An office worker using his chair to protect himself from a barrage of spam emails shooting from his computer screen - email deliverability concept
PHOTO: Adobe

One of the main issues with email marketing is earning the trust of the people on your email list. That's because most people are sick and tired of sifting through cold, spammy emails every day. In fact, with 293.6 billion emails being sent and received each day according to Statista, marketers who genuinely have something to say, have a really though jobs trying get people's attention. 

Leveraging BIMI is one of the tools marketers use to improve their emails' chances of being perceived as non-spammy and legitimate. It's one way of proving to your recipients that you are a legitimate company and not a spambot from who knows where. 

Yet, since BIMI is a relatively new standard, not every email marketing tool or provider has adopted it, which is why, in this article, we've reached out to email marketers to ask them why marketers should care about BIMI in 2021. 

What Is BIMI?

BIMI or Brand Indicator for Message Identification is one way companies can tell the recipients that they are legitimate businesses, according to Matthew Vernhout, Chairman at San Francisco, CA.-based BIMI Group. "BIMI is a method for brands to control the avatar image that is displayed within an email client, such as Yahoo Mail, or Gmail's user interface. This solution puts control of the logos being displayed into the hands of the brand owner." 

BIMI-compliant emails show the company logo in the inbox, which increases your email's visibility and acts as an ice breaker that tells the recipient that you come from a legitimate place.  It's also worth noting that BIMI isn't a new alternative to existing methods and works in tandem with other security standards. In fact, implementing BIMI requires passing DMARC, which itself requires either SPF or DKIM authentication. 

Steffen Schebesta, CEO of Paris, France-based email marketing company Sendinblue points out that “it’s important to know that BIMI is not a security solution, although it requires the use of strong email authentication solutions. Instead, it emphasizes the organization’s deployment of DMARC.”

Why Is BIMI Important for Marketers?

The major benefit of BIMI and the main reason it is important for marketers is that it makes it easier for people to trust your emails, but that's not all. 

BIMI is a method that brands can follow to incorporate their logo into their recipients’ inboxes. Before doing this, BIMI follows a multistep process to validate the sender's data and the brand itself. This authentication process is put in place to prevent any impersonators from pretending to be a brand and requesting information from customers or sharing any malware.

BIMI is important because it limits the negative experience of interacting with malware and viruses through email, risks that the average person no longer wishes to take. In those terms, BIMI is a way of reassuring users that the email is safe, and they can open it without any concerns. Sounds great right?

Here are BIMI's main features:

  • Visibility: BIMI makes your logo visible in the supported email platforms and inboxes.
  • Familiarity: The more your clients see your logo, the more accustomed to your company they become.
  • Security: BIMI protects your brand against people who want to pose as your company.

Preparing For BIMI

While BIMI won't necessarily give marketers 100% deliverability rates, it can definitely help provide more opens. 

Even though BIMI isn't yet one of the most followed practices in email marketing, marketers can always prepare for it. The first thing marketers should do to prepare for BIMI is to create an SVG logo and make sure that their SPC, DKIM, and DMARC are set up. Plus, make sure that you have a good sender reputation by sending timely emails following the email best practices. 

How Do I Implement BIMI

“Support of BIMI is very limited right now — with only Yahoo webmail and mobile apps offering support. However, AOL will soon follow, and Gmail is in its testing phase too,” Schebesta explains. Still, it’s important for marketers to begin the implementation process. 

When asked about how to implement BIMI, Matthew Vernhout tells us that to properly set up BIMI marketers require that "a domain is properly authenticated with SPF and DKIM and has configured Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) at enforcement." 

Implementing BIMI also requires that a brand publish a DNS record along with their image file in the proper SVG format (tiny-ps) and some providers also require an accompanying Verified Mark Certificate (VMC) be provided. 

Here are the steps to start implementing BIMI in your email marketing strategy:

  1. Save the image of your company's logo in the SVG format.
  2. Head to your DNS hosting provider and select the prompt that says "create a new record."
  3. When setting up the new record, enter the value'_bimi', and your hosting service will add the domain accordingly.
  4. When selecting the record type for your DNS record, select the type .txt
  5. Then, in the value section, you are required to include two tags; the ‘v tag,' which stands for version, and the ‘l tag,' which shows your location.
  6. Your BIMI is ready, and you can click the create or save button that you see at the end.
  7. Your BIMI is ready to go out to your email recipients, but we suggest you test it before sending out emails

I hope this was helpful. Got a BIMI related comment or story? please share below in the comments.