‘Authentically’ Constant Contact

It seems like two of today’s e-marketing dilemmas are getting through spam filters and making it easy for people to respond directly back to you. Constant Contact, which we and several clients use, has always excelled at solving the first problem – and now they’ve solved the second one.

For those with older Constant Contact accounts, there was no way to send a message through your own domain name. Even though, for example, you knew you were getting the email with this newsletter from Sterling Rose, the domain that sent it was from Constant Contact. Because of that, you couldn’t reply directly, and we were among the many Constant Contact users who felt that clients and customers who felt we were losing some contact.

Now, you can use an email authentication key to build your reputation as a safe sender and keep your emails out of the spam folder. The key verifies your outbound email to an internet service provider (ISP) that the message actually came from your organization, or that it was sent on your behalf from an authorized third-party, like Constant Contact. It receives basic authentication, but whether you have your own domain or are using an email address from a free webmail provider, like Gmail or Yahoo, you can choose to add an extra layer of authentication to improve your email deliverability.

Authentication standards were originally developed to reduce spoofing, phishing and spamming schemes involving well-known brands. But as we all have learned, brands big and small are now targets and should be employing some level of authentication to protect themselves. The less your emails can be confused as spam, the more likely an ISP will route your emails into your contacts’ inboxes.

If you have your own domain and are hosting your website through an online web hosting platform, you have three authentication options:

  • DKIM Self-Publish for Authentication – DKIM, which stands for Domain Key Identified Mail, is the highest level of authentication offered by Constant Contact and is the only way for a domain to be aligned with DMARC, which is a policy recognized in the email world. Constant Contact generates the public/private key pair and provides you with the public key while they sign all of your email with the private key.
  • Enable Constant Contact Authentication – If you’re not ready to do authentication with your own domain but want to separate yourself from their shared pool of customers, you can enable Constant Contact authentication to add ccsend.com as a sub-domain to your existing email address. They take care of the authentication records for you, and you can still customize the sender header information that displays when your recipients open your email.
  • Do Nothing – All email sent through Constant Contact receives some form of authentication and you don’t have to do anything extra to receive this service. You get basic authentication to make sure your emails get delivered to your contacts’ inbox, but your online domain reputation is shared in a pool with all other Constant Contact customers.

If you send email from multiple locations, such as Constant Contact, Google apps, and a CRM tool, each location signs with a different private DKIM key. You will have multiple public keys on your DNS to correspond to the private keys. DKIM keys are differentiated by the selector. Constant Contact uses numbers for the selector, but Google, for example, uses letters for the selector instead.

It’s a good idea to test your authentication out before you send out an email campaign because it may take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days for the newly published authentication records to propagate through the internet. Once you have a successful test send, you can start sending emails that help build your reputation.

We can help you with your email communications through Constant Contact by walking you through the setup process or doing the work for you, and we can provide the tests needed to verity the setup is good. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to answer your questions or set up an appointment to start your authentication process.