Gmail and Yahoo’s new email delivery rule is going to change the way email is sent and delivered forever. If you’re a marketer who cares to keep generating revenue via email marketing, you should read this article.
Imagine this scenario: You have spent hours crafting the perfect email campaign for your prospects and customers. You have a catchy subject line, a compelling offer, and a clear call to action. You hit send and wait for the responses to pour in.
But then, nothing happens.
You check your email analytics and see that your open rate is abysmal. Your click-through rate is even worse. Now, you wondering what went wrong.
The answer? It could be that your emails never reached your recipients’ inboxes in the first place.
That’s shocking, I know.
Actually, starting from February 1, 2024, Google and Yahoo will introduce new rules for anyone who sends massive emails to Gmail and Yahoo mail (@gmail and @yahoo) contacts to improve mailbox protection against spam, phishing, and spoofing.
These new rules will affect anyone who sends more than 5,000 emails a day to Gmail and Yahoo mail domains, which is likely the case for most online marketers and businesses. For example, I have a 17k+ email list and 99% of them use either Gmail or Yahoo mail. By the way, you can learn how you can generate leads by reading this article about how one of my students turns clicks to customers.
If you don’t comply with these new requirements, your emails could end up in the spam folder, or worse, be rejected altogether. I believe you don’t want that to happen.
Because, if that happens, you could be losing out on potential sales, leads, and customer loyalty.
But don’t panic.
There is a way to avoid this nightmare scenario and ensure that your emails get delivered to your audience’s inboxes.
In this article, I will explain what these new requirements are, why they matter, and how you can comply with them in a few simple steps.
Are you ready?
Let’s get started.
What are the new Gmail and Yahoo email delivery rules?
The new email delivery rules by Gmail and Yahoo are designed to tighten security measures, ensure email source authenticity, and protect email recipients from unwanted or unsolicited email content.
They are based on long-established best practices in the email industry aimed to improve user experience and promote responsible email practices among senders.
The new rules require all email senders, both large and small, to:
- authenticate their sending domain using SPF or DKIM authentication
- allow simple unsubscription (one-click unsubscribe)
- maintain a less than 0.1% spam rate in Google Postmaster Tools
For senders of more than 5,000 emails a day, two additional correlated configurations are required:
- the sender domain must be aligned with either the DKIM signature domain or the envelope sender (SPF alignment)
- you need to create a DMARC policy
If these terms sound confusing to you, don’t worry. I will explain what they mean and how to implement them in the sections that follow.
Why do these Google and Yahoo new email delivery rules matter?
These new email delivery rules matter because they affect your email deliverability — the ability of your emails to reach your recipients’ inboxes.
By now, you should know that Google and Yahoo email addresses are the top most used emails globally. For instance, Mailchimp reported that Google accounted for over 36% of email opens globally in 2021.
Email deliverability is crucial for your email marketing success.
It directly impacts your open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and ultimately, your revenue.
A study by Return Path reported that the average email deliverability rate across all industries is 83%.
That means 17% of emails never make it to the inbox.
That’s crazy, I know.
It’s a huge loss of opportunity considering that email marketing has an average ROI of 4,200%.
Yeah, it’s said that for every $1 you invest in email marketing, you get a return of $42.
By complying with Gmail and Yahoo’s new email delivery rules, you can improve your email deliverability and avoid missing out on potential customers and sales.
Not only that, if you comply with the new rules, you can also get to enhance your sender reputation i.e. the trustworthiness of your email domain in the eyes of the email providers.
A good sender reputation can help you avoid spam filters, increase your inbox placement, boost your email engagement, and of course, business revenue.
On the other hand, a bad sender reputation can result in lower deliverability, higher bounce rates, and lower revenue.
Every marketer must work towards getting a good sender reputation.
How to comply with the new Google and Yahoo email delivery rules?
Now that you know what the new email delivery rules are and why they matter, let’s look at how you can comply with them in a few simple steps.
Step 1: Authenticate your sending domain using DKIM or SPF authentication
Sender domain authentication is more like an ID card. It’s the official recognition that proves you’re the sender of the email i.e it proves you are who you say you are.
What Google and Yahoo require you to do is stop using a free sender domain such as yahoomail or googlemail, and start using your own proprietary domain (@yourwebsite.com), authenticating it with SPF or DKIM email authentication methods.
In fact, Sendy, a self-hosted email marketing service I use has been recommending this best practice for so long.
Authenticating your sender domain helps to reduce the risk of ending up in a spam folder, ensure that you are recognizable, and safeguard your sender’s reputation.
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a protocol that validates emails by verifying that they are sent from authorized domains. This is crucial for preventing email spoofing, which is when someone pretends to be you and sends malicious emails from your domain.
DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), on the other hand, is a protocol that adds a digital signature to each email, ensuring its authenticity and that it hasn’t been tampered with during transmission.
To set up both, you just need to make some small changes to your domain’s DNS settings.
Think of DNS as the phone book that tells email providers where to find your “return address” (your domain). It’s like adding your company information to the phone book so people can easily find you!
You can find detailed instructions on how to do this in your respective email sender. If you use Sendy and Amazon SES like I do, you can find their email authentication guide.
Step 2: Allow simple unsubscription
Another requirement by Google and Yahoo is to allow your subscribers to easily unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive emails from you again. This is now mandatory.
This means that you need to include a clear and visible unsubscribe link in every email you send, and honor the requests of those who want to opt out of your email list.
Think of your email list like a party you threw. You wouldn’t want people who don’t enjoy it to stay, right? The same goes for email! Making it easy for people to unsubscribe is like having a clear exit door at your party.
Here’s why it’s crucial:
- It’s the law: Just like you can’t force people to stay at your party, laws like CAN-SPAM (US) and GDPR (EU) say you can’t keep sending emails to people who don’t want them.
- Happy campers = better results: People who unsubscribe wouldn’t engage with your emails anyway. Keeping them around hurts your reputation as a sender, making it harder for future emails to even reach inboxes.
- Quality over quantity: A clean list with engaged subscribers means better response rates and more sales. It’s like inviting only the people who genuinely enjoy your company!
Step 3: Maintain a rate of spam reports in Google Postmaster Tools below 0.1%
The third requirement by Google and Yahoo is to maintain a rate of spam reports in Google Postmaster Tools below 0.1% and never to get to 0.3%.
Google Postmaster Tools is a free tool that allows you to monitor your email deliverability and performance metrics for your Gmail recipients.
One of these metrics is the spam rate. The spam rate is the percentage of your emails that are marked as spam by your recipients.
If your spam rate is higher than 0.1%, it means that your emails are not relevant, valuable, or expected by your recipients and that you need to improve your email quality and targeting.
To maintain a low spam rate, you need to follow these best practices:
- Segment your email list and send personalized and tailored messages to each group
- Send emails at the right frequency and avoid overloading your recipients with too many messages.
- Test different subject lines, offers, and content to see what resonates best with your audience
- Ask for feedback and preferences from your subscribers and adjust your email strategy accordingly
- Use a double opt-in process to ensure that your subscribers are genuinely interested in your emails and have given you their consent
To access Google Postmaster Tools, you need to verify you own your domain and then add the domain to the tool.
Step 4: Align your sender domain with either the DKIM signature domain or SPF
This step is only required for senders of more than 5,000 emails a day to Gmail and Yahoo domains which most marketers do.
This step involves aligning your sender domain with either the DKIM signature domain or SPF.
Meaning, that the domain that you use to send your emails must match the domain that you use to authenticate your emails with SPF or DKIM.
For example, if you send your emails from @yourwebsite.com, you must also use @yourwebsite.com as your SPF or DKIM domain.
This is important for ensuring the consistency and legitimacy of your email source, and for preventing spoofing and phishing attacks.
Imagine your email is like a letter. To be sure it reaches the right person, the return address (your sender domain) should match the one on the inside (DKIM or SPF).
Simply check your email headers (like a letter’s inside) and make sure the domain names listed there match your main return address. If they don’t, it’s like having a different name on the letter and envelope – confusing for the mail carrier (email provider)!
Think of it as ensuring all your “email paperwork” is consistent so it arrives safely. Most email service providers can help you fix any mismatches, keeping your messages out of the spam folder.
Step 5: Create a DMARC policy
The final step for senders of more than 5,000 emails a day to Gmail and Yahoo domains is to create a DMARC policy.
DMARC or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance is a policy framework that utilizes SPF and DKIM to provide a comprehensive email authentication approach, reporting discrepancies and non-compliance.
By creating a DMARC policy, you can tell an email provider how to handle your emails that fail SPF or DKIM authentication and receive feedback on your email delivery and performance.
You can choose between three DMARC policies:
- None: This means that you only monitor your email authentication and receive reports, but you don’t take any action on the emails that fail the authentication.
- Quarantine: This means that you move the emails that fail the authentication to the spam folder or a separate quarantine area.
- Reject: This means that you reject the emails that fail the authentication and don’t deliver them at all.
To comply with the new email delivery rules by Gmail and Yahoo, you can start with the “none” policy. It’s the least restrictive and allows you to monitor your email authentication without affecting your email delivery.
To create a DMARC policy, you need to add a TXT record to your domain’s DNS, specifying your policy and your email address for receiving reports.
The new email delivery rules by Gmail and Yahoo are not something to be afraid of, but rather an opportunity to improve your email marketing practices and results.
By following these simple steps, you can comply with the new requirements and ensure that your emails get delivered to your audience’s inboxes.
You can also benefit from increased email security, sender reputation, and email performance.
If you need any help with implementing these steps, or if you want to take your email marketing to the next level, you can contact me.
I can help you with everything from your email design, segmentation, personalization, automation, analytics, and more.
Don’t let the new email delivery rules by Gmail and Yahoo stop you from reaching your email marketing goals.
Get in touch with me today and let me help you grow your business with email.