The from address of your campaign is the email address a recipient sees in their inbox when they receive your email.
As a user of the platform, you automatically get given a generic 'from' address to use, which looks something like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, depending on when you created your account.
However, using this unbranded 'from' address isn't something we recommend. It can degrade your online brand and trust, and could limit your open and subscription rates.
We recommend setting up a branded domain. This makes use of a subdomain, such as email.yourcompanyname.com, so we can then generate a custom 'from' address (CFA) for you, making your email address look branded, friendlier and more familiar to your recipients.
A custom 'from' address is made up of two parts:
- the alias, which is the part before the @ sign (for example events@...)
- the domain/subdomain, which is the part after the @ sign (for example ...@companythatsellsclothes.com)
To create a CFA, you can either:
- use or create your own subdomain and ask your domain provider to let you delegate it to us, allowing us to implement it as your CFA
- purchase a domain/CFA from us
In this article, we'll look at everything you need to know about sending your email with a branded domain - from why it's best to have a CFA, to how to generate a subdomain or purchase a new sending domain, to what format it should follow, as well as other useful information that can affect it.
You must create a new email address to use only for your custom from address. It is not possible to use an existing email address.
Why use a branded domain?
There are three simple reasons why it's important to brand your sending subdomain:
- Achieve better delivery rates
- Engage your recipients for better open rates
- Avoid bringing down your firm's transactional email
If you make use of our branded domain service, then you'll be taking advantage of four major benefits:
- Get more of your emails into inboxes. Our CFAs are fully configured for authentication, confirming to the ISPs that you are who you say you are. This is essential for getting more of your emails delivered into inboxes.
- Build your online brand and trust to improve your open rates. Your recipients will see only your brand in the CFA - no mention of your ESP or webmail provider. Making sure your 'from' address is fully branded like this will help increase your open rates.
- Protect your company domain name and your transactional emails. Using a branded domain will protect your company's transactional and business emails from being affected by block listing from organisations such as Spamhaus due to spam complaints.
If your CFA's domain does accidentally get block listed, our Deliverability team will step in and take the necessary steps to get the domain unblocked as soon as possible, using the excellent relationships we hold with ISPs.
- Our branded domain service represents great value, as we do all the work for you. For a small admin fee, we'll manage a subdomain for you (or purchase a sending domain if for any reason you are unable to point your subdomain to us), one which is branded to your company domain name, that is www.email.yourcompanyname.com. We'll also include custom tracking links in your emails. Then we'll set up all the configuration and authentication required, so you don't need to.
Why can’t I use my company's existing email address?
To answer this, the following reasons expand upon some of the benefits of a CFA as opposed to sending bulk email from your regular sending address, as outlined above:
The primary reason, and why the industry standard is to use a separate domain name, is reputation risk.
Regardless of how much care and attention you put into making your marketing emails relevant to your lists, there are likely to be some subscribers that decide they no longer want to receive them. Rather than clicking unsubscribe, some users will just mark your email as spam/junk. This, and other factors, can damage your sending reputation which can lead to you appearing on block-lists for companies like Spamhaus.
Our Deliverability team maintain excellent relationships with ISPs, so in the rare circumstance that someone does get blocked, they can step in and take the necessary steps to get the domain un-block listed.
In order to avoid your normal business email becoming blocked, regarded best practice is to send from separate domain names for your marketing email and your regular/transactional email.
Easy infrastructure changes
We do, from time to time, make changes to our infrastructure, which means that the domain records need to be changed. This means that many domain records need to be updated at the same time.
As such, we require access to the records for all the domains we're sending on behalf of so we can make all the changes at the same time. This is easier when the domains are not also accessed by other agencies when used for normal email and for websites.
Avoid delays to your normal business email
As well as a risk to the reputation of your normal business email, there can also be delays to the speed at which it's delivered if it gets queued with bulk email being sent from the same domain.
We recommend either generating a subdomain (for example email.yourcompanyname.com) or, failing that, purchasing a CFA from us (for example email@example.com), as this protects your company’s normal day-to-day emails from any problems that could be associated with your email marketing.
Creating a branded domain also allows us to include custom tracking links within your emails, plus set up all the configuration and authentication required for deliverability, so you don't need to involve your IT department in this matter.
Please note: If you already own an alternative domain or wish to set up a subdomain, please contact your account manager.
Creating a CFA
When you create your CFA, there are some words to avoid, and some we'd recommend using.
Words we would suggest steering away from to avoid triggering spam filters are:
Words that are often used that work well are:
Here are some full CFA examples that we'd suggest:
Your CFA cannot contain accented characters. The subdomain must only consist of a combination of the letters a-z, the numbers 0-9 and the hyphen sign (-). Please note that your chosen subdomain cannot start with the hyphen sign.
Implementing a subdomain as a CFA
Firstly, you'll need to check with your IT department and/or domain provider whether your subdomain can be pointed to us. This is because some domain providers don't allow subdomains to be pointed to different name servers to those of the parent domain.
If allowed, then you'll need to create specific NS records that point to us. Full details of this are covered in Delegating a subdomain to our servers.
Can I provide MX records for my existing domain?
No. We require the NS records to be pointed to us rather than just the MX records.
This is because we need to set up some of the other services on the subdomain, such as the hosting of landing pages, and the enhanced reporting of opens, clicks and bounces.
If the subdomain is delegated to us only using the MX records instead of the NS records it isn't possible to set this up.
Can I run a domain myself by being given the DNS records or a copy of the zone file?
No, we don't provide DNS records, or a zone file, or anything of this nature for you to then manage.
In order for you to have your own subdomain, we provide two options:
- purchase one through us that we manage, or
- delegate the *subdomain to us that we manage
In the case of the latter, all you need to do is ensure the subdomain is pointing to our name servers (as given above in How do I implement my subdomain as a CFA?). This will ensure full functionality of our services.
* Note: There may be some restrictions and further requirements associated with delegating a subdomain to us.
Can I move my CFA that I use with my current ESP to you?
Yes, but we highly recommend not to. Even with an excellent reputation, doing so will have a negative impact on deliverability. When you change your ESP, you change the underlying infrastructure, so it’s entirely new for the mailbox providers.
Also, when you delegate the domain to us, your previous ESP won’t work anymore because essential settings like email authentication are now pointing to us. This means a hard stop when migrating; there is no possibility to use both systems while starting with us.
You should be aware that this can also affect links –including unsubscribe links– and images used in previous campaigns.
I can't delegate an existing subdomain. How do I purchase a new domain for my CFA?
It's possible to have a variety of different custom 'from' addresses to send from, as well as multiple sending domains.
To purchase these, go to Campaigns > Advanced features > From addresses.
Option not available?
If this feature isn't enabled, the page may not be visible in your account. Please contact us to discuss adding a new 'from' address.
This page lists your available sending addresses; each address may be 'Active' (available to use in campaigns), or 'Pending' (currently being set up).
You can get a new sending address by clicking on the Purchase new address button.
On the 'Address purchasing' page you can:
- Set up a whole new sending domain — this will give you exclusive use of a domain name, such as email-mycompany.com.
- Set up an alias for a domain that you already own — if for example you already have firstname.lastname@example.org, this will enable you to have email@example.com.
Domain names can be purchased within the application which end with:
Other domain names are available. Please contact your account manager to discuss options.
Purchasing a new sending 'from' domain name
We strongly recommend that you don't send from a newly purchased 'from' domain for 30 days. This is because mailbox providers treat brand new 'from' domains as a bad reputation indicator. Sending from it before 30 days have passed could adversely affect your deliverability.
Enter the email address you want to send campaigns from.
The domain name will need to be one which you don't already own (and no one else owns). To check if it's available, click on Check availability.
If the name is available, then great, you can go ahead with the purchasing by clicking Purchase. If not, we'll suggest some alternatives.
When you purchase the new domain name, you'll need to provide some contact information. Your name (this cannot contain accented characters), address and contact details will be made publicly available for anyone looking up the owner of a domain.
Enter your details. Upon clicking Purchase address, you'll be asked to confirm your choice, along with details about what your account will be charged or deducted.
Once we have your details, we'll charge your account and start setting up the new address.
You must verify your domain within 15 days of having purchased it, otherwise the domain will get suspended.
An email containing a verification link will be sent to the email address you registered the domain with, so it's important to make sure it's been entered correctly.
Please note that these verification emails are not sent from us.
All generic top-level domains (TLDs) will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org.
.uk domains will receive an email from email@example.com.
Note that we're able to request the resending of a verification email for all TLDs except .co.uk.
You're able to tell if a domain has been suspended by looking at the NS records. If suspended, they'll read:
- ns1.registrant-verification.ispapi.net 126.96.36.199
- ns2.registrant-verification.ispapi.net 188.8.131.52
- ns3.registrant-verification.ispapi.net 184.108.40.206
If a .uk domain is suspended, you'll need to contact Nominet. Unfortunately we won't be able to assist you.
Here's some further information that it might be useful to familiarise yourself with about purchasing a new domain name:
Important information for domain purchasers - complying with ICANN's updated Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA)
Let's say, for example, you already have the sending address firstname.lastname@example.org. This means purchasing a new alias, such as 'updates,' will enable you to send from email@example.com.
Select the domain name you want the address to be sent from, and enter the alias you want to use before the '@'.
Upon clicking on Purchase alias, you'll be asked to confirm your choice, along with details about what your account will be charged or deducted.
This will charge your account.
It can take up to 30 minutes to set up the new alias. This setup time ensures all of our servers are ready to receive replies and responses to your campaigns.
Afterwards, you'll be able to use the alias as one of your custom 'from' addresses.
Is my newly purchased branded domain secure?
Yes, it is. All domains purchased with us (including those that have been purchased with us in the past) are secured with SSL, ensuring security best practice. Increasingly in the future, non-SSL websites are going to get red flagged by browsers. Instead, people are expecting to see the secure padlock icon when visiting a page - thus all of your email links, unsubscribe pages, landing pages, surveys, signup forms and preference centres under your branded domain will benefit from this.
Can I change the DNS records for my purchased domain/delegated subdomain?
Because our DNS records are all uniform, our domains are constantly managed and optimised for correct email delivery. Therefore, it's not possible to make any changes to those DNS records.
Can I change the registrant details for my domain post-purchase?
Yes, you can. You're able to do this yourself by clicking the person-and-cog icon in the bottom left corner of the screen to produce the settings menu and selecting Domain names.
On the 'Domain names' page, click on the Edit pencil under ‘View and edit registrant’ for the domain you want to edit details for.
Please note: You could be required to reverify your domain due to changing registrant details. This will be an email sent from either ICANN or Nominet. It's not always the case that reverification is required but it's best to keep a lookout for one, otherwise your domain could become suspended.
Can I change the renewal status for my domain?
Yes, you can. You're able to do this yourself by clicking the person-and-cog icon in the bottom left corner of the screen to produce the settings menu and selecting Domain names.
On the 'Domain names' page, click on the Edit pencil under ‘Renewal options’ for the domain you want to change.
Ticking Renew domain will renew the domain, whilst ticking Auto renew will ensure the domain is renewed every year automatically.
I've just registered my new CFA. What should I do?
Please ask your account manager to send you a deliverability DIY ramp up plan.
After purchasing, where can I find and manage my CFAs?
You'll be able to find them in two places:
- Once available, they can be selected from the 'From address' dropdown in the 'Provide a few campaign setup details' page (the 'Create' stage of the campaign creation process).
- They can be managed in Campaigns > Advanced features > From addresses, where you can set a default 'from' address and edit your custom 'from' addresses.
Can I have a dynamic alias in my CFA?
No, not currently. Our infrastructure doesn't support dynamic aliases.
You can, however, use a personalised friendly 'from' name by using the relevant personalisation placeholder.
There's an option to apply this in the 'Create' stage of the campaign creation process (the 'Provide a few campaign setup details' page).
As long as the staff member/adviser's name is included as a contact data field against the contact, then this will dynamically populate.
Contact data fields have an option to set a default value when setting them up, so if there's an instance where a contact doesn't have a staff member/adviser assigned to them, then the default value (for example 'Your [company name] adviser') will be used instead.
How do I receive replies and emails sent to my CFA?
Replies are handled directly by us and can be viewed in the 'Replies' report in campaign reporting.
Replies can also be handled and forwarded at either:
- account level through the management of automatic replies
- at campaign level by using 'Forwarding address' when setting up a campaign. You can also set an automatic response whenever a contact replies to your campaign.
Can replies to my emails be dynamically forwarded?
Yes. As well as the friendly 'from' name, the forwarding address can also be a personalised, dynamic value taken from a contact data field. It means that replies from contacts can be forwarded to an address you set on a per contact basis.
For example, let's say you have three account managers that look after all of your customers, and these customers are all contacts stored with us. You'd create a contact data field called something like 'ACCOUNTMANAGEREMAIL', and making sure each contact has the email address of their account manager stored under it.
When creating your campaign, you'd enter @ACCOUNTMANAGEREMAIL@ in the 'Forwarding address' field.
If a contact replies, you'll get their response not only stored in the app (in campaign reporting), but it will also get sent directly to their account manager.
Can I use my CFA with you in another platform (for instance, to send transactional email)?
No, we don't support this. The domain used in our platform needs to be set up in an exclusive way. There are a few key technical reasons behind this:
- We'd receive the bounces for another platform, whilst the other platform wouldn't get any
- Using the domain elsewhere will cause problems with open and link click tracking
- Our automatic DNS monitoring assumes that there are no other DNS entries except ours
This is why it's not possible to allow one of our CFAs to be used in another platform.
Can I transfer my CFA that I registered with you to a new registrar?
Yes, you can. What needs to happen differs on the type of domain the CFA uses.
For .co.uk domains: You'll need to provide us with the TAG code of your new registrar and we'll then push the domain to them via Hexonet.
For any other domains: We'll provide you with your domain's authorisation code and you'll need to give this to your new registrar to initiate the transfer.
It could be the case that you're transferring the domain so that you own it but you still wish to use it in your account with us. If so, you need to be aware of the following:
- You can't use the domain whilst the transferral process is taking place
- Once the domain is transferred, you need to point the name servers to us
- You must let firstname.lastname@example.org know when the domain is with your new registrar, so that we can check to see that the domain is ready to use