Emails drive your conversations, your business deals, and your customer relationship. They are an essential part of your brand identity, so you want them to perform at their full capacity and get high open rates for all your campaigns.
However, it's impossible to secure a high open rate once and for all. The email exchange is affected by all kinds of things, from human factors to technical issues. So, you constantly have to increase your chances of getting opens by locating areas for improvement and implementing new standards of quality.
BIMI or Brand Indicator for Message Identification is such a standard. Being one of the most recent security and brand recognition measures, BIMI is relatively new to the world of email marketing and is still tested by major services like Gmail and AOL. However, the test results already demonstrate the increased level of recipient trust and email authentication; therefore, you can and should enable BIMI for your email marketing (if you haven’t done it already).
What is BIMI?
So, what is a Brand Indicator for Message Identification supposed to do exactly?
BIMI exists in addition to three major email authentication protocols, such as DKIM, SPF, and DMARC. Its goal is to prove that you’ve sent the message and that you're a credible business with an established brand. By implementing BIMI, you get the following benefits:
- Better user experience. After installing BIMI, your company logo gets displayed in the recipient’s inbox, improving brand recognition and letting users know that the incoming email belongs to a legitimate sender or a company representative.
- Fraud prevention. BIMI also adds a corresponding DNS record, letting the receiving servers check it and authorize your email. It’s an extra anti-spoofing measure that will put both you and your prospects at ease.
- Brand consistency. Every little detail that helps you polish your brand image and create a more wholesome style is worth implementing. BIMI allows you to put your brand identity in front of your recipients from the very beginning. From that point, they will be more motivated to research your brand, explore your website and your inbound marketing materials.
Out of all security protocols, BIMI manages to help you with your marketing goals and your safety goals. No wonder it’s such a great hit among businesses and why so many companies have already enabled BIMI for their emails.
Some marketers may scoff at the idea of improving emails. Why pay so much attention to emails when social media marketing exists? LinkedIn Influencer Marketing has been a thing for at least two years, and it’s driving great results. Why not invest your time and resources in it instead?
Of course, social media can help a lot with building trust and bread image. But it would be a mistake to believe that email campaigns are no longer relevant. Customer communication still relies on emails. Emails allow you to take your lead nurturing further, conversing with prospects, letting them open up against their pain points, and turning them into long-term customers instead of one-time buyers. While being a lot more cost-effective compared to social media campaigns, email marketing campaigns drive greater ROI and offer more flexibility when it comes to content exchange and sending personalized marketing materials.
In short, you need all your sales channels to close more deals, and email marketing is the key to happy customers who trust your brand.
How many mailbox providers support BIMI?
You may doubt the necessity to install BIMI: It’s still being tested, after all. Shouldn’t you be thinking about implementing this new element after the testing phase is complete?
Yes, you absolutely should, for the sake of your brand identity and email deliverability. The working group behind BIMI is very proactive and is building up the adoption rate by including more email service providers and mail services in its network. Right now, this network includes Verizon (AOL, Yahoo Mail), Comcast, and Google. These major services value their reputation and wouldn't have agreed to the partnership if they didn't see any security or user experience advantages.
“Alright,” you may say. “But what to do if I don’t work with any of those email clients? Won’t I be sent to spam folders for using BIMI?”
Don't worry, BIMI won't affect your relationship with your email service provider, but it will improve your lead nurturing. People love transparency; they want to know what they're getting themselves into as soon as possible. By giving them a glance at your company logo, you make your introduction more informative. Believe us, your recipients will appreciate it. Moreover, by adopting the quality standard long before it becomes mainstream, you'll show that you're the brand that embraces the innovation, not runs from it.
Do established brands need BIMI?
Even if you've been in business for several years, the sky is the limit. The way of success is anything but predictable, so you should grab any advantage and brand identity boost that you can see. However, if you're an established company with multiple subsidiaries, brands, and unique domains, you need to make sure that all logos are represented. For example, if your Marketing Department has a logo of its own and their domain, they need a separate BIMI record for their domain to showcase their professional logo. Not being consistent with your logo placement will negatively affect your email marketing and reduce your Sender Score, so make sure to cover all sub-domains and test your BIMI records.
Do startups need BIMI for brand identification?
As a new business, you need to distinguish yourself from the very first steps. Introducing your brand and logo instantly will help you make a good first impression and get more visibility for your company. It’s a great boost, especially when you use email marketing in addition to your social media marketing campaigns and inbound marketing.
How to install BIMI?
It’s not that hard to set up BIMI. You will need:
- SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records. These DNS records are the supporting pillars of your email marketing. You can't launch any additional improvements until you're confident that your SPF record, DKIM signature, and DMARC policy function correctly.
- A new TXT record. You need to access DNS records on your domain host and make a new entry by creating a TXT file.
You must publish this record in a "default._bimi" domain zone that is located under the second-level domain.
For example, in this case your zone should be called “default._bimi.yourwebsitehere.com”.
3. An SVG logo. You should prepare a vector SVG image file with your logo. If you have a designer or an art director, they will help you with your task. After the logo is done, you need to generate an image URL that should start with HTTPS (an HTTP URL won’t be displayed) and add it to your BIMI record.
Once you make a logo and a BIMI record, publish it and confirm the changes. After this, you should send a couple of test emails to a dummy account that is not registered on your business domain and see how your email looks like.
As you can see, BIMI offers advantages that you can't ignore. It's comparatively easy to implement, yet it can make a tremendous difference in the way your recipients see you. Boosting recognizability, increasing trust, improving email authentication, and protecting your sender identity, BIMI sets a new quality standard that will soon be a must for all senders. So don't hesitate to upgrade your DNS records!
By the way, Folderly is designed to include BIMI when running a mailbox audit and evaluating your domain health. So if you want to check up on your freshly installed BIMI, you don’t have to look far for a tool - we got you covered.