Marketing Cloud Setup - Definitive Guide

Configuring your marketing cloud account can be a headache if you’ve never worked with Salesforce’s marketing tool before. This guide should help all new Marketing Cloud administrators to set up the platform and understand its fundamentals. Use the table of contents below to quickly navigate to the topics that interest you.

One piece of advice before we dive in: forget about Salesforce for now. Marketing Cloud wasn’t originally Salesforce’s product and it shows.

The connector between Salesforce and Marketing Cloud works great, and the synchronization of data can be used for very powerful marketing techniques, but data management, automations etc - they are fundamentally different.

Don’t worry though! We’ll guide you through the process of configuring Marketing Cloud, so that your organization can fully benefit from using this robust marketing platform.

Table of Contents

  1. User Creation
  2. Roles and Permissions in Marketing Cloud
  3. Business Units
  4. What is Sender Authentication Package
  5. Sender Authentication Package - Features
  6. Enabling Sender Authentication Package in Your Marketing Cloud Account
  7. IP Warming
  8. Reply Mail Management for Marketing Cloud
  9. Send Classifications for Marketing Cloud Email
  10. Transactional Emails
  11. Commercial Emails
  12. Transactional vs Commercial Emails Summary
  13. Marketing Cloud Setup – Conclusion

If you would like to learn about all of Marketing Cloud's features, I highly recommend Bart's video where he talks briefly about each of them.

User Creation

There are two places you will need to go to in order to configure your Marketing Cloud account.The first one is the general Setup tab which you can find under your name in the upper right hand corner. This section is accessible from any place in Marketing Cloud. It allows you to configure key functionality for your whole account. It’s important to make sure that only administrators can access it.But before we talk about access and security, let’s look at the very basic first step any admin has to start with - creating users.It’s so fundamental that the Salesforce Marketing Cloud team has decided to put the button for user creation in the very first screen you see after going to the Setup (more on this in my article about Marketing Cloud January '20 Release) . It’s in the upper right corner. After filling out some basic information a new user will be created.

At this point, you also have an option to configure some more advanced options such as Reply Email Address, but we won’t go there yet.

You can also create new users by going to the “Users” section in the left hand navigation panel. Here you will find a list of all your users and will be able to configure them further.

The top panel gives you quick access to a number of functions: after selecting a user from the list you can reset their password, set their roles and manage the business units they have access to.

To configure each individual user click their name. Here you can change their login information, time zone, culture code as well as view their Salesforce integration status and when was the last time they logged in.

Now, let’s focus on granting our new user access to Marketing Cloud features.

Roles and Permissions in Marketing Cloud

In Marketing Cloud, user’s access is controlled by permissions. They determine the actions a user can perform. Some of them are system permissions that give access to general functionality (such as any admin functionality) while others are related to a specific tool (like Email Studio or Journey Builder).Here’s the tree view of all permissions in Marketing Cloud.

As you can see, we can get very granular about which permissions we want to grant to users. It can be a little overwhelming at first.  

Fortunately, we don’t need to start from scratch. There are standard roles created in each account that accumulate different permissions.

Here’s a rundown on what each of them grants access to.

Marketing Cloud Administrator

A person in this role assigns Marketing Cloud roles to users and manages channels, apps, and tools

Marketing Cloud Viewer

A person in this role views cross-channel marketing activity that results in the Marketing Cloud

Marketing Cloud Channel Manager

A person in this role creates and executes cross-channel interactive marketing campaigns and administers specific channels

Marketing Cloud Security Administrator

A person in this role maintains security settings and manages user activity and alerts

Marketing Cloud Content Editor/Publisher

A person in this role creates and delivers messages through applicable channel apps

Roles are the easy way to manage permissions. Instead of assigning permissions to each individual user we can use default roles or even create new ones to control who can do what.

Business Units

Business units enable you to control access to data in your account. By using the hierarchical structure you can divide the account to represent your company structure. Each business unit can have its own branding, collection of subscribers and its own users managing automations, journeys and email sends.

It’s a great solution if your company uses different brands that have their own marketing strategies and people in different departments. You can still share items across all business units in the marketing cloud account, but the emails and journeys are only available in their corresponding business units.

Talk to the stakeholders before creating business users as this part is one of the key steps in the marketing cloud setup. Some functionality, such as the sender authentication package can only be shared with a parent business unit, so it’s crucial to discuss these things first.

What is Sender Authentication Package

If you want to make sure that your company emails are reaching your customers’ inboxes it’s recommended to set up the SAP (Sender Authentication Package) for your Marketing Cloud account.

The SAP is a collection of products for Marketing Cloud that helps increase the deliverability of your email messages. It consists of

  • private domain,
  • dedicated IP address,
  • account branding,
  • reply mail management.

We’re going to go through each of them in just a minute.

It’s important to note that if you are using different business units for separate brands and need separate domains for them, you will have to request SAP for each business unit - and each package comes with an additional cost.

If you ever want to transfer the SAP from a child unit to its parent business unit or vice versa, you can contact Salesforce support. This should be possible with no extra cost.

According to official documentation, the process of activating the Sender Authentication Package can take up to 5 days, but it’s usually less than that.

Now, let’s look at each individual feature that comes with the Sender Authentication Package.

Sender Authentication Package - Features

Private domain.

Allows your company to send emails from an authenticated domain of your choice. Salesforce Marketing Cloud authenticates your email sends using the Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Sender ID, and DomainKeys/DKIM authentication

Dedicated IP address.

A unique IP address for your account. Represents your sending reputation and requires warm-up.

Account branding.

All your links are branded, meaning that instead of the usual Marketing Cloud reference, they include your authenticated domain name.

Reply Email Management

A very useful feature that allows you to control how the system manages the replies from your subscribers. With this product you can e.g: enable automated unsubscriptions for manual requests that contain certain keywords.

Enabling Sender Authentication Package in Your Marketing Cloud Account

There are several ways you can go around setting up the SAP for your account (or specific business unit).

But firstly, you need to decide on the domain name that will be used for your email sends.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud strongly recommends to make sure it looks similar to your current domain/company name. If the domain name for your website is, you can go for or depending if you are delegating domain or subdomain. This is good for your branding and ensures your customers that the email sender is trustworthy.

Like it was mentioned before, when deciding on the domain name you have two choices: to delegate a domain or subdomain.

If you go for a separate domain, you will need to buy it first or inform Marketing Cloud that they will need to purchase it for you. The latter is the easiest method and doesn’t require any technical skills on your part. Salesforce Marketing Cloud support will do all the necessary setup on their end including purchasing, renewing and configuring the domain.

If you prefer to purchase the domain yourself or decide on using a subdomain, you will need to delegate them.

Here are the instructions for delegating a domain, which you can find in the official Salesforce Marketing Cloud documentation:

“A delegation requires an entry in your root DNS zone. Ex. For this might look like:

email IN NS

email IN NS

email IN NS

email IN NS”

You can find the full documentation here.

The most advanced method of configuring the domain is self-hosting DNS using an existing domain/subdomain you own. If you have an IT team that can help you with this, you can request a zone file of all the required DNS entries.

Obviously, this is the most technically demanding solution, so if you don’t have the necessary skills to do it you should opt for one of the previously mentioned methods.

After all that has been done, you can submit a setup form. A link to it should be included in the introductory email that Marketing Cloud support sent you after purchasing the Sender Authentication Package. After a couple of business days, the SAP configuration should be done.

To quickly check if your Sender Authentication Packages has been enabled go to Email Studio -> Admin and check the section labeled “Sender Authentication Packages”. Your chosen domain/subdomain should be displayed there.

IP Warming

Your new Sender Authentication Package is configured. You have a cool email template ready. Now you can go and send the first millions of emails to your clients to promote your company’s new product, right?… No, you actually can’t.

Or let’s put it differently. You can, but you shouldn’t. Why?

Your new unique IP address has no history of sending at all. This means that ISPs will be suspicious of any mail coming from your IP address. This is how all big consumer ISPs protect people from getting spam emails. By treating any new sending IP addresses as though they have a negative reputation.

If you try to send millions of emails on day one, the carefully designed email you worked so hard on will land in the spam folder of your customers’ inboxes.

That’s where the IP warming comes in.

You can avoid blacklisting your IP address by steadily increasing the send volume. Don’t message all your customers at once. Segment your subscribers and restrict the send volume day-per-day week-over-week.

It usually takes up to 4-5 weeks to establish a good IP reputation.

The limit volume per domain day-by-day for biggest ISPs is 20,000. After a week you can double it and so on until you reach 4-5 weeks. The only exception is Gmail, which requires a bit slower start (around 5,000 on day one, 10,000 on day four and 20,000 on day seven).

Here’s a Per-Domain IP Address Warming Calendar from Salesforce that shows the recommended limits for sends for each domain.

If you can’t segment your sends by domain, you can try using this alternate calendar. It’s a bit simpler.

Day Daily Max Volume

1-7 50,000

8-14 100,000

15-21 200,000

22-28 400,000

29--35 800,000

36+ 1,600,000

Also, remember that using third-part lists may result in lower engagement, which can negatively affect the IP warming process. It’s best to focus on your best data at first. So start by sending to the subscribers that want your emails. IP warming is a vital part of Marketing Cloud Setup.

Reply Mail Management for Marketing Cloud

One of the most useful features of the Sender Authentication Package is Reply Mail Management. It’s a tool that automatically manages replies, and can identify unsubscribe requests by looking for specific keywords.

It might not seem too exciting, but if a customer requests to be unsubscribed from your email campaign, you are legally bound to honor that request within 10 days.

That’s why this feature can come in handy if you don’t have time to manually process all those requests.

The way it works is Reply Mail Management applies a series of match-action rules. They determine if that email should be classified as an unsubscribe request, out-of-office reply or auto-reply.

You can configure Reply Mail Management to apply specific rules for incoming emails.

Take a look at the official documentation to see all the details about how to set up reply rules.

Other things that require configuration on your part are: email display name, reply subdomain, email reply address and DNS record redirect complete.

Send Classifications for Marketing Cloud Email

Your marketing cloud setup is almost over, but there are still a few things you need to set up and understand to properly use this robust platform from Salesforce.

Depending on the nature of your email sends you need to specify the proper send classification. To do so, you must define three components:

  1. Delivery Profile,
  2. Sender Profile,
  3. the CAN-SPAM classification as Commercial or Transactional.

The sender and delivery profiles are configured separately before setting up the send classification. The tabs for setting them up can be found under “Send Management” in Email Studio Admin. Those settings define which name and email address will be visible to your recipients in your email sends and some other information. The configuration of this part is rather self-explanatory.

Now, let’s take a look at the CAN SPAM classification. This is something that you will need to choose for each email coming out of your Marketing Cloud account, so it’s crucial that you understand the difference between transactional and commercial emails.

Let’s dig into the details!

Transactional emails

Transactional emails are automatic messages sent after performing a specific action on a website or application. A popular example of a transactional email is a message sent to your mailbox after purchase. It contains information about the transaction, the product, its price, shipping status, etc.

The most important feature of transactional messages is that they are sent immediately. These types of messages are awaited by recipients, and their delivery should not take more than a few seconds.

Here are other examples of use cases for transactional messages:

  1. Message confirming subscription to the newsletter
  2. Confirmation of purchase
  3. New log in details or password change
  4. A thank you message for completing the survey
  5. A message reminding you of unfinished purchase/an abandoned cart
  6. Notifications about your account
  7. Invitations to events etc.

Benefits of using Transactional Emails

Each type of email marketing strategies has its advantages, and these ones are associated with transactional emails:

Build your customer's trust - People feel safe with a company that provides information about every step and process of a business transaction.

Create additional sales - Use transactional messages to offer complementary products, suggest similar products based on previous purchases or encourage your customers to buy a broader service package.

Tips for creating the perfect Transactional emails in Marketing Cloud

Increase your customer’s engagement by personalizing the messages - Transactional messages are sent to each user individually based on their activity. This makes every message unique and personalized for each single user.

Personalizing the from field - It's best to adapt the sender's name to the situation. If the message contains order confirmation, you can enter, for example, "Order Processing" in the field from and remember to include your company's name.

Choose the right topic -  After reading the subject line of the message, the customer should be able to easily guess what the whole message is going to be about.

Use plain language - do not overdo it, communicate your message with easy and plain language. Customers need to understand what you want to tell them through your message, so you should not complicate it.

Branding -  The organization’s logo should be included in every single message. This will increase your brand recognition in each message as well as trust in the sender. It will also  intensify the customer interaction in mailings.

Commercial Emails

Commercial emails are promotional messages sent to a list of people, who have opted in to receive these kinds of messages from your company. This type of email usually encourages  customers to drive sales and revenue for your organization. The objective of promotional emails is to increase awareness,  boost your sales and or improve customer loyalty and retention. A survey showed that 49% of customers  would like to receive promotional email messages on a weekly basis from their favorite brands and companies.

Different types of Commercial emails:

  1. Sale notification
  2. 3rd party offers
  3. Event invitation
  4. New product
  5. Updates, releases
  6. Newsletters

Tips for creating the perfect Commercial emails in Marketing Cloud

Address the recipient directly -  If you collect the names of your recipients, you should definitely personalize the content. This will greatly affect the results of your message, because people will see value and the fact that you care about them by personalizing the message especially for them.

Present benefits for the customer - do not write about the characteristics of the product or service. The recipients want to know what they will have from it. Try to think about the priorities of your target market.

A good Call to Action - Its role is to attract attention, so that after clicking on it, the user performs the action intended by the creator of the site. A good CTA should be clearly visible on the page, be short but concise, use words that direct action and it should create urgency to take advantage of the opportunity.

Benefits of using Commercial Emails in your organization

Here are some of the positives your company can achieve by using this email marketing strategy:

Build excitement for promotions - This is a great opportunity to notify your customers about current or upcoming sales and create more leads and profit for your company.

Increase traffic to your website - By using an effective Call to Action, you will be able to increase traffic to your website. You can include links to relevant website content within your email message or simply just focus on the CTA button.

Decrease abandoned cart numbers - Make more customers to finish their shopping adventure on your website rather than putting items into basket and closing your website. Automated email messages can encourage these customers to come back to your website and finalize the purchase.

Transactional vs Commercial Emails Summary

Both of these marketing email techniques are effective in their operation, but they do slightly different from each other:Transactional EmailsCommercial EmailsUsers don’t have to opt- in Users need to double opt-inCTA is not the main purpose of the message   Direct CTATriggered by user’s interactionTimed and sent strategicallyCannot be scheduled Schedule sends in advanceNot covered by CAN-SPAM Compliant with all legal standards Here’s an official description that Salesforce offers for transactional and commercial emails.

Marketing Cloud Setup - Conclusion

Marketing Cloud setup can be quite a headache without proper instructions. It's easy to get confused if you've never worked with such a robust email marketing tool. That’s why we hope this article is going to help you with the initial configuration, and allow you to utilize this amazing platform to its fullest.

Also, remember to check out the official documentation for Marketing Cloud and Trailhead.

If you still have questions, reach out to us using the contact form or message us on LinkedIn.

Bart Szkaradek