What Do You Mean, ‘From’ Names?
If you’re relatively new to email, you might not know; but it’s possible to change how your name and email address appear when you send an email. This isn’t something you’ll bother to do when you send something to your friend from your personal account. But if you have a newsletter client like Mailchimp or you use a CRM to bulk-send mail, you can change how your address and name appear.
Specifically, your ‘from’ name is what shows up next to your subject line in an inbox. It also appears in the header when you open an email, typically next to your email address.
Why Are They So Important?
There are a couple of reasons why ‘from’ names are more important than you might think. First off, they let your subscribers know that you’ve emailed them! Say hypothetically that you changed your ‘from’ name to ‘Beep Bloop Blorp’. Your subscribers won’t know it’s you, and the bottom line is that they might not open your email to see all your wonderful offers/blog posts/marketing copy.
The thing is that they’re only getting more important as time goes by. Why? Because the ‘from’ field is even more prominent in a mobile inbox than one on a PC or laptop. In terms of mobile, it’s really on par with how important your subject line is, which is really saying something.
So: since they’re such an important part of your email game, let’s take a look at some best practices, shall we?
‘From’ Name Best Practices
1. Business Name vs. Personal Name
There are a few ways to format your from name.
- Holly Interior Design
- Jeremy from Holly Interior Design
- Jeremy | Holly Interior Design
- Jeremy Surname | Holly Interior Design
- Jeremy Surname
Each mixes your personal name and your business name to a different degree. But which is the way to go?
First off, it’s best to avoid using your personal name on its own (Option 5 above). At the end of the day, your potential customer subscribed to the Holly Interior Design newsletter, not the Jeremy Surname newsletter. So just in terms of increasing the number of recipients who open your email, your business name has to be front and centre.
At the same time, using your first name does create a more personal touch, and won’t push the business name out of the viewable limit of your ‘from’ name in an inbox. Best practice? A/B test to see which approach works best for your subscriber base.
2. What About No-Reply?
You’ll have noticed that plenty of sites use ‘no-reply’ email addresses in their from name. Maybe that’s the way to go?
Well, we wouldn’t recommend it. At the end of the day, no matter what you send out, sometimes your customers/subscribers will want to respond. It could be for any reason: getting more information about a particular offer, or even correcting errors in your email. Maybe you sent something out but it’s not formatted right. A subscriber might want to respond, but… Where should they send their message? Your contact email? A contact form? It just doesn’t feel right, not least because the message would have to get forwarded at least once or twice before it reached the right person. So, no- no-reply isn’t the way to go.
3. Match Your ‘From’ Name To Your Email Address
Next up, remember that it’s best if your ‘from’ name and email address complement one another. That’s why just using your full name as a ‘from’ name can fall down; how does a subscriber know that John Smith has anything to do with Nailsea Landscape & Garden?
There are a few ways of matching the two so that a subscriber can be sure that your email is ‘legit’, like the different business name/personal name combinations we listed above. You can also use abbreviations that make it more obvious, e.g. John at NG. But most importantly? You have to use a bespoke address and not a free email client. So that means:
Good: [email protected]
Bad: [email protected]
4. Whatever You Do, Do Something
So, whichever way you do choose to format your from name, the worst thing you can do is doing nothing at all. If you leave the field blank, email clients will show your email address instead. There are a couple of problems: first, your email address is probably going to be longer than the viewable limit, unless you use acronyms. This means that your subscribers won’t necessarily be able to tell that the email is actually from you. That’s a basic no-no.
More important, though, is the fact that nobody else does it. Now in the ‘real world’ you shouldn’t necessarily do something just because everyone else does. But since most businesses bother to put something in the ‘from’ field, you’ll stand out like a sore thumb if you don’t.
….And that’s really all there is to it. If you keep to just these four best practices, you’ll nail a simple but effective ‘from’ field. That’s one more tool that you can use to push your email campaigns all the way to the limit!