What You Need to Know About Creating a ‘Do Not Reply’ Email
When designing an email marketing campaign, the need to share information without requiring a response from your recipient often arises. This is where a do-not-reply email comes into play. It offers a convenient, hassle-free way of communicating. Why, then are these types of emails not very popular, and not listed among best practices in email marketing?
In this article we will explore its strengths and weaknesses, and whether you should use it in your marketing.
Do-Not-Reply Email Explained
Do-not-reply emails are sent to subscribers from an atypical address that the sender doesn’t use to receive emails. They usually have a ‘email@example.com’ appearance, making them easily recognizable. If a customer uses them to send a response, they receive a notification of a failed delivery. Brands use these emails for one-way communication where responses are not desired, such as when sending purchase receipts or reminders.
A blog, store, or website may opt for do-not-reply emails to reduce clutter, as they do not invite customer response. Considering that over 300 billion emails were sent and received in 2020, it is easy to appreciate where this motivation comes from. For a sender with tens of thousands of subscribers, trimming down responses reduces the amount of work the email team needs to undertake.
Should you forego the do-not-reply email?
Though it serves the marketers well, this email can be baffling to receivers if not annoying because it undermines the back-and-forth conversation that emails are built upon. Subscribers, therefore, feel locked out and this can hurt your end goals. You should therefore consider a different solution if you want to:
- Encourage engagement with your community
Your subscribers have opened their lines of communication to you and expect the same in return. When you use a no-reply email, they will feel like their voices, opinions, and feedback don’t matter. Their perception of your brand will be negative, and this can affect their future engagement with you. Having a dedicated customer support email is not enough to compensate for using no-reply emails.
Convenience and speed are two of the most desirable qualities when it comes to communication. If your customers don’t get instant replies, they will become frustrated. This extends to requiring them to visit your website each time or fill out contact forms. In the long run, your subscribers will tire of the extra steps, and this will hurt the performance of your marketing campaigns.
- Routinely update your emailing lists
Allowing replies to your email will inevitably lead to a lot of responses, including automatic ones. Sorting out the chaff from the wheat will require effort, but the important pieces of feedback you get will be invaluable going forward. An example is when a subscriber updates their email address. Details of the new account will be sent to you, and this can help you update your emailing list by removing the now inactive address before it becomes a blight on your campaign’s base performance.
- Improve subscriber experience
Part of the emails you might receive will be from subscribers who are getting stuck completing their purchases and downloads. Acting on this feedback, you might discover broken links and faulty features that are affecting metrics and conversions. Other emails you get might be positive testimonials from satisfied subscribers or buyers. These can be used to fuel your marketing efforts, conversely helping you land more traffic. The feedback will also help you understand the parts of your campaigns that are working best. Ultimately, this paints your brand in a positive light and sets you up for future success.
- Improve your email deliverability
It is important to have the ‘unsubscribe’ link clearly displayed in your do-not-reply email. It is part of email best practice and makes your emails more legitimate and more likely to reach the inbox. Additionally, allow your subscribers to easily whitelist your email address or import it into their contacts.
Remember that email service providers do not support the saving of no-reply email addresses. This increases the chances of having emails sent through these addresses flagged or spammed. Since email providers use many filters to block out spam messages, the no-reply emails might not meet the threshold and consequently never reach their intended destination. Your campaign performance reports will be negative as a result.
No-Reply Best Practice and Its Alternatives
No-reply emails were designed for senders with the goal of reducing the number of responses coming back to their inboxes. It’s easy to understand how and why it became so popular with so many brands. The pros that propelled it to this near-universal adoption are now, however, outweighed by the cons. Though the purpose of the no-reply email has not changed, how it is perceived surely has.
If you want your email marketing campaigns to forego the no-reply address, there are alternatives. First, you need to move away from the do-not-reply email address by not sending any messages through it. Though you can easily swap it with an email account already in use, this is not recommended. Come up with a new address, as it will prevent any misunderstandings from occurring. It can be anything from firstname.lastname@example.org or anything else that will easily identify your brand.
Use the customer responses you get to generate FAQs and other resources.
When you receive subscriber responses, you might pick up on a few themes, issues, or topics that are frequently brought up. Use these as inspiration to create informative blog posts, tutorials, frequently asked questions (FAQs), or articles. Link back to these resources in your subsequent emails so your users know that you are attentive to their needs.
Use workflows to manage your emails
No-reply emails are wonderful for their convenience but there are cases when they are a must, such as startups without the labor force to sort through hundreds or thousands of emails each day. Once you start accepting replies from your subscribers, you will require some tools to help you with this task. ESPs offer some intuitive tools, such as filters for automatic response emails and delivery notification emails. This helps you attend only to the important emails, saving you time. Use an autoresponder tool to deliver automated responses. The content of these promises can be a promise to respond in person later, a list of services with contacts for customer service and support, including an email address for emergencies.
Separate sender and reply-to email accounts
If you insist on using a no-reply address, offer a different email address that your subscribers can use to reply. Campaign emails are designed for only sending, but as part of marketing services, they support secondary accounts that are used only for receiving responses. This option works well because you can use a customized email address that reflects well on your brand.
A do-not-reply email is still widely used now, but its negatives are reducing its allure as a message delivery tool. In the same way that you allow your customers to be part of the conversation when they are engaging with your customer service department, you should allow them to voice their opinions of your marketing material. This way, you will:
- Encourage a back-and-forth with your subscribers
- Have an updated emailing list as your subscribers will keep you in the loop of their email changes
- Receive important feedback that will help you improve your services
- Increase the delivery rate of your emails
- Be compliant with GDPR and CAN-SPAM laws.
In keeping with email best practices, here is what to do as you move away from no-reply emails:
- Switch it out to an alias
- Use workflows to sort out emails and respond
- Use the input of your customers to design FAQs and related resources.
- Use a different sender and set a reply-to email address