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Five reasons you should stop using no-reply addresses right nowA lot of email marketers use no-reply addresses to send their emailings.

The wide variety of excuses to do so range from ‘Nobody answers my emails anyway’ to ‘I don’t want to receive out of office emails’.

But when it comes to email marketing, there are no good excuses for using no-reply addresses.

Not only will your recipients conclude that you don’t care about what they’ve got to say, no-reply addresses also damage your email reputation and deliverability.

Here are five reasons you should stop using no-reply addresses right now:

1. No-reply addresses lead to more spam complaints

Some people don’t look for an opt-out link but hit the reply button when they want to unsubscribe from your emailings.

But as soon as they see that replying to you isn’t possible (either because your address starts with no-reply, or that their emails bounce), don’t expect them to search for an opt-out link in your email. The first thing they’ll probably do is click report spam.

2. You’ll be able to get out-of-office replies

I know, I know. Not getting out-of-office replies is the exact reason why you use a no-reply address in the first place, right?

But as dreary as it might be, wading through out-of-office replies will help you find out all sorts of valuable information that you can use to clean up your email list. Which employees no longer work for a company for example.

In the end, removing these addresses helps you increase your open rates and prevent you from stepping in spam traps.

3. People won’t add a no-reply address to their address book

One of the best ways to ensure that your emails are delivered to someone’s inbox, is by having people add your email address to their address book.

But why would someone add an address to their contact list they will never be able to send an email to?

Also, you should encourage people to reply to your emails. With a lot of email providers like Gmail and Yahoo this will automatically land you on the user’s contact or trusted list.  

4. You’re legally obliged to

In many countries sending emails with a no-reply address is not allowed. In some European countries for example you have to have a working address people can reply to if they have any kind of question about your email.

And for many countries where such laws exist, they apply to you regardless of the country you send your emails from.

5. A no-reply address makes you look arrogant

Above all, the most important reason not to use a no-reply address is because they make you look arrogant.

Recipients that see something along the lines as ‘Please do not reply to this email’ get the feeling that you don’t care about what they have to say. And rightfully so. You’re basically telling someone that they should listen to what you have to say, and then cover your ears and shout lalalala when they want to engage in the conversation.

And if you really believe that your recipients are not worthy of your time, well frankly, it’s not just a matter of looking arrogant anymore, is it?

Michael Linthorst

Published 28 May, 2013 by Michael Linthorst

Michael Linthorst is CEO at Copernica Marketing Software and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow Michael on Twitter or Google Plus

10 more posts from this author

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Adam Hopkinson

Adam Hopkinson, Lead Web Developer at Audley Travel

And perhaps the most important: having a reply address creates a dialog channel that is sometimes far more convenient than completing a web form or calling an office.

This should be the first consideration for any company which takes pride in customer service.

over 3 years ago

Tara West

Tara West, Senior Biddable Media Manager at Tara West

Interesting point about being seen as arrogant for using no reply email addresses. All marketing communication should be two-way and no reply email addresses put a barrier in the way of this so not only does it appear arrogant but it's stopping the conversation with your audience.

over 3 years ago

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Henri

I really hate these no-reply emails.

If you don't want me to reply, then why write to me in the first place?
Most of the time, these are spammy unsolicited emails and come from big companies, Google (+ and Talk) and Twitter being the biggest culprits in my book.

Usually I immediately blacklist them and report them as spam but somehow Google and twitter keep coming through.

Can't wait for The UK to outlaw them too.

over 3 years ago

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Remy Bergsma

Careful with the combination of noreply and The Netherlands. Dutch DMA (called DDMA) has an Email Code (http://ddma.nl/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/09/Code-Reclame-via-Email1.pdf), which says this:

De bestandseigenaar dient zijn label op te nemen in het Van-veld. Tevens dient de bestandseigenaar een werkend antwoordadres op te nemen in het Reply To–veld, waarop response kan worden ontvangen

In English, this means a label in the from field for the database owner, as well as a working address. No-reply address is not mentioned here.

Point 4 is in this case incorrect.

over 3 years ago

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Mark

Thank goodness someone feels the same way about this as I do.

I've been banging on about this for ever.

http://makethemclick.com.au/library/email-marketing/broken-email-communication

over 3 years ago

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Alexander

Worth adding that some recipients like to reply directly to marketing emails asking for quotes etc on higher prices items, mostly in te B2b arena, but do you really want to miss out on sales because it is a hassle sifting through replies? A lot of ESPs try and filter out most of the auto replies now anyway so you can receive the inportnt replies and rummage through te out of office ones later

over 3 years ago

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Hamza, Marketing through Technology at BuzzHamza.com

I'm not sure that using a no-reply address appears arrogant. It comes across more as lazy and ignorant.

And as Adam says, the #1 reason not to use no-reply is because it puts a blocker on the easiest way for customers to continue the dialogue.

over 3 years ago

Michael Linthorst

Michael Linthorst, CEO at Copernica Marketing Software

Thank you all for commenting! Glad to see so many of you agree that using no-reply addresses complicates the opportunity to engage with recipients.

@Remy: In the article I was actually referring to the second sentence of the part of the Dutch Email Code you quoted:

"Tevens dient de bestandseigenaar een werkend antwoordadres op te nemen in het Reply To–veld, waarop response kan worden ontvangen."

While you're correct that this does not mention no-reply addresses specifically, it does state that 'a working address must be included in the reply-to field, allowing the sender to recieve replies,' which is not the case with no-reply addresses.

over 3 years ago

Lord Manley

Lord Manley, Principle Strategist / Director at BloomReach

Personally I find no reply emails less arrogant and more naive.

They are the animated 'under construction' GIF of email marketing.

over 3 years ago

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Andre Palko

You miss sales opportunities. Our weekly enewsletter ALWAYS generates multiple requests for product info as well as direct orders.

And as Adam mentioned, the all-important dialogue remains wide open. I get article ideas, product suggestions and testimonials when readers reply directly to my email broadcast. This is pure gold. No-reply really misses the purpose of email.

over 3 years ago

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Remy Bergsma

Michael: " it does state that 'a working address must be included in the reply-to field, allowing the sender to recieve replies,' which is not the case with no-reply addresses"

That is an incorrect assumption. I can create a perfectly working noreply@emailblog.eu address, at which address I can receive the replies.

Whether I choose to do something with those replies or not, is a second thing. The noreply just lets the receiver know that the email channel is not the designated channel for response: maybe a web page, phone number or other means is the primary response channel.

Is it friendly to the receiver? Not at all. Will it work? Of course!

For example, if you send thousands of emails, you might not want to receive all out of office replies on your reply address included in the email. However, for 'human' feedback, you could put in a different email address which works perfectly and is handled by an actual person. Lovely!

Furthermore, I'm curious about this:

"In many countries sending emails with a no-reply address is not allowed. "

In which countries is it not allowed to use a no-reply address?

over 3 years ago

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Quinn Mallory

Agreed on #5. Depending on the message, it can make the sender appear arrogant, i.e., "I want to have my say, but I don't want you to be able to have your say in return." Being unable to respond to the message by replying to it and having to look elsewhere for a response mechanism seems like the equivalent of being told to "See my secretary to make an appointment."

over 3 years ago

Michael Linthorst

Michael Linthorst, CEO at Copernica Marketing Software

@ Andre: I agree. Missing sales opportunities is a very important extra reason to stop using no-reply addresses.

@ Remy: Should you set up a working address starting with no-reply@ that is - other than the name suggests - able to recieve replies, then yes you are correct. From a legal standpoint that wouldn't lead to any issues. I wasn't however so much discussing the fact the address contains the words 'no-reply' (although I would never advise doing so), I was of course especially referring to email adresses that recipients cannot reply to. It's just as well about addresses that start with blackhole@. The main point here is that your recipients should be able to reply to your emails. Better yet, you should even encourage them to do so.

@ Quinn: I like the secretary parable. :)

about 3 years ago

Matthew Henton

Matthew Henton, Marketing Director at 31DOVER

Just noticed that my Daily Pulse emails from Econsultancy come from (yes, you guessed it):
no-reply@mailer.econsultancy.com

about 3 years ago

Lord Manley

Lord Manley, Principle Strategist / Director at BloomReach

Fantastic!

about 3 years ago

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Tim Anderson, Wordpress Developer, Blogger, Musician, at Tim Anderson

A very popular auction website sent me an email the other day explaining I had fees to pay on an item that didn't sell.

They sent the message from a no-reply email. The message told me to login and fix the problem. This wasn't possible. Recording a video rant about the issue and uploading it to youtube was easier.

When looking at it a second time, I added a song I recorded from a few weeks ago. Something was needed to balance off the angry tone I had in my voice.

Can you imagine if the customer service reps at Walmart ignore us when trying to make an exchange or get a refund? It wouldn't work. This is similar to what the auction website did by sending don't reply email.

That's the problem. Heres the solution: Don't email me unless I can reply. Period!

Hopefully, email marketers for these companies can come up with a reasonable solution: create & send emails with user in mind.

We have too many laws already. Government is not the solution. They can't do anything right. Period!

As for you nice guys at econsultancy, Thanks. Your article expressed the very things I was ranting about.

My youtube rant can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/4h-b9KbVcSY

over 2 years ago

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