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As the global pandemic slowly recedes, marketers are continuing to focus on better ways to engage their audiences online.

Email remains an important part of the marketing toolbox. Approximately 80% of marketers reported an increase in email engagement over the previous 12 months, according to a 2020 study by HubSpot.

Email marketing is a powerful way to engage customers, and it is accessible to everyone. But like any marketing channel, it can introduce risks when it is poorly executed.

For email marketers, safeguarding their company's reputation is as important as delivering successful campaign results. Now, innovative technologies are here that can enable marketers to do both.

Verified Mark Certificates (VMCs) from DigiCert or Entrust, part of a Google-driven Brand Indicator Message Identification (BIMI) initiative, allow marketers to increase their company's brand impressions and engagement, including open rates, and do it in a way that helps protect their customers from costly abuse.

VMC is a new way for companies and brands to use the power of their logo to punch through clutter in the email inbox and achieve more brand impressions. It lets customers see the sender's brand in the inbox of their mobile client before even opening the email. The result? Marketers have a powerful way to improve ROI on email marketing programs—and deliver results with minimal spend.

To benefit from VMCs, marketers must work with their IT departments to ensure that Domain Based Message Authentication Reporting (DMARC) is enforced, which has additional email security benefits, such as reduced phishing attacks.

Build trust and strengthen email security

Now that more people are working remotely, it's more important than ever that communications remain safe and secure. Remote workers will constitute 32% of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021, according to a recent Gartner study.

VMCs work with the required DMARC email authentication policy and reporting protocol to help strengthen security and build trust in the inbox. The DMARC standard was created to help organizations protect their domains from being used for attacks, such as spoofing and phishing. Email clients use it to verify that email really comes from the domain specified.

Available as part of the BIMI standard, VMCs provide a visual trust indicator when emails that are verified by DMARC reach the inbox. BIMI is intended to help increase adoption of DMARC as a key email security mechanism. When marketers use VMCs secured by DMARC, it demonstrates their organization's commitment to email security and protection of customer privacy.

Connect with more people at less cost

Like most organizations, digital marketing teams are constantly looking for better ways to deliver maximum bang for the buck. Using VMCs, they gain the potential to deliver a strong payoff with minimal investment.

VMCs' foundation is email, a channel that businesses can already access and control, and which they have often nurtured and developed for years. Email is permission-based, so the channel is already fertile ground for engaging customers who will be receptive to campaigns.

From an engagement perspective, VMCs could set the stage for higher open rates because email recipients spot the sender's familiar logo in their mobile client's mailbox as they are scanning new messages.

Companies invest a lot in their branding and logo, and VMCs provide an additional way for them to realize a strong payoff from the email channel. For a customer or prospect, seeing a verified logo right in the inbox gives a signal of brand integrity and helps deliver a more positive customer experience.

For additional flexibility in protecting their reputations, marketers can also set up VMCs to pair with common subdomains, such as payment.example.com, news.example.com, promotions.example.com, or other popular spinoffs from the parent domain. Sending emails via granular subdomains can help give marketers deeper insights into issues that might affect their sending reputations, so they can protect their main domains from potential issues.

Multibrand companies can even get a VMC for each brand to reinforce their trademarked identity to their customers.

Qualify your domains for VMC

Before you can qualify for a VMC, you must take some basic steps to ensure that your organization is compliant with DMARC. It's best to get started early, because the process can take a few weeks or even months, depending on how large your company is. The basic process will require you to work with your IT team to evaluate your compliance.

By setting up DMARC compliance, you'll gain visibility into the messages that are being sent from your domain and strengthen security for your users. You can also protect yourself against many phishing attacks—all while qualifying your company for a VMC certificate.

Start planning today and partner with your IT organization, or check to see whether your company has already taken the first steps to put VMCs on the frontlines of your digital marketing initiatives by becoming DMARC-ready.

More Resources on Email Marketing and Domain Security

What Sender Reputation Means for Your Email Marketing (Hint: A Lot!)

Why You Need to Take Domain Name Security Seriously

What If Your Email Metrics Are Off: Who's Really Clicking on Your Emails?

Continue reading "Unlock the Full Potential of Your Email Marketing Efforts With VMCs and BIMI" ... Read the full article

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Mark Packham

Mark Packham is the EVP of marketing at DigiCert, a digital encryption and authentication company.

LinkedIn: Mark Packham