Email clients can identify email senders with a picture—for example, after you have manually set one for a specific sender. If your logo appears next to your site emails, it doesn’t just help with your branding—it will also make your emails look more professional and trustworthy and in turn probably also increase the opening rate. But how can you make sure that all your community members will see your site logo next to your emails? I am going to describe two methods: the proper, future-proof (but more complex) way and a quick hack specifically for Google Mail users.
And by the way: having the logo next to your emails might even be more useful than having it within the emails, which is an option you can turn on or off in the ACP. Images in emails are blocked by default in more and more email clients, so the logo within the email will often simply not show at all.
The profile image representing the sender doesn’t look very appealing, does it?
Much better, isn’t it?
As you can see in the image above, I usually set up a ‘noreply’ address for the outgoing community emails. This signals to the users, that they should not reply to those emails and instead visit the community. You may or may not monitor the inbox for your outgoing emails. There are advantages and disadvantages for both options and it depends on the specific community and the technical setup what’s recommendable. But I would always suggest to use a custom email address for emails from the community. Don’t just put in your own main email address!
Your logo in Google Mail
Google Mail is one of the biggest email providers. So, if you only add your logo to emails for users of Google Mail, you already achieve a lot. Here is how you do it:
- Create a new Google Account. (Tip: do it in an incognito window so Google doesn’t pick up a Google account you might already have.)
- Add in your name and the outgoing email address of your community. Follow the instructions to confirm the email address and your identity. After the setup is complete, change the profile image for the newly created account and upload the logo of your website.
- Wait until the next day.
- Send a test email from your ACP to a Google Mail account and check whether it contains the logo.
Setting a BIMI logo
The proper way to deal with logos in email clients is with a BIMI record for your domain. It’s a specification created to control the display of brand logos next to authenticated e-mails. BIMI stands for Brand Indicators for Message Identification. In order to set a BIMI image for your domain, you need to be able to create a proper SVG logo and you need access to your DNS records.
Open a design application that can create vector images. I am using Adobe Illustrator. Create a square document, no matter what aspect ratio your logo might have. Add your logo and make sure it either works on light and dark backgrounds or add a background to your design. Then save the image as an SVG file. The SVG can only have static vector content. No bitmap images, animations or external resources are allowed. The file size should be below 32 kilobyte. A BIMI logo also needs to follow the the standard SVG Tiny Portable/Secure (“Tiny PS”). Many apps do not support this standard yet, so we need an additional step. First, I save the SVG as »SVG Tiny 1.2«. Then we need to convert the SVG with conversion tools.
Here is a Windows tool: https://github.com/authindicators/svg-ps-converters/tree/master/gui-win10
And here is a Mac tool: https://github.com/authindicators/svg-ps-converters/tree/master/gui-macos
After we converted the logo to SVG Tiny PS, we upload the logo via FTP to our website. Try to access the logo in the browser to see if the upload was successful and you have the full URL to access it.
Now open the DNS settings for your website. The BIMI standard has strict requirements regarding email authentication. Your emails should already pass DMARC tests with a setting of “reject” or “quarantine (100%)”. If you do not know what this means, I talked a little bit about this in an earlier article. If you don’t have the proper SPF/DKIM/DMARC records yet, pause the BIMI set-up and focus on the email authentication first. Take this step seriously as faulty settings might mean that your emails are not delivered or marked as spam.
Once your DMARC settings are complete and tested, you can add a BIMI DNS record. First, click the Generate BIMI button on this website.
Add at least your domain and the full URL of your SVG logo to create the BIMI record. Then create a TXT record for the listed subdomain with the given content starting with v=BIMI1…
The BIMI generator
Setting the BIMI TXT record for the subdomain
Now while still on the BIMI generator page, launch the check from the top to see if the BIMI record was set up properly. The page will give a detailed report about all possible problems and will also generate a preview of the way the logo will look like in an email client. Keep in mind that a BIMI record is just a suggestion to the email clients to use this image. There is no guarantee it will show up and some clients might restrict the display to domains with a valid VMC Certificate or certain DMARC settings. But chances are, more and more email clients will support the BIMI specification in the future. So, it can’t hurt to have it set up already.
The logo is showing up in Fastmail