Optimising Your From and Subject Fields
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How important are the 'From' and 'Subject' lines? In short: Very important.
These are the factors which will decide whether your email gets delivered to
the inbox or to the junk mail box.
Generally speaking the 'From' field is used by both the recipient and the
spam filters. The recipients uses the 'From' field to determine whether to
delete the email whereas the spam filters check to see if the email address has
been 'whitelisted' (i.e added to the contacts list) to determine whether to
deliver the email to the inbox or not. Some factors to consider:
- Whitelist. Ask your readers to whitelist your 'From' name.
They simple have to add your 'From' name (& the associated email address)
to their address books/contacts. This then paves the way for your email to
be delivered to their inbox, not their junk mail box. For this reason, you
also need to ensure that the email address which is used is the same each
month. For this reason, you may decide not to use an individual's email
address (as staff can come and go), but a generic address such as newsletter@.
Of course, it goes without saying that the reply address (which in many
systems, can be the same as the 'From' address or a different address),
needs to be attended.
- Who is the email from? Whether the email should come from
a person in the Company or the Company itself is best decided by you. If it
is a person, then the person should be identifiable with the recipient - but
also believable. It is no use sending a personalized email to a recipient
from the CEO of the company if it is obvious that the CEO did not write it.
You will lose credibility by doing this. If it is a person, then they need
to be accessible - either via email or phone. By sending it from an
individual, you are presenting a personal communication, which needs to be
- If you decide to send it using the Company's name in the
'From' field, then you need to be sure to use 2 words. For example, our
newsletter, EzeNews is sent out from 'Ezemail's EzeNews'. The reason for
doing this is simple. Email was design to be sent from one person to another
and the 'From' field was designed to contain a first name and a surname. And
so, spam filters expect there to be 2 words within the 'from' field and can
penalize your deliverability of there is only one word within this field.
- Have procedures in place. If you are off sick or on
holidays, and someone else is doing the newsletter for you, have the basics
on hand. For instance, last week I received a newsletter which I regularly
look forward to, but instead of the familiar From name and subject line, I
received it form "website support' (yes, you can guess which department
was filling in on this occasion!) - with absolutely no mention of the
company's name in either the 'from' field or 'subject' line
it was very
The 'Subject' line is what motivates people to actually open the email. A
couple of factors to consider are:
Consistency: Whatever you decide to do, be consistent. Don't
change it every week. Let the readers become familiar with your 'From' name and
'Subject' line, so that even if an issue does end up in the junk mail box, they
will be able to scan and pull it out easily.
Branding: Additionally, after considerable testing we have
also found that what is in the 'Subject' line can affect deliverability. By
adding the recipient's name within the subject line, you can improve your
deliverability - but only use this if it is applicable i.e the newsletter is
from a 'person' rather than a company. We also recommend that where possible you
add either the company's name or the name of the Newsletter in the subject line.
For example Clickz (www.clickz.com)
uses: 'ClickZ E-Mail Marketing: E-Newsletters and the Power of Change' with the
'ClickZ E-Mail Marketing:' being constant in each issue.
Email ClientShows in 'From' fieldOutlookName or Email addressOutlook
ExpressName or Email
addressGmailNameHotmailNameYahooNameEudoraNameExciteNameAOLEmailAs you can see
in the above table, AOL is the only email client which does not show the 'From'
name, but only displays the email address. If you have a high percentage of AOL
recipients you may want to consider adding the Brand name within the subject
By implementing some or all of the above suggestions I am sure you will be
able to improve deliverability of your e-newsletter! Good luck!
Copyright Kath Pay 2005
Kath Pay is Marketing Director of Ezemail, an innovative company
that provides comprehensive email marketing solutions including a
fully re-brandable Agency solution. For more information on how
easily email marketing can be implemented, please contact Kath at firstname.lastname@example.org
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