purple email envelope with wheels on the road to BIMI

How to Implement BIMI: A Step-by-Step Guide [Infographic]

Want to get your brand’s official logo to display in email inboxes, but you’re not exactly sure how to implement BIMI? This easy-to-understand guide shows you how to get started and walks you through each essential step of BIMI implementation.

While it isn’t directly connected to email deliverability, and it’s not exactly one of the email authentication protocols, the way you set up your DMARC policy is crucial. Furthermore, BIMI logos could have a significant impact on email engagement.

Use the infographic below as a map to guide you through the different steps involved in setting up BIMI.  We’ve also highlighted some of the roadblocks or challenges you may face along the way. Get even more advice in our exclusive eBook, The Path to BIMI Implementation. It includes insights from email marketing veterans and members of the BIMI Group.

Follow the path to get a BIMI logo

BIMI implementation infographic with steps
Click the graphic to view a larger image

How to implement BIMI in seven steps

If you need further explanation, we’ve described each of these steps in more detail:

1. Finding the right partners

BIMI implementation can get a bit tricky for non-technical email marketers. Regardless of your skills and experience, it’s likely that you’ll need to work with IT and find people who can help you add and edit DNS records.

When Email on Acid needed assistance, we were lucky enough to have folks from the BIMI Group help us troubleshoot and answer questions. If you’re part of the Email Geek community on Slack, that’s another great resource.

There are also companies with services related to DMARC that are adding BIMI set up support to their offerings. That includes Red Sift, which offers help with BIMI certification as part of its OnDMARC product. There’s also Brand Protection from Agari, which includes BIMI capabilities.

2. Identifying your sending domain

Your email authentication protocols and your BIMI record needs to be published on the domain name server (DNS) your organization uses to send emails. This may be different from the main domain that hosts your brand’s website.

Find out if your emails are being sent from a subdomain such as mail.brand-name.com or marketing.brand-name.com. It’s also possible that transactional emails come from a different domain than marketing emails. 

3. Aligning email authentication

This could be the most important part of understanding how to implement BIMI. One of the reasons this email specification emerged is that mailbox providers and others want to encourage senders to adopt strong email authentication.

In order to get a BIMI logo to display, you’ll need a DMARC policy that is set to either “p=quarantine” or “p=reject”. A DMARC policy of “p=none” is not BIMI compliant.

DMARC looks for SPF and DKIM alignment. If an email fails authentication it won’t be delivered. This is the best way to prevent email spoofing of your brand. 

4. Creating a BIMI logo

Figuring out how to implement BIMI also requires following specific guidelines for the logo itself.

In order to design a BIMI-compliant logo, your image file must be in the SVG P/S Tiny 1.2 format. Since inboxes show logos in their chosen style, you also need to make sure the logo looks good when it’s cropped in different ways.

cropped bimi logos
Courtesy: BIMIGroup.org

You’ll likely need a graphic designer to make some specific edits to the SVG file. Check out our how-to guide for creating a BIMI logo to get the details.

5. Acquiring a Verified Mark Certificate (VMC)

Another important step in BIMI implementation is getting your logo trademarked and verified by the right authorities.

Note: If you don't already have a trademarked logo, that process can take months. So start as soon as possible and plan for the time it will take.

Once you have a trademarked logo, you’ll need a verified mark certificate (VMC) to take advantage of BIMI logos in Gmail. Other inbox providers, such as Yahoo Mail, may use VMCs to judge your sender reputation -- even though they don’t require the certificate.

Currently, the two entities providing VMCs are Entrust and DigiCert. A certificate from these organizations proves your brand is the rightful owner of a logo. But don’t forget to have your brand’s official logo trademarked first.

6. Publishing your BIMI record to the DNS

A BIMI TXT record is very basic, but you can also find tools that help you generate the record, which looks something like this:

default._bimi TXT "v=BIMI1; l=https://cdn.mydomain.com/bimilogo.svg;"

The most important part of the BIMI record is the location/URL of your logo file. Once an email is authenticated, receiving mail servers will look for the logo in that location. If you have a VMC for your logo, that also needs to be part of the BIMI record.

The VMC file location follows “a=” in the example below:

 default._bimi.example.com in txt 
 "v=BIMI1; l=https://www.example.com/path/to/logo/example.svg; a=https://www.example.com/path/to/vmc/VMC.pem;" 

Of course, you’ll also need the right DMARC policy settings. So don’t forget to review and update your email authentication records before publishing the BIMI record.

7. Verifying that BIMI is working

The last step involves testing things out to make sure everything is set up right. So, you’ll need to check your compliance with established BIMI standards. 

You’ll find several tools online that check to see if you’re “BIMI-ready.” That includes the BIMI Inspector tool from BIMI Group. Similar tools exist from MxToolbox, Red Sift's OnDMARC, and others.

Use these tools or work with your partners to troubleshoot issues. Find out what part of the BIMI implementation process you missed and work to correct the problem.

BIMI and email previews from Email on Acid

Another way to keep an eye on your BIMI logo is during the email predeployment process.

When you’re reviewing test results from Email on Acid’s Campaign Precheck, you’ll be able to see if BIMI logos are appearing at the message level. Just look for your logo in the email previews for clients in which you expect to see a BIMI logo in the screenshot.

Want more advice on how to implement BIMI? Don’t forget to download our free eBook. Find out about the backstory and benefits of BIMI and learn from experienced email marketers. 

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