The Email Acronyms That Get You Into Inboxes: A Guide for B2B Marketers

The technical parts of email marketing can seem daunting, but beyond the acronyms, the concepts are actually pretty straightforward. Getting the basics down can make-or-break getting your email in the inboxes of your audience. In this blog post, we’ll discuss four critical email marketing acronyms: DNS, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. By mastering these concepts, you’ll improve your email deliverability and get better results from your marketing efforts. 

DNS (Domain Name System)

DNS is the foundation of email and website navigation, acting as a public address book for the internet. When you read about a “DNS record” it’s simply an entry in this address book.  When someone wants to access your website or send an email to your domain, their browser or email client uses DNS to look up the corresponding IP address of your server. In email marketing, DNS plays a crucial role in connecting the sender and the recipient.

As a B2B marketer, learning a little about what DNS is and how it works will serve you well as you work to (or partner with an agency to) improve the deliverability of your email. All the other acronyms in this post reference DNS, so while it seems like an IT thing, it’s becoming more and more important that all marketers understand what this is. 

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

SPF is an email authentication protocol that helps prevent email spoofing and phishing attacks. It allows domain owners to specify which servers are authorized to send email on their behalf. When an email is sent, the recipient’s email server checks a special type of DNS record, called an  SPF record of the sender’s domain. If the sending server is listed as authorized, the email is accepted; otherwise, it might be rejected or marked as spam.

For B2B marketers, setting up an SPF record is essential to establish your domain’s credibility and protect your brand’s reputation. A well-configured SPF record will improve your email deliverability by reducing the risk of your marketing emails being flagged as spam or phishing attempts. It also protects you from bad actors sending email from your domain.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

DKIM is just like SPF, but a newer and better email authentication protocol that adds a digital signature to each email sent from your domain. This signature is generated using a private key, which is then matched with a public key stored in your domain’s DNS records. When the recipient’s email server receives the email, it checks the signature against the public key. If they match, it proves the email’s authenticity and that it hasn’t been tampered with during transit.

While SPF provides a good baseline for email authentication, it can still be spoofed. DKIM, on the other hand, is more robust and offers an additional layer of security. Implementing DKIM for your B2B company’s email marketing efforts will further enhance your domain’s credibility and improve your email deliverability.

DMARC (Pronounced “DEE-mark”, Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance)

DMARC is a powerful email authentication protocol that builds on SPF and DKIM. It allows domain owners to instruct email servers on how to handle messages that fail SPF or DKIM checks. DMARC also provides reporting capabilities, enabling domain owners to monitor and analyze their email authentication performance.

Implementing DMARC for your B2B company is vital to ensure that your marketing emails are treated as legitimate by recipient email servers. With DMARC, you can specify how to handle emails that don’t comply with SPF and DKIM, such as marking them as suspicious or rejecting them outright.

Securing Your Email Marketing Success

Understanding and implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC is crucial for B2B marketers to ensure the successful delivery of their email marketing campaigns. By taking the time to learn a little about DNS and configure and maintain these authentication protocols, you’ll improve your email deliverability, protect your brand’s reputation, and increase the chances of your marketing messages reaching their intended recipients.

To dive deeper into these topics and learn best practices for email deliverability, watch our on-demand webinar on email deliverability. This webinar will provide valuable insights and actionable tips to help you optimize your B2B company’s email marketing strategy and achieve better results.

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