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Salesforce Email Relay

Salesforce Email Relay: Setup & Best Practices

Add belt and braces to your email deliverability best practices by leveraging Email Relay in Salesforce. No idea where to begin? We’re telling!...

One of our clients who had been sending emails from Salesforce for over a month came to us one day in a panic, reporting a string of issues. 

Most of their emails were ending up in spam folders. The company witnessed a surge in unsubscribes (from 2% to 10%), bounce rates, and spam complaints. All this seemingly out of the blue, and in spite of following deliverability best practices

Having verified whether or not the client had in fact been following deliverability best practices as claimed, we decided to recon their Salesforce instance. 

As expected, the Email Relay feature was not enabled. We went on to explain what it was, and with every bit of new information, the client’s face seemed to glow at the potential of Salesforce Email Relay.

We wasted no time enabling the feature, and two weeks later the company saw a substantial improvement in their open rates and CTR. 

So what exactly is Email Relay in Salesforce? How do you set it up? Keep reading! 

What is Salesforce Email Relay?

Salesforce Email Relay is a feature that allows you to route Salesforce-generated emails through your SMTP server. Now this has significant benefits:

  • Since you’ll be sending emails from your own server, your recipients will be more familiar with your brand than with a generic Salesforce address.
  • You exercise greater control over the email sending process. You can adjust settings in your email infrastructure according to your needs.
  • You can stem excessive filtering by the spam filters since you’ll be sending emails from your server. If Salesforce gets blacklisted (a rare possibility), your emails would still land in the recipient’s inbox, not the spam folder.
  • Ensure compliance with government regulations for various industries. Since emails are sent through your server, you can archive these emails in a centralized location according to your organization’s retention policies.
  • You can apply existing content scan filters to identify any content or data in your email that does not align with your organization’s best practices.
  • The feature automatically appends all org-wide messages/disclaimers in the footer of every email you send. 

Read more: Ask The Trailheader: How to Send Emails through Salesforce

Salesforce Email Relay Setup Best Practices

Before you set up Email Relay in Salesforce, it’s important to factor in the following:

  • Make sure your company owns its domain. Do not use relay for emails that are not sent using your mail domain.
  • To avoid SPF failure, establish a DMARC policy for your domain, and sign all outgoing emails with Salesforce’s DKIM signing. Go through SPF and DKIM FAQ.
  • Disable “Enable compliance with standard email security mechanisms” and “bounce management.” Both of these are deliverability settings in Salesforce, and they may affect email delivery to your server. Your emails may get sent with Salesforce’s domain added to your address, which defeats the purpose of using Email Relay in the first place.
  • Verify the hostname on Salesforce’s certificate. In simpler terms, your email server will check the name on the digital certificate issued to Salesforce. The certificate authenticates Salesforcer’s identity as a legitimate sender.
  • Only relay emails from Salesforce that have the proper org id. You can verify your org id by looking for it in the email header. Salesforce adds custom headers (X-SFDC-LK, for instance) to all emails sent through its platform.
  • Enforce SMTP authentication between Salesforce servers and your email relay host. Test the authentication in a sandbox environment.
  • Enable Transport Layer Security (TLS). TLS encrypts email content during inter-server transmission. Learn how to set up TLS in Salesforce.

Now it’s time to set up Email Relay in Salesforce!

How to Set Up Email Relay in Salesforce?

  • Log in to your Salesforce account, and go to Set up from the Settings menu. (This is exclusively for Salesforce Lightning users)
  • In the Quick Find box, enter Email relays. Select Email Relays. 
Set up Email Relays
  • In the Host section, enter hostname, mail domain, or IP address.
Configure Email Relay
  • In the Port section, enter the number of your org’s SMTP server. 
Email Relay Properties
  • Choose a TLS setting. We recommend applying Required Verifying as it is the strictest setting. It performs rigorous audits on the TLS handshake. TLS Preferred, on the other hand, allows email delivery if the TLS handoff doesn’t happen. This is known as opportunistic TLS in email lingo.
Email Relay Properties
  • Save your changes. You have successfully created an Email Relay.
Email Relay Properties
  • Next, you need to set up an email domain filter for the relay to work. So, go to the Quick Find Box again, and enter “Email Domain Filter.”
  • Select the Create Email Domain Filter option, as shown below. 
Email Domain Filter
  • Now add the Sender Domain, Recipient Domain, enable the Active checkbox, and click Save. 
Configure Email Domain Filter
  • Once Email Relay is set up, it’s good practice to test email deliverability. Back to the Quick Find Box! Enter Deliverability, and select Test Deliverability.
  • Enter an email address. Click Send. You should see the following message. 
Test Email Deliverability

For more information, feel free to consult Salesforce’s documentation on setting up an Email Relay.

Salesforce Email Relay: The Dividing Lines

  • The Email Relay feature is only available on Professional, Enterprise, Unlimited, Developer, and Performance editions of Salesforce. You could still play around with it in the sandbox version.
  • Email Relay is available in the North and South Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
  • You cannot use the Email Relay feature if your business/company/org does not own its domain.
  • Your SMTP server should be configured for compliance with Salesforce’s security requirements.
  • The limitation of 1000 emails a day per Salesforce user and 500 emails a day per organization will still be in effect when you use Email Relay.

Read more: 6 Best Practices For Improving Email Deliverability In SFMC

Join Hands with Certified Salesforce Partners! 

Our Salesforce team has worked with more than 5000 brands in 60 countries by now. We’re an old hand! From designing Salesforce templates to building complex journeys to campaign management to migration, we do it all. Get in touch with our Salesforce gang today!

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Mrugesh is the Associate Director - Email & Marketing Automation at Email Uplers. With 12+ years of experience in email marketing, he has been responsible for planning, strategizing, optimizing & producing innovative campaigns & enhancing performance. Catch him on his next trip to the deserts and beaches while he is busy crafting that next perfect email.



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