SVP, eMarketing Services
Are you forgetting this important part of Marketing Automation?
I’ve been leasing a mini-van for the past 3 years. As the end of my lease term approached, I began to receive emails & letters from the General Manager at the dealership incentivizing me to come in early – all well and good. So, this past weekend, we went in and leased a shiny new 2018 mini-van - we drove it home the same day.
As I was back in the dealership just a few days later to get my inspection sticker, I received another email from the GM imploring me to respond regarding my 2015 mini-van and enticing me with 2018 options. I had to chuckle because there I was, literally sitting in the dealership with my new 2018 lease and this email arrives while I’m right there.
And THEN, one day later I receive an email telling me my 2015 mini-van is due for service.
Being in the biz so to speak, I get it… it’s only been 3 full business days since my purchase, and sometimes the flow of updated data from system to system just isn’t that speedy. But I have to wonder, with all the hoopla about Marketing Automation, a set-it-and-forget-it mentality… doesn’t it backfire a bit when someone takes an action that would put them out of the cycle, yet they still continue to receive the pre-set messages?
Luckily, the email offer I received post-purchase wasn’t a better offer than the original! But what if it had been? And what if I was just a typical customer that didn’t understand the direct marketing business and the all-too-often latency of data? I might feel marginalized as a customer, especially after such a big purchase.
Marketing Automation sure sounds great, and turnkey once you map it out and set up messaging & sequences. Just don’t forget to include plans for handling cycle-ending triggers (as quickly as possible).
Now back to my new mini-van … there are 4 cupholders all for me!
What is DKIM?
DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is the highest level of email authentication, through the use of cryptographic authentication. It allows the sender to claim responsibility for the message via digital signature, and the receiver to check the public key for the DNS to verify the signature.
Why is DKIM important for email?
DKIM provides a greater level of authentication than SPF alone and is highly recommended to be used in tandem with SPF. It provides additional 'proof' that messages are legitimate, aiding in deliverability. Though still optional, it may soon be required to take part in certification / accreditation services.
For more reading/information on DKIM, please click here.
To test your DKIM record after implementing, click here.
What is an SPF record?
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an extension to the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). SPF allows software to identify and reject forged addresses in the SMTP MAIL FROM (Return-Path). Adding an SPF record requires your IT team to make a minor change to your institution's email record, which explicitly allows ClickRSVP to send marketing messages on behalf of your institution's domain.
Why is having an SPF record important for email?
SPF, a technical method of email authentication, helps prevent phishing/spoofing attacks and is aminimum qualification for email marketers to take part in certification / accreditation services that have proven to boost deliverability. Although SPF is optional, it is highly recommended to ensure the best delivery rates.
For more reading/information on SPF, please click here.
To test your own SPF record, click here.
Return Path, the world’s leader in email certification and scoring, has recently announced the introduction of the DMARC specification (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformation) – created in conjunction with a group of email senders, ISPs, and security vendors. Essentially, it is a registry that uses existing best-practice email authentication protocols, SPF and DKIM (Domain Key Identified Mail), and allows a sender to declare that all email sent from their domain will contain both SPF and DKIM authentication -- and anything otherwise should be blocked.
Why is this so important? Financial Institutions are among the most phished brands. While participation in the registry would require a bit of work to ensure all outbound email from all sources contains both SPF and DKIM authentications, it would go a long way to protecting your institution to the fullest extent possible at this time.
However, as this is still emerging, not all ISP’s /webmail providers ‘subscribe’ to this registry – currently it appears to be Google leading the pack. If enabled, this would allow both Google to (and future adoptees of the registry) to rightfully block any email sent from your domain that was not properly authenticated… meaning any of your customers with email addresses at Gmail (and others in the future) could be confident that emails from you are legitimate. And although, 100% participation from all ISP’s may be too idealistic, proper authentication from all traffic sources can only help the cause.
ClickRSVP has, and continues, to recommend our clients implement both SPF and DKIM authentication protocols as an industry best-practice and many of our clients have done just that for the email originating from our servers. Participation in DMARC would be going a step further to ensure all outbound email traffic from all sources (beyond just marketing, this includes all institution email whether originating from a vendor or in-house) also contains both of these authentication protocols.
Imagine if you could someday give your customers the peace of mind that all email they receive from your domain is legitimate – a goal we certainly hope to see all stakeholders in email delivery and anti-phishing working towards.
For more reading on DMARC, please click here.
And for the official DMARC website, please click here.