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From address: is it ok to change it?

By April 2, 2013 No Comments

Is it ok to change my from address? I get this question from time to time and it’s a good one. I’m always happy to answer it because the truth is… there’s a lot of folks out there that never ask. Most of them just go ahead and change it without even thinking of the consequences. Hopefully, this post reaches some of those people.

I’ve talked about making sure you’re using the right From address before, but I never really got into if it’s ok to change it. The short answer is yes … but you’ve got to do it a certain way or you could run into problems.

In the ever jubilant, colorful, frustrating land of Email Delivery, your From address should be thought of as your identity.  It’s a lot like your telephone number or personal email address. If you changed either of these you’d probably tell your friends and family about it right?  Well, maybe not allll your family .. but it’s important most of them know, right? Same goes with email marketing and here’s why…

When people receive your emails, they will often add your From address to their Contact or “Safe list” (whether knowing or not). Even if they click “enable images for this sender” it can give future emails you send them preferential treatment. Most ISPs will “whitelist” emails you send that person (from that address) from then on, unless the sender tells them otherwise. This does a few things: it will prevent future emails getting sent to the Junk folder, it will enable images and links by default and help improve your reputation. In short, the more people you have adding your From address to their Address book, the better. If you change your From address, guess what?  All that disappears. Changing the part before the “@” sign is not as bad as changing the domain, but any change could have a negative impact on your deliverability. That doesn’t mean you are stuck with the same From address for all eternity, but you should expect a slight drop in delivery if you do change it (especially if you break the SPF/DKIM authentication) and there are a few things to do before making the change to help minimize that.

First things first – tell everybody.

Keep your recipients informed (as you would with your friends & family) before you do it. Send them an email warning a few weeks in advance telling them it’s going to change and encourage them to add your new From address to their Contact list as soon as possible (preferably before you send your first email!).

The next thing you should do is include a warning at the top of email campaigns leading up to (and beyond) the date you change over.  Update all your templates, Web-forms, Welcome emails, etc..   You want to make sure as many people know about it as possible, the last thing you want is for them to receive a strange email from some address they don’t recognize (or trust!).

Ideally, the From domain should use the same URL they went to sign up. For example, if they signed up at http://www.abc.com  your e-mail should come from something like ‘info@abc.com’ or  ‘info@mail.abc.com’  or if it is sent from different departments within the same company: ‘info@billing.abc.com’,  ‘billing@abc.com’,  etc..

Here are some general rules for the domain itself:

  • It should resolve (or redirect) to a valid website
  • Should not be a free webmail account (@hotmail, @yahoo, @gmail,  etc..)
  • DNS should be setup to authenticate using SPF/DKIM
  • Have working  postmaster@  abuse@  addresses
  • Public (non-private) WHOIS information
  • Should not be more than 30 characters in length
  • Be registered for a minimum of 30 days (new domains look suspicious and could get blacklisted on Day Old Bread or Spam Eating Monkey)
  • Should not contain unnecessary “-“ dashes or dots “.” (ie:  info@this-email-is-from-our.marketing.department.abc.com)

For information on making sure your domain is setup properly for SPF/DKIM, click here or feel free to contact our Deliverability team.

For other Tips & Tricks like this one, please read our Guide to Understanding Deliverability.

Bye for now,

Kevin

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Author Kevin Huxham

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