Does the From name matter for email marketing?

On By - Best Practices, Psychology - 2 Comments

Does the From name matter for email marketing?

Unquestionably yes.

Here’s why:

Yesterday, I received an email from Ben Downing* with the subject line, “How to Turn a Good Idea into a Great Presentation.” The subject line immediately caught my attention. As a guy with a ton of (good?) ideas who also does a lot of presentations, I was interested. Then, I glanced at the from name: Ben Downing. My first thought, “Who the heck is Ben Downing?” I tapped into my memory bank – for 7 seconds – and came up with nothing. I was pretty sure I had never heard of this Ben Downing.

So, what did I do next? I deleted the email. Total time spent thinking about this email was approximately 15 seconds. That’s about 14 seconds more than I normally spend per email.

Being an email marketing guy, I decided to go to my trash folder a few minutes later and look at that email again (Note: I’m pretty sure this is not what “normal” consumers do). I opened the email. Low and behold, the email was actually from eMarketer. See below for a screengrab of the top of the eMarketer email:

Now let me be clear: eMarketer is a company that I trust. I love their reports. I find value in (nearly) every email they send. I use their content in presentation. I share their emails, their reports, their charts, etc. The only problem? Based on the sender (From Name) Ben Downing, I never would have opened this email. I don’t know Ben.

So, does the from name (sender) of an email matter? You bet.

My challenge to eMarketer: The next time you send an email, do an A|B split. Try a person’s name (maybe Ben, maybe someone else) and pit it against eMarketer. I’d be willing to bet you get a higher open rate on eMarketer vs. a person’s name.

One more note: When I first saw this email from Ben, I tweeted about it. As I was penning this blog post, two folks from eMarketer replied. As you’ll see from their responses, both appreciated the feedback and promised to test next time around. Sweet.

Along with eMarketer, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the importance of From Name. Have you tested the From Name in the past? What results did you uncover?

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2 Responses to "Does the From name matter for email marketing?"
  1. Justine, Litmus says:

    Looks like you guys missed the images when porting articles over from the Blue Sky Factory blog. Any chance the image above can be re-linked?

    • Justine, Litmus says:

      If I recall, there were also comments on the original post that included some results from an A/B test. It’s a bummer these were lost, I was intending to link to this article and mention the great conversation.

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