When you're first getting started, your surveys will be sent from an AskNicely email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) - however, once you have surveys going out, we strongly recommend you set up your own domain so that the emails will appear to originate from your company. This is important for a few reasons:
- Customers are more likely to open and respond to an email from someone they’re familiar with, like your organization.
- Consistent branding is a good marketing principle to build trust with your Contacts.
- Using your domain makes it less likely that the surveys will get caught in email filters.
Steps To Set Up Your Email Domain
In order to send your emails from the same overall email address that your company uses for all outbound emails, we need to set up your email domain - this is done by configuring your DNS settings to add to or create SPF and DKIM records. Once your DNS settings are configured, your surveys will be sent via the service AskNicely uses to do the actual sending - the name of this service is called Mandrill, and it is owned by MailChimp.com.
To complete the following steps, you will need AskNicely administrator privileges
and access to your DNS hosting provider. (This is usually the same company you
bought your company's domain name from - for example, GoDaddy.com).
To get started, login to your AskNicely account and click Settings > General > Email Domain.
- In Step 1, enter your email domain - this is everything that comes after the "@" sign in your work email address. We will check your current SPF record to see if it is compatible with AskNicely.
- Important Note: there need to be fewer than 10 DNS lookups on your account for this to work - you will get a notification if this is the case. If you have more than 10, follow our advice here.
- In Step 2, we provide you with an updated SPF record that you will need to copy via the "Copy SPF to Clipboard" button and then paste into either your existing .txt SPF record or into a new .txt SPF record in your DNS settings.
- In Step 2, we also need you to add a new DNS record called DKIM - follow the instructions in step 2 for how to do this. Use "Copy DKIM to Clipboard" and paste it in the new .txt file in your DNS.
- Important Note:This DKIM setting will not affect the delivery of your current emails - it is Mandrill's Public Encryption key which is used by other email server to verify an email sent via Mandrill. This may take 48 hours to complete.
- Once complete, in Step 3, our tool will ask you for your email address so a verification link can be sent via email from Mandrill.com. Once that email arrives, copy and paste the verification link found in that email into the "Verification Link" field in AskNicely. (Clicking that link will do nothing.)
- In Step 4, set your email address to a "live" email address at your company; we recommend putting "noreply" in this field so that all emails will come from noreply@[yourdomain].com. This will prevent your inbox from being flooded with Out of Office replies.
- When your domain shows up as "Verified" on the email domain page and step 4 is complete, you are done!
Here are the exact steps to enable Mandrill for your organization once you have arrived at Settings > Email Domain and entered your email domain:
1. Go into your DNS settings. (Example: godaddy.com)
2. Open the SPF record (This will be a .txt file).
3. We will be replacing the existing values in this file; first, cut and paste the values in that record somewhere safe.
4. On the AskNicely Email Domain page, click the "Copy SPF to Clipboard" button (see screenshot above).
5. Paste the updated SPF value that we have created for you into your SPF record.
6. Save that SPF record.
7. Create a new DKIM record (.txt file)
8. Name the DKIM record the name that is provided in AskNicely just above the DKIM record: should something like mandrill._domainkey.YOURASKNICELYDOMAIN.com.
9. Paste the DKIM value that we have created for you into that DKIM record. (Use the similar "Copy DKIM to Clipboard" button in step 4 above to copy this value.)
10. Save your new DKIM record.
11. Once you see two green checkmarks instead of red x's, Step 3 will become available: put an email address in that field that has the same domain as the one you are trying to set up - click "Send Verification Link"
12. Mandrill will send you an email with a Verification Link in it: Copy and paste this link into the "Verification Link" field in Step 3 of AskNicely. (Clicking on this link will do nothing.)
13. Once your link is verified, we will verify it on our end, then you'll be all set! (Note: If you want the "From" email to be something other than "noreply@[yourdomain].com", you can change it anytime on Step 4 of the Email domain page.)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework. It was developed so that email servers could verify the identity of the sending email server, and if this server was allowed to send emails for this domain. You are required to add mandrillapp.com to your SPF records so we can send emails from your domain.
What is DKIM?
This stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. You will need to add a 'new' DNS entry with this DKIM setting. This is required for us to safely send emails from our email provider Mandrill.
What does DKIM do?
The DKIM setting you publish is Mandrill's public encryption key. When Mandrill sends an email, they digitally sign the email to prove their servers actually sent this email.
Will DKIM effect our own email server?
DKIM is only used when an email has been digitally signed by Mandrill - the key is used by other email servers to verify the email signature. It does not affect any other email services you use today, eg gmail, office365 or you own email server.
Why do I need DKIM and SPF?
These two settings help verify senders and confirm that messages have not been altered in transit. They also help maximize email deliverability so that our emails will actually end up in the intended inbox.
Does AskNicely Support SPF Alignment?
No. DMARC only requires SPF or DKIM to pass but not both.