The Most-Missed Email Marketing Fail

The Most Missed Email Marketing Fail image iStock 000006324764XSmall 200x300The Most Missed Email Marketing FailEmail marketing is fast. Email marketing is cheap. (At least, comparatively). Email marketing is targeted. And email marketing is incredibly simple to mess up.

After all, emails are among the easiest marketing materials to get rid of. A direct mail piece has to take a trip to the trash—but with one click, an email is gone.

And while marketers are learning to optimize their subject lines and their snippets/pre-headers, there’s still one part of their emails that can get them sent to the trash even before their opened.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it (and most are) let’s discuss the dreaded “From Line” fail.

As you’ve probably surmised, the “From” line we’re talking about is the section of the email that shows up in the “From” column of email inboxes that tells people who has sent that email. Simple, right? Not quite.

Here’s the rule: The From Line must quickly and concisely tell the recipient who the email is from without their having to think about it.

But a recent trend in email marketing is for companies to send out emails from personal accounts—which means the From Line shows up as just that person’s name.

Great, right? It’s so personal! People love knowing who the real people behind a business are! What a smart tactic!

Wrong. So, so wrong.

If the recipient doesn’t know who that person is, or has to spend more than 2 seconds trying to remember, they will delete that email, possibly even assuming that it’s spam!

Inboxes are bursting and email is time consuming—no one wants to take the time to think about a sender before they decide whether to open or delete a message. If they don’t immediately recognize the sender, they’ll delete the email.

The solution? Simple. Put the company’s name in the From Line.

If, however, your company insists on it coming from a single person (there are some fights you can’t win, after all), that’s still workable: Just put both the name and the company name in. For example, you could structure the From Line as:

Jane Smith, Acme Paper


Jane Smith for Acme Paper

Or, if the person’s name is very long and, therefore, runs the risk of pushing “Acme Paper” out of the field, you could put the company name first and write it as:

Acme Paper’s Annette Pappadapolus


Acme Paper—Annette Pappadapolus

As a last-ditch, least-recommended-but-better-than-nothing effort, you could lead the subject line with the company name like this:

From Line                                           Subject Line

Annette Pappadapolus                     [Acme Paper] New Colors on Sale by the Ream!

Getting the From Line right is a small change that can have big results: Eliminate (or mitigate) people’s names from your company’s From Lines and watch your open rates jump!

Has your company tried to use people’s names in From Lines for marketing emails? Or have you been seeing a lot of them in your inbox? Let us know in the comments below.

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