The first two things anyone sees with your emails are your subject line and the “from” field. First impressions are really important in email marketing. You never want your readers to say “who sent this?” or, even worse, confuse you with someone a lot less reputable.
I remember back in the mid 90’s, before the days of spam filters and bulk email folders, when you could go hours (heck, even a day or so) without getting an email. I remember the excitement of seeing a new message in my inbox. Back then I opened and read everything that was sent to me. I bet you did too. Can you honestly say that now? As I type this I’m looking at my inbox and it says “1704 messages, 599 unread”. Ugh. I swear I just cleaned out the stupid thing the other day… delete these messages, put client messages in their appropriate folders, delete even more, and so on. But they just pile up, and up.
Without the from field I would be completely lost. Everyone pays so much attention to the subject line that I think the poor from field doesn’t get its due respect. Let me explain… with 1704 messages, oops now 1705, do you really think I’m paying very close attention to the subject line? How can I? With so many subject lines with 10% off, no 20% off, no even better 50% off, wait buy 1 get 1 free, how about buy 1 get 2 free, they all just blend together. Who cares? I get it, everything is on sale. I would probably pay closer attention if someone said “Everything on the site is now more expensive than ever!!”
What I really care about is who the email is from. As a marketer, you always try to come up with new ways to wow your customers. So you keep throwing them deal after deal and hope that you finally pique their interest (piquing interest can be subject of another article because you should really be analyzing your data using previous behavior to better judge future behavior). As I said, the first two things that are visible with an email is the from field and the subject line. You should ask yourself a few questions… are all of the emails coming from my site whether they are promotional emails sent to your customer list, or automated transactional messages, properly identified by the name your customers know you as?
You need to determine the name that your customers most associate you with. If you have a recognizable brand name but your transactional emails are going out with “tech support” in the from name, you can just consider that email dead on arrival. In fact, unless you can test this otherwise, it’s never a good idea to have your emails say “support” or “webmaster” or anything that generic (unless your company is actually named “support inc” or something. If you have a newsletter, it’s probably a good idea to include your company’s name before the name of the newsletter. The “Disney Insider” is a good example. If the from name just said “Insider” I would be less likely to ever open it. Also, when sorting the inbox, it would come up as Disney. Just remember to test before making any permanent changes.
Hopefully most of you already have your most recognizable name in your from field. But, you should take a close look at the setup of your transactional emails. Everything from order invoices, shipping notifications, technical support tickets, to site registration emails. Just think, if your customers don’t immediately recognize your email by looking at the from field they may just click the delete button before even getting to your unique “everything is now more expensive!” subject line. To all the marketers out there, keep the emails coming, I’d love to hear from you… just make sure I can figure out who you are.