Email Sender Lines: Getting Creative + Testing

Sender lines are important – perhaps even more important than subject lines – for better open rates in email marketing campaigns. The reputation of the sender (based on recognition of a brand/name and past experience with a sender’s messages) determines whether the email recipient will even read and consider the subject line.

The most common retail sender names go something like:

Store Name (Brand Name) – examples: Circuit City, Victoria’s Secret, dELiA*s
Store URL – examples:,,, []
Store Name + [Word] – examples: REI Gearmail, L.L. Bean Newsletter, Deals, ShopNBC Auctions, ShopNBC Clearance
[Branded Product] by Store Name – examples: StudyJams! by Scholastic

It’s very rare that a retailer ever uses just a person’s name – for good reason. Spammers often use fake names to get you to take a chance on their email (although Chad White caught TigerDirect using – oof!). But MyShape adds a personal by combining a person’s name plus the brand: Sarah at MyShape

It’s different. It’s worth testing.

One caveat with testing sender lines is consistency. If an existing subscriber is part of your test group, you erode the trust and recognition of the first sender line (control). It’s better to start testing on new subscribers, segmenting them out until you have enough to run a valid test.

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9 Responses to “Email Sender Lines: Getting Creative + Testing”

  1. Vinay says:

    | is also good way to set EMail Sender Lines! Something I and most of staff use. I find it more clear… the divider “|” separates name and brand.. so makes the viewer clear and stands out better than at ..!

    Using a simple symbol will def. help stand out of other sender anmes.. imo!

    My Sender Name: Vinay | Juretic Media

    Just my view! Cheers! :)

  2. I would be curious if ‘Rick at Audio Bibles’ had a better opening rate than just ‘Audio Bibles’ in the from field of an email.

    Has anyone done any testing to see?

  3. daniel says:

    nice article, Linda.

    This is something I have tested in the past, but only on a single brand a couple of years ago.

    Summary was: including a person’s name gave an uptick on week 1, but dropped below the standard (‘Brand Name’) over the following weeks. My best guess was there was a ‘novelty’ factor the first time around.

    “One caveat with testing sender lines is consistency. If an existing subscriber is part of your test group, you erode the trust and recognition of the first sender line (control)”

    You can test that too: Pick out a control group of existing subscribers for a few weeks, change up the sender name each time, see whether opens are higher/lower/same as your main group.

    Again – great stuff! Have loved the last few posts.


  4. I ve had great success using a persons name in the sender line , it gives a much better response to your opening rate. Also you can create a brand personality around the name you use. does much better than or

  5. Another of your articles had the named block off in square braces. I think the visual help a lot, perhaps more than a person’s name. I get so much marketing email; make it stand out so it catches my eye visually, when I scan my inbox.

  6. DJ Waldow says:

    Linda -

    Great post. Love the topic. To play devil’s advocate (one of my favorite stances), who the heck is Sarah? If I don’t know Sarah, but I know myShape am I really more likely to open? What if I don’t know Sarah OR myShape. Uh oh!

    This reminds me a bit of what does. See Kyle’s example here:

    A similar – and equally healthy – debate is brewing on a recent Bronto Blog post (First Name Personalization – The Debate Continues): – time for you to weigh in with a comment….


  7. I’d agree on the square braces, divider lines, or other fairly subtle visuals to make the information easier to scan. But restraint is necessary. Just one or two many such devices can result in a decided spammy appearance.

  8. Amrendra says:

    Ya you have a better idea, It might work more effectively.

  9. We’re just about to start using our email channel with existing customer base – wish us luck!!

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