Dynamics 365 for Marketing – Avoid Emails Being SPAM

When you first start using Dynamics 365 for Marketing you may hit a problem that all your marketing emails go directly to the recipients junk lists. Meaning they never get to read your beautifully crafted messages! In this post I will describe how I resolved this issue.

The Problem

There are lots of reasons an email might be classified as SPAM but one common issue is when the sender of the message appears to be from another organisation. These can be “phishing” messages, an approach used by scammers to try to get you to divulge your account password, credit card details etc. (As you may think the message has come from a legitimate source.) The answer is DKIM!

What is DKIM?

Domainkey Identification Mail (or DKIM) is a technical standard which aims to confirm the email’s sender is actually from the organisation they claim to be from. I’m not going to attempt to describe how this actually works, as it’s a pretty complex concept. (And one I wouldn’t do justice!)

But the idea is that DKIM allows an organisation to “take responsibility” for transmitting the message. A digital signature is added to the message associating it with a domain from their organisation.

Many email providers are enhancing their DKIM checking, meaning any emails that appear to originate from a different domain will be red flagged as a potential scam.

Why is This Important for Dynamics 365 for Marketing?

It has to be good news that email providers are making stronger checks that emails to originate from the organisation they claim to be from! When we are using Dynamics 365 for Marketing the email messages will be sent from Microsoft’s servers but will be linked to our domain.

As the emails don’t’ actually originate from our domain they may be automatically classified as junk by many email providers. Meaning we need to configure DKIM to take responsibility for the messages. If we don’t do this ALL our important messages may never land in the intended inboxes.

You can read a much more detailed account of the implications of DKIM and other best practices for sending emails by navigating to the link shown below;

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/dynamics365/customer-engagement/marketing/get-ready-email-marketing

How Did I Fix?

The fix was actually quite simple but the process initially sounded complicated. So I decided to create this blog post describing the steps I followed …

Step One – Contact Microsoft Support

The first thing I did was raise a support ticket. I needed to explain to Microsoft that I wanted to enable DKIM. Now I could have created a ticket that simply said something like “All my marketing emails are going to junk“. If I had, I suspect the ticket might have taken longer for Microsoft to triage. My ticket was pretty clear. My ticket said ….

I have problems with sending emails in Dynamics 365 for Marketing therefore I want to set up DKIM to link my email-from domain with Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 for Marketing sending domain in DNS. My instances url is “<<myorg>>.dynamics.com” and my email domain is “<<mydomain>>.com”.

Step Two – Microsoft to send details

Shortly after creating the support ticket someone called me to confirm the details. Then the next day I was sent an email containing some DNS details. The information they sent contained two CNAME records.

CNAME means canonical name, these are simply used to alias one name to another.

Step Three – Make Some DNS Changes

Anyone with an internal IT Department would at this point simply pass the CNAME information onto their IT helpdesk and wait for the changes to be completed. I however don’t have the luxury of having an IT Department! So I needed to make the changes myself and I’m certainly not an expert when talking about stuff like DNS config.

So I needed to contact my ISP (Internet Service Provider) and make the DNS changes. In my case that meant logging into my GoDaddy account, finding my domain and “playing” with my DNS config.

I am sure each ISP will have a different approach. But I’ll show the process with GoDaddy below as I assume most are pretty similar. First of all I logged into my account and went to the list of my domains. And simply clicked the “DNS” button next to the required domain name.

Now I simply added the two CNAME entries Microsoft had sent. This just meant clicking “Add” and entering the name and value Microsoft had given me. Even a simple soul like me had no issues just copying what they’d given me!

Step Four – Contact Support Again

I now needed to contact Microsoft support again to tell them the change had been completed. I replied to the email I’d had from Microsoft and waited.

Step Five – Confirmation / Test

After a few hours Microsoft replied to say the changes at their end had been completed and I should test.

I quickly created a customer journey to send a marketing message to a few of my friends. I asked them to reply back if the message landed into their inbox. It didn’t take long for me to get some positive replies. And I could then message Microsoft that all was good and my support ticket could be closed. I’m now ready to start sending real marketing messages to my contacts.

Hopefully if your emails are going straight to junk then you can also follow this process and soon all will be good. In my case it took about 24 hours for Microsoft to complete the changes and the process was pretty painless. Hopefully you will have the same experience.

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