In the dynamic world of email security, staying up to date with best industry practices is crucial to ensure that your brand’s email marketing strategy can actually land in your target audience’s inbox. Starting this February, there will be significant changes to bulk email sending requirements, specifically impacting companies sending over 5,000 emails through platforms like Google and Yahoo. The standout player in this shift is Domain-based Message Authentication and Conformance technology, otherwise known as DMARC.
What is DMARC?
According to their website, DMARC is an email authentication, policy, and reporting protocol. It builds on other widely deployed security protocols, adding linkage to the author, domain name, and other published policies for recipient handling of authentication failures, and reporting from receivers to senders, to improve and monitor protection of the domain from fraudulent email.
In layman’s terms, DMARC is an email validation system crafted to shield domains from the ever-present danger of email spoofing, phishing scams, and other cybercrimes by thoroughly verifying the authenticity of senders. As businesses increasingly rely on email as a primary communication channel, the importance of securing these interactions continues to grow.
DMARC plays a pivotal role in securing your business website. As cyber threats continue to adapt and evolve, email addresses linked to your domain can be exploited for malicious purposes. DMARC acts as a gatekeeper, ensuring that only authorized entities can send emails on behalf of your domain. This not only protects your customers from phishing attempts but also shields your business from potential legal and reputational ramifications.
Why Does DMARC Matter?
Spammers have a great financial incentive to compromise user accounts, so that they may steal passwords, bank account or credit card information. Email is, unfortunately, easily spoofed and cybercriminals have found spoofing emails to be an excellent way to exploit the user trust of established brands. Something as simple as inserting your logo into an email could give the email a sense of legitimacy with many of your users.
Many users may not be able to tell a real message from a fake one and many of the dominant email providers make difficult (and frequently wrong) choices about which emails belong in the spam folder. DMARC addresses these security concerns, by helping both email senders and receivers work together to better secure their emails, which protects both consumers and brands from costly cybersecurity risks. By ensuring DMARC compliance, you give your email marketing strategy the best chance at success, while protecting your customers’ private information.
Achieving DMARC compliance is not without its hurdles. It necessitates the implementation of Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). These additional layers of authentication are vital to ensuring that your emails are not only delivered but also recognized as legitimate by the recipients, by providing a unique digital signature.
According to SiliconAngle, a staggering 91% of email-sending domains globally lack DMARC records. This leaves the senders vulnerable to the stringent requirements set by major email providers like Google and Yahoo. Among publicly listed companies, an astonishing one-third were found to have no DMARC record in place. These new requirements are thought to be just the first step in fully authenticating domains, with more stringent DMARC enforcement on the horizon. It’s in the best interest of your business and your email marketing strategy to define your DMARC record.
Who Is Impacted By DMARC Regulations?
Any brand that is using email as a marketing and communication tool at a large scale has the potential to be impacted by DMARC noncompliance. Whether you’re sending emails promoting your sales, encouraging your customers to return for their abandoned carts or communicating the happenings of your brand, ensuring that your emails arrive at their destination is key. There are many email marketing integrations, such as MailChimp, Klayvio and Shopify, all of which benefit from DMARC compliant processes within your domain and business website.
Your Email Marketing Strategy and DMARC
A comprehensive email marketing strategy is a proven tactic employed by many businesses to drive engagement, increase sales and foster a sense of brand loyalty. Integrating DMARC into your email security arsenal aligns with the broader goal of safeguarding your brand reputation. When customers trust that the emails they receive are genuinely from your business, it fosters a positive relationship, while also bolstering the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
As part of your email marketing strategy, consider DMARC as a proactive measure rather than a reactive one. By addressing potential security concerns before they become major issues, you not only protect your business but also enhance the overall customer experience. Since DMARC is built to fit within your existing email authentication process, it is an easy reassurance that the emails you have worked so hard to create are received by your customers and able to fulfill their purpose.
The Role of DMARC Records
Let's explore the significance of DMARC records. A DMARC record is essentially a set of instructions published in the Domain Name System (DNS) that outlines how emails from a specific domain should be handled. It assists in guiding email service providers on whether to deliver, quarantine, or reject emails that claim to be from your domain. By protecting your domain from unauthorized access and usage, you protect yourself from various cyber attacks that could compromise your brand.
For businesses with a hearty email marketing strategy, understanding and implementing DMARC records is not just a compliance requirement but a strategic move. It ensures that your marketing emails reach your audience's inboxes without being flagged as potential threats or spam. If you are concerned about your domain’s DMARC record, head over to easydmarc.com to use their complementary DMARC record checking service. This free service will retrieve your DMARC record as well as providing a configuration analysis to ensure that your email protections are compliant with the changing regulations.
As an added bonus, your DMARC record enables you to get feedback about messages using your domain. Since this includes both legitimate and phony messages, it empowers you to track down any potential spammers that are spoofing your domain and prevent any further cyber crime.
How To Set Up DMARC
Before you can set up DMARC, you’ll have to ensure that you have DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) configured on your domain. These other authentication programs should be authenticating your mail for at least 48 hours before you implement your DMARC functionality.
For all the next steps, you will need to sign in to the management console for your domain host. This is wherever you purchased your domain name, like GoDaddy, BlueHost, Shopify, etc. Then, you will locate the page where you update your DNS records. Add a DNS TXT record by entering your DMARC record recovered at the free DMARC checker above into the TXT record for _dmarc.
Next, update the text record name in the first field under your DNS host name to _dmarc.yourdomain.com. It’s important to note that some domain managers will automatically add your domain after _dmarc, so after you add the text record name make sure that it is formatted correctly.
Then, in the second TXT Record Value field, enter the text for your DMARC record. It will look something like “v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:email@example.com”. The specific field names may vary a bit depending on your domain manager, but it should follow a similar flow to the steps we have outlined here. Make sure you save your changes before logging out.
In conclusion, DMARC is not just a technicality; it's a proactive strategy to fortify your business against the rising tide of cyber threats. The upcoming changes in bulk email sending requirements underscore the urgency for businesses to adopt DMARC, ensuring both compliance and a secure digital presence. By incorporating DMARC records into your email and web security protocols, you're not only meeting regulatory standards but also building a foundation for trust and reliability in your brand. If you have any questions about setting up your DMARC record, you can schedule a meeting with our president Erin. She is happy to answer any questions you may have. Stay informed, stay secure, and empower your business in the age of evolving email regulation standards.
Dmarc.Org, DMARC, dmarc.org/. Accessed 25 Jan. 2024.
Riley, Duncan. “Research Reveals a Third of Public Companies Aren’t Prepared for New Bulk Email Security Rules.” SiliconANGLE, 11 Jan. 2024, siliconangle.com/2024/01/10/research-reveals-33-public-companies-unprepared-new-dmarc-email-security-rules/.