Email insight: making email a two-way channel
Even in the year 2011 I see quite some organizations use a noreply address as their from address used in email marketing campaigns. Reasons they mention for doing so vary from technical like ‘we can’t create or maintain an email address’ to simple ‘we don’t want people to reply’ or ‘ people don’t need to reply to this’. But hang on, you are getting in touch with people through email, shouldn’t they be allowed to respond via the same channel? Seems logical, right?
There are some examples where, at first glance, a response would not be needed or catered for. One is a notification email of subscribing for something or ordering something, another is a digital invoice or other transactional email. But then again, why wouldn’t you as an organization facilitate a reply? Imagine the amount of knowledge building, relationship building and caretaking communications you could do if it was two-way communication? It might save a lot of load on other communications channels like phone lines, forms or paperwork if people were allowed to reply on your emails. The receiver of an email would feel less ‘blocked’ when receiving an email which would not have a noreply address as the from address.
If I take a look at the first example of not doing so, which is not being able to create or maintain an email address, to me that seems as if a marketing department is not taking their email marketing seriously. On one hand you are busy running email campaigns, very probably (hopefully) through the use of an ESP platform, but on the other hand not facilitating for feedback through the same channel. It seems like putting out a lot of (marketing) messages into the wild but not setting up the correct web of response catchers to see how people respond and what they actually want from you. Being succesful in marketing means you should be listening and doing something with that feedback at least half of the time.’
The other example of ‘we don’t want people to reply’ or ‘ people don’t need to reply to this’ is actually the worst one. That sounds like ‘we’re allowed to send this stuff to you, but don’t you go replying to us!’. Customer care anyone? If an organization wants to send me their business through email let me respond to it: it’ll help them make their business better, sell more, be a better marketer and so on. Even with a simple notify email a response can be justified. How about a situation like a form that has been filled in, and someone receives the notification with the form transcript, but notice that they’ve put in something wrong. That person would like to update the form data but the form has already been sent. Replying to the notification email would be the next logical step. It would save a phone call, a wrong filled in form done right and would score bonus points on the level of professional service you provide to the person who filled in the form.
For those of you still using a noreply address: welcome to 2011. Time to upgrade, time to go two-way with email marketing. It will reward your company in so many ways that it will definitely be worth doing it.