Email Update: Authentication, Spam & Unsubscribe Rules You Need to Know Melinda Aiken Email marketing plays a crucial role in your digital marketing strategy. We have written in the past reasons why email marketing is important, so if you currently have an email marketing program in place, you will want to read on! Big changes are happening to Gmail and Yahoo in February 2024. They’re cracking down on spam and want to ensure everyone’s inbox is not continuing to balloon with junk. This is actually good news for you and your subscribers. Sending quality emails is all about trust. Google and Yahoo want to ensure emails you send are actually from you, not some shady imposter (and we know we all have gotten one of those!). Plus, they want to make sure people only receive emails they actually want (no more unwanted sales pitches in your sleep!).What’s Changing In Email Marketing?Authentication A-team: Think of your domain as your email address’s home. You need to establish proper identification (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) to prove you live there and can send mail from that address. No squatters allowed!SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email authentication standard used to verify that the sending email server is authorized to send email on behalf of a specific domain.DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a method of email authentication aimed to prevent email spoofing.DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is an email authentication protocol that further safeguards email domain owners from email spoofing and other unauthorized use of their domain.Spam Busters: Nobody likes spam. Google and Yahoo will be keeping a close eye on your “spam rate” (think of it like your email hygiene rating). Stay below 0.3% or risk landing directly in the dreaded SPAM folder of your reader’s email.Unsubscribe with Ease: No more hunting for tiny unsubscribe buttons! Your emails must offer a clear, one-click unsubscribe option so people can ditch your list if they no longer want to hear from you. Below is an example of how Gmail has simplified the unsubscribe process for your readers: a convenient Unsubscribe link placed next to the From Name. As a result of these changes, your unsubscribe rate could increase, so keep this in mind when you analyze your data.While these changes will only affect Yahoo Mail and Gmail in the near future, we assume major email providers will adopt similar practices soon. This is the time for you to take action and stay ahead of the game!What Does This Mean For Your Email Marketing Program?Embrace the change! This is a chance to build stronger relationships with your subscribers and send emails that actually get read. Here are some tips:Get authenticated: Your email service provider can help you set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. Ask them how!Clean up and segment your list: Send emails only to people who want them. Get rid of inactive addresses and those who might not be interested anymore.Write like a friend: Craft engaging content that adds value to your subscribers’ lives. Don’t just sell, sell, sell!Make it easy to unsubscribe: Don’t trap people in your email prison! A simple “unsubscribe” button is all it takes.Monitor Your Metrics: For high-volume senders (5000+ emails per day), Google Postmaster Tools (GPT) is your friend. Add your domain to GPT and track your spam rate, domain reputation, and delivery errors to stay ahead of the curve.Remember, the email landscape is ever-evolving. Good emails lead to happy customers and prospects and, in turn, thriving businesses. By embracing the new rules, focusing on trust, and delivering genuine value, you can turn this change into a golden opportunity. So, sharpen your email skills, unleash your creativity, and watch your email marketing reach new heights!