6 Ways A No-Reply Email Address Hurts Your Business & How to Fix It
Historically, organizations have used no-reply email addresses to dissuade customers from replying to certain marketing or transactional emails. However, the days of communicating with customers via “email@example.com” must come to a halting close.
At the end of the day, the benefits of no-reply email addresses are steadily diminishing, In fact, this time-saving “hack” is doing great harm by impeding customer retention and damaging email marketing efforts.
When their responses go unanswered or a no-delivery notification is sent, customers conclude that you do not, in fact, wish to engage in dialogue with them. As a result, they’re much more likely to take their business elsewhere.
You spend so much time drafting your emails and crafting the best subject lines. it’s high time businesses recognize the incredible value of encouraging replies. Not only are they an invaluable source of feedback, but they’re also a quick and easy opportunity to connect to more meaningfully.
Below are 3 concrete reasons why no-reply email addresses are fast becoming tabooed and swapped out:
1. No-reply emails have higher chances of being written off as spam
In an effort to keep customers happy, internet service and email providers use certain filters to prevent spam messages from making it into their client’s inboxes. Using a no-reply email oftentimes gets your email caught in a spam filter thereby blocking messages from being delivered at all.
Additionally, most email service providers do not allow users to add no-reply email addresses to their address book.
Using a no-reply email address can inadvertently end up defeating the whole purpose of sending the communication when this happens.
2. Customers may feel frustrated by their inability to respond
Customers reply to emails for a reason. They may have questions, concerns or feedback to give. Perhaps the shipping address on their order confirmation is incorrect? Or maybe they need to contact support for assistance. Whatever the reason, your job is to make it as frictionless as possible for them to contact you. The easier that is to happen, the more likely you are to close the sale or keep that customer returning.
Also, a lot of the time, people fail to even check email addresses when responding. So if an email from a no-reply address delivers and your customer replies directly, they may think you’re ignoring them if no response if received.
Worse yet, if they get a no delivery error message, they may start to think your first email as spam. Either way, you’re really not helping your business’ image.
It’s a lot to ask the customer to hunt down your preferred contact email address just so they can provide feedback. Stop adding unnecessary steps and pain points to their consumer journey. Do everything in your power to make two-way communication a breeze.
Remember, customers deserve to feel like you value their thoughts and opinions. If you do anything to make them feel like that's not the case, then they will be more likely to seek out a competitor who does.
3. Might not be legally compliant
GDPR (Global Data Protection Regulation) are a set of European Union laws that mandate how companies should be making use of the data they gather about customers and internet users. One of the main rules stipulates that customers must be able to request information about the data collected on them.
By indirectly preventing customer communication with the use of no-reply email address, you run the risk of breaching GDPR compliance. Realistically speaking, subscribers are essentially blocked from exercising their data rights if your business’ no-reply email address prevents them from making contact in the first place.
In other parts of the world, for example, the United States, the CAN-SPAM Act gives subscribers the right to opt-out at any time they’d like. This means the business has to provide customers and prospects alike with a valid email address that can be used for easy contact.
At the moment there is no specific provision that outlaws no-reply email addresses. Still, it’s essential that you consider potential violations and weigh the pros and cons. Also, do you really want to wait for a law to outlaw a specific practice before you stop using it?
The below infographic on Email Marketing Do’s and Don'ts should be observed before ever hitting that send button:
In order to avoid having your messages blocked, hemorrhaging customers and potentially breaking the law, here’s what you should be doing instead:
4. Swap out your no-reply email for a real email address
You probably don’t need any more convincing, so I advise you to take immediate steps is to swap out your no-reply email address with a more enabling one. A few alternatives to consider include:
- A generic, but more welcoming alias like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- An alias specific to an email campaign’s focus like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Creating a spokesperson who could be an employee, a mascot or really any fake alias, for example, all of Trello.com’s marketing emails are sent from firstname.lastname@example.org. Taco is actually the co-founder's Siberian husky.
Be creative and be efficient. Fight the urge to feel overwhelmed at the thought of loads of people responding to your marketing emails. You want to engage as many folks as possible and thankfully there are several ways of avoiding death by inbox overload. Below are a few tactics that can help.
5. Filter out automated responses
One of the best things you can do is practice filtering out any automated responses. These responses are pre-designed replies sent to acknowledge that a message was received but are oftentimes automated and unrelated to your message.
Many inbox providers will allow you to specify certain rules that can filter messages based on set conditions.
This functionality can be used to filter out emails containing words like automated response or message delivery notification most commonly associated out of office or delivery failure messages.
Your inbox will thank you once this automatic separation is set up, plus the emails filtered out will still be in a separate folder in case you need to reference them for any reason.
6. Be proactive with providing resources
Granted, one of the biggest draws of using no-reply emails is not being flooded with email responses. One extremely effective effective way to avoid this is to provide as much information as the customer will ever need.
For example, after customers make a purchase, can you direct them to the Frequently Asked Questions page of your website? How about including a link to your help page in your email communications?
As you continue to create new and engaging content around the most often asked questions, be sure to include links to those resources in emails. Your goal is to answer your customer’s questions even before they ask them.
Another option to avoid drowning in customer response emails is to set up a dedicated email address so that you can separate email responses from normal business emails. If you’re using GSuite, this is a super easy set up. Other setups might require a little more technical help. Whatever the case, it’s a great tool for staying organized.
One of the surest ways to lose customers, profits and market dominance is by failing to adapt your business model and practices. There was once a time when no-reply emails were effective. But today, using a no-reply email address is one of many other email marketing mistakes we’ve learned should be avoided at all costs.
It’s user experience leaves much to be desired, it can reduce the overall efficiency of your email marketing campaigns, and can prevent you from receiving valuable feedback from your customers.
Even if you don't make the change overnight, you should definitely be exploring ways to move away from this tool of the past. Instead, you want to use an address email address that your audience can reply to. You also want to set up a procedure to manage these replies.
It’s better to set up your email campaigns, newsletters, and transactional emails with senders that instill confidence in your audience. With email marketing, it’s always better to put your customers’ needs first, as this will always result in better engagement and deeper customer loyalty. You might just uncover some valuable information in the process.
About the Author
Uwe Dreissigacker is the founder of online invoicing software InvoiceBerry & also offers free invoice templates to businesses. Small businesses and sole traders can create, send and manage their invoices, quotes and credit notes with the tool. In his free time, Uwe travels the world and enjoys experiencing different cultures.