Safeguarding Your Reputation With Email Subdomains

Adam Swiderski By Adam Swiderski Aug 11, 2021

In email marketing, your reputation is incredibly important—and can mean the difference between promotional messaging ending up in a customer’s inbox and having it shunted off to the junk mail folder.

What do we mean when we talk about “reputation” in this context? The term refers to how each mailbox provider and internet service provider categorizes the messages you send, based on past user reactions to your email outreach. If messages you send are ignored or marked as spam, it will lead to future messages being automatically redirected to the junk mail folder. Repeated engagement, on the other hand, can lead to a stronger reputation and better inbox placement.

It can be tricky to navigate reputation as an email marketer, but one way to do so is to pay attention to the domain from which your messages are sent, and to make use of subdomains to divide and conquer, promotionally speaking. Let’s dive in and see what subdomains can do for your customer engagement efforts.

What’s in a Subdomain?

Domain names are unique modifiers that identify a particular web entity. If you’ve ever said, “[InsertWordHere].com,” you’ve referenced a domain. Subdomains are the “children” of those top-level parent domains, with a unique prefix that indicates they’re a distinct subsection of the larger domain.

That’s neat and all, but why go to the trouble of setting up a subdomain? It’s all about reputation. From an email perspective, each subdomain garners its own reputation value separate from that of the parent domain. This can be useful when sending two different types of email, since separation out their subdomains will help to ensure that they’re not lumped into one big reputation pool. For example, users might react to receiving promotional messages differently than they’d react to transactional messages like order confirmations. Using unique subdomains for different types of emails ensures that the way users interact with your marketing messages doesn’t affect their ability to receive important transactional communications, for instance.

Solving Problems With Subdomains

Another benefit of subdomains? They make it possible for companies to gain a clearer picture of the performance of different streams of messages—for instance, allowing you to compare your transactional and promotion open rates. This capability comes in especially handy when things go awry. Imagine, for instance, that one of your email types begins registering a particularly high bounce rate. If you’ve separated out your different categories of email into different subdomains, it’s easier to identify the issue and take steps to address it, compared to a scenario where you were having to search for the information you needed from within a larger domain pool.

This can be especially useful in correcting for mistakes like sending a series of promotional emails with no unsubscribe option. This kind of mistake can lead to blacklisting by certain ISPs, but if those emails were sent from a specific subdomain, neither the parent domain nor any other subdomains under it will see a hit to their reputation. Adjustments can then be made within the affected subdomain to solve whatever’s causing the issue without affecting the viability of other company communications.

Final Thoughts

Email can do a lot to support any brand’s marketing strategy. But while crafting quality content that audience members find useful and engaging is important, it’s all for naught if they never see the message in the first place. Subdomains stand out as a critical tool to ensure that messaging reaches your intended audience at the right time and in the right place.

For more on how to make the most of email in a cross-channel marketing campaign, check out the Braze email guide.

Adam Swiderski

Adam Swiderski

Adam Swiderski is a writer, editor, musician, surfer, and recovering professional nerd from Queens, New York. He's interested in the meeting of technology and humanity, and disinterested in zombie apocalypse.

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