Does the From Field Matter When Emailing Affiliates?

I have affiliate accounts with a number of affiliate networks through which I both monitor what my competition is doing, and analyze different things. I seldomly check the email account to which these affiliate-geared emails come, but yesterday when I did, I was stunned by how many affiliate program managers do not use their names in correspondence with their affiliates.

Out of 100 randomly selected emails only two (obvious below) used their full names in the “From” field. The rest had either their company name in that “From” field, or something like “[Merchant Name] Affiliate Team” in there:

Also, out of 100 emails that I have analyzed, only 31 were signed by real names (19 of which were OPMs, and 12 in-house affiliate program managers), while the rest (or nearly 70%) were signed either as “Your Dedicated Affiliate Team”, “Affiliate Manager”, or again followed the format of “[Merchant Name] Affiliate Team”.

While I firmly believe that de-personalization of affiliate program management — which starts with “Dear Valued Partner” type of addresses that open emails to affiliates, and ends with “Your Affiliate Team” type signatures at the end of them — negatively affects manager-affiliate relationship, I don’t know what to say about that “From” field. There is an opinion that in traditional email marketing personalization of “From” fields “with a person’s name” is recommended “only if that person is well known and closely associated with the type of message you’re sending”. But since in the affiliate program management context we’re not only trying to communicate something, but also build a relationship, using your real name in that “From” field may be a sensible extension of this effort.

What I do with the programs I manage is (a) use my full name in the “From” field, (b) use the merchant’s name in the “Subject” field, and (c) always use my full name and all ways to contact me in the signature of the email.

Now, I can talk all I want about what I think; however, the only way to find out what affiliates think is to ask affiliates. So, here’s a poll that I’d really appreciate affiliate participation in. As you can see, there’s also an “Other” option. If none of the suggested options work well for you, please choose “Other”, keying in your brief reasoning in the poll, and elaborating on the details in the “Comments” under this post.

Many thanks in advance for helping us (merchants and affiliate program managers) understand what works best for you.

11 thoughts on “Does the From Field Matter When Emailing Affiliates?”

  1. For the first contact I believe it is correct to use the company name in the From Field but signed by a real person. Once that person has introduced themselves they can then use the real name in subsequent mailings. Personalization is very important on both sides.

  2. Thank you for chiming in, Andy. Good comment which makes absolute sense to me. Anxiously awaiting affiliate votes and comments.

  3. Wow… I had to think about this one, but ended up choosing “Company Name”.

    What first came to mind was Pepperjam… 6 new e-mails today, all from “[email protected]”. Completely useless. Sometimes one comes from [email protected], which is just as useless.

    Because I run a generic (all-encompassing) coupon site, I’m partnered with thousands of programs, so I get hundreds of e-mails per day. I don’t read them all. I scan the subject lines, then SCAN THE “FROM” SENDER NAMES. I look for programs that I do volume with, or merchants / opms that I know.

    I prefer company name over the AM’s name because the company name doesn’t change, but the AM may. If a new AM takes over in a program, I wouldn’t recognize the new person’s name.

    IF you decide to use your name in the From field, please put the company name in the subject line.

    NOTE: I don’t know what the difference is between Company Name and Affiliate program name. Maybe that would change my answer, but (to me), they’re one in the same.

    1. Eric, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the subject. Everything makes sense.

      BTW, the difference betweent the company name and the affiliate program name is nothing big (you’re right). I’ve seen some put [Merchant Name] in that From field, while others put [Merchant Name]+”Affiliate Team”, [Merchant Name]+”Affiliate Manager”. I guess, those first two options are, after all, too close to be split.

  4. I’m torn on voting on this. It depends on the combination. I like the real name in the “from” as long as the program name is in the subject. IF the program name is not in the subject, I like it in the “from.” I just want to see it in one of those places. If the real name is NOT in the “from,” I definitely want to see it at the bottom of the email. 90% of the time I delete emails that say they are from the “affiliate team” unless it’s something I absolutely need to act on like a program term change.

    1. Wow… Now that is an interesting stat (deletion of 90% of “affiliate team” emails). Very illustrative of the main point I was trying to make (namely that while de-personalizing their correspondence with affiliates, managers hurt the development of their affiliate programs).

      Thank you for that comment, Tricia.

  5. I have to agree with Tricia on this one, some type of combination works for.

    I also hate the from “Your Affiliate Team” it just cheapens everything to me and I just know that I’m not going to have a great experience. If I see the person’s name, at least a contact email, and possibly a phone number/Skype I know that they are there if needed and they take affiliates and their affiliate program seriously.

    1. Thanks for your two cents, James. Comments from, active affiliates under a post/poll like this are simply invaluable. I appreciate you taking the time to chime in as well.

      Yes, I agree, “cheapens” is the verb that’s hitting the nail on the head!

  6. Touching on Eric’s point – I think it depends on the size of your operations. If you’re receiving just a few emails a week, then it is a good touch to have a real name, but if you are getting hundreds of emails, that becomes less important. I think the importance of personalization is more or less inversely proportional to how large your affiliate efforts are scaled.

    1. Interesting take, Dustin. Additionally, much would probably also depend on whether it’s an OPM-managed, or an in-house-managed program. Most major OPMs have strong personal brands, and provided they list the name of the merchant in the Subject line, with them – listing their personal name in the “From” field would probably make a lot of sense.

      On a separate note, looking at the current poll results, it looks like we’re at a 50/50 split now. Interesting.

  7. If I see a person’s name in the From field, like Ross in your inbox screenshot, it’s usually an important one-on-one conversation. But my assumption is thwarted in certain cases, like with Brianna’s newsletters. Man, I can’t believe I recognize those names!

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