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Nick Berry

Big Changes Ahead for Email Marketing – Are You Ready?

Big Changes Ahead for Email Marketing – Are You Ready?

Starting February 1, 2024 Google is cracking down on 3 main things for anyone sending more than 5000 emails a day to the google email systems (gmail or workspace). 

  1. Authentication: You need to have valid, SPF, DKIM and DMARC records for your domain
  2. Spam Rates: If your spam rate is greater than 0.3% you’re not going to make it into the inbox.
  3. One Click Unsubscribe: Gone are the days of clicking unsubscribe and sending users to a landing page or other nonsense.

And we all know if Google is doing this the other email providers are going to follow suit. That’s how this stuff always works out. So let’s start first with the technical stuff.

What are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, and how do they contribute to email security?

Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) are pivotal in verifying email authenticity. SPF validates the sender’s IP address, DKIM provides a digital signature to verify the sender, and DMARC aligns SPF and DKIM authentication, adding a reporting function. Together, they combat email spoofing, ensuring your emails are trusted by recipients and email providers, thus enhancing deliverability.

That’s a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo I get it, and if you’re struggling to understand it I get it. I’ll try to explain them as best I can in text. All three are things you’ll add to your domain DNS records.

SPF you’ll typically set that up through your email service provider like Google Workspace, sometimes you’ll also need to add additional SPF records for email marketing platforms like MailChimp, Active Campaign or Better Agency.

If you see an email header like this it usually means the domain is not authenticated through SPF

An email not authenticated through SPF

DKIM also comes from your email service provider. It’s just a bunch of gobbledygook when a human looks at it, but it’s your domains digital signature telling email platforms you’re who you say you are.

DKIM gobbledygook

DMARC is a reporting function that also serves as a way for email providers to make sure your domain isn’t being spoofed. I use EasyDMARC for generating the code required for the DNS settings.

Understanding and implementing these protocols correctly is crucial. A single misstep can lead to emails being marked as spam, or worse, blocked. Start by reviewing your domain’s current settings and consult with IT experts if needed. These steps are not just about compliance; they’re about building a reliable reputation in the digital realm, critical for any email marketing strategy.

What strategies can I implement to keep my spam rate below the 0.3% threshold?

Maintaining a spam rate below 0.3% is crucial. Start by making sure your email lists are clean and up-to-date. Regularly remove unengaged subscribers and validate email addresses. This not only reduces the likelihood of being marked as spam but also enhances the overall engagement of your campaigns.

The other key factor is “inboxing”, and if you’ve read any of my other content on email marketing you’ll get this concept. But the idea is simple, your marketing and outbound emails should be looking to get replies, especially in the first one or two emails. This helps make sure your future emails show up in the inbox, not promotions, or worse end up in spam. When google or office365 see actual conversations happen, they treat your future emails the same way!

Content is king in this realm. Create engaging, relevant content and avoid using trigger words that are commonly flagged as spam. Personalization can significantly improve engagement, making recipients more likely to interact positively with your emails. Monitor feedback from Google Postmaster Tools regularly to identify and rectify any issues swiftly.

How do I create a one-click unsubscribe option, and why is it important?

A one-click unsubscribe feature is vital for user convenience and compliance with email marketing standards. It respects the recipient’s choice, reducing the chance of your emails being marked as spam. To implement this, include a clear, visible link in your email that, when clicked, immediately removes the user from your mailing list without requiring additional steps.

This feature should be straightforward to integrate with most email marketing platforms. It’s a symbol of transparency and respect for your audience’s preferences. Remember, an easy unsubscribe process can paradoxically increase trust and engagement among your audience, as it shows you value their experience and consent.

If my business sends fewer than 5000 emails daily, what are the benefits of adhering to these new standards?

Even if your daily email volume is below 5000, adhering to these standards is a smart decision. Firstly, it future-proofs your email strategy against potential changes in volume or regulations. Secondly, it enhances your email’s deliverability and reputation, as ISPs and recipients view compliance with these standards as a mark of legitimacy and reliability.

Implementing these practices can lead to better engagement rates and fewer spam complaints. It’s about establishing a strong foundation for your email marketing efforts, ensuring they are effective and sustainable in the long run, irrespective of the size of your audience.

How will these changes impact my overall email marketing strategy and performance?

These changes will likely have a positive impact on your overall email marketing strategy. By adhering to these standards, you’re likely to see improved deliverability rates, as your emails are less likely to be flagged as spam. This, in turn, can lead to better engagement rates and a stronger relationship with your audience.

These practices encourage a more disciplined approach to email marketing. They prompt a focus on quality over quantity, ensuring that every email sent is purposeful, well-targeted, and compliant. This strategic shift can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

Staying ahead in the dynamic world of email marketing is essential. By understanding and adapting to these changes, you position your business for success. Want to deepen your knowledge and optimize your email marketing strategy, especially for niches like insurance? Book a call to explore more about Cold Email for Insurance Agents and tailor your approach to meet these new standards. Stay proactive and lead your email marketing into the future with confidence.

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