Delete EmailWhat is the best email address to use for your email marketing messages?

If you’re struggling with this question for your own campaigns, congrats! You’re thinking pretty deeply about optimizing engagement and interactivity with your readers. There are basically two schools of thought: 1) Your readers want a ‘personal’ approach and will respond to an email from their friendly sales executive named Joe instead of an impersonal, faceless corporation, or; 2) Your readers understand your brand and will welcome news and updates from your company, but will feel ‘tricked’ by your attempt to use a personal name.

Notice, in both cases, I assume you have an existing relationship with your readers.

When you want to purge your own inbox, where do you start? Do you line up all the emails from “Company ” and delete the group (like I do)? Do you then go after the “Joe ” or “Company ” emails? If you’re like me, maybe you save the ones from “Joe ” for last. Unless I’ve heard of the company, it’s gone. If I haven’t heard of the person, it gets read, but boy will I be ticked if it’s junk. Maybe enough to hit the spam button.

So what do you do? I hate to say this, but it depends. It depends on who you are, what your company does, what your readers want, how they found you, and which way the wind was blowing that day. Since you can’t segment based on the whimsical nature of reader expectations, you can at least play the percentages, so here are a few tips to help choose which approach is right for you:

Use the “news@” (or “sales@”, “updates@”, “stuff@”, etc.) approach if:

  • Your brand is well-known to your customer base. If your readers and their grandmothers know your company but couldn’t pick the CEO out of a lineup (like almost any restaurant chain), you should use your company name to send the email.
  • Your brand has a personal approach to messaging. If you position your company as more like a friend than a business (airlines come to mind), you should maintain that friendship without complicating things.
  • Your brand scores well for quality, reliability, service or other measures of trust. If you just plain make the best. Period. And your readers know it, you’re in brand nirvana. Use your brand as the foundation for your campaigns.

Use the “Joe@” approach if:

  • Your business is built on personal relationships. If the first impression your company makes with most of its followers is through a sales executive at a conference or a regional sales agent, that person should be the name sending the email.
  • Your business is centered around a celebrity or personality. If your CEO is a well-known visionary who overshadows the technology and even the company, make your emails a personal communique from the CEO (Really, do you want an email from Martha, or from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia?).
  • Your business has a rich, personal engagement approach. If your company is built on superior service, or technical know-how, put one of your technical people in front of your readers with tips, updates and best practices to form a solid relationship. Some companies even make up a person (think car insurance) and use that character’s name for campaigns. But ideally, authenticity counts.

If your business is large enough to need different approaches with different segments, you’ve got a lot of work ahead. If not, and you have a pretty good evaluation of your brand, the tips above should help you decide whether you are “Updates@company.com” or just “Joe”.