What’s a subdomain and why do I need one?
A subdomain (sometimes called a “branding” or “whitelabel” domain) is a subset of your company’s root or main domain. They’re often used for a certain part of your website (like your landing pages or blog), as well as for email sending.
Subdomains are an industry best practice for email marketing because they allow you to use a mass-emailing platform while ensuring the emails look like they are coming from your company.
For example, at Drift, our domain name is drift.com, but we send marketing emails using hi.drift.com.
Your subdomain is entirely your choice, but we recommend following the guidelines of your company’s brand when choosing one. We decided “hi” works for us. Other common choices are hello, info, reply, e, mail, go.
There are two parts to subdomain authentication with Drift Email: DKIM and MX records.
- DKIM is an authentication method that gives email sending services permission to send emails on your behalf.
- MX records are used to specify where emails should be received.
How to set up a subdomain for Drift Email Bots
Step 1: Configure DKIM
Note: This does not conflict with your subdomain's DKIM and SPF setup in your marketing automation platform. For example: if you'd like to send email with your subdomain from both Drift and Marketo, you can add DKIM entries for both systems on the same subdomain.
On app.drift.com, navigate into your Settings > Conversations > Email Sending Domains.
1. Click on Add Domain.
2. Enter an example email address from the subdomain that you want to add. For instance, if you want to use hello.company.com as your subdomain, enter something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you hit Save you will see a message saying "Successfully created sending domain". But you're not quite done! Above where you added the domain, you should now see that your domain needs verification:
3. Click the arrow next to Needs Verification. This will show you the DKIM information that you will need.
4. Use this information to add a TXT record in the account settings with your DNS provider. If you don't know who your DNS provider is, send these steps to your company's IT department to have them set this up.
Once you've entered the records with your DNS provider, it can take up to 48 hours to be validated.
5. When your subdomain is validated by your provider, return to your domain settings in Drift and click Verify DNS Settings.
6. Refresh the page. Now, your subdomain should read as being Verified.
Step 2: Add MX records
This step will also need to be done in your account settings with your DNS provider.
1. Edit the MX records on your subdomain as follows:
MX 10 smtp.driftmail.net
MX 20 smtp2.driftmail.net
Ensure that the MX records pointing at Drift have the highest priority of any other MX records in the DNS setup for your subdomain.
2. Add the domain to your Drift Email account. In email.drift.com, navigate to Settings > Reply Domains.
Select "Click here to add a reply domain", enter your subdomain, and Save.
You’re all set! Now, you can set up multiple aliases for your Email Bot.
Define your Email Bot aliases
In email.drift.com, head to Settings > Campaign and bot and select "Add Bot." Then, enter a name and email address for your bot.
If you’re in need of inspiration, check out these steps to decide on your bot persona.