How to Use 'From' Names to Increase Your Open Rate

A killer subject line is not the ONLY thing that dictates whether or not your subscribers will open your emails. While the subject line is definitely a big piece of the puzzle, there are a few different factors that can influence this decision. The 'from' name of an email is often overlooked as a tool in your toolkit to increase your open rates. Believe it or not, strategically approaching the use of different 'from' names for your email marketing can be the difference of a 10-15% increase in your open rates. Who would have thought right?

The 'From' name is the name that appears in your inbox that tells you who the email is coming from. Looking at the example below, you'll see that Starbucks chose to simply use their company name as their 'from' name for this particular email communication. 

It's important to note that the 'from' name is different than the 'from' email address and the 'reply-to' email address, which are also very important factors to think about when crafting your email marketing communications.

The 'from' email address tells you what email address the email communication came from. In the example below, you'll see that the 'from' email address that Starbucks uses is starbucks@e.starbucks.com.

The 'reply-to' email address is different than the 'from' email address in that it tells you where your replies will be directed to if you decide to reply to the email. In the same example from Starbucks, you'll see that their reply-to address is support-b3fxpeba9wf27saus4yc9qdksecqa5@e.starbucks.com. Now I don't know about you, but seeing a reply-to address like this makes me feel like my response would just be going to some never never land and therefore I wouldn't even bother hitting reply, even if I had something important to say. But hey, at least it's not a noreply@ email address. Those irritate me even more. 

In this article I'm going to be focusing on how you can use different 'from' names to increase your open rates. However, I want to stress that the 'from' email address and 'reply-to' email address should also be considered alongside any 'from' name changes you make.

A good 'from' name is one that's recognizable to your subscribers and builds trust with your brand. 

A 'from' name can take many different forms:

  • The company name itself
  • Someone within the organization (ie. CEO/Founder)
  • A department within the organization (ie. Customer Support)
  • A descriptive name of the type of email you're receiving (ie. Shopify Digest, Shopify Stories, etc)

I've seen the impact that a 'from' name can have on email open rates first hand. Throughout my career as an Email Marketer, I've done tons of testing around different from names to see what works and what doesn't. And like I mentioned earlier, the 'from' name can sometimes be the difference of a 10-15% increase in open rates.

What I've seen to work best when it comes to using different 'from' names in email marketing, is experimenting with using an individuals name versus the company/brand name for certain types of communications. 

Let's use Sephora as an example. Instead of Sephora always using their company name as the 'from' name for their email communications, they could try using a person from the organizations name (ie. Jane Doe from Sephora) on certain email communications to see if this impacts their open rates in any way. Typically it would make sense to use a persons name as the 'from' name for more personal communications versus the more marketing-y emails. At least, this is what I've seen to work. Since their subscribers are so used to receiving emails from Sephora, this new 'from' name coming from an actual humans name will definitely catch their attention and likely result in more opens. But like I said, it should be used strategically and only with emails where it makes sense. 

You'll notice that the example I used above for the more personal 'from' name for Sephora (Jane Doe from Sephora) still included the brand name along with the persons name. Doing this is ALWAYS a good idea. 

Using different 'From' names is a great way to catch your subscribers attention but you don't want to appear as if you're trying to trick them into opening your email.

Referencing your brand in the 'from' name in some way is a great way to continue to build trust with your subscribers. Here are a few different examples of ways you can do this:

  • Micayla S. (SquareSpace)
  • Clark from Invision
  • Blaise Lucey, Bitly
  • Megan at FreshBooks
  • Erin Bagwell | Dream, Girl Film
  • Brian @ SamCart

Now, if your a solopreneur and your personal name IS your brand name then of course this likely isn't an option for you. This just means that coming up with good subject lines for your will be in important in your case.

Regardless of the type of 'from' name you decide to use for your email marketing, here are a few tips to think about when experimenting with 'from' names:

  • Your 'from' name should be one that's recognizable and familiar to your subscribers.
  • Your 'from' names need to be consistent to prevent your subscribers from marking your emails as spam
  • Your 'from' name should mention your brand/company name in some way
  • Your 'from' name should match the 'from' email address if at all possible (ie. if your 'from' name is coming from a person, try to have the 'from' email address be from a person too. For example, coming from nicole@learntoloveemail.com versus info@learntoloveemail.com)
  • Your 'from' name should be similar to what you'd expect your subscriber to use to search for one of your emails.

And here a couple of don't-do's when it comes to experimenting with 'from' names and email addresses:

  • Don't use a 'no-reply' reply-to email address. This is a common trend amongst big retail companies but as a small business owner, you should be using email marketing as a way to build stronger relationships with your customers. A no-reply email address makes it appear as though you're uninterested in what your customers have to say and that just ain't cool.
  • Don't use a free webmail email address as your 'from' address. Using a free webmail email address (ie. @gmail.com or @yahoo.com) to send your email marketing communications not only makes you appear less professional but could also hurt your deliverability rates. You'll want to invest in a domain name email address (ie. nicole@yourwebsite.com).
  • Don't use an email address and the 'from' name. Nowadays people expect to see their emails come from actual names of people or company names. Using an email address as the 'from' name can appear spammy and will likely result in your email going straight to the junk folder.

Keep an eye out in your inbox to see how others are using the 'from' name to increase their open rates. Now that you're aware of this little trick, you'll likely notice people doing all sorts of stuff with their 'from' names. I encourage you to do some research on how others are doing this and try experimenting with different 'from' names on your own. But remember, once you find something that works, stick with it. Consistency is key here. You don't want to confuse your subscribers by always sending emails coming form a different person. This will likely result in higher than usual spam complaint rates and that's the last thing we want. Good luck!