July 16, 2021

Essence of Email Weekly - It's BIMI time

Google is rolling out Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) on all Gmail accounts in the coming weeks!

What's BIMI again? It's a text file that resides on your Domain Name System (DNS) and follows a specific format similar to other email authentication formats like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. When a recipient receives the email, the inbox provider locates the BIMI file to verify the message. Once authenticated, the BIMI file points the recipient's email service to the brand logo and displays it in the inbox. Basically, it allows you to display your logo next to your emails in inboxes.

To set up BIMI for your brand, you need to have DMARC, SPF, and DKIM set in place. Your brand also needs to publish its logo in the DNS (Domain Name System) record.

How is this helping you? In addition to increasing your visibility and consistent brand image, it aims to reduce the occurrence of phishing and other email-related scams by proving that an email originated with its reputed sender.

BIMI is backed by Mailchimp, Fastmail, Vailmail, and Verizon Media — the owner of AOL and Yahoo (Yahoo and AOL email clients already fully support BIMI). In addition, Bank of America is one of the first major brands to sign up to send BIMI-enabled emails.

Here's how it works, according to Google:

Organizations who authenticate their emails using Sender Policy Framework (SPF) or Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and deploy DMARC can provide their validated trademarked logos to Google via a Verified Mark Certificate (VMC). BIMI leverages Mark Verifying Authorities, like Certification Authorities, to verify logo ownership and provide proof of verification in a VMC. Once these authenticated emails pass our other anti-abuse checks, Gmail will start displaying the logo in the existing avatar slot.

Gmail users won't have to do anything to see the authenticated brand logos, the company says.

It's expected that more and more brands will be welcoming BIMI now that Gmail, one of the world's most popular email service providers, is on board.

"Gmail's support of BIMI is a win for email authentication, brand trust, and consumers alike. BIMI gives organizations the opportunity to provide their customers with a more immersive email experience, strengthening email sender authentication across the entire email ecosystem," said Seth Blank, chair of the BIMI industry group.

Need help or more information regarding BIMI? Our deliverability experts are just an email away. And if you'd like to learn more about setting up DMARC and SPF records, our blog post can help.


You've guessed it… another cyberattack update

Source: Giphy
Last week, we wrote about the latest cyberattacks infecting a bunch of systems across 17 countries, believed to have been organized by a Russian "The REvil group". They asked for $70 million in bitcoin in exchange for a "decryptor" that would return the lost access to attacked users throughout the world.

But according to The New York Times, the websites used by this group to negotiate payments with their victims disappeared on Tuesday morning from the dark web. John Hultquist, VP of Analysis at cybersecurity group FireEye's Mandiant Threat Intelligence, confirmed that the websites associated with the group are currently either offline or unresponsive.

"REvil's darknet (.onion) and clearnet (decoder.re) websites are offline, and although we have no visibility into exactly how their darknet sites have been taken down, their clearnet site's domain has simply ceased resolving to an IP address and its dedicated name servers are still online," he said.

According to The Hill, this is not the first time that a group of hackers has gone dark. The DarkSide group, also believed to stem from Russia, shut down its operations after the FBI connected the group to the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline in May, which caused gas shortages in several states. The Justice Department was also able to recover over half of the $4.4 million in bitcoin that Colonial paid DarkSide to regain access to its networks.

So, what happened to the REvil group? "The situation is still unfolding, but evidence suggests REvil has suffered a planned, concurrent takedown of their infrastructure, either by the operators themselves or via industry or law enforcement action. If this was a disruption operation of some kind, full details may never come to light," Hultquist said.


Limited-time offers tips and tricks

Source: Omnisend
A limited-time offer is any kind of discount, special gift, or reward a buyer can get when they make a purchase from you during a certain time period. Annual sales, holidays, flash sales, and ad-hoc opportunities are all ideal for limited-time offers. It's easy to generate buzz around them and they can help you boost sales, spark interest in your brand, and clear out stock, etc.

But how do you use them? Omnisend dives deeper into the anatomy of limited-time offers in one of their latest blog posts. Check it out to learn the differences between sales and limited-time offers, how to make them unique, and much more.

Some of the best practices for limited-time offers:

  • Make the length and time clear. Communicate just how limited your offer is — this will create a sense of urgency and boost your revenue considerably.
  • Use banners and pop-up ads with countdown timers. Limited-time offer banners are particularly effective when they lead to a special sale page, or to a specific product that's on offer.
  • Communicate the offer across all channels: website, social media, email, and SMS included.
The key is to create a sense of urgency, either through enticing offers and discounts, by highlighting the scarcity of the offer, or by making it interesting enough to engage with (through content).

And with the back-to-school season approaching (and BF/CM lurking around the corner), it's the perfect time to make a plan and get started! Find out more in this detailed Omnisend blog post.


The unbearable lightness of authenticity

Source: ReallyGoodEmails
Promoting products, being human and intimate, and showcasing a business partner all in the same email? Yes, it's possible!

This email by imogene + willie is so intimate that it comes across as more of a kind friend helping you shop and less as an email trying to sell. That's how you know your marketing's great — when it doesn't feel like marketing at all.

What makes this email so human and personal?

A number of elements (and lack thereof). The logo is super creative and there's no header navigation (lots of email marketers advise against this, but it's obviously ok to make exceptions from time to time). Plus, the hero image is a dreamy recreation of vintage Tumblr photography and vibes well with the logo. Not to mention the intimate copy and the gorgeous photography that evokes a sense of community throughout the email.

If this email had a soundtrack, we bet it'd be something by Bon Iver! Great job, imogene + willie ????


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