I can’t count how many times I’ve accidentally (or nearly) marked as “spam” a legitimate email from a company that I know and love because the sender information was unrecognizable. Major companies — such as SendGrid, Clutch, or StackPath — do this constantly, and it drives me nuts.
Specifically, it has become trendy in recent years to send company announcements and email newsletters from the name of an employee — such as the Director of Marketing, or similar — ostensibly because it makes the email seem more down to earth.
This is simply a very, very bad idea.
Like many marketing trends, many companies seem oblivious to the facts that:
1. Nobody cares. The vast majority of users don’t know who your Director of Marketing is and they simply don’t care. Trying to sound personable will surely backfire unless the sender is someone extremely famous, like Bill Gates or Barack Obama, or perhaps if your business is very small and your customers already know you. Unless you ARE the business, such as a coach or consultant, you probably should not be sending company emails from a person’s name. If your company insists on sounding personal, then add the author’s name and/or signature at the bottom of the email with a nice “Sincerely,” sign-off.
2. Everyone else is doing it. The longer I’m involved in the marketing world, the funnier it gets to see various trends get simultaneously picked up by dozens or thousands of different companies at the same time. Sometimes, looking mainstream is effective, and other times, you just look like a wannabe. There is also the point that for tech savvy users who have subscribed to dozens of different companies, that means dozens of different rando names showing up in the inbox — none of whom they recognize. And how many are willing to click into an unknown email sender and read through it to figure out if they want to read it? Not very many.
3. People get loads of email! This just makes #2 even worse. Not only do you not look more authentic (you just look like a poser) but scale this to hundreds of emails in someone’s inbox per month and yah, good luck not getting marked as Spam. Plus, services like Gmail will automatically unsbscribe recipients from your email newsletter (or at least try to) whenever they mark your emails as Spam. So you’ve watered down your brand and even worse, permanently lost those users as well. Plus, damaged the reputation of your email server and/or domain name for the long-term if this is happening regularly.
Technically and legally, spam is unwanted email. But even if users have signed up for your company newsletter, but they don’t recognize your emails, this could theoretically be another reasons to avoid the above naming practice. Unrecognizable email, even when legitimate, could still be considered spam in certain cases. While this would probably never become a legal concern, it could lead to other concerns if for example certain regulatory practices are relevant to your business industry.
For best results, the email sender should always match the domain name as close as possible.
So if your company is SilverWidgets.com then the email sender should be Silver Widgets. This not only helps humans understand you better, but it helps robots and software clarify immediately that the domain name and email sender are one in the same, and will help you avoid being labeled as spam not just by humans, but by software as well.Last modified: 10 Sep, 2019
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