Email Marketing / Debate on What domain to send from, I am involved in a large group on LinkedIn and we are having a conversation about email marketing.

I would love to know peoples thoughts on whether you should use a custom domain when email marketing instead of your website domain. What are your views?

One of the people in the group wrote:-

Dotmailer, Mailchimp and Constant Contact have very similar reporting functions and include all the features mentioned in Jonny's offering and I don't see how it would be cheaper to go through Jonny or anyone else. Prices are shown on all these sites.
One of the most misleading comments or tips on Jonny's site is this one..."what email address do you send from? – DON’T use your website domain, you could harm either your email deliverability or more so your importance of your own domain! If your emails get classed as spam your website gets classed as spam too! Use either a custom email address of a custom domain, for example mybrand-email.com or news-mybrand.com" This is, quite simply, misleading advice.
Using alias email addresses attached to "unknown" domains or @xyz.com are only going to create more distrust in the receipient's mind and spam filters do not like aliases or what are often regarded as spoof email addresses.
For many of the best practice guidelines, please just read the various FAQ and tips pages on various email sending software sites mentioned above...they are extremely helpful and factual... or give me a call.

I replied with:-

Thanks for your comments XXXX,

As a dotMailer reseller I can offer their enterprise portal (set up price £995) for a set up price of £0-£250 depending on needs, and the costs of sends is also cheaper than going direct. It would be silly for me to say I can offer a cheaper package if I can’t?!

The simple reason being is that as a reseller, I have already paid all the upfront costs, and I have a number of clients using portals under my agreement which means the deal I get with dotMailer is a better deal than an individual going direct. Unless you are sending circa 100k emails per month yourselves coming to me would be cheaper.

With regards sending emails from your website domain, if you were to ask dotMailer (one of the uk’s biggest email marketing broadcasters) they would categorically advise you not to send from your own domain. See http://www.dotmailer.co.uk/email_marketing_resources/faq.aspx (Can I send from my own email address?) (AS XXXXXX SAYS "For many of the best practice guidelines, please just read the various FAQ and tips pages on various email sending software sites mentioned above...they are extremely helpful and factual..." ;-)

Let’s think as a human for a moment, and ignore anything that we may or may not have read. Your website is mywebsite.com and you have just sent 5000 emails out, let’s say that 10% of the users class that email as spam. The next time you try to email one of your friends or clients from mywebsite.com there is a potential that mywebsite.com has been blacklisted. You friend or clients email client checks the spam blacklist, sees that mywebsite.com is on it and wow you suddenly have created email deliverability problems for your own brand!

Let’s be more specific, a customer of yours has had enough of your marketing emails, classes it as spam, wether that was in outlook, gmail, Hotmail etc. He than makes an order from you next week, but you can no longer email him to advise him about his order as his email client automatically puts in into junk!

Moving onto search rankings, Matt Cutts from google has said online that "email reputation does not effect ranks", but again thinking as a human being, if Gmail (the biggest email provider in the world and owned by Google) get reports from its users that mywebsite.com is sending spam emails (simply by users clicking “mark as spam”) would it not make perfect sense that Google search may think, hang on a minute mywebsite.com is sending a load of spam out, are they really more important than mywebsitescompetitor.com.

In answer to how using a new/unknown domain creates distrust, this is simply not the case if done correctly. Taking dotMailer again as the example, you have two choices, the first choice is to use their domain mywebsite@cmp.dotmailer.co.uk which is extremely highly trusted by all the major ISP’s or alternatively using anyname@emails.mywebsite.com or similar, would be sent from dotMailers own servers with SPF records that clearly indicate to the ISP’s that the email has been sent from dotMailer, again a trusted and reputable company.

Does it not make sense to protect your brand and your domain, I think so, I think that companies have to do everything in their power to protect their domain name. It makes sense that you want to ensure that your own customers receive your normal company emails and email marketing can have the potential to stop that. And if there is any doubt in your mind that Google could use it in there ranking algorithm whether that is now or in the future, then again you have to separate them. And finally if there is no downside, then why not?

I welcome further thoughts and feedback on this one, and wonder why Boots use email.boots.com, Pizza Express use email.pizzaexpress.com and dotMailer use dotmailernews.com ?

Jonny
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