With public email service providers – such as Google and Yahoo – focusing on security and filtering unwanted traffic, it’s time for you as an organization to step up your game as well.
As we mentioned in our Gmail Users, Are you Ready For DMARC? article, Google will be implementing changes to their Gmail service in June 2016. These changes will affect their policy of rejecting messages that fail to pass their authentication checks. What’s the main reason organizations cannot pass this strict DMARC policy? Lack of an authentic email address in the “sent from” and a custom domain in the “mailed-by” details when sending via a bulk-email app.
So, what do you do? For starters, you need to acquire a domain for your organization. That is, if you don’t already have one.
Here are four essential steps toward owning your domain, and leaving DMARC email issues in the dust:
Step 1: Pick a domain name.
To begin, choose your .COM or .CA for your organization. There are many approaches you can take to get the most suited domain name for your organization.
For tips on how to pick a name, you can look at 12 Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name, posted by Rand Fishkin on moz.com. Or to help you brainstorm, you may want to check out the 15 Domain Name Generators & New Domain Extensions Available, posted by Richard Lazazzera on shopify.ca.
While there’s a sea of information available online to help you choose your domain name, don’t be overwhelmed. Start with your organization, and go with the options that make sense for your brand.
Step 2: Register your domain name.
There are hundreds of domain registrar services out there. If you’re looking for an affordable Canadian option, we recommend 10dollar.ca – otherwise you may want to register with GoDaddy.com or any other domain registrar service.
Registering is easy. Simply use their search box to ensure availability, and follow the steps provided on the screen.
Step 3: Choose a service and set up MX records.
First, you’ll need to choose the tool (i.e., service or app) that you want to use for sending and receiving emails. There are many options, some of which we explore in our Professional Email Options For Your Practice article.
Once you know what you want to use, it’s time to set up your custom company domain to work with that service. To do that, you will have to set up MX records in the domain registrar. For instructions to set up MX records with Google Apps, see https://support.google.com/quickfixes/answer/6252374?hl=en. For Zoho, see https://www.zoho.com/mail/help/adminconsole/configure-email-delivery.html.
Once you’ve finished this set-up, you’re free to create email accounts for your organization – such as employee email and email groups (such as INFO@yourcomapnyname.com, BILLING@yourcompanyname.com, etc.).
Step 4: Authenticate your domain using SPF and DKIM (this one is tricky).
Assuming that you already have an account with Sendgrid, ElasticEmail or with a similar transactional email service, it’s now time to configure your domain name with that service.
Sender identification is an important part of bulk email success. In her How to Authenticate Your Email in 5 Steps article, Carly Branz states that “email authentication in today’s day and age is a ‘must do’ for all organizations that want to secure their online reputation and maintain customer trust in their brand.”
You can find instructions on how to configure SPF and DKIM within the knowledge base of the service provider. (To configure with ElasticEmail, see https://elasticemail.com/api-documentation/domain-authorization. For SendGrid, see https://sendgrid.com/docs/Classroom/Troubleshooting/Authentication/whitelabel_video_tutorials.html.)
Using MailChimp? (Read these 5 Reasons You Need to be Using MailChimp if you’re not.) You should authenticate your domain there as well. See their Set Up Custom Domain Authentication: DKIM and SPF knowledge base article.
We want to point out that these are not instructions, but simply a reference guide to point you in the right direction when it comes to setting up your company email. If you ask us how to do this the right way, these four steps are our answer. And while it’s not as difficult as it seems, it does require time and patience.
If you are not ready to get your hands dirty, have your IT help you or send us an email and we can recommend someone.
You’re all set. Happy emailing!