Do you use a fake or firstname.lastname@example.org email address that you send your newsletters out from? If so, you could be doing your customers a disservice.
Don’t worry, quite a few of us are or have been guilty of it. You’ve added your contact details to the footer so no-one’s going to press the reply button to get in touch. After all, the email address says do not reply right?
Wrong! Whilst you might understand what a ‘do not reply’ email address is, many of your customers and readers won’t! They probably don’t understand how you send emails – they might even expect you’ve just sent them through Outlook or Gmail. I personally don’t check the email address when replying anyway; you’ve contacted me with it so it should have to ability to receive messages too.
In my experience, even if you add a message to your email asking the reader not to reply to the email, it is either ignored or not seen. After all, you don’t want to make it too prominent in your email for a few people who don’t understand.
Consequences (or: Bad stuff will happen)
If you don’t monitor the email address, customers might think that you are ignoring them. Worse still, if you use a fake email, they’ll get a delivery failure notification which can make you look like a scammer. This means they’re much more likely to end up marking you as spam and that’ll harm your delivery rates long term.
As a website, you’ve already removed that face to face conversation that you have with your customers, so why are you blocking their path when they want to communicate with you? We should embrace however our readers want to get in touch. (And don’t forget, we love it when you leave a comment on our blog posts and let us know if you liked it hint hint, or if you need help, just get in touch with our lovely support team who’ll reply in 48 hours, or 24 if you have MailPoet Premium!)
In fact, I’ve often found people replying is a really easy way of getting quick feedback for your email content. Maybe there was something you didn’t make clear enough? Perhaps there is something people want to know more about?
Using a proper reply email address will also assist with list management. Yes, of course you’re going to end up with a few out of office replies from people on holiday, but it will also help you find out when people no longer use their email address.
For example, when someone leaves their job or change ISPs, very often the email address does not get shut down straightaway. You will usually get some sort of out of office message saying they’ve left/changed email. Which means you need to take them off your list – there’s no point contacting them, they’re not going to read the email.
It’s a bit of a grey area, but I’ve always shied away from updating an email address from an auto-reply. This is because you can never be 100% sure whether the email address has been fraudulently accessed, so I’d prefer the recipient updated their details themselves. And if they are genuinely interested in our newsletters, they’ll do this voluntarily. If not, it’s likely their engagement has decreased anyway, so there’s not much point them being on your list.
So from now on, let’s all start letting our customers get in touch with a real email address to reply to and give our readers the service they expect and deserve. Why not think about sending from a special email address like pleasereply@, or sayhello@?