How do I brand my sender in Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

I have an existing SFMC setup, with a warm private IP address and an authenticated domain already. I am launching a new product and therefore want to set up a NEW sending domain to send from. If I want to start sending from it, using new sender domain, will I need to purchase a new Sender Authentication Package (SAP)?

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Admin

It might be useful to list few differences (and similarities) between SAP and a Private Domain, prior to getting to the point.

Sender Authentication Package (SAP) is best thought of as an account “branding” tool. It gives you the ability to have your links and images reflect the same branding as the authenticated domain you’ll be sending mail from. SAP is actually a collection of products including:

  • Private Domain with link and image wrapping,
  • Dedicated IP Address
  • Reply Mail Management (RMM).

While these other products can purchased individually, the link and image wrapping that truly “brands” the account only comes with SAP. This grouping of products cannot be “broken up” – i.e. you can’t implement only the IP address but not the domain. Differences between a Private Domain purchased as part of an SAP, and purchased separately, are following:

  • An SAP Private Domain includes link-wrapping (i.e. links, images, and anything else that would normally reflect SFMC, will reflect the chosen SAP domain instead). The domain is also authenticated with SPF/Sender ID and DKIM/Domain Keys.
  • A Private Domain which is purchased separately for sending is an authenticated domain for use in the From address only. It is set up either via a User or Sender Profile, and this type of Private Domain DOES NOT include link-wrapping. It has an MX record, SPF/Sender ID and DKIM/Domain Keys.

Additionally (outside of the from-email address context) both of the Private Domains listed above, can be used for creating branded domains for Cloud Pages. Neither of the Private Domains come with an IP address.

In your case, where you have an existing SAP, including an IP address and a Private Domain, you can easily add (when purchased) another Private Domain to authenticate additional from-email address. No additional IP address will be provided with this new Private Domain, neither is it needed.

Do keep in mind, that links and image URLs will still reflect the SAP domain, and will NOT change, when sending emails from this new Private Domain. This is due to the limitation of a single SAP (hence only single link wrapping domain) per Business Unit. This is also why an additional SAP is not needed.

If you decide for a new Business Unit, my advice will be indeed to purchase a new SAP – so links and images reflect the branding correctly, but keep the IP address already in use on existing BU and being used for sending from the SAP domain.

But what if I no longer need the old SAP, and want to replace it with a new branding altogether?

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Admin

You can go all in, and get a new SAP, keeping the existing IP address. This is more costly than just adding a new Private Domain, but will provide a consistent brand experience. If SSLs have been purchased, they will probably need to purchase a new set, to secure the updated SAP domain.

A complete IP warmup is not required, especially if old SAP domain is kept. If you choose to change everything but the IP, there still shouldn’t be much impact on deliverability, however I will still keep an eye on bounce and open rates for the first week after the change, to make sure no ISPs have issues delivering the mails to inboxes. Exact definition of IP vs domain impact is not set in stone, however there is a shift towards more attention to sender domain based reputation.

Should a decision be made on a new SAP, there is a number of actions to be performed by you:

  • Any custom HTML Paste emails, or HTML blocks, will need to be manually updated
  • Any AMPscript containing URL references would need to be updated
  • Cloud Pages and MicroSites would have to be rebuilt on the new domain

The prior SAP domain will remain in place for 60 days, but after this point, old links in emails and references to Cloud Pages on old domain will cease working.

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