Using a custom Sending Domain to help with email delivery

Why is a custom Sending Domain recommended?

The BrandChamp system supports sending two types of emails:

  1. System notification emails. Examples: password reset requests, emails when a new applicant applies or when a activity is completed etc
  2. One-off emails that you can send to your BrandChamps at any time using a custom email

BrandChamp will always send the first type from the "notifications@brandchamp.io" email address unless you have configured a custom "from" email for those, in which case the same logic below applies.

For the second type, you can choose what email to use for the "from" address. Most likely, you'll use your company email. E.g. ambassadors@mycompany.com.

Since those emails are sent by BrandChamp on your behalf, it may appear to some email providers that we're attempting to send "spam" emails, since we've done nothing to prove that we have your permission to send emails on your behalf.

For example, real spammers might send an email with a "from" address of "accounts@paypal.com" even though they clearly don't own the domain.

That's where the " Sender Policy Framework" comes in. It's an email standard that describes how your company can grant permissions for another company to send emails on your behalf. It gets a little technical, but it basically means that you must add some DNS records in your hosting provider which indicate permission is granted.

Luckily, it's very easy to do that in BrandChamp by adding a custom sending domain. Once you add a sending domain, we automatically generate the DNS records that you need to add in order to establish that permission.

Adding a Custom Sending Domain

Go to the Settings page and scroll down to the "Emails" section.

Enter your company domain only (e.g. if you want to send from alice@yourcompany.com, just enter "yourcompany.com")

Click the "Get DNS Settings" button to generate the DNS records you'll need to add to your DNS provider (Note: dummy values are shown below. You'll need to use the real values you see on your own Settings page):

The system generates a number of "CNAME" records which you'll need to add in your DNS provider. Until you do, the Sending Domain will be marked as "invalid" and cannot be used.

You will now need to add those DNS records (3 CNAMEs)  and verify them before the sending domain is considered valid. See below for details.

How do I add DNS records?

Each hosting provider is different, so you will need to consult their documentation.

Here are some links for common hosting providers:

Validating the DNS Records

Once you've added the DNS records, you can head back to the BrandChamp settings page and click the Validate button.

However, it's very likely that the records won't validate immediately as it can take up to 24 or even 48 hours for the records to propagate out to the rest of the internet, depending on your hosting provider.

Once your DNS records have been validated, the sending domain is marked as valid. Any future emails sent from that email domain by BrandChamp will be fully validated via the " Sender Policy Framework" system and virtually guaranteed to skip the spam filters!

Diagnosing Problems

If you have added all the DNS records, you may have an issue where some records fail to verify.

If all records fail to verify, it's likely that you just need to wait a little longer, but you may see issues with just one or two records like shown below:

Example DNS error

In this case, you should double check that you entered the values correctly in your DNS hosting provider. The expected values are shown in the table and repeated in the error message. 

If you update a DNS record, click Validate again but don't forget that you may need to wait a little while for it's new value to update. If it doesn't validate immediately, try again a little later.

Other Options

If you are sure you have the right values in your provider, another option is to use a third party tool like this one offered by Google: https://toolbox.googleapps.com/apps/dig/#CNAME/. It will read from your DNS records and show you the current values.

To check a CNAME record you need to:

  • 1) Enter the full host name value in the "Name" field. This will be the host name shown in the table followed by your domain
  • 2) Select the "CNAME" option

 Taking the error shown above for the hypothetical "yourcompany.com" domain, an example result is shown below:

Example Dig ResultIf you get a result, check that the value returned (pointed to by arrow above) matches exactly with what is shown in the DNS table in your BrandChamp portal (disregard the period at the end).

TIP: it can be hard to see small differences so to confirm it matches we suggest copying the value from the result (e.g. copy "bc2._domainkey.u2000713.wl214.sendgrid.net" in example above - note: without the period at end) and then search for that value with CMD/CTRL + F in the BrandChamp admin page. It should find the same text in the table shown.

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