Dedicated Domains are Good

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What about my own email address?

Your tracked email should not go out from your own personal email address. Or anyone’s actual email address.

A marketing email from Apple to people who wanted to know when the iPhone 5 is out, might say it comes from Steve Jobs but won’t actually come from his work email address.

The main reason for this is if you send bulk email from a person’s actual address all of the auto-replies including a good chunk of bounce reports will flood your inbox, if you have a list of more than 50 people, it could be a long day.  Also those bounces will not be suppressed for the next send unless you manually sort them.

So… what should I do?

What you need to do is a set up a branded ‘from domain’ for your marketing emails that is hooked up to your ESP or emailing software. This will mean that all replies go back there and the ESP/software can filter out the real replies and forward them onto your own address.

Your have two options:

  • Set-up a sub-domain for your web-domain and delegate that to your ESP,
    • eg: email.yourdomain.com
  • Buy a brand new domain
    • eg: email-yourdomain.com.

Tracking

When an ESP tracks your links, they swap them for a special link that sends the clicker to the desired page, via their software. This will then enable the ESP to track who clicked what and when.   These links will need a domain and this domain will be linked back to your ESP.  By default they will be unbranded but when you set-up your branded from domain, this same domain will be used to track your links.

Also this same domain used to track your links and be your from address will be the same domain used to host your campaign management landing pages, i.e: unsubscribe & social share pages.

Which is better, a sub-domain or a new domain?

Short answer: a sub-domain is slightly better

A sub-domain is more brand compliant because is directly connected to your web domain (by a dot) so it is already an existing entity and recipients are already accustomed to seeing that domain in the browser. A sub-domain can also be used more quickly after set-up, however do bear in mind that  they are often harder to set-up especially when it comes to large brands where the domains are closely guarded.

ISPs and spam filters in general are very suspicious of new domains sending large volumes of email. Subsequently you will not be able to use your new domain straight away after buying and delegating it.  You will be able to use your sub-domain straight away because your web-domain has been around for ages and already sends emails.

Domain registration

The domain sending the emails has to be registered to the brand sending them, for the same reasons as you have to put your company registration details in the footer of your emails. So if you go down the route of a new domain, make sure it is registered to the brand sending the emails. This way if someone is suspicious about an email from you and they look up your sending domain, they can find the brand and trust it.

Why should it matter if the ‘from domain’ is different from the link domains?

Short answer: Trust

The level of brand consistency always makes a difference, especially to anyone who is umming and erring over whether to trust your email. Of course if you have a decent welcome programme and give a good experience and engagement from the start this makes less of a difference.

When you are sending tracked emails, make sure you brand the domain, preferably with a sub-domain but if this not possible then buy a new domain as soon as you can.

Incidentally steve@apple.com is not his email address, it is a honey trap. If you find it on your list, your opt-in experience needs a bit of work, give me a shout and we can talk it through. And don’t email it!