How to Use the From: Line to Boost Email Open Rates

There’s a lot of focus on subject line testing for content optimization, but subject lines are only one of three variables you can test to improve your open rate.  Another, often overlooked, variable that can have an outsized impact on engagement is the Sender Persona, a.k.a. the From: Line.

The Sender Persona is the name of the email sender that appears in the From: Line in email inboxes. 

Optimizing content using message testing should go beyond what you’re saying to include who’s saying it.  Different audiences engage with different senders.  Some audiences engage more with a brand while others engage more with a person.

Using Motiva’s automated Message Testing step, you can easily set up a message test for Sender Persona to see which sender results in higher engagement.

Developing Email Versions

All it takes to make several email versions for a Sender Persona test is to change one field when you’re designing a new email.

In Eloqua, go to the paper and pencil icon in the main navigation menu.

A submenu will appear under the icon.  Select “Emails” to design a new email.

Select “Create an Email” or copy an existing email.

The “From Name” is listed under the advanced section of the initial email setup window.  Input a sender persona in that field.  A different name for each email version.

For the first test, you can start small with just 2-3 different variables. Simply test your company’s brand to the name of a  department or special group in your company as well as the name of a person on your team.

Develop one email version for each sender where each email is exactly the same except for the name of the sender.


Remember that the number of versions you can test at one time depends on the number of contacts in your audience.  The more contacts, the more versions you feed into one test.  Check out the contact requirements for message testing.

Automated Message Testing

Motiva’s automated Message Testing step only takes a few minutes to set up with these different email versions.

Optimize for the unique open rate and choose a confidence threshold of 99% to achieve the highest degree of confidence in the winning email version.

You can also select an end date for the test and restrict send times.  Keep in mind that Motiva’s Message Testing step runs many test over the course of several days to reach the confidence threshold for a winner.  Allow a 2-4 day send window so Motiva can complete the test for you.

When the test is complete, compare the engagement of the winner to the historical average unique open rate of that campaign to determine if the increase is significant enough to adopt the winning sender in future emails.

Check out this article on calculating an email baseline so you can measure the impact of your optimizations.

Sender Persona Test Progression

If changing the sender persona does result in better engagement, then continue testing to refine the persona even more.


if company brand is the winner, try refining the sender persona by testing a specific department or division within your company that would make the message more relevant.

You can also develop a group or community around your messaging, like a rewards or membership club, to make your contacts feel like they are part of something special.


If a person is the winner, experiment with a variety of names associated with different genders, nationalities and ethnicities.

Also try names with poetic devices like rhyming, alliteration and assonance.  Sometimes the better or more interesting a name sounds, the more likely people are to engage

Contact Insights

As you complete these message tests, look at Motiva’s Who’s Responding and Persona reports to see how different contacts in your audience are engaging with different senders.  You may find there are clear subgroups within your audience who engage more with one sender while other contacts engage more with a different sender, creating the opportunity for re-segmenting  and targeting each group of contacts by sending them slightly different content.

The goal isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to content development and communication.  Each person will have specific preferences which you can learn from their engagement behavior.  The more you learn, the more you can adapt  to your strategy to them and develop a valuable relationship.

To learn more, check out our Ultimate Guide to Automated Message Testing for content optimization.

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