or-hurt-your-email-marketing Remember to sign up for the FREE Email Delivered Pulse newsletter for articles, tips, and recommended resources for email marketers.
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