Does your email look like SPAM? Email headers matter.

Only 5% of Realtors have their “From” headers in the correct format. Are you part of the 5% or the 95%?

Don’t think your email headers matter? Or maybe you just never thought about it?
This is actually my inbox. Within minutes a Justin Wood and a Justin Wool emailed me. Who is who?

Do you want your clients’ first reaction to be “who is this?”

How about when a customer can’t tell if you are a President of company or customer support for a trash company!!

Again, look at my actual inbox:

With 100-200 emails per day, and many of those being spam with fake names, it is very difficult to memorize who works for what company. And if you want your email to be read first, then make it easier to speed read in a flash.

Which is easier?:
Smith, John (worst)
John Smith (bad)
John Smith XYZ Corp (better)
John Smith- XYZ Corp – 703.555.1212 (best, save them a click, have your phone # in your “From”)

Here are the “from” headers for Frank, David and Eric and 2 spammers, which ones stand out?

  • Frank Borges LL0SA 703-827-4OO6
  • David Johnson [1.877.555.1212 – XYZ Realty]
  • Eric Owen [703.555-1212 – HomeFirst Mortgage]
  • Eric, Johnson (spam for free music)
  • Peter Patterson (spam for something else)

Much easier to read and process than:

  • LL0SA, Frank        (real)
  • Johnson, David    (real)
  • Eric Owen            (real)
  • Eric, Johnson       (spam for free music)
  • Peter Patterson    (spam for something else)

Only until you open Eric and Peter’s email will you know it is spam.

By NOT looking like spam or a high school friend, it makes your company look more professional and your emails don’t get lost in your client’s (and fellow Realtor) flooded inbox.

In case you didn’t get my point, here is a third example of my inbox:

Ok, so how do I change my headers?

Using OUTLOOK? This is where you change your headers.

Look for the “Your Name”

(More Outlook info here)

How to change in Gmail:

Click Settings (top of page), then Accounts, then “edit info” and change your “Name” (for advanced users, in gmail you can also change your actual from email address AND your reply to email address)

Cheers to pretty email headers!

Other tips for email headers: Change Your Email Headers to Ensure…

Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker

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15 Responses to Does your email look like SPAM? Email headers matter.

  1. Tchaka says:

    Hey, I recognize that guy with the easy to read header!

  2. Matt Wilkins says:


    I may not agree 100% with including all contact info in the from field. However, I do feel its unprofessional to send an email where the from field , when received by the receipient, is formatted “username@domain” rather then “Name” (especially when the email address does not contain the person’s name).

  3. Tony Arko says:

    Thanks for the info Frank. I didn’t even know how bad it was until you showed me the light.

  4. Jeff Royce says:

    Moving from the 95% to the 5% today.

  5. Frank Borges LL0SA= Broker Short Sales says:

    Matt, AOL requires that format.

  6. Brian Block says:

    Frank, great advice. I took this advice of yours about a year ago when you first wrote about it. Now I’m hoping that others will take the same advice to make it simpler for me to sort through my stack of daily e-mails.

  7. Loren Nason says:

    I disagree with you 98% of what you suggested.

    The only format you “From Header” should look like is:
    “Loren Nason”
    “Nason, Loren”
    “Loren Nason (Company Name)”

    For the love of God please don’t make your header be:

    “John Q. Realtor (714-555-5555 = #1 producer)
    “John Q. Realtor (714-555-5555 = Million Dollar Producer)
    or some similar barf to the above.

    If I get an email that has extra word vomit in the “From Name”
    It gets flagged as spam. I can read a subject line and know if it’s a spam or not. I don’t need extra fluff in the “from name” to know if it’s a bogus email.

    Instead of telling agents to modify their headers have them ditch their unprofessional AOL, Cox, hotmail, gmail, msn, or some other free email and step up to the plate and use their own domain for their email showing that they are a professional not a “Johnny come lately real estate agent”

    The 2% I do agree with you is that the headers should be cleaned up to show my suggestions or what Matt said and to not use for the “from name”

    And what did you mean to Matt:
    “AOL requires that format”

    I can send to AOL just fine and my “from name” says:
    Loren Nason

  8. Jeremy Hart says:

    Agreed, you can go overboard with what you put in there but I can see the point of making sure you stand out in a responsible, professional way. Making that update now, thanks Frank!

  9. Pavel says:

    Thanks, Frank. Great post, a change I just made.

  10. Justin Dibbs says:

    I’ve been doing this for several months now and you are exactly right! It looks so much better in the inbox or the actual message header. Good post.

  11. Jim Rake says:

    Just moved….thanks

  12. Finally someone who can write a good blog ! I loved your post and will be telling others about it. Subscribing to your RSS feed now. Thanks

  13. Frank LL0SA says:

    Hey Loren,
    I never got this comment until now. I guess I didn’t subscribe to the comments.

    I never said to add spam or a jingle after your name. So your 98% disagreement was not what I suggested. So you 0% got the point of the post.

    Ideally the company name should be in the From. The reason for the phone number is some people want to look up the agent’s number to call them, and having it in the From makes it easier. Also just now I sent a lead to an agent and her # is in the From (auto fills in gmail) so when I sent the “Jim meet Megan” email, the phone # was already there.

    As for AOL, he was referring to AOL users sending out aol email, they apparently require a certain format.

  14. Dave Kinkade says:

    Hey Frank, I found this blog entry by following the link over from ActiveRain. This was such a simple and practical suggestion. My ‘from’ line now has meaning and actually communicates useful information to the recipient. I’m really glad I followed this link. Thanks! P.S. How cool is it to see a post that is still working hard four years later?! Nice!

  15. JohnP says:

    The term “Email Headers” means something very different than you believe. I’ve been installing and managing email servers for almost 20 yrs. Every email message has headers and a message body and perhaps attachments. The headers that matter to spam filter engines are shown when you ask your fat-email client to show all headers. MS-Outlook buries this setting somewhere 2 to 4 levels deep in the menus. Other email clients like Thunderbird have it under View –> Headers –> All

    The “FROM” field is an email header but it doesn’t really matter at all to the spam filters provided it contains userid@domain.tld somewhere. Without that, it isn’t a valid address.

    Other email headers are variable, but include:
    X- {almost anything you like} different email programs and server can add or remove headers as the message traverses from the sender to recipient’s computer. Different anti-spam filters will add how “spammy” a message appears using their rules. The most important thing that determines whether something is considered spam or not is the sending IP address range followed by having proper reverse-DNS and forward-DNS entries between the domain and IP address. These are commonly known as “MX records.” Anyone can see these using nslookup on MS-Windows.

    What people put in their “FROM” field really is up to personal taste. As a long-time technology worker, I would assume a FROM address with anything more than the and perhaps a first and last name was from a spammer.

    We all know that FROM fields are just a suggestion, not necessarily fact. The only way that I believe an email is really FROM someone is if they’ve cryptographically signed it using either an x.509 or GPG certificate. They could also encrypt the email with either of those using my public key, which forces me to decrypt it with the private key. Nobody else can read the email that way too.

    As another poster suggested, if you want people to take your business seriously, get your own domain. To people like me, those still using AOL are paying 20x too much for an inferior service. People using free email services for a business are in a hobby, not a business.

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