Discover the latest changes in email delivery standards with Google and Yahoo in this episode of “Website Success.” Host Chrissy Rey will delve into how these changes impact your email marketing strategies and what you need to do to adapt. Tune in for expert insights and practical tips to ensure your emails continue to reach your audience effectively.
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In this episode of Website Success, Chrissy Rey provides an urgent update on the upcoming changes to Google and Yahoo’s email delivery standards. These changes, taking effect on February 1st, 2024, are significant for anyone using email marketing tools for bulk emails.
- 00:00:17 – Introduction to the pressing issue of changes in email delivery standards.
- 00:00:53 – Explanation of how these changes affect bulk email senders and the necessity of action.
- 00:01:42 – Details on the three major changes announced by Google and Yahoo.
- 00:02:42 – Deep dive into SPF, DKIM, and DMARC requirements for domain emails.
- 00:03:21 – The importance of having a domain email over free email services like Gmail or Yahoo for business purposes.
- 00:04:12 – Explanation of the one-click unsubscribe requirement and maintaining a low spam complaint rate.
- 00:05:56 – Offer for assistance with setting up necessary email authentications.
- 00:06:37 – Additional reasons to use domain emails and the affordability of domain names and email services.
- 00:08:12 – Overview of the second and third changes regarding unsubscription processes and sending wanted emails.
- 00:09:51 – Tips on maintaining a clean email list and the benefits of double opt-in.
- 00:11:34 – Encouragement to take action before the February 2024 deadline.
- 00:12:13 – Closing remarks and a teaser for the next episode in the AI series.
- Google and Yahoo are implementing new standards to combat spam and phishing, affecting bulk email senders.
- Key changes include the need for strong email authentication (SPF, DKIM, DMARC), a one-click unsubscribe process, and ensuring a low spam complaint rate.
- It’s crucial for businesses to use domain emails instead of free email services to comply with these new standards.
- Chrissy offers a service to help set up the necessary email authentications for those who find the process challenging.
- Google Workspace for domain email services.
- Namecheap for affordable domain names.
- Setup service for email authentication.
Remember, these changes are crucial for your email marketing strategies and take effect from February 1st, 2024. Don’t delay in making the necessary adjustments to ensure your emails continue to reach your audience’s inbox!
Podcast Episode 44 – Changes to Email Delivery Standards with Google and Yahoo
[00:00:08] Hello, and welcome back to Website Success. I’m your host, Chrissy Rey. This episode was supposed to be part two of my AI series, but I wanted a cut ahead in the queue a little bit with something that’s a bit more pressing. You might’ve received some emails from your email marketing provider in recent weeks about changes to Google and Yahoo’s delivery standards. And since those changes take effect, starting on February 1st, 2024, I wanted to give you the scoop, so you know what you need to do before February rolls around.
[00:00:44] Google and Yahoo want to try to curb the spam and malicious phishing and scam emails in their customers’ inboxes. And as a result, they are making some changes that will affect whether or not your emails get delivered if you’re sending bulk emails. These changes apply to bulk senders. And if you’re using an email marketing tool like MailChimp, Constant Contact or ActiveCampaign, or one of the many other tools out there to send emails to your mailing list, you are a bulk sender. So these changes will affect you. So pay attention, because if you don’t take action, anybody who’s using Google, including Google Workspace, or Yahoo to get their emails, won’t see your email marketing in their inbox after these changes take effect.
[00:01:33] So what exactly are the changes? Google announced three of them, which were also adopted by Yahoo, and they all take effect on February 1st, 2024.
[00:01:44] The first change is that bulk senders need to strongly authenticate their emails, which sounds technical. And to be honest, It is. But basically, it just means that you need to set up the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for your domain. And I’ll explain what each of those is in just a minute, but another very important thing to note is that to set those things up, you need to be able to change some settings for the domain name of the email address. And unfortunately you can’t do that with a free Gmail or Yahoo account. So in other words, you need to get your own domain and a domain email address to send bulk mail. You won’t be able to use your Gmail account or your Yahoo account to send bulk emails through any of those email marketing tools.
[00:02:33] So back to the SPF, DKIM and DMARC. All of them require making changes to the DNS for your domain name, which is why you need to have your own domain name.
[00:02:44] As for what each of those things is, SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework, and it identifies the domains and servers that are authorized to send email on behalf of your organization. Receiving mail servers use SPF to make sure that incoming messages from your domain are actually sent by the servers authorized by you. And if they’re not, then they’ll generally be marked as spam.
[00:03:12] DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail, and it adds a digital signature to every outgoing message that you send from the DKIM enabled server or email address. The signature lets receiving email servers know that messages actually came from your organization. Without that signature, those receiving mail servers won’t know if the email address might be forged. Spammers, scammers, and phishers love to use forged sender email addresses because they look like they’re coming from a legitimate source. For example, if you get an email claiming to be from facebook.com saying that you need to reset your password, most people will want to click on the links in the email to reset their password. But if it’s a forged email, then it’s coming from a scammer who forged that email address, then you could be sending your Facebook login info to that scammer. So you gotta be careful. And that’s part of why Google and Yahoo want you to use DKIM for your email.
[00:04:21] DMARC,-M-A-R-C, C stands for Domain Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Confirmance it’s a mouthful, but it lets you tell receiving mail servers what to do with your emails if they don’t pass SPF or DKIM. You’ve got three possible options that you can define in the DMARC policy. First one is to take no action, the second one is to mark the message as spam and the third one would be to reject the message.
[00:04:51] Now the tricky thing about setting up the SPF, DKIM and DMARC, is that again, they all require changing the DNS and doing some other pretty technical things. A lot of non-techies see the instructions for doing it, and then they just email me to get me to do it for them, or rather to get one of my team to do it for them. If you fall into the category, don’t worry. I got you. Just send me a message and I can send you a link to a form that you can use to request our setup service. Now there is a cost for that service, but it’s probably going to be less expensive than the time you spend stressing over it. So don’t spin your wheels for hours trying to figure out what in the world the email marketing provider is trying to get you to do. Just fill out the form, pay for the service, and we’ll do it for you. It usually takes less than an hour.
[00:05:41] Now let’s get back to the thing I talked about with the domain name and also a domain email. I’m going to talk about that a little bit more. If you’ve been using a free Gmail, Yahoo, or other freebie email service for your business emails now is the time to stop doing that. First of all, it’s against the terms of service for some email providers. And if you’re using an email address or using an email account against the terms of service, there is a really good chance that when they catch you, you will lose all access to the account. So all of those, 5, 10, 15 years of emails that you’ve got in your Gmail account, you could lose complete access to those if you’re not following their terms of service. So that’s issue number one.
[00:06:28] The other reason that you want to start using a domain name and then a domain email, and when I say domain email, I mean an email address that’s using the domain name. So for example, my domain name is pongos.com and I’ve got firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s a domain email. But anyway, The business email using a domain email can make your business look more legitimate. And domain names are pretty inexpensive. You can get a .com from Namecheap for less than $6 for the first year. Usually it goes up to like 12, 15, maybe $20 the second year, but $6 for the first year. So go buy one now. There there’s no reason not to. It’s only $6. Once you have a domain name, you also need to set up an email that uses that domain name. And Google workspace is a really great choice for that. You can get a starter account for as little as $6 a month. So again, no brainer with that. And that means that your first year of domain email, including the domain name is going to cost you less than $80. It’ll go up for the second year a bit, because the domain name usually costs a bit more the second year, third year, et cetera. But it should still be under a hundred dollars for the year. Now, if you add more email accounts for the domain, then it could end up costing a little bit more than that, but still a hundred dollars is totally worth it.
[00:07:54] All right. So all of that, and we’ve only talked about the first of the three changes from Google and Yahoo! So there’s two more changes.
[00:08:03] The second one is that bulk senders need to enable easy unsubscription. So no more clicking on a link and then having to fill out a form, clicking another button, and then jumping through three or four more hoops to unsubscribe from an email list. None of that. You can’t do that anymore. You need to have a one-click unsubscribe. So that means that somebody clicks on a link in your email footer, and they are unsubscribed. They don’t have to confirm anything. They don’t have to fill anything else out. They are unsubscribed as soon as they click that link in it. It goes to whatever website, unsubscribes them. You also need to process that unsubscribe request within two days. If you check with your email marketing provider to make sure they offer both, you should be good. And it’s very likely that they do offer both of those. And it’s probably going to be the default behavior if it’s not already because they want your emails to reach people’s inboxes, just as much as you do. It’s really important for them that that happens. So they’re going to have those options.
[00:09:02] Now onto the third change bulk senders need to make sure they’re sending wanted emails. That means your spam complaint rate needs to be under 0.1%. That’s a really low percentage. You can keep your spam complaint, rate low with a few different things, a few different options here, but first of all, the best way is to make sure you only send bulk emails to people who opted in to get messages from you. That’s rule number one, make sure that people have opted in, in order to get the email from you. Don’t just cold email people in bulk and send them your information. You want to make sure that they’ve opted in.
[00:09:42] Another thing that you can do is confirm the email addresses before subscribing them. So in other words, you should probably enable double opt-in. I know a lot of people don’t like that because they feel like their emails aren’t going to get seen. And they do have a lot of fall off from time to time if people don’t do that second opt-in. Double opt-in means that somebody will fill out a form to subscribe to your email list, and then they’re going to get an email that asks them to confirm that it’s a valid email address before they actually get subscribed to your email list. And the problem that some people have with that is that somebody fills out the form, they get the email and they never click to verify that they own the email address. It’s probably going to be a good idea to turn that on even if you don’t like it. And even if it means that you might not get as many subscribers that way. You can require them to be subscribed to get your lead magnet or whatever it is that you’re using to entice them to sign up for your email list. But that’s something that you probably are going to want to do.
[00:10:47] Now another thing that you can do is clean up your email list from time to time by unsubscribing people who don’t open or read your email messages. If they’re not opening your emails, they’re not interacting with your emails. Then you can probably clean them from your list. And the added benefit of that is a lot of the email marketing platforms charge per subscriber, or per contact. So if you’ve got 5,000 subscribers on your email list, And only a thousand of them are actually opening the emails. You can clean that other 4,000 and you’re probably going to go down at least one level in the pricing. So keep that in mind.
[00:11:25] Now there are, of course, other standards that you can follow to make sure your emails get delivered. But that’s a story for another time. I will work on an episode after my AI series. That’s going to get a little bit more into that.
[00:11:38] Now that you know what to do. I do urge you to take action and get it done soon. Remember, these changes take effect on February 1st, 2024. So you don’t have a lot of time to do it. If you need help, make sure you reach out to me as soon as possible, because we do have limited time to get this done on top of our other work. So make sure we get your request in soon.
[00:12:04] Thanks so much for listening. I hope you found this helpful and make sure you tune in for the next episode where I will return to my AI series. I’ll see you then.