Aug 20, 2020

How to maximize your email marketing with BIMI logos

light bulbs and yellow cubes with plus signs against a blue background

Hot on the heels of Google’s new-security-features announcement, people are clamoring to learn what BIMI is and how they can use it. Luckily, we’ve got the answers.

This post is the final part in a series surrounding BIMI readiness – in this post we discuss best practices for promoting your brand through BIMI. To catch up on the basics and the path to BIMI, see What is BIMI and how can marketers use it for email campaigns? and The benefits of BIMI – and how to get ready for it. For the detailed prerequisites for implementing BIMI see our previous post, These steps will help guarantee your eligibility for BIMI.

Quick recap: What is BIMI and how do you use it?

From the creators of BIMI, “Brand Indicators for Message Identification or BIMI (pronounced: bih-mee) is an emerging email specification that enables the use of brand-controlled logos within supporting email clients.” Simply put, with BIMI you can have your logo appear in customers’ and prospects’ inboxes, like this:

There are a multitude of benefits to this, which we cover in our previous post, The benefits of BIMI – and how to get ready for it. But there are also steps you need to take before being able to implement – and therefore reap the benefits of – BIMI as an email standard.

DMARC enforcement and BIMI technical requirements

In order to be eligible for BIMI, you must take precautions to secure your emailing domain(s). As a reminder, the steps are:

  • Authenticate all of your emails with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC
    • Ensure domain alignment (the domain used by SPF and DKIM is the same as the one used by DMARC)
  • Ensure your DMARC policy is at enforcement
    • This means either “p=quarantine” or “p=reject”
    • No sp=none and no pct<100
  • Publish a BIMI record for your domain in DNS
    • Where required, obtain a Verified Mark Certificate (VMC) certifying that the logo is yours

When you have a DMARC policy in place, set to either quarantine (send to spam folder) or reject (delete) emails that don’t authenticate, you eliminate the possibility of someone spoofing your domain. This is an ongoing security process that you should perform in order to secure your customers’ and prospects’ inboxes and prevent phishing attacks against your brand. (Though other added benefits of DMARC enforcement include a 10% boost in email delivery rates.) For the detailed steps on how to get your organization to DMARC enforcement see our previous post in this series.

But there are also technical requirements for logo compatibility as well. In order to properly implement BIMI you need to have a proven (trademarked) logo and follow file specifications for the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) image. To understand in-depth how to make sure your logos will pass muster, see our post, How to create a BIMI-compatible logo using SVG images.

Not sure where your organization stands? Check your real-time BIMI readiness here.

How to use BIMI to your advantage

Which email would you be more likely to click on: one showing a generic grey circle with a company’s initials, or one showcasing a logo?

The importance of personalization and customer experience has grown significantly in the last few years. In fact, 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when they’re served a more personalized experience. And email, though now considered by many to be more “old-school” in marketing, still leads the race in marketing ROI. So by using BIMI, you give your customers an experience that is more personalized, trustworthy, and engaging.

With BIMI installed your customers and prospects will know that they can trust any emails that come from your brand – and that’s great! The trustworthiness of your emails, alone, will increase your engagement by an average of 10%. But there is always room for improvement.

As of right now, in order to be issued a Verified Mark Certificate (VMC) and use it for BIMI, the logo variations that you intend to use need to be trademarked. However, as BIMI progresses, the process may be simplified to authenticate variants of your already-trademarked logos.

With that in mind, the possibilities for customization are endless. As a brand or marketer, think about the promotional value of a customizable, verified logo in your customers’ and prospects’ inboxes. Every season, every holiday, every purpose, every theme, every celebration – national, international, or individual to your brand – could be given a platform with new impressions.

Mobile phone email client showing inbox logo with rainbow colors

On social media during the month of June, for example, we at Valimail, like many companies, were able to celebrate Pride Month across our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles. But with the growing adoption of BIMI, in time companies could also be showcasing their support directly to the inbox (see the figure above for what that could look like!).

Or when cybersecurity awareness month comes along in October, for example, you’d be able to showcase additional promotion using BIMI. You could use holiday-themed logos in December, or vacation-themed logos in the summer. And the list goes on.

Manage your logos with ease

As an early adopter of BIMI (or BIMI-readiness), you are already committed to using best practices to keep your organization – and everyone you interact with – safe from phishing attacks. DMARC enforcement alone is an ongoing process that requires maintenance, not a one-time project. But maintaining your BIMI logo doesn’t have to be a headache.

With Valimail Amplify you have the ability to host a library of images and use a drop-down select menu to determine which logo you’ll use for your BIMI display. As long as all of the requirements are met, you’ll have no additional steps to take in order to ensure that your logo renders properly in the inbox.

Amplify Home: brand value you can see

It all begins with getting to DMARC enforcement. To get started on your DMARC journey try our free tool, DMARC Monitor, which provides unbeatable visibility into all the services sending “from” your domain. The better visibility you have, the faster (and easier) it is for you to take those critical steps toward phishing protection.

Then, you’ll be ready to enhance your brand with BIMI!

Skip the maintenance altogether with automated DMARC using the Valimail platform, which includes  Amplify.

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