Ensuring Email Deliverability—Updates to Gmail + Yahoo
Email marketers, it’s time to mark your calendars.
Walking Through the New Requirements One by One
- Email Authentication: Senders must have three forms of verification in place to prove they are who they claim to be: DMARC, SPF, and DKIM.
- Easy Unsubscription: Recipients must be able to unsubscribe in one click, directly within the email client interface, and unsubscribes must be honored within two days.
- Low User-Reported Spam: Senders must stay under a 0.3% spam rate threshold or risk being marked as spam.
Benefits of the New Requirements
These new email deliverability requirements are a good thing! Why? It means:
- Less spam in inboxes means your (legitimate) emails are more likely to be seen by your audiences.
- Authentication has been encouraged by Media Cause digital marketing experts for quite some time. Authenticated emails are essential for security reasons, making phishing attempts easier to squash, and for trust-building purposes, helping your audiences confidently engage with your content.
- Emails look more reputable when branded from your organization’s domain instead of your technology provider’s. (The same guidance applies to URLs.)
For nonprofits, it’s a blessing that these new rules don’t go into effect until after the busy end-of-year fundraising season. That said, February 1st will be here before you know it.
Thankfully, there are easy steps you can take for each new requirement:
1. EMAIL AUTHENTICATION
See where you stand. There are two ways to verify if you have DMARC, SPF, and DKIM records in place:
- Find an email from your organization sent to your personal or work Gmail address. Click the three dots in the upper right corner, and select “Show Original.” Each record should be marked as “PASS.”
- Use a web tool such as EasyDMARC‘s domain scanner. You can enter each domain you use to send bulk emails, and it will show you whether DMARC, SPF, and DKIM records are in place.
2. EASY UNSUBSCRIPTION
To meet the new “one-click” unsubscribe requirements, you must ensure your emails include a List-Unsubscribe header. This is what Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and other email clients use to add unsubscribe links directly to their interfaces, so readers don’t need to dig through the fine print to find the unsubscribe link. There’s an easy way to check for this as well.
- In Gmail, look for an underlined “Unsubscribe” link next to the email sender information.
- In Yahoo’s interface, click the three dots next to the spam button and look for an “Unsubscribe” option.
Honoring unsubscribes within two days means ensuring you have your email tool(s) set up properly to respect explicit unsubscribes and no longer email them. For most tools, this should be more or less instantaneous, but watch out for disconnected tools and data silos.
The marketing emails you send are all the same to the recipient and their email provider. If you collect and send emails from multiple platforms, ensure that when someone asks to unsubscribe from one platform, their choice is respected in each platform you use to send marketing emails.
Integrating your tech stack and having a centralized system for collecting consent, sending segmented emails, and managing opt-outs will help you do just that.
3. LOW USER-REPORTED SPAM
The 0.3% threshold should be easy to manage with the right tools.
First off, ensure you have Google’s free Postmaster Tools enabled for your email-sending domain. (Setup requires access to your DNS provider to verify ownership.)
Also, ensure your email marketing tool(s) enable deliverability features and use proper segmentation to avoid sending to unengaged contacts. The benefit here is two-fold: reduce your user-reported spam rate and increase your open and click rates.
Last but not least, remember that your emails are likely being sent from multiple places. For instance, donation receipt emails usually come from your fundraising platform, and campaign emails from your email marketing tool.
Each tool connected to your domain requires a separate SPF record. Ensure you are covered throughout to meet Google and Yahoo’s new standards.
Confidently Comply with New Google + Yahoo Requirements
Email deliverability doesn’t need to be a mysterious process. Take this as an opportunity to get more comfortable with the terminology, commit to sending emails in a verifiable and non-spammy way, and take steps to be in compliance.
If you need help getting started or executing any or all of the requirements above, reach out to our marketing technology team—we’re ready to support your technical and email marketing needs to move your mission forward.