We all know email marketing is a great way to engage with your existing customers and acquire new ones, but it’s increasingly difficult to pass the first hurdle – making sure your emails actually make it to the recipients’ inboxes in the first place.
A recent IBM Threat Intelligence survey found that spam volumes grew by 400% in 2016, so organisations have responded by dialling up their anti-spam efforts – which may block your legitimate emails getting through, even though you’ve followed best practice in cutting out sales/marketing jargon and words like ‘free’, and reduced the number of images. So how do you go about boosting the success of your email campaigns?
It may seem surprising, but securing your organisation’s email domain is an effective way of getting a better ROI from your email marketing, without having to change any of the content you plan to use. This can be done using DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance), which is an email authentication protocol which informs recipients that the emails you are sending them are legitimate, and authorised.
DMARC allows you to specify the sources that are allowed to send emails from your domain, which blocks unauthorised sending and phishing attempts, and increases the deliverability of authorised emails. This article explains how the protocol works in great detail, but in short, DMARC plays a key role in ensuring your emails hit recipients’ inboxes and improving your open and click-through rates. Here are the benefits of using DMARC on your organisation’s email domain to increase the success of your email marketing campaigns.
Avoiding the junk folder
Every email marketer knows the importance of open rates, and of course these are seriously affected if your emails end up in spam or junk folders. The solution is to get all of your email senders properly configured, but the complexity of setting up protocols such as Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) can be a minefield. DMARC closes the reporting loop and tells you what is working and what isn’t.
Also, if you have DMARC set up correctly, you are telling the receiving email servers that what you send is authorised and not junk. By implementing DMARC and cleaning up your sent clutter, open rates will increase as emails start to reach inboxes. It’s important to make sure emails are sent from your own domain if using automation services such as MailChimp or Drip as they already have a reputation for sending tons of spam marketing emails, but I will get onto that later.
Increase customer confidence
Domains that don’t have DMARC are vulnerable to phishing attacks and they occur far more often than you would think. To give you an idea of how often they occur, my own company’s domain has been targeted for use in phishing campaigns twice a day. If a company’s domain is used in an attack that targets its customers, the results can be disastrous. In such instances, customers become sceptical of your ability to make sure that communication to them is safe and secure.
However, if a company has DMARC protection they can reassure customers that they have a secure email domain that cannot be used by others in phishing attacks. It is very common now to see companies put a disclaimer at the bottom of their email saying that they don’t take responsibility for phishing attacks, but is this really enough?
Own your brand
DMARC gives you control over your domain and it allows you to see who is using it. The DMARC reporting feature lets you see exactly who is sending from and using your domain. Because you will be the first to know about malicious attempts and scams that try to use your domain, you can quickly take action and block them from any future attempts.
Getting started on DMARC
There are a few quick and easy things you can do to start getting better results from your marketing with little effort or cost.
As I touched on earlier, it’s a priority to ensure that you are sending emails from your own domain, not from the domain of the automation software you use. For example, I use Drip, and they have an option that lets me send from my own domain. You might need the help of your IT department to make the changes they send over, but it won’t take them more than five minutes.
The next thing you need to do is to set up DMARC. In the past this would have been a lengthy, costly and frustrating process, as the protocol is complex. However, there are now solutions available to help you set up DMARC and run it on a self-service basis.
In conclusion, DMARC can deliver much more than just online protection against phishing: it can raise the benchmark for the ROI of your email marketing, and help to build more trusted relationships with customers and partners.
By Jay Singh, marketing lead at OnDMARC
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