0203 418 9740 robin@chimpanswers.com
To Book a Call with the Mailchimp Guy Click Here

Be Somebody Else

At least when you are sending an email.

Mailchimp Tips | Email Addresses | Chimp Answers

“I don’t think he suspects a thing!”

Struggling to understand who your customer actually is?...and what motivates them?
Use this FREE Customer Avatar Worksheet to develop your marketing activities with a specific person in mind and ensure you know what to say and where to say it - Download it now!

TL;DR (Too long; Didn’t Read)

When an email is received, the first thing anyone does is look at who it’s from, and connects this with previous knowledge or expectations associated with that name.

Your name in email is your reputation, it’s every experience they (your audience) had with your emails, and if it’s the first time they’ve received an email from you, it’s connected to how they joined your email list and their expectations.

It doesn’t matter how great your subject line is, how enticing the preview text, or when you send it, if the name it comes from generates negativity and disinterest then the email won’t get opened.

A long time ago, getting an email was a cause for celebration.

It was new and different, and no matter if it was “you’ve got mail” or a ding, it was exciting.

You’d click into your email inbox and chances are you’d open it no matter what.

…now, it seems the only mail we get excited about is the stuff that comes through the letter box.

Email is no longer a novelty, and unfortunately, with spam, it’s sometimes hard to cut through the noise.

You’re a bit more discerning with whether you open an email now.

…and that makes it harder for those who are sending emails (like us) to get a reaction.

Because without the open, there’s not much chance our email activity will work.


Getting the Open

Opening an email is an essential ‘micro-step’ in the process any email goes through once you click the send button in Mailchimp (here’s an overview of the key steps in getting an open).

…and you’ve got several tools available to you to improve the chances of it getting opened.

  • You’ve got the time it gets sent and received… (and if you’re on the paid level of Mailchimp you can optimise this).
  • You’ve got subject lines… and you can even test subject lines in your emails using A/B testing.
  • You’ve got the preview text, 2 lines that can in some cases be the make or break for getting someone engaged and wanting to open an email.

but none of these trump the most important weapon you’ve got in the battle of getting your emails opened.

Who it’s from.

Why is the Who so important?

When an email is received, the first thing anyone does is look at who it’s from, and connects this with previous knowledge or expectations associated with that name.

Your name, in email, is your reputation. It’s every experience they’ve had with your emails, and if it’s the first time they’ve received an email from you, it’s connected to how they joined your email list and their expectations.

It doesn’t matter how great your subject line is, how enticing the preview text, or when you send it, if the name it comes from generates negativity and disinterest.

I’m on the mailing list for a high street UK clothes retailer, and they started sending emails to me a few months ago (about 3 years after they got my email – but that’s another story (read about my experience here).

Unfortunately, I don’t read their emails anymore, mainly because when it pings into my inbox, I pretty much know what it’s going to say, because they all say the virtually the same thing – buy my stuff.  To me, their reputation is bad.

…So anytime an email comes in from them, I don’t even read the subject line, it just gets binned (and to be honest, I should probably unsubscribe – but then again, I’m a sucker for seeing how different businesses use email).

Getting a good reputation associated with your name is down to the content of your emails and the experience that someone has over time with them. However, there are two variables you have when it comes to the sending name you use and which is displayed in someone’s inbox – the email address, and the name associated with it – and you can change both in Mailchimp to your advantage.


Changing the name

When an email arrives in an inbox, it comes with a name associated with it, and you control that for your Mailchimp campaigns (when you’re new and not in their address book) – which means that you can use it positively to improve your chances of getting the open.

The first email they receive is the most important one they ever get from you, and the name you send it from matters more than ever.

Usually it’s triggered from filling in a form, but however it gets sent, you need to make sure people know who it’s from.

If you’re using just your name (be it first or full name), you are likely to have a problem – because unless your name is your brand, people won’t know who you are – you’ve not built a reputation yet.

If I sign up to a mailing list and the first email comes from “Phil” or “Phil Jones”, I’ve no idea who that is… and so I’m immediately suspicious.

However, if it comes from “Phil at Widgets are Us”, I immediately recognise the brand as one who’s mailing list I recently signed up to.

You need to follow the “name at business” so people recognise you in the early part of the email relationship.

You can also get a bit creative (only if it’s ‘on-brand’), so many of my emails get sent from “Robin, Chief Chimp at Chimp Answers”.  Adding a title (and making it humorous/different), can stand out and support your brand/create a positive feeling towards it – but only if it’s appropriate for your business.

So don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit in your emails – but not too much. When it comes to email, your name is your brand, so ensure they have positive associations with it (their experience of the email content) AND don’t change it too much in each email – you still need them to make the link and know it’s from you/your business.


Changing the Email Address

The other element you get to change when you send an email from Mailchimp is the actual address it gets sent from.

Once your sending domain is verified (and hopefully authenticated), you can actually send an email from a name associated with that domain (I call them vanity addresses).

So I could send an email from:

robin@chimpanswers.com

donuts@chimpanswers.com

yourbestfriend@chimpanswers.com

themailchimpexpert@chimpanswers.com

…and they’d all get sent.

Obviously, you need to be careful with this as going too far “off the reservation” will mean people won’t link it to your brand, but it’s a useful ‘change up’ tactic, if you think people are using rules/filters to automatically put your email into a folder in their email system (something I do for lots of people).

I’ve seen many emailers change up the sending name to catch someone’s attention and ensure the email gets into the inbox (and not some dusty file).

Now some of you may be thinking – that’s great Robin, but when I create an email to use in Mailchimp that isn’t a real email in existence and someone replies, won’t it get lost?

Well, it will… unless you use another cool Mailchimp tool called “Conversations”.


Conversations in Mailchimp

For every email campaign in Mailchimp, you can set Mailchimp up to handle ANY replies to that email by using the “conversations” tool.

All you need to do is “tick the box” in the settings for “conversations” for an email and any replies to that campaign will be handled by Mailchimp – and you’ll get a message from Mailchimp saying that someone has replied to your campaign.

Mailchimp becomes your “inbox” for replies… and you can then go in and reply direct within the system.

…and this doesn’t just work for ‘vanity’ addresses, you can get Mailchimp handling replies to real email addresses as well using the tool – so you can avoid your inbox being clogged up with “out of offices” and handle specific responses outside of your standard inbox.

This is really handy if you’re an agency or are sending an email from someone else in your organisation (e.g. the boss) and they don’t want to have to worry about handling responses from the campaign.

…and although it won’t have any real impact on your open rates, it’s a really handy little asset.


Your name is your reputation

When it comes down to it, the most important weapon you have to win at email marketing is your reputation – and that is directly associated with the name people seen when an email arrives in their inbox.

Too many people miss out on using the name positively, and create confusion by not using the business name as part of the campaign.

Don’t over look this when sending an email – and make sure that you’re taking advantage of the tools Mailchimp gives you to improve your chances.

Robin Adams

Robin Adams

Robin Adams is a business owner who is passionate about helping businesses build effective marketing systems that work and don't waste money. Having a lifetime of Marketing experience (he's got a degree in Marketing before there were degrees in Marketing!) and having worked for big and small businesses and both client and agency side, he understands not only the theory, but the systems that are required to underpin everything.
51% marketer and 49% Chimp, Robin is the main man behind chimpanswers.com and the Mailchimp Answers Facebook Group - the world's biggest Mailchimp User Group. Connect with him on Linkedin.

Struggling to understand who your customer actually is?...and what motivates them?

Use this FREE Customer Avatar Worksheet to develop your marketing activities with a specific person in mind and ensure you know what to say and where to say it.

Download it now!

Challenge Us!

If you want someone to help you with your Mailchimp account, whether it's setting it up, reviving it or just keeping it ticking over, don't be shy.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Our Troop

Like this article? Subscribe now to receive free tips and resources on Mailchimp and marketing.

Your email will be managed in accordance with our privacy policy which you can view here. Unsubscribe at any time.

The Mailchimp Fundamentals

There are some things that are 'Fundamental' to doing Mailchimp the right way.

We call them 'The Fundies

Join the World's Biggest Mailchimp Community

The Mailchimp Answers Facebook group is the world's biggest Mailchimp community

Everyone has Questions

Understand the 10 most asked questions about Mailchimp... and get the answers to each of them.

A short video course with screen captures of the 10 most popular questions about Mailchimp.