Email recipients put more weight on who the email is from than any other item when choosing which emails to open, which to delete and which to complain about.
Our “from address” testing shows an increase in open rates and click-through rates when the from name, from address and subject line are appropriately branded. It also shows a reduction in spam complaints.
An Email Service Provider (ESP) should provide you a choice of how your from address is managed. Possible options for XYZ Brand include:
Option 1: email@example.com
Option 2: firstname.lastname@example.org
Option 3: email@example.com
Option 4: firstname.lastname@example.org
In options 1 and 3 above, the “name side” of the email address (left side of the @ symbol) isn’t branded. This is the first item I’d recommend testing in your business. We recently changed to option 2 (a branded email name) for several clients based on statistically significant tests showing a response increase and a complaint reduction when compared to option 1.
Options 3 and 4 are typical implementations with an ESP. Both options utilize a “sub-domain” of the ESP (espdomain.com), enabling the ESP to more easily support reply mail management or manage DNS issues such as Sender ID or SPF authentication (since they maintain control of the root domain).
How does using a different email domain from your own affect response rates and complaints? The jury is still out. However, a recent Gartner survey of 5,000 online buyers found that more than 1 million consumers were scammed out of $925 million in 2004 because of phishing attacks. Think that makes consumers aware of the brands their emails come from? Of course it does.
If consumer reactions to spam and phishing are any indication, it would seem the best solution is one that doesn’t obfuscate your brand in any way. Leverage your asset and use your name in your from name, from address and subject line.