Testing “From” Fields in Email Marketing Messages

We’ve historically used Wil’s name as the “from” name in all of our email marketing communications: messages about event invitations, feedback surveys clients, and even our newsletter.



From "Wil"



But the truth is, Wil isn’t the one sending those emails. But I won’t insult your probably knew that already. Which is exactly why it felt wrong to keep sending email marketing messages from “Wil”, when they weren’t actually from Wil.


I looked to the data to research the potential impact of removing our company’s figurehead from our email messages to thousands of subscribers.


Historically, we’ve gotten above industry average when it comes to opens and clicks for most of our email marketing messages. They all happen to come from Wil, but we’ve never A/B tested the “from name”.


Knowing that using Wil as click-bait just feels wrong, and knowing that our long term company growth is predicated on building up the entire team rather than solely relying on Wil’s name, I decided to A/B test the “from” field: one from me, one from Wil. I tested this in a recent email to all of the people who have attended our events. I took a page out of the books of brands like Ceros and Buffer, and went with “Emma at Seer” rather than plain old “Emma”, so recipients had context for who "Emma" was. 

From "Emma at Seer"



Here’s what happened:from-name-test-data


Any data-oriented marketer would see those results say, “More people click through on, and unsubscribe the least from, messages from Wil. Let’s keep sending them from Wil.”—right?


No! Wil is the figurehead of our company, but we’re made up of over 100 smart folks. Seer is more than Wil. Our longer term growth is dependent on more than just one person. Also, if we’re talkin' RCS, we shouldn't be splashing Wil’s name everywhere to conveniently get clicks.


So if you see emails coming from me, or any other member of our team for that matter, now you know why!

Data is only as good as the human that's interpreting it

Data is only as good as the human that’s interpreting it, making a judgement call, and acting accordingly. By using a name other than Wil, will click-throughs potentially be lower in the future? Perhaps. But if you set that expectation with the appropriate stakeholders for the sake of something more sustainable and in support of the company’s longer term growth, you’ll probably gain much greater support.

And if you want to be a guinea pig for other tests we’re working on with our email marketing, don’t forget to subscribe!


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