Knowing When to Use Do-Not-Reply Email Addresses in Marketing

If you take a look at your inbox right now, we’re willing to
bet at least a couple of the latest emails you received came from
do-not-reply email addresses.

No-reply email addresses are everywhere. Businesses, from small
to big, use them to send all kinds of messages, and, in many cases,
they go about it all wrong.

We’ve talked a lot about how we feel
about do-not-reply email addresses
in the past. However,
there’s a time and a place for everything, and, if you’re an
email marketer, there are only a couple of occasions where it makes
sense to use a do-not-reply address.

Read on to discover what those are. But, first, a discussion on
no-reply email addresses, in general, and why they’re such a
controversial topic.

What are do-not-reply email addresses?

Every email you get comes from somewhere. However, a lot of
automated emails use what we call do-not-reply email addresses,
like this one.

An example of do-not-reply email address.

As the name implies, if you try to reply to one of these
addresses, you’ll either get a failure-to-deliver notification or
your message will go unanswered.

That’s because do-not-reply email addresses don’t get
monitored. Businesses use them to send out emails that they think
don’t require any type of interaction, so they don’t get
flooded with unnecessary replies.

It makes a lot of sense, from a business perspective. The
average worker spends up to
2.6 hours,
every single day, going over emails. Anything that
can take that number down is bound to increase productivity
massively.

However, there’s a reason—if not several—why no-reply
email addresses are such a controversial topic among marketers.

Why you should (mostly) avoid using do-not-reply email addresses

A quick Google search for “do-not-reply email addresses”
will show you there’s a pretty clear consensus when it comes to
the topic: They may be practical, but they’re not a good business
practice.

The argument against do-not-reply email addresses boils down to
three key points:

1. They’re not customer-friendly. It’s
pretty easy to spot do-not-reply emails. However, you need to
understand a lot of your customers are probably not as tech-savvy.
They might miss out on the signs, reply to these emails, and then
wonder why they’re not getting a response from you.

2. You miss out on essential client feedback.
Feedback is key to any company’s growth, and email is one of the
easiest ways to communicate with your clients. If you cut off that
channel entirely, you’re missing out on a lot of important
conversations.

One great example of a situation where a lot of businesses use
do-not-reply addresses when they shouldn’t is during purchase
confirmation emails.

 A Humble Bundle purchase confirmation email.Source: Humble Bundle

At first glance, the practice makes sense: You buy something
online and you get a quick confirmation email that doesn’t
require a response. It should be the perfect scenario for using a
do-not-reply address.

But what if one of your clients has a problem with their
order?

Ideally, customers will reach out to you via your official
support channels. However, as we mentioned earlier, not all your
clients may be that tech-savvy. If they get an email about their
purchase and they have a question, they’ll probably use that
channel to try and get a response.

In that scenario, you don’t come off well to that customer,
which means they’re less likely to make future purchases or
recommend you.

Overall, there are very few scenarios where it makes sense to
use do-not-reply emails, so let’s talk about what those are.

When to use a do-not-reply email address in marketing 1. Opt-in
confirmation messages


Opt-in confirmation messages
are the perfect scenario for using
do-not-reply email addresses.

Most of your subscribers probably sign up for a lot of
newsletters and email lists. That means they know the drill: Every
time they sign up for a new list or service, they’ll get a
confirmation email like this one.

 A confirmation email from Duolingo.Source: Duolingo

There’s absolutely nothing about that email that invites a
response.

At worst, some of your clients will change their minds at the
last minute—in which case, all they have to do is not confirm
their subscription. It’s that easy.

However, just because signup confirmation emails don’t require
a response, it doesn’t mean they should be boring.

You still want to make sure that customers open those messages,
even if they come from a do-not-reply address.

In this case, since we’re pretty sure you won’t be getting
any responses, you can replace the traditional
donotreply@yourdomain.com with
personalized addresses
such as:

  • hello@yourdomain.com
  • yourname@yourdomain.com

Your emails may be automated, but you still want your customers
to feel like you’re messaging them directly. Even a little bit of
personalization goes a long way when it comes to email open rates
and engagement.

2. Account update notifications

If you run the type of business where customers can make a
purchase from your website, then chances are you require them to
sign up for an account. That means they have to share personal and
contact information with you, such as their email address.

We already talked about opt-in confirmation messages, but what
happens if one of your customers decides to change their email?

Ideally, you’ll send them an automated confirmation message to
the former address, just in case there’s something fishy going
on. That’s a perfect opportunity to use a do-not-reply email
address.

 A security notification from Netflix.Source: Netflix

These types of messages don’t require any interaction beyond
confirming the changes your customers make.

In case of a security breach, most of these emails include a
link your clients can use to let you know they didn’t initiate
the changes to their account.

An example of a donotreply disclaimer from Netflix.

Source: Netflix

Even so, if you’re going to use a do-not-reply address, you
should always make sure you include a brief disclaimer at the
bottom of the message, so customers know you’re not monitoring
their responses.

How to ensure you don’t miss any emails (without using a
do-not-reply email address)

We can all agree that using do-not-reply addresses isn’t a
smart business move, in most cases. However, that leaves you with a
problem on your hands: How can you prevent your business email from
getting flooded?

The answer is this: You can’t.

The larger your business grows, the more customer queries
you’ll have to deal with. If you’re an online business, that
means you’ll be getting messages 24 hours a day, 365 days out of
the year.

Fortunately, there are a lot of smart ways you can deal with a
flooded inbox. Your best allies, in most cases, will be labels,
filters, and automatic responses.

If you’re not using labels
and filters
yet, you need to catch up on the times. Modern
email clients enable you to filter any emails you get according to
specific criteria.

For example, you can set up filters to assign high-priority
labels for email addresses from important senders, so they don’t
go overlooked.

Beyond that, you can set up automatic responses if you want
customers to know it may take you a day or two to get back to them.
That way, they won’t panic and send even more emails your
way.

Depending on the size of your business, it might even pay off to
hire someone to monitor and reply to emails full time. It’s an
essential customer communications channel, so it makes sense for
you to put a professional in charge of it.

Wrap up

Ask 10 email marketers what they think about do-not-reply email
addresses and we bet they’ll all say the same thing:

“Only use them in very, very specific cases.”

Two such scenarios include:

  • Opt-in confirmation messages
  • Account update notifications

Those are two types of messages that are fully automated and, in
most cases, don’t require any further action from you. Beyond
that, if there’s even a slight chance that customers might want
to reply to one of your messages, then use a live email
address.

Campaign Monitor provides you with the tools and features
you need to create engaging emails that get high response
rates.

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Knowing When to Use Do-Not-Reply Email Addresses in Marketing

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Knowing When to Use Do-Not-Reply Email Addresses in Marketing