Let’s talk about the elephant in the room that few in email marketing are talking about: your “From” address. Most people think of the From address as just an address their email goes out “From” [and that people will reply to]. There’s far more to it than that!
That seemingly innocuous address can make a big difference when it comes to email deliverability.
If you want your emails to have the BEST chance of arriving into your recipient’s inbox – then you want to understand the importance of the From address for your marketing emails. So if you don’t believe the ramifications that can arise from misusing the From address then you better read on…
Come On, Open Up…You Know Me!
Email marketers often become obsessive over the effectiveness of their subject lines, but, in many cases, the From address is just as important. Names have power! And so often a recipient will only open an email from a trusted and recognizable source. Much like with caller ID, people will only answer a message if they’re familiar with the name. So don’t just use some generic email address as your From email. This ineffective strategy will only cause your emails to be unopened or deleted.
Along those same lines, Chris Lang, Email Delivery Guru, sat down with Kim to demystify the complexities of email deliverability. For starters, he stated that “50% of email delivery today is determined by the sender”…that’s you. This tidbit should be reassuring in knowing that 50% of delivery is in your control! So again, it’s imperative that you keep a consistent, recognizable name. In fact, studies on email open rates have found that trusting and recognizing the sender [From] is critical in whether an email is opened or not.
ISPs [like Gmail, Yahoo, and more] loathe multiple From addresses or changing From addresses! If you change your From address, you’ve messed with your email delivery “golden ticket.” But more on whitelisting in a moment.
Still confused over your From address and deliverability? I would recommend watching “Don’t Let Gmail Dictate Your Email’s Fate” to gain a deep understanding of the “big picture” on this hot topic.
At WPMktgEngine, we send our marketing email from a live, monitored email address – so when people reply – they’ll receive a personal response (not a support ticket auto-responder that makes people feel like they’re one among millions). This personalized commitment has paid dividends not only for us but also for our customers.
Chris conducted his own study on the importance of the From address. He split-test two groups of emails. One group was sent From his business name and the other from his name. Most of the business emails went straight into the promotions tab while all of the emails sent from his name landed in the recipients’ inboxes. How’s that for proof?
Whitelisting – Ignore at Your Peril
Another key area of email deliverability is whitelisting. Once a “must” in email marketing has for some reason lost its lure…but that’s a mistake!
Many marketers negate whitelisting for numerous reasons. For example, they think it’s too time-consuming, are unaware it exists, or that it’s too complicated… but as Chris explains, “It’s one of the most important processes of getting your emails into inboxes.” Take a quick moment to create your own whitelist page that you can host on your site by going to www.whitelist.guru. It only takes a minute.
But be cautious when asking your subscribers to whitelist your address. It’s a good option but pestering them to do so will only hurt your deliverability.
In our last post, where we cover How to Create a Welcome Series, we revealed how and when we ask our leads to whitelist our From email.
Envelope-Sender – Be in Position to Succeed
An email has two addresses: the “From” (technically called the ‘envelope-sender’) and the “Reply-To.” The From is what gets Whitelisted, not the Reply-To. Let me explain. Some Email Service Providers have you identify a “prefix” that can be used with their domain when sending your emails. For example, “WPMktgEngine@genoomail.com” – where you do NOT own “genoomail.com” and no emails can be received by “WPMktgEngine@genoomail.com – because it’s not actually an email address.
As I’ve said in a past post that it’s important for you to “own” your domain and hence your destiny – the same holds true with your From (envelope-sender) email address.
Say your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. That is the email you want to have as your From (envelope-sender) email address. To do this AND improve your email delivery to the inbox, you’ll also want to make sure that DKIM is set up at your email service provider, so when they send your emails, they’ll be signed using the specific domain key identified mail (DKIM) signature. This requires making a specific set of entries in your DNS settings (yes, a little technical, but instructions are pretty straight forward). This helps the ISPs check and ensure that the email they’re receiving (and delivering) is not spam.
If you do not get DKIM set up for your From domain, receiving ISPs will not be able to authenticate “for sure” that your email isn’t spam. When it is delivered, it will show your From name followed by “via genoomail.com” – letting everyone know that it’s likely a bulk email and opening the door for having the ISPs interpret it as spam (and missing delivery to the inbox).
I hope I didn’t go to techie on you – but it’s an important aspect that I want you to understand, if even at a high level.
No, Your ISP Doesn’t Have ESP – Be Consistent
One more thing: ISPs like Gmail track engagement relative to your From address, not your sending IP, not your domain, but your From address. So if you have high engagement with emails from email@example.com, then sending from firstname.lastname@example.org might not see the same results. Sometimes it’s a good idea to have a different From address. But when doing so, keep in mind that unless you have your recipients also whitelist THAT email address, your email won’t have the same reputation relationship with ESPs.
To an ESP, your From address is viewed as both your From name and From email address. For instance, when you send an email, an ESP will be told that it is from “John Anderson <email@example.com>” and then display it to their user however they like. Note that sending from “John Anderson <firstname.lastname@example.org>” and sending from “Genoo <email@example.com>” could give you different results.
We haven’t even begun talking about the From address as being a big deal from an engagement perspective. Say someone replies and you reply back and then have a dialog with that recipient. That is an illustration of ‘engagement’ to Google and other ISPs and that is part of the ‘inbox delivery triad.’ We’ll delve into this in a future post. Stay Tuned!
- Use the same (and monitored) email address as your From email for all your marketing emails.
- Reply back to any replies in a timely manner and use that to enhance your “engagement” reputation.
- Ask all new leads to Whitelist your From address. Create a “whitelist instructions” page on your website.
- Ensure DKIM is set up with your email service provider (This is part of your set up with WPMktgEngine).
- Ensure your SPF is in place.