Studies on email open rates have found that trusting the sender is the single most important factor in whether an email is opened or not. That means it’s critical to choose an effective and consistent "From" name and email address.
On this page we’ll give you some advice on choosing the right sender information, and explain what the optional "Reply-to" address is for.
You need to choose a name or title that will be recognizable to your subscribers. Often that will be the company name, or perhaps the product or service people have signed up to learn about.
In most situations it's much better to use a company or brand name over an individual person's name, unless that person is the brand, like Madonna or Betty Crocker. If you have a good reason to use a person's name and it's not a brand, follow it with a comma then the company or organization you're from.
TIP: Some webmail clients cut off "From" names in the inbox view. For example, Gmail cuts off addresses at around 20 characters, while Yahoo will change depending on the size of your browser, showing as few as 14 characters.
Your "From" details form part of the trust equation with your subscribers, and consistency and familiarity will help to grow that bond.
"From" email address
There are some things to consider when choosing a "From" address:
- Don't use a free webmail address.
- Don't use a no-reply address.
- Use a valid email address.
- Match your "From" name to your "From" address.
- Personalize for the purpose.
Don't use a free webmail address
To give your email the best possible chance to reach the inbox, don't use a free webmail address as your "From" address. For example, email addresses from Yahoo, AOL, Outlook.com/Hotmail or Gmail. Instead, use an email address registered at your organization's own domain.
When an email is sent through a third party email service provider (ESP) like ours, receiving email servers view free webmail "From" addresses as more suspicious than those from custom domains, increasing the chance emails from those addresses will be rejected. This is the case no matter which ESP you use.
Don't use a no-reply address
Sending from a no-reply address comes across as uncaring to subscribers. It can also be frustrating if they need to reach you about something, and it may even be bad news for delivery rates in the long-term. The way a user engages with your email — including replying — can help determine where you end up in the inbox. For some email providers, responding to an email is just as good as adding that address to a safe sender list.
Secondly, providing an email address that's linked to a real, live inbox shows that you're open for business. Putting an email address out there may attract its fair share of auto-replies and bad responses, but it also opens the door to useful, legitimate conversation with your customers, like:
- "I really enjoyed your latest email news. Can you provide us with a quote for a similar template?"
- "What are your opening hours? I'd love to drop by some time."
- "I'm changing my email address, but still want to get your updates. Can you help me out?"
This is the sort of behavior that email senders should really encourage, especially if they don't have a call center or real-world presence. It's not just being nice: replies are a valuable source of feedback and a chance to connect.
Use a valid email address
Using an actual, existing mailbox to collect replies to your newsletters isn't just good manners. Some email providers, like Gmail, actually look into recipient behaviour after an email lands in the inbox. If a subscriber responds to your email, it's more likely to be marked as important.
Match your "From" address to your "From" name
To assist with subscriber trust, it's a good idea for your "From" name to be similar to your "From" email address. For example, if a subscriber receives an email from ABC Widgets Support, they would expect it to be linked with an email address similar to email@example.com.
Personalize for the purpose
If you send both marketing and transactional emails, give subscribers an idea of what you're sending them by fitting the "From" email address to the purpose. For example: newsletters@, support@ or billing@.
This splitting of function also allows subscribers to manage your emails using their own client filters however they see fit. It also ensures that if they, for example, write a rule that deletes all emails from newsletters@, they will still receive emails from invoices@ or support@.
If you're worried about managing too many email addresses, you can always use a different reply-to address when sending a campaign to redirect replies to fewer mailboxes.
While it's good for deliverability reasons to use a "From" address that invites recipients to contact you, you may want responses to go to a different address. If you've got a large subscriber list, for example, you could end up receiving tens of thousands of out-of-office emails that you'd prefer to go somewhere other than your main email address.
You can do this by clicking use a different reply-to address while creating a new campaign.