How to Set Up DKIM for HubSpot?

Bastien Paul
Bastien Paul
·
February 18, 2024
·
5
minutes

Introduction to DKIM and its Relevance

In the vast world of email marketing, ensuring your messages reach their intended recipients is crucial. With the proliferation of spam and malicious emails, ISPs and mail services have upped their game. To combat potential threats, they often filter out emails they deem untrustworthy. Here's where DKIM, or DomainKeys Identified Mail, steps in as the knight in shining armor. DKIM offers a way for senders to validate their identity, ensuring their emails are viewed as genuine in the eyes of ISPs. In this section, we'll dive deep into understanding DKIM and why email authentication is paramount in today's digital age.

What is DKIM?

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a sophisticated email authentication technique that combats email spoofing and phishing by allowing the receiver to determine if an email was actually sent and authorized by the domain owner. How does it do this? Through the magic of cryptography! DKIM adds a digital signature to the headers of outgoing email messages. This signature can then be validated by the recipient by checking the signer's public key published in the DNS. If the keys match, it's a green light, indicating the email is legit and hasn't been tampered with en route.

Importance of Email Authentication

Imagine you're at a party, and someone approaches you claiming to be a close friend of a mutual buddy. Without some form of verification (like a shared story or a call to that mutual friend), you'd probably be skeptical. The same principle applies to emails. In an age where phishing attempts and email scams are rampant, it's never been more essential to verify the authenticity of messages.

Email authentication, like DKIM, ensures that the email content remains unchanged during transit, and it truly originates from the mentioned domain. This not only helps in building trust among recipients but also boosts the sender's reputation. Without such authentication, businesses risk their emails being flagged as spam, or worse, malicious. This can lead to decreased email deliverability rates and, ultimately, a dip in the efficacy of email marketing campaigns. In essence, without proper email authentication, you're shouting into the void, hoping someone hears you. But with it, you're speaking directly into the ears of your intended audience.

HubSpot and Email Marketing

In the dynamic realm of digital marketing, emails remain a consistent and impactful channel for businesses to connect with their audience. HubSpot, a frontrunner in inbound marketing software, has established itself as a go-to solution for many companies aiming to harness the power of email marketing. With its robust suite of tools and user-friendly interface, HubSpot is changing the game. Let's explore why HubSpot stands tall in the email marketing arena and how it ensures your messages land straight into the recipient's inbox, not the spam folder.

Why HubSpot for Email Marketing?

Choosing the right platform for email marketing can be akin to navigating a maze, but HubSpot makes the choice simple. Here's why:

  • Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Editor: Crafting professional emails doesn't require a degree in design. With HubSpot's editor, building aesthetically pleasing and responsive emails is a breeze.
  • Integrated Analytics: No more shooting in the dark. HubSpot provides in-depth analytics, helping businesses understand their audience's behavior, preferences, and engagement patterns.
  • Segmentation and Personalization: Gone are the days of generic emails. HubSpot allows for precise segmentation, ensuring you send tailored content that resonates with each segment of your audience.
  • Automation: Time is money. HubSpot's automation tools enable businesses to set up workflows, trigger-based emails, and nurture campaigns, saving time while maximizing results.

How HubSpot Enhances Email Deliverability

At the heart of successful email marketing lies deliverability. If your emails don't reach the inbox, they might as well not have been sent. HubSpot shines in ensuring your emails navigate the tumultuous waters of the internet and land safely in the recipient's inbox.

  • DKIM Authentication: HubSpot simplifies the process of setting up DKIM, enhancing email security and ensuring ISPs recognize your emails as legitimate.
  • Optimization Tools: HubSpot's platform offers suggestions to improve your email's content, layout, and subject lines, optimizing for better deliverability.
  • Spam Testing: Before you hit 'send', HubSpot checks your email against common spam triggers, reducing the chances of your email being flagged.
  • Reputation Monitoring: HubSpot continuously monitors the sending reputation of your domain, alerting you of any issues that might affect deliverability. You can also use third party tool such as this free email spam test and checker from Mailreach.

In essence, with HubSpot at the helm, businesses can rest easy, knowing their email marketing efforts are primed for success, both in creation and delivery.

Setting up DKIM Authentication on HubSpot

Navigating the world of email security can be daunting, but with the rise in phishing attacks and email spoofing, it's imperative to ensure your emails are verified and trusted by recipients. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a robust solution to this problem. When using a platform like HubSpot for your email marketing campaigns, setting up DKIM can significantly enhance your deliverability rates. Let's walk through the steps to seamlessly integrate DKIM with your HubSpot account.

Preliminary Steps

Before diving into the DKIM setup, it's crucial to get familiarized with the preliminary steps. These are foundational actions that will streamline the DKIM integration process, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

Accessing Email Settings

  1. Login to HubSpot: Start by signing into your HubSpot account. If you don’t have one, it’s time to create it!
  2. Navigate to the Settings: Once you're in your dashboard, look for the settings icon (typically represented as a gear) situated in the top right corner.
  3. Enter the 'Email' Section: Within the settings menu, you'll find an array of options. Navigate to the 'Email' section, which will open up various email-related settings.
  4. Locate 'Sending Domains': Under the email settings, you'll spot the 'Sending Domains' tab. This is where the magic happens!

Domain Verification

Domain verification is a vital step in ensuring that HubSpot has the necessary permissions to send emails on your behalf. This not only enhances security but also boosts your email's authenticity.

  1. Click on 'Add Domain': Within the 'Sending Domains' section, you'll find an option to 'Add Domain.' Click on it to initiate the domain verification process.
  2. Enter Your Domain: A prompt will appear, asking you to input the domain you wish to verify. Type in your domain name, ensuring it's free of typos.
  3. Follow the On-screen Instructions: HubSpot will provide a set of DNS records that need to be added to your domain provider's portal. This typically includes a TXT record. By adding this record, you're granting HubSpot permission to send emails from this domain.
  4. Verify Your Domain: Once you've added the DNS records, return to HubSpot and click on the 'Verify' button. HubSpot will then check the DNS records, and upon successful verification, your domain will be authenticated.

Now that we've covered the preliminary steps, you're well on your way to setting up DKIM for your HubSpot account. Remember, this is not just a technicality – it's a commitment to email security, authenticity, and building trust with your audience.

Configuring DKIM for Your Domain

The world of DKIM might appear cryptic at first, but once you demystify the process, it becomes a straightforward task. HubSpot has prioritized user experience, making the DKIM setup process intuitive. Let's embark on this journey of enhancing your email's authenticity and trustworthiness.

Understanding the DKIM Key

Before plunging into the technical steps, it's essential to grasp what a DKIM key is and why it's critical:

  1. Definition: DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. It's a digital signature that your email server adds to the headers of outgoing email messages. This signature is unique and acts like a 'fingerprint' for your emails.
  2. Purpose: DKIM serves as a validation tool. When recipients get your email, their server checks the DKIM signature to ensure the email wasn't altered during transit. If it matches what's on record, the email is marked as legitimate.
  3. Enhancing Trust: By confirming that an email originates from a known and verified source and hasn't been tampered with, DKIM significantly reduces the chances of your emails landing in the spam folder.

Linking Your Email Sending Domain

After a firm understanding of DKIM, the next step is to link your domain with HubSpot to enable DKIM authentication:

  1. Access 'Sending Domains': As outlined earlier, navigate to the 'Sending Domains' section in your HubSpot account.
  2. Select Your Domain: From the list of verified domains, click on the one you wish to set up DKIM for.
  3. Navigate to DKIM Settings: Within the domain's settings, there should be a subsection or tab specifically for DKIM. Open it.
  4. Generate DKIM Key: HubSpot will prompt you to generate a DKIM key. By clicking on the relevant button, HubSpot will provide you with a unique DKIM record.
  5. Update DNS Records: Like the domain verification step, you need to add the provided DKIM record to your domain provider's portal. This process might vary slightly depending on your provider, but most have a straightforward interface for adding DKIM records.
  6. Finalize on HubSpot: After updating the DNS, return to HubSpot and finalize the DKIM setup. It may take some time for the DNS changes to propagate, but once they do, your DKIM status should reflect as 'Verified' or 'Active.'

With these steps, you've just supercharged your email's credibility. By leveraging HubSpot's user-friendly interface and understanding the mechanics behind DKIM, you're not only bolstering security but also ensuring a smoother communication channel with your audience.

The Benefits of Using DKIM with HubSpot

In the expansive digital realm, where communication is instantaneous but threats are omnipresent, having a secure email channel is more than a luxury—it's a necessity. With DKIM authentication in place on HubSpot, the platform becomes an impenetrable fortress for your emails. But the advantages go beyond just security. Let's delve deeper.

Enhancing Trust with Recipients

  1. Immediate Recognition: With DKIM in place, your emails carry a stamp of authenticity. Recipients can instantly recognize and trust your messages as they come from a verified source.
  2. Guarding Your Brand Reputation: Imagine the ramifications if someone impersonates your brand and sends malicious content. With DKIM, you're assuring your audience that every email is truly from you, helping maintain and elevate your brand's reputation.
  3. Boosting Engagement Rates: Trust translates into engagement. When subscribers know an email is from a trusted source, they're more likely to open, read, and engage with it. Over time, this can lead to increased click-through rates and conversions.

Reducing the Risk of Spam Flags

  1. Navigating the Filters: Most email servers employ rigorous filtering mechanisms to sift out potential spam. With a verified DKIM signature, your emails have a VIP pass, ensuring they sail smoothly to the recipient's inbox instead of getting caught in spam filters.
  2. Avoiding Manual Blacklisting: Sometimes, recipients manually flag emails as spam. But when they consistently see authenticated emails from a recognized brand (thanks to DKIM), they're less likely to push that dreaded "spam" button.
  3. Staying Updated with Algorithms: Email service providers continuously evolve their filtering algorithms. DKIM is widely recognized and respected in the email ecosystem. By having it in place, you're staying one step ahead, ensuring your emails remain compliant with ever-evolving standards.

When you consider the broader picture, integrating DKIM with HubSpot isn't just a technical step—it's a strategic move. You're not only securing your communication channel but also bolstering brand trust and maximizing engagement. In the vast sea of digital communication, DKIM serves as the beacon guiding your emails safely to their destination.

Common Mistakes and Troubleshooting

The process of implementing DKIM with HubSpot can sometimes be fraught with challenges. As with any tech-driven endeavor, there are areas where mistakes can happen, even to the most tech-savvy of us. Let’s walk through some common pitfalls and their solutions.

DKIM Validation Issues

DKIM validation issues can be a significant hurdle, but with the right approach, they can be addressed promptly. Here's a deeper dive.

Checking DKIM Record

  1. Incomplete Records: Oftentimes, DKIM issues arise simply because the DKIM record hasn’t been fully integrated into the DNS settings. Ensure that the entire key, especially if lengthy, is copied and pasted correctly.
  2. Propagation Delays: Once a DKIM record is added or modified in your DNS, it may take some time to propagate. Patience is vital. It's a good practice to wait for 24-48 hours and then check if the issue persists.
  3. Using Multiple Keys: If you have multiple DKIM records for various services, ensure that each has a unique selector. This prevents conflicts and ensures each service can be authenticated independently.

Ensuring Correct Configuration

  1. Correct Domain Settings: Ensure you're updating the DKIM settings for the correct domain or sub-domain. A common mistake is configuring the root domain when the email service is set on a sub-domain or vice versa.
  2. Syntax Errors: A tiny syntax mistake, like missing a semicolon or having extra spaces, can render the DKIM invalid. Triple-check the syntax when entering the DKIM record.
  3. Using Correct Selectors: If you've set up multiple email services, each will likely use a unique selector. Ensure you're verifying DKIM against the correct selector.
  4. Monitoring Regularly: Tools like DMARC reports can help you keep an eye on your email domain's health. Regular monitoring can alert you to potential issues before they become more significant problems.

Being aware of common mistakes and armed with the knowledge to troubleshoot them ensures that your email marketing continues without a hitch. Remember, in the world of email deliverability, it’s always better to be proactive than reactive.

SPF vs DKIM: Differences and When to Use Each

Navigating the world of email authentication can be daunting, especially with acronyms like SPF and DKIM thrown around. While both are essential in the fight against phishing and spam, they serve distinct roles and operate differently.

Understanding SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

  1. Definition: SPF allows the domain owner to specify which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of their domain.
  2. Function: It primarily defends against 'return-path' spoofing and bounce-back spam by checking the sender's IP against the authorized list of IPs in the domain's SPF record.
  3. Limitation: SPF checks only the envelope header, not the content of the email. Thus, it doesn’t validate the visible “From” header, leaving room for some phishing attacks.

Diving Deep into DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

  1. Definition: DKIM provides an encryption key and digital signature that verifies that an email message was not forged or altered.
  2. Function: When an email is sent, it's signed with a private key. On the receiving end, the signature is verified using the public key in the domain's DNS records.
  3. Strength: Unlike SPF, DKIM also validates the content of the message, ensuring it wasn't altered in transit.

When to Use Each?

  • SPF: Every domain should have an SPF record, even if it's just to specify that the domain doesn't send mail. It's a basic, first-line defense against spoofing.
  • DKIM: Especially useful for businesses, as it not only helps prevent domain spoofing but also ensures the integrity of the message content. A must for transactional emails.
  • Together: In an ideal setting, both SPF and DKIM should be used in tandem. Along with DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance), they form a trio of defenses to ensure both the legitimacy and integrity of emails.

Conclusion

In today's digital age, where email communication reigns supreme, ensuring the authenticity and security of emails is paramount. HubSpot, being a leader in inbound marketing, sales, and service software, understands this and provides mechanisms like DKIM for enhanced email deliverability and trust. But understanding the broader landscape, including SPF and its distinction from DKIM, is crucial for anyone serious about email marketing. By integrating these authentication methods, businesses not only secure their emails but also uphold their reputation, ensuring their messages land in the inbox, not the spam folder. So, whether you're a marketer, an IT professional, or just a curious reader, it's evident: authenticating and securing emails is no longer optional; it's a necessity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does HubSpot support DMARC?

Yes, HubSpot supports DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). It's an email authentication protocol that combines SPF and DKIM, providing an additional layer of security. When setting up DMARC with HubSpot, ensure your policies are compatible with your HubSpot email sending domain configuration.

Multiple email sending domains HubSpot - is it possible?

Yes, HubSpot allows you to connect and manage multiple email sending domains. This feature is especially useful for businesses operating with different brands or in various regions.

How to add DKIM in HubSpot emails?

To add DKIM in HubSpot emails, navigate to your HubSpot settings, select "Domains & URLs", and then choose "Connect a domain." From the dialog box, select "Email Sending", and follow the prompts to set up and verify your DKIM records. Once done, add these records to your domain's DNS settings.

What is HubSpot SPF?

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email authentication method designed to detect and block email spoofing. In the context of HubSpot, SPF helps in validating that HubSpot can send emails on behalf of your domain.

Bastien Paul
Bastien Paul
Bastien is the CRO of Hublead. With over 5 years in marketing and sales, using Hubspot, Bastien has written several studies and marketing guides based on data, many of which are well-known in the industry. Bastien likes to question standard marketing and sales beliefs and aims to make things simpler and more efficient.
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