What Is BIMI, and How Does It Affect Your Email Marketing?

BIMI may have been around for a few years now, but it’s one aspect of email identification that seems poised for broader adoption. What is BIMI, and how does it affect the emails that you send? Here’s a quick overview to get started.

What Is BIMI?

BIMI stands for Brand Indicators for Message Identification, which is a fancy way of saying that inboxes are allowed to display your brand’s logo beside the sender name of your emails. 

Why is this a big deal? Primarily digital security. 

Cyber crime shows no indications of slowing down, and marketers are increasingly worried that their emails will get flagged as spam, either by mail servers or their intended recipients. Having BIMI activated may improve deliverability and brand recognition, and reassure leads that they’re getting authentic messages from trusted senders.

While it requires some work on the backend of email configuration and DNS, it’s arguably a fruitful venture that could eventually be applied to more than just email — including social media, messenger services, and various other apps.

Curious who already uses BIMI? Online services like MxToolbox can verify whether a company you select currently does.

How Does BIMI Affect Email Marketing?

BIMI may affect your email marketing to varying degrees.

Let’s start with email prospecting. When you’re contacting new leads for the first time, chances are that they haven’t opted in to hear from you — which means they don’t know who you are, what you offer, or whether you’re credible. That’s why having a logo next to your sender name may not have as much of an impact on email deliverability or brand recognition. Instead, we encourage you to focus on the quality of your prospecting emails in order to get through: keeping these messages short (three to four sentences), using minimal links, being direct in your questions and information, and avoiding any graphics.

As for those contacts in your database who have heard from you before and have become marketing qualified, BIMI may be more appropriate. The only caveats would be to keep your sender reputation clean, and possibly obtain a verified mark certificate (VMC), discussed in more detail below.

Sender Reputation

Sender reputation is critical for any kind of email automation, as it determines whether your messages get through. Here are the factors that can influence yours.

Email frequency. People may be more comfortable hearing from you once they know who you are, but it’s still easy to go overboard in your outreach. Sending too many emails can lead to increased unsubscribe requests, which can damage your sender reputation.

Email quality. While you want your emails to stay relevant and honest, you also want to keep giving your leads reasons to open them. Offer some form of value in every message.

CAN-SPAM requirements. Follow the rules laid out by the FTC under CAN-SPAM. The email address and name you’re sending from must be accurate. Avoid misleading subject lines. Provide up-to-date contact information, along with a physical address. Include a visible unsubscribe option for leads who want to opt out, and make sure to honor those requests as soon as possible.

Blacklists. Keep an eye out for whether you’ve ended up on a blacklist from too many spam complaints. MxToolbox can help you monitor your IP addresses to learn when you might be in trouble.

Verified Mark Certificate

VMCs acknowledge that your logo is trademarked, and that you own it. You’ll need to apply for a VMC from a Mark Verifying Authority (MVA) to obtain your certificate. 

While VMCs aren’t currently required, that may not always be the case. Google is one email client that seems to be giving BIMI thorough consideration, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see others follow suit.

How Do You Set Up BIMI?

BIMI setup requires some technical know-how, so it’s best to coordinate with whomever manages your website. They (or you) will need to have: login credentials for your domain provider; your trademarked brand logo; the ability to add a DNS TXT record in your domain provider’s management console; and the ability to set up a DMARC protocol for email authentication.

Google provides a concise overview of these steps, while MxToolbox walks you through the process of creating a BIMI record.

A Final Note on Cybersecurity

We mentioned before how BIMI gives peace of mind to email recipients by confirming that emails are from credible sources. MxToolbox notes how this is particularly relevant to C-level executives who are subject to whaling. This type of phishing attack involves the use of sophisticated, fraudulent emails that look authentic, but often include links to dangerous websites or downloadable attachments that contain malware.

The more realistic these emails appear, and the more widely they’re received, the less likely CEOs, CFOs, and other high-level leads will be inclined to open emails from people they don’t know. Doing all that you can to look authentic and nonthreatening is vital to the success of your email marketing.

Would You Like More Email Marketing Guidance?

Would you like to discuss whether BIMI implementation is necessary for the types of marketing emails that you send? Or perhaps you’d like guidance on other best practices to protect your sender reputation?

We’d be happy to advise. Click the link below to schedule a free consultation.

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