Every email marketer strives towards one thing— ensuring that their emails not only reach their recipients’ inboxes but also engage and convert. This is what we call email deliverability, the measure of how successful an email is at reaching the recipient’s inbox, and it’s a metric that can make or break your email marketing efforts.

Clearly, achieving optimal email deliverability is no easy feat, especially in the competitive digital space. Now, add to this another layer of complexity—the risk of cyberattacks, which is as pervasive as the digital space itself. So, how do you navigate this rocky terrain and ensure that your diligently curated emails reach their intended destination, which is the recipient’s inbox?

Well, there is a way to improve your email deliverability, even in the face of these challenges. In this landscape, Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) emerges as your trusted ally that not only helps safeguard your email ecosystem but also optimizes how your messages are perceived by the recipient’s mail servers. 

In this article, let us take you through the ways in which DMARC can help you bolster your email deliverability. But before we get into the technicalities, let’s first understand what DMARC is and how it works to ensure email marketing success.

 

DuoCircle Infographic

 

Understanding Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC)

DMARC is one of the most comprehensive and robust email authentication protocols out of the trio— SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. What makes this authentication protocol so popular among security experts is its unique approach, which integrates, enhances, and extends the capabilities of SPF and DKIM. So, the emails that fail SPF and DKIM authentication have to go through another layer of verification with DMARC, which decides the ultimate fate of the email— whether it would marked as spam or rejected by the server. 

This is done by specifying one of the three policies—“none,” “quarantine,” or “reject”—in the DMARC record, published in the DNS. Each policy provides different levels of security and determines how strictly the authentication is enforced. That is to say, if you set up the DMARC policy at  “none,” the receiving server will take no action against emails that fail the DMARC checks; instead, it simply monitors them.

 

DMARC policy

 

However, in the “quarantine” or “reject” policy, the enforcement is more stringent, wherein DMARC instructs the servers to actively prevent potentially harmful emails from reaching their intended targets or entering the recipient’s system.

The flexibility that DMARC offers can be leveraged to control how rigorously you want to enforce email authentication, safeguarding your email traffic against abuse, and enhancing your domain’s reputation

 

Decoding the Functionality of DMARC

  • For an email to pass DMARC authentication and get delivered to the recipient’s inbox, it must pass either SPF or DKIM alignment. Before you get down to implementing DMARC, you must ensure that you have either SPF or DKIM, or both, in place.
  • Once you have established SPF and DKIM, the next step is to create a DMARC record and add it to your DNS. This record specifies one of the three policies (“none,” “quarantine,” or “reject.”) that decides how to handle emails that fail authentication checks. 
  • As you specify the DMARC policy in your DNS, the recipient’s server gets to work as soon as it receives an email that claims to be from your domain. 
  • When the server receives an email, the first thing it checks is if the email’s ‘From’ header aligns with the domain verified by SPF and/or the domain in the DKIM signature. After verification, it then moves on to enforce the policies mentioned in the DMARC record.

 

spoofing prevention

 

  • If the DMARC policy is “none,” the email will be delivered regardless of whether it passes SPF and DKIM checks or not. However, it will still be reported.
  • If the policy is set on “quarantine” and the email fails DMARC due to failing SPF or DKIM alignment checks, the email will likely be moved to the spam folder.
  • If the policy is “reject” and the email fails DMARC, the recipient’s server will reject the email, and it will not be delivered at all.
  • Apart from policy enforcement, DMARC also sends out comprehensive reports on how your emails are being handled by their intended receivers. These detailed DMARC reports are an asset when it comes to monitoring and adjusting email security settings.

 

The Role of DMARC in Improving Email Deliverability

Undeniably, DMARC is a powerful tool trusted by experts in the cybersecurity domain, but you’d be surprised to know that even email marketers can also greatly benefit from its capabilities. No wonder it’s a cult favorite! 

Here’s how DMARC supports email marketers in ensuring their messages reach the inbox:

 

Good Reputation with ESPs and ISPs

If your emails are authenticated with DMARC, it gives ESPs and ISPs an idea that your domain adheres to the security standards set by these tech giants. Hence, they are more likely to achieve better inbox placement. This consistent visibility is crucial for maintaining effective communication, driving engagement, and, ultimately, achieving the goals of your email marketing campaigns

 

Defence Against Email Spoofing and Phishing

DMARC is one of the most preferred tools when it comes to mitigating the risk of email-based cybersecurity attacks like spoofing and phishing. With policies like “quarantine” or “reject,” it becomes difficult for malicious emails to find their way into the recipient’s mailbox, thereby protecting them from falling prey to the attackers’ nefarious schemes

 

types of spoofing

Image sourced from polymerhq.io

 

Enhanced Engagement

You might already be aware that improved engagement metrics are crucial for the success of any email marketing campaign. The good news is that this can be made possible with DMARC authentication. Apart from increased inbox placement, DMARC facilitates notably higher visibility and engagement rates. This is because as your emails land in the receivers’ inboxes more often, they are more likely to notice them and interact with them. 

 

Insightful Reports

A notable feature of DMARC is its reporting capabilities, which give you a deep dive into how your emails are being handled and delivered. These comprehensive reports tell you everything that you need to know about your authentication approach, including which emails passed or failed SPF and DKIM checks, the actions taken on those that failed (whether they were quarantined or rejected), and which emails were successfully delivered to the inbox. As a marketer, you can use these reports to refine your email strategies, enhance deliverability, and ultimately improve overall engagement

 

Best Practices for DMARC Alignment

Considering the ever-evolving threat landscape and the competitive nature of the digital business world, the last thing you want is improper DMARC alignment, which has the potential to jeopardize your email marketing efforts

Here are a few things to keep in mind when authenticating your domain with DMARC:

  • Before implementing DMARC, make sure that SPF and DKIM records are correctly set up and that they cover all email servers that send mail on behalf of your domain
  • Refrain from directly jumping to stricter policies— ”quarantine” and “reject.” It is always a good idea to go slow and steady with the DMARC policy enforcement and begin with the “none” policy.
  • After monitoring your outbound emails with a “none” policy, you can gradually transition into a slightly more stringent one— ”quarantine”. Following this step gives you the chance to see the potential impact of a stricter policy without the risk of losing legitimate emails.
  • Only once you are satisfied with the impact of the “quarantine” policy can you take a plunge into “reject”. This policy should only be implemented when you are certain that legitimate emails will not be affected.
  • Make sure to keep track of your DMARC reports and make regular adjustments based on the feedback and insights provided in those reports. 
  • Avoid DIY-ing DMARC alignment to avoid complexities and pitfalls that can hamper your email deliverability.

 

email marketing

 

Implementing DMARC Like a Pro with DuoCircle  

Thanks to the latest email-sending policy updated by Google and Yahoo, effectively implementing DMARC is now a non-negotiable aspect of securing email communications and enhancing email deliverability. This means that if you want to continue sending emails that engage with your audience, you can no longer be laid back about your email security protocols. 

But does your organization have the right strategies and support to navigate its complexities? If not, you’re in the right place

At DuoCircle, we recognize the shifting dynamics of the cybersecurity world and understand the importance of robust email protection in ensuring that your emails reach their destination. That’s why we offer specialized services designed to simplify and streamline the DMARC implementation process for you!

 

DuoCircle

 

Our services include advanced email authentication, thorough email monitoring, detailed deliverability analysis, and effective management of sender reputation, among others. These services are designed to simplify and streamline the DMARC implementation process so that you can focus on what matters to you the most— crafting emails that pique the audience’s interest

Partner with DuoCircle today to gain access to cutting-edge tools and expert guidance to ensure the security and effectiveness of your email communications! Get a quote now.

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