Deliverability

Ditch the noreply email (and what to do instead)

One-way conversations are kind of rude. Noreply emails are no different, so we’ll run through some nifty alternatives to provide a good user experience and protect your deliverability.

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Automated emails – what’s not to love? Email marketing campaigns can be automatically sent out for customer birthdays, transactional email receipts, and just about any email campaign to streamline your business.

While there are a myriad things that can go wrong with your automated email campaign, we feel like there’s one that gets overlooked: using noreply email addresses.

In this article, we’ll go over what a noreply email is and why it’s hurting your email marketing programs. Then, we’ll leave you with some alternatives to the noreply email.

What is a noreply email?

A noreply email is exactly what it sounds like: a “do not reply” email address that begins with noreply@. Many businesses use them to send automated emails and signal users that no one is monitoring that email mailbox for replies (even if they are). They’re usually used for transactional emails, like confirmations or shopping cart reminders.

Sounds like a great idea, right?Not really. Let’s explore why noreply emails might be hurting your marketing efforts and what you can do instead.

Why is a noreply email a bad idea?

Now you might be thinking that discouraging replies is the entire purpose of noreply email addresses. We agree with you, that is the point, but that point is killing your reputation.

Here are some reasons noreply emails are a bad idea for your digital marketing campaign:

  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Email Service Providers (ESPs) can penalize the use of noreply emails.

  • You prevent genuine email client engagement.

  • In some cases, they may make you non-compliant with data protection laws.

In short – noreply emails don’t work. Let’s dig into each of these below.

What does it mean if ISPs and ESPs penalize the use of noreply emails?

ISPs and ESPs generally frown on the use of noreply emails. And, if you pair that with the wrong content, you’re bound to hit spam filters or attract spam complaints. More spam complaints mean you’re less likely to land in the inbox.

How does using noreply emails affect my engagement metrics?

By using a noreply email, you’re actively shutting down the best kind of engagement: email replies. You want customer replies because they’re the most genuine form of engagement, and they allow you to build a better brand by providing great customer care.

In fact, you may even alienate customers by making them feel like they’re talking to a brick wall.

There’s something to be said about two-way communication, and email was built for that. When you set up an email campaign with a noreply address for the majority of your sending, you’re actively discouraging your customers from talking to you.

How might using a noreply email make me non-compliant?

Under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), your customers have a right to request that their data be removed from your storage. If you use a noreply email to communicate with your subscribers, you might be non-compliant with GDPR by making it hard (if not impossible) to get in touch with your business about removing user data.

Do noreply emails even work?

Not really. Noreply doesn’t exactly keep people from replying. Sure, it discourages them from replying, but that can’t stop them if they really feel like responding. They’ll simply look for alternative contact information to get in touch with your business. Of course, in the meantime, this means you’re adding to your customer’s frustration by not providing an easy way to get in touch.

What can I do instead of using a noreply email?

Since noreply emails don’t really work, let’s look at some alternatives you can explore for your next email marketing campaign.

Consider:

  • Creating a dedicated email address for email responses.

  • Setting up filters for specific auto-responders.

  • Keeping an eye out for unsubscribes.

  • Adding a personal touch.

Let’s go over these in more detail below.

Create a dedicated email address for email responses

If you set up a dedicated reply-to address, you can filter incoming messages and respond to customer feedback. In other words, create a specific email address to receive incoming messages from a particular email marketing campaign. Ideally, this will be a shared email address that relevant team members, like customer support agents, sales reps, or community managers, have access to.

In fact, you can take it a step further and automate your incoming email workflow. Simply connect your dedicated email addresses to support software tools like Zendesk. This way, each email will automatically create an incoming support ticket.

Set up filters for specific autoresponders

The point of a noreply email was to not get replies. Specifically, you don’t want to click through a bunch of out-of-office messages and other autoresponders. Even if you use a dedicated email address for customer responses, you will have to deal with these automated messages.

Luckily, there’s a solution. You can create a filter to catch messages that contain keywords like “delivery notification” or “out of office” in the subject line or body of the email. Learn more about how to use Regular Expressions (regex) to filter incoming emails.

Keep an eye out for unsubscribes

Some subscribers reply directly to your email to ask to be removed. If you’ve sent your email marketing campaign from a noreply address, you’re missing your subscriber’s messages, thus creating a negative customer experience.

In fact, if you don’t honor these requests on time, chances are your subscribers will simply mark your messages as spam. This can be really damaging to your domain reputation, and you might be blocklisted by their ISP.

Add a personal touch

If the point of a reply-to email address is to promote conversation between you and your customer, why not take it a step further? Instead of having a shared, dedicated email to catch all your customers’ responses, add a personal touch by segmenting your list and having a dedicated person field the responses for each segment. This way, you can provide a personal touch and add a face to your operation.

For instance, many B2B senders will use a salesperson’s email address as the reply-to to keep the conversation personal and human. On the other hand, B2C senders may use a general reply-to address that may be monitored by multiple email marketing professionals. Both scenarios enable timely customer responses.

Use subdomains to organize email flows

Instead of turning to a noreply email solution for your customer service needs, consider a more proactive approach with different subdomains and inboxes to better organize your email flows. Whether or not you make a new email address or subdomain largely depends on your sending volume. Be sure you have the right setup before you send.

We also cannot stress enough how helpful routes are in this situation. You can set up different routes and send messages to different locations based on anything, like a certain subject line match or header match. You can stop messages, route them to your support address, or send them all to the same box – the routing world is your oyster.

Wrapping up

It’s a no-brainer, really: People like to talk to real people. ISPs love it too because genuine communication doesn’t belong in the spam folder, which means you get to improve your email deliverability.

So, if you’re using a noreply email right now, don’t worry. Making the change isn’t as painful as it might seem, and it’s a great time to check that your email list is clean and you’re in compliance with CAN-SPAM.

If you’re confused about how else you can better your email experience for your customers, we’re always here to help. Get started with Mailgun today.

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