Why your email “From” is important.

The first thing people see when you send an email is “From:” and then your “Subject” (see “How to avoid email Subject Mistakes). You control “From” in your email client settings. For those of you using Outlook or Outlook Express, it is the “Name” field in your Mail Acount “Properties” box. For those of you using Eudora, it is called “Real Name.” You get the idea. The same types of conventions generally hold true for most web-based mail interfaces.

The “From” in your e-mail address can, and often does, make the difference between someone opening or deleting an email. That is if the intended recipient actually sees it.

As we have talked about before (What your email address says about you.), spam filters are everywhere including at the mail server level, the recipient’s ISP, often at the company level, possibly on the desktop as a standalone program, and finally, as a feature in the recipient’s e-mail program. Consequently, your “From” gets looked at several times before your email is (or isn’t) delivered. A “From” that includes a spammy-looking nick name, may make the difference as to whether your email is delivered and/or opened.

Your “From” should include your name (as the recipient knows it) and possibly your company name, your title or department. Couple a good “From” with a well-written “Subject” and your email will get delivered and opened before the others in those ever-expanding in-boxes of your recipients.

Paying attention to both the “From” and your email “Subject” will, indeed, pay you dividends for your time.

What your email address says about you

Earlier this week, I had a discussion with one of our clients about using their domain email accounts when sending or replying to email. (Domain email is simply an email account using a name of your choice @your domain, e.g., johndoe@yourcompany.com or info@yourcompany.com.)

Although this client uses their domain mail on their web site, many of their employees use personal accounts when communicating with clients and prospects. I, unabashedly, encouraged him to persuade his people to see the error of their ways.

Obviously, they are not the only perpetrators of this costly practice. On sites of all types, small and large, you’ll see contact email such as billybob@yahoo.com, sally312@gmail.com or something similar. Those same addresses get used routinely in emails to clients, prospects, and co-workers. And, routinely, the sender looks unprofessional.

I could rant on with all the reasons not to use personal email accounts for business, but I’ll just offer you:

Three important reasons to use your domain email.

  1. Branding, branding, branding – every time a client or prospect
    receives an email from someone in your company, they will see your domain name (Hopefully it is your company name, abbreviation of your company name, or a product or service of yours.) in the “From:” line.
  2. Get your email delivered and opened. Spam is ubiquitous, and your prospects and clients may hesitate to open an email from a toocutesy@yahoo.com, allnumbers@hotmail.com, silly@gmail.com or inappropriate@someother.com address. Deliverablity can be critical when you are sending a proposal or answering a specific request. Users can easily, and will, white-list email from you@yourcompany.com.
  3. Look as professional as you are. You would be surprised at the number of people who spend thousands of dollars on web sites and nicely-done email campaigns, yet diminish their value by including an inappropriate email address.

Oh, did I mention branding, branding, branding?

How to avoid e-mail subject mistakes

Here are a few things to think about before clicking the send button. Some will help you avoid embarrassment, some will help get your e-mail delivered, some will help get it opened. In no particular order:

Don’t forget to include a subject. Even if spam filters don’t grab your message, your recipient may be afraid to open it.

Don’t use ALL UPPERCASE characters. Spam filters will most assuredly grab your message.

Why, what, and to whom

Why: Are you dispensing information, or are you expecting something in return from the recipient(s), such as action, or confirmation?

What: Clearly and succinctly state the subject.

To Whom: More than one recipient? Be careful with this. Always consider that some of the recipients will “Reply to All.”

Consider your readers: Will they save the message for reference? A well-written subejct will make it easy to file or filter by category.

WebWise Tip | Equally as important is your “from” or sender line – the field that indicates who sent the email. Synergy between your “from” and your well-written “Subject” can be greatly enhance the prospect of your e-mail getting opened quickly.

How about you? Any favorite “subject” do’s or don’ts?