Sender Authentication Package (SAP) for Marketing Cloud – Do you need it?

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Sender Authentication Package (SAP) is a collection of tools that can help you step up your game in terms of email campaign deliverability.

To put it another way, Salesforce SAP helps get more emails into more recipients’ inboxes. This also gets your company’s name on more radar screens as all references to Marketing Cloud are replaced with your domain.

“Salesforce”

Here’s what Salesforce SAP includes:

  • A private domain
  • Account branding
  • A dedicated IP
  • Reply Mail Management (RMM)

SAP is part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud package with Pro, Corporate, or Enterprise license editions. You might prefer to acquire a private domain, dedicated IP, or RMM for your business separately, but account branding is only available with SAP.

Let’s take a look at the products included.

Private domain

A private domain enables companies to send emails from an authenticated domain and to brand CloudPages.

1. Private domain for sending emails

Authentication is critical for getting emails delivered. Similar to a vehicle license plate, it gives your recipient’s internet service provider a trackable identifier that shows your emails are legit and makes sure they arrive in recipients’ inboxes.
Salesforce’s Private Domain product emails are authenticated with Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Sender ID, and DomainKeys/DKIM.

In short, Salesforce’s Private Domain works like this: You add Salesforce Marketing Cloud IPs to your domain records, and voilà… Salesforce becomes a legitimate sender on your behalf.

Image: an email from Grammarly where the sender’s domain is authenticated. Grammarly uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud to send automated emails.

2. Private domain for CloudPages

First impressions are everything! A branded, user-friendly landing page is a critical part of any marketing campaign—unless it is for a narrow, loyal audience that probably won’t pay any attention to the page’s URL. A landing page created using Salesforce Marketing Cloud will contain references to Marketing Cloud, but a private domain for CloudPages changes the URL to a friendly, branded address.

If you remember, a private domain can be purchased separately from SAP. If you decide to go this route, keep in mind that it doesn’t wrap links and images within an account. If you need across-the-board account branding, SAP is the way to go.

One downside of using SAP, though, is that it offers only one domain. If you need multiple domains, you can purchase additional standalone private domain products separately.

Account branding

This feature allows you to modify links and image wrapping by replacing generic references to Salesforce Marketing Cloud with your authenticated domain.

Your links without account branding: http://cl.s10.exct.net/?qs=0000000000

Your links with account branding: http://sf.brimit.com/?qs=00000000000

It all makes sense: Branded links look more trustworthy, which helps allay the fears of recipients who are leery of phishing scams.

Dedicated IP

Your IP address is the backbone of your sending reputation. A dedicated IP assigns a unique IP address to your Salesforce Marketing Cloud account so that all emails sent from that account use only this address. A unique IP address establishes you as a legitimate sender when sending huge volumes of emails each month—which is next to impossible when using a shared IP address.

Businesses with an exceptionally high send volume can acquire more than one dedicated IP and separate commercial emails from transactional emails. Dedicated IPs can be wrapped with a client’s unique domain too, as long as they are part of an SAP.

IP warming
When you acquire a new dedicated IP for your account or haven’t used it for over a month, you need to warm it.

IP warming—AKA IP warm-up—is when you gradually increase the number of emails you send in order to establish a reputation with email service providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Outlook. This helps your IP address to get identified as an authentic sender, making sure your emails get past the services’ sophisticated spam filters.

Moving gradually from low to moderate volume is crucial if you eventually want to generate higher volumes. All this is extremely important because these email providers are very clever—they even monitor how your subscribers engage with and respond to your emails.

Reply Mail Management

Reply Mail Management (RMM) automatically manages replies from recipients that do not require manual handling.

This tool allows you to set up filters and automatically delete out-of-office messages or handle non-standard unsubscribe requests. For instance, RMM can detect a certain phrase in the subject line or message body (such as “remove” or “unsubscribe”), remove the subscriber from your mailing list, and then send an email confirming that the recipient successfully unsubscribed. An email alert can also be forwarded to the relevant person to review if necessary.

Image: The RMM user interface

Summary

Salesforce SAP is a necessary tool for businesses that see email marketing as a strategically important way of communicating with potential customers.

SAP is an all-inclusive toolset that will help you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns. When configured properly, it will improve email deliverability, increase trust, and keep your domain from getting blacklisted.

Some of the products from the Salesforce SAP suite can be bought separately at any time, but if you’re planning to jump into email campaigns quickly or have a new domain name, investing in the full package is probably your best bet.

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