Choosing the Perfect ‘From’ Name
The ‘From’ name, or sender name, is the inbox field that tells your email marketing recipient who sent the messages. Some marketers use a company name, some use a brand, publications or a person’s name, while others stick with a generic email address. It may seem like a minor thing to consider, especially as the subject line is longer and has more prominence, but the ‘From’ name differentiates your email between safe and spam.
Is the ‘From’ name, or subject line more important?
Most email marketers would worry about the subject line more than the ‘From’ name, as historically this is what entices your recipient to open the email. However, it’s important to consider both, as both fields will be influential. Of course with subject lines you can segment and test your list to see what works, but this isn’t recommended with a ‘From’ name.
It’s always better to be safer than sorry, so stick with the obvious choice or the one that makes sense and which recipients would expect to see. Stick with your chosen ‘From’ name to establish trust and recognition with your recipient.
An effective ‘From’ name will:
- Encourage trust and build an email relationship.
- Reflect the brand they recognise.
- Stand out in a sea of tedious subject lines.
- Help readers find your message, even if it gets junked.
- Differentiate message streams.
- Show up when a recipient searches for your email.
Allow your ‘From’ name and subject line to work together. Your subject line might be catchy and inviting but if your ‘From’ name looks spammy, it may get overlooked meaning you miss out on clicks and conversions.
Why your ‘From’ name matters
Changes in the email marketing industry have led to a bigger focus on the ‘From’ name:
- Attention spans and time spent on email are shrinking. People don’t like to waste time and will spend less time on irrelevant emails.
- Consumer inboxes are flooded. Commercial messages, social media updates and transactional messages use repetitive or boring subject lines.
- Some inboxes will limit how much of your subject line is seen.
- Email recipients may use mobile devices to sift through their inbox and return to their saved messages on a desktop or at a later date.
- ISPs will use relevance as a filter and are adding prioritisation as an inbox feature. Users can sort and view email depending on their connection.
‘From’ name failures to avoid
The worst thing to do is not use a ‘From’ name at all, but instead use a ‘From’ email address, for example, ‘email@example.com’. This makes your brand harder to recognise and trust and an inbox full of ‘From’ email addresses looks like spam. The a big no-no is using a firstname.lastname@example.org address. Almost anything is better than using a no-reply address. This immediately turns off your recipients and doesn’t prompt them to strike up a relationship with you. You should also avoid using a personal name, e.g. John Smith. Having a stranger’s name attached makes your email look suspicious and spam like. Don’t do this unless John Smith is the name of your brand of course. Even if you can build up trust using a personal name, what happens if they leave the business? You’ll have to start building that trust all over again.
Why do companies do this in the first place?
- They don’t know any other way.
- The think ISPs filter email that come from companies, and not from individuals.
- They think a personal name will stand out in the inbox.
- They’re stubborn and don’t want to change.
When can you use John Smith as the ‘From’ name?
Only in two situations:
- The person’s name is your brand and is recognisable e.g. this works if you’re Martha Stewart.
- You’re a B2B company, and your prospect has already had direct contact from a sales rep. Your emails may be automated but this works as the relationship is there.
Don’t confuse your ‘From’ name with your signature
Companies will often change their ‘From’ name in line with a current promotion, a message from the company director or brand manager or for an invitation to an event, to make the email feel more personal. Don’t bother changing your ‘From’ name for this purpose. Remember keeping the same ‘From’ name builds trust and recognition. Do change the signature in the email content to the appropriate individual in the company; you could even scan a real signature to make it feel more personal.
Other Do’s and Don’ts
- Pick the most logical and recognised brand that makes sense to subscribers.
- Use different ‘From’ names to differentiate between the types of emails you send. If you are a retailer, use one ‘From’ name for newsletters, and another for transactions related emails.
- Stick with a ‘From’ name once you’ve chosen it.
- Keep your ‘From’ names as short as possible, whilst still conveying your brand.
- Test different ‘From’ names if you’re planning on changing your ‘From’ names and are unsure of the best one.
Do you have any other suggestions for creating a successful ‘From’ name? How did you choose your perfect ‘From’ name?