On average, an individual receives 121 emails per day, and since the pandemic more emphasis has been placed on online communications. A Pathwire study on the pandemic’s impact on email sending found that 55% of brands are emailing customers more since the start of the pandemic. However, for email marketers, breaking through the clutter of the inbox is becoming increasingly difficult, yet ever more important.

With the newly introduced Verified Mark Certificates (VMCs), marketers can now use their trademarked logo as a visual branding element within the email inbox — prior to a click through. Early indications from marketers using VMCs are finding increased brand recognition and improved open rates. Furthermore, VMCs ensure that a company uses DMARC, bringing greater trust to the inbox and helping to protect against unauthorized uses of your domain including phishing or spoofing.

What is a VMC?

A VMC is a digital certificate that verifies logo ownership and allows a company to display its logo in email inboxes. VMCs are a part of the Brand Indicator Message Identification (BIMI) initiative, which helps protect against phishing and spoofing. It’s like having a verified checkmark on Twitter and assures the receiver that your email has been verified. However, VMCs go beyond email engagement by increasing security through the BIMI standard, which will make your IT team happy as well.

VMCs are available now from select certificate authorities.

How VMCs benefit email marketing

VMCs can increase brand impressions, engagement rates and ROI for email marketing. Having a verified logo in customers’ inboxes can help your message stand out in all the clutter. The verified logo is a visual trust indicator that can lead to higher open rates and deliver a more positive customer experience.

Plus, as most enterprises have already invested a lot into branding and logo, VMCs allow for a new channel for that to pay off. VMCs require minimal spend for a strong payoff. Marketers can also pair VMCs with common subdomains to further take advantage of their logo in email. In sum, VMCs support greater trust and transparency in the inbox, making it easier to connect with your audience in email marketing.

In a recent press release, Ikko Furuki, CEO of Cybervision Hosting Co., Ltd explained, “With the display of validated brand logos and DMARC enforcement, VMCs improve email security and increase open rates. Users can have confidence in knowing which company is sending them the email, which we feel will help protect our customers and increase their loyalty. With the global support of DigiCert and Gmail, we will soon be able to offer VMC in the regions where we do business.”

How VMCs improve email security

To be eligible for a VMC, organizations must have Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) enforcement, an email authentication policy and reporting protocol that can help protect against unauthorized use of your domain, like spoofing and phishing. Under DMARC, inboxes verify that the email comes from the domain specified. DMARC also gives you visibility into the messages being sent from your domain. Thus, becoming eligible for a VMC will also increase your email security, which will ensure your IT team is on board as well.

Gareth Mandel, CEO of eharmony, said in a recent press release, “BIMI authenticates emails using DMARC, a key protection against email phishing, spoofing and other attacks. We worked closely with our IT department to make sure our organization enforced DMARC so that VMCs could be installed and display our verified logo. Our partnership on this project has even further strengthened the connection between our CRM and IT teams.”

Once a company is DMARC compliant and has received a VMC from a certificate authority, their trademarked logo is displayed as a visual trust indicator in the inbox. Find out how to set up DMARC here.

What you should be testing with your VMCs

To really maximize the value of a VMC, marketers should be testing engagement rates including open rates and click through rates.

How to tell your customers what VMC means

Since VMCs are a new tech, your customers might not be familiar with them yet. The main thing to let your customers know is that the logo in their inbox is an indicator of trust so that they know the email is from your secure domain. You can also let them know that you are protecting them against phishing and spoofing because you have DMARC enforced.

For sample email templates, graphics and web copy to help communicate the value of VMCs to internal and external audiences, check out our VMC toolkit.

How to get a VMC

Improve your security and brand awareness; get a VMC now. Be one of the first to get a VMC and make your mark in email marketing. Don’t wait to become DMARC compliant and prepare a trademarked logo because in some cases it can take several weeks or months to become ready for a VMC.

Additionally, DigiCert has prepared several materials to enable a smooth process:

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