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Why "From" names and email addresses are important

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.

In this article we'll give you some advice on choosing the right sender information, and explain what the optional "Reply-to" address is for.

"From" name

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.

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.

If you're having trouble deciding, you can A/B test your "From" name and address — but we recommend you do this early and rarely. 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 a number of things to consider when choosing a "From" address, as explained below.

Never use free webmail addresses

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.

Avoid the 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.

If people respond to your email campaigns, via reply email, this is seen as a good signal and helps improve your reputation with some ISPs.

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.

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. 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 support@abcwidgets.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.

Reply-to addresses

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. You can change that information easily at the time of send from the Review and send page.

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