How To Explain Subdomains To Your Boss

How To Explain Subdomains To Your Boss

Your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about subdomains. They're the key to improving your sender reputation, getting your emails in front of customers, and converting!

Anima Hossain

November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021
min READ

Designing a beautiful email is only half the job for email marketers. Without the right strategies, your emails are most likely not landing in inboxes or being seen by your customers. What’s the point of designing beautiful emails if no one’s even seeing them right? 

Your sender reputation (read: deliverability) and using a subdomain are the keys to getting your emails in front of your customers and converting. If you need to convince your boss you need to use a subdomain, this blog has you covered. 

Let’s get into it!  

What does deliverability mean for an email marketer?

Deliverability is  essentially your sender reputation! Think of it like a grade you get from your Internet Service Provider (think: Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook) based on how your subscribers are engaging with your emails. ISPs use that information to determine whether or not your customers want to keep seeing your emails and if they should give you a seat at the cool table - your customers’ primary inbox, or place your email in the other inbox or the dreaded spam folder. Your deliverability determines whether your customers actually see your emails and poor deliverability means wasted revenue potential.


Now that you know a little bit about deliverability, you're probably wondering where subdomains fit in all of this. A subdomain is the unique identifier of a specific website, and can determine whether an ISP trusts you enough to place you in your fans' primary inbox! In the below example, ‘’ is referred to as the parent domain, and ‘mail’ as the child domain.

It’s the prefix to the domain that indicates it’s a subsection of the larger domain, and comes immediately after the @ symbol. The great thing about subdomains is that you can put anything before the @ symbol from to

Quick plug: Setting up a subdomain on Hive is a breeze. For a step by step guide, check out this FAQ!

How do subdomains affect your deliverability?

Because your subdomain is directly tied to your subdomain, without one your emails are more likely to end up in spam. But that’s not all! If you keep using a parent domain to send all of your emails that get low engagement, ISPs are more likely to determine that you’re not a trusted sender and not worth inbox placement. By not using a subdomain, you’re jeopardizing your parent domain’s sender reputation and possibly hurting the effectiveness of all your future email campaigns. That means customers won’t be receiving your sale promotions, new product release emails, or account support emails. It’s way easier to stay out of your ISPs bad side by using smart deliverability strategies like subdomains, then getting back on their good side once they’ve already decided you’re untrustworthy.

Protecting your sender reputation with subdomains

By separating out all of your different types of emails on intentionally dedicated subdomains, from transactional to marketing and support, you protect mistakes on one email subdomain from affecting the sender reputation of the others.

Imagine you accidentally send a draft of a new marketing campaign for a special VIP promo to your whole list – it doesn’t have the correct subject, and the template is half complete. Often subscribers won’t even check to see where the campaign came from before marking it as spam. If you send this oops campaign on your marketing email subdomain, the reputation of that email subdomain will get worse, but the reputation of your other email subdomains will be protected!

Subdomains separate out engagement levels

There are naturally some emails that will see a lot more engagement because they need to be seen by your fan. Think transactional emails like ticket confirmations, merch shipping notices, or account password resets that need to have the best deliverability. Putting your marketing emails on the same subdomain as your transactional emails essentially ensures that the deliverability of your transactional emails will decrease, as marketing emails receive an average of 20-30% opens, while password resets and order confirmations receive an average of 80-90% opens.

Wrap up

Designing beautiful email campaigns, writing great marketing copy, and putting in the work to make sure your email content is engaging goes hand in hand with a strong deliverability strategy. Your email marketing campaigns won’t maximize engagement, or drive sales with just one or the other. Email subdomains are the best way to ensure your emails land in your subscribers’ inboxes. A few quick changes and you’ll already see your deliverability and email revenue going up, up, up!