How many business emails do you send in a typical month? Probably a lot. Maybe thousands of them. At the very least a newsletter with weekly or monthly special offers or related information about your company. Before the birth of Email Marketing, ISPs only managed a small amount of emails. However, in adopting this strategy, our whole database can be reached with a single click. Because of it, ISPs had to create ways to filter emails, letting the good senders have their space in the subscribers´ inbox. Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo, among others, have understood that this is a two-way task and demand the sender go through a series of actions to help them. Today, we want to explain how important it is to configure SPF and DKIM records in your email marketing strategy. This may be the first time you’re hearing both names. Thus, throughout this article, we want to help you all to achieve your Email Marketing strategy not only by basing it on designing, sending and measuring, but by addressing external factors that are familiar with your day-to-day routine, that affect your deliverability. As we said in the beginning of this article, inbox trays spend the day categorizing emails so we only receive messages from: A trustworthy sender, that is to say, any email with whom we have regular business, or an email from a colleague, a client, or a family related person. Special offers, eBooks, and newsletters in general, the information we have subscribed to. Nevertheless, there is no doubt Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo handle a massive amount of advertising emails, and they have to inspect them one by one and give inbox permission only to those that pass their spam filters. At the same time, they have to allocate suspect emails into the junk and spam folders. With regular, one-to-one emails, we don\'t bump into this problem. It becomes a real concern when we use an Email Marketing platform such as ours, where campaigns designed by businesses need to pass these spam filters. However, sending through an ESP is still the best bet for businesses to do email marketing. It’s like the difference in going to a party alone, versus being with the host. The host already knows everyone and has established relationships. In email, those established relationships are what will land you in the inbox, when everything else is done right. Today, we want to talk to you about the filter related to the safety of your emails being sent. Technological development has enabled spam distributors to easily gain access to the information inside your emails, and therefore the ISPs reward higher deliverability to the senders that take action to encrypt their messages, protecting the delivery process. What is a SPF record? A Sender Policy Framework record, or SPF, is a system of domain names (DNS), that identifies mail servers (like Benchmark) that are allowed to send messages on behalf of your domain. The goal of SPF records is to avoid spammers sending fake messages with your domain´s sender address. The receivers may verify the SPF record to check if a message coming from your domain is from an authorized email server. The advantage of SPF records is that they can only be configured by the domain´s owner and act as a ´passport´ to identify the emails by the time of their arrival, helping ISPs to categorize them into authorized or SPAM. What are DKIM records? The DKIM standard (DomainKeys Identified Mail) helps the emails to fight against identity deception (spoofing) by adding a digital signature to your emails´ headers which are always examined by the ISPs. Basically, it is an additional authentication step for your emails. Differently from SPF, which enables Benchmark to send emails on your behalf, in this case the DKIM records add a domain name identifier to your message, using cryptography techniques to validate it as the receiver gets the email. That way, the ISPs receiving the incoming emails from such domain may use this digital signature to help them determine if each email is legitimate. In order to have a better understanding, this is what you design: And this is what the ISPs really analyze and approve through their filters if the email checks with the demanded authentication measures: The lines marked in red are part of the SPF records already configured and of the DKIM records that still need to be setup. The record to be configured inside DKIM is called CNAME record. In the same way as with the SPF records, we will add a line of code to the domain´s configuration. Once you get to this point, it is ideal to contact your hosting company technical support so they can help you setup both domains. What can you do to prevent the email from ending up in the spam folder or not being sent at all? It\'s very simple. Just add these digital signatures mentioned above to your emails so no one can get in the way of the sending procedure and authorize Benchmark to send emails or your behalf. To help you with this task, Benchmark Email has developed the technology that enables the compliance with sending safety protocols required by different ISPs. The procedure is so simple that you only need to access your domain´s account settings, find the DNS, and copy and paste the following lines of code: STEP 1: update the SPF records v=spf1 a mx include:bmsend.com ~all STEP 2: update the CNAME records Tag/Host: bmdeda._domainkey.YOURDOMAIN Destination/Objective: bmdeda._domainkey.bmsend.com Access your domain´s account settings and upgrade these fields. Once it is done, contact us so we can verify it and update your account. What happens if I do not setup SPF and DKIM records? If you do not authenticate your emails, your messages can get blocked or end up in the spam folder. Making these adjustments in the configuration is going to increase the possibility that your emails are accepted by the ISPs, reaching the inbox folder properly. If you are responsible for the email marketing strategy, the head of marketing, or work independently for clients, or even for yourself, as a blogger or SME that does email marketing, please contact our Customer Engagement Specialists if you need any help. If you believe this content can be be interesting to your audience, please share it!
The Problem Last week we talked about copying contact lists. However, as some of you may have found, if your email list is categorized under more than one field, it may not appear in your Copy List drop down box. Rest assured that there is a solution to this problem. The bad news is that it requires more steps. The good news is that it allows more customization. The Fix First, export the list you want to copy: Log into your account Mouse-over the arrow next to the Email icon Select Contacts from the drop-down menu Click the list name of the one you want to copy over Under Contact List Activities, select Download Excel Save the file to your computerNow,upload it into the desired list: Hover your cursor over the Contacts button at the top right Select Add Contacts from the drop-down menu Select the dial next to Import Contacts from a File Click Save & Add Contacts Check the box to the left of your desired list(s) Click Save & Next Click the Browse button and Open the file you just saved to your computer Click the Upload button Map the fields accordingly Click Save & Next Complete the List Information page Click Save & Next
Recently, an automatic upgrade issued by a major online antivirus company to both its free and paid versions had an unintended effect: It \"bricked\" (or rendered inoperative) most computers running 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and 7. The public meltdown that followed can serve as a lesson to all email marketers on how to avoid catastrophes of this nature and how to handle them should they occur. The Fix Is on the Website: How Can You Get It if You Can\'t Boot Up? Countless thousands of users were welcomed by computers stuck in an endlessly inescapable boot-up loop. The company did act fairly swiftly in posting onto its website a series of files that could be used to create an emergency disk and delete the misbehaving updates… but it was unable to answer the question of how a user with a single computer would be able to log onto their website in the first place - since their PC couldn\'t boot up to get to the Desktop let alone the Web. A Sterling Reputation Takes Years to Build and Minutes to Demolish Many users out of desperation were forced to reinstall their operating system from scratch. It can take upwards of six hours to reinstall Windows Vista and the full suite of applications to restore your computer to its previous condition, and that\'s only if you have a current backup of all your important data. Due to this major aggravation, a large part of the antivirus company\'s installed base considered that an otherwise sterling reputation, which had taken many years to build up, had been demolished overnight. What to Do if You\'re in Crisis Control Mode An unexpected and undesirable public debacle of this magnitude can hit any brand at any time, even yours. It could be a mandated recall on a physical product, a safety issue, an unintended content or link in your email newsletters, or even a vandalism/hacker online attack. Mea Maxima Culpa - Always acknowledge responsibility and don\'t ever try to point fingers. The buck stops with you and your customer base will reward your honest testimony with respect. Apologize Profusely - Not too many years ago, Americans were perplexed by Japanese executives publicly issuing tear-filled apologies. It has now become an expected practice throughout Corporate America, so trot out your CEO and start groveling. Fix It Fast - Even if you have to pull every single individual in your company off their duties (from the chairman to the janitor) and force them to concentrate on issuing a full fix... do it and do it fast. Compensate Generously - Consider your customers as injured parties who must be compensated. Don\'t get stingy now. Inform freemium customers that they have a full year of Free membership, give away discounts, samples, tchotchkes, anything it takes to make your customers feel like their inconvenience has been adequately redressed. Don\'t Repeat It - \"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.\" Even if you have to wipe out your company\'s entire dividend for that quarter in order to finance the new procedures you must put in place to avoid a repetition of the fiasco, it is a small price to pay. Your customers will never forgive you the second time around. Taking Steps Now to Avoid These Paroxysms Is Cheap Insurance The number of Vista and 7 64-bit installations currently exceeds 45% of all computers running Windows operating systems, so the antivirus company alienated nearly half of its installed base through its lackadaisical upgrade beta testing. Angering half your customers is a scenario you do not want to face, so taking every imaginable step necessary to avoid an occurrence of a train wreck of this magnitude is cheap insurance indeed… and make an emergency PC boot-up disk right now to keep close at hand!