Startups, Fix Your "From" Field– 24 March 2012
– 361 words
A short rant. I have seen this problem happen too many times to stay quiet anymore. I have reached out in private when this happens, but I'm going to write a public rant so I can stop repeating myself.
Put your company's name in the From field of your notification emails.
There, was that so hard? It seems so simple, yet so many companies fire off bacn email without letting me know who they are in the From or Subject lines, and it just looks like spam.
Here is an example from a new startup whose website I joined yesterday:
I have no idea what these emails are about or where they came from. Do you?
Here is the fix. Format your From address like so:
"Company Name" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This will show Company Name in the From section of GMail, Outlook, and literally every other email inbox service. Then I know why I got your email at a glance without having to open it and be mad at you.
If you just use email@example.com, most inboxes will either show the part before the @ symbol (like GMail), or if you are lucky it will show the entire email address, but now you are forcing the user to parse the email address for your domain name. Blech.
There is a corollary to this rant:
If you use a person's name as the From address to make your company look more personable, then put your company name in the Subject line somewhere.
I have seen several companies send out newsletters using a person's name as the sender (founder, head of marketing, etc), but the Subject line is meaningless without more context if I don't recognize your name as being associated with a company I know.
Just sneak it in somewhere. Any of these will do:
[Company Name] Check out our new features!
Hi from Company! How do you like us so far?
Your order from Company has shipped!
Please fix this. Please let me know who you are while I skim my inbox so that I don't glance over it, or worse, hit the delete or spam button without reading it.— Fin.