Google, Yahoo Updating Requirements For Businesses Who Send Out Emails In Bulk

email iconIf your business sends out email newsletters to a large list Google has some new requirements that you will want to be aware of. They have made these changes in order to help protect email recipients from spammy and sometimes dangerous emails.

Who is impacted by the new regulations?

If you are a business who sends out emails to a subscriber list of over 5,000, this requirement most likely impacts you. If your list is smaller it is wise to pay attention to this change as the threshold could be lowered in the future (plus, the steps that Google is now requiring could become a best practice down the road).

What are the new Google policies regarding bulk email senders?

The steps that Google is requiring bulk senders to take are intended to help validate senders so that Google is certain that the emails sent are legitimate and not spammy. The 3 requirements are:

  1. Authenticate your email. This is the technical part of the requirement. Senders need to verify who they are to confirm they are not spammers. To do this businesses must set up SPF and DKIM email authentication for their domain. Businesses request this from whoever runs the business email. Bulk email senders also need a DMARC rule set up which advises the receiving email server what to do with the mail if DKIM or SPF or both fail. The choices for that are don’t do anything, send to spam or reject.If you send your emails out through an email marketing platform (i.e., Constant Contact) and use their email address, the platform should have you covered with this. But if you send via your own business domain you will need to authenticate yourself. The platform may be able to help you out. You will want to check with their support teams to see what options are available if you are unable to set up SPF and DKIM email authentication.
  2. Enable easy unsubscription. Every email you send to your list should have a highly visible ‘Unsubscribe’ button that will allow the recipient to unsubscribe with one click. Businesses must respect this request within 2 days.
  3. Ensure you’re sending wanted emails. Be sure to send emails that people want. Businesses need to keep the spam request rate of their emails below 0.10% (and never hit 0.30%). If businesses remain below this spam report rate it means that the content of the email is something the recipients want.

You can check out Yahoo’s and Google’s own blogs for more details.

What should you do now?

We recommend that you set up SPF and DKIM email authentication. Even if you do not send out bulk emails right now, it is a good idea to have this step completed for when you do, or for when the threshold for needing it is lowered.

Make it easy for email subscribers to unsubscribe. We know it is scary to give people a simple tool that lowers the count of your email list, but if they are enticed to click ‘Unsubscribe’ they were probably not a good prospect anyway.

That is unless your email newsletter content could use some improvement. If the spam rates on your emails are high and the open rates are low, you may not be giving recipients a good reason to look at what you have to say. It is a good practice to always review what is being promised to people when they subscribe to your newsletter and what is being given to them in each newsletter. Make sure there is agreement between the two.

Do you have questions regarding these new requirements or about any of your email marketing needs? Contact us and let us know how we can help.

About Brian McGrath

Over the past 20 years, Brian has experienced many aspects of marketing, including brand management, copywriting, campaign coordination, paid search marketing, social media marketing and internet marketing. Brian now uses this knowledge to help our clients maximize their presence on the internet. His expertise in all things marketing gives our clients – and the Mannix Marketing SEO team – a distinct advantage in all areas of search. His extraordinary analytic skills provide SEO, social media and paid search clients with real, measurable results. To maintain his cutting edge expertise, Brian stays current on the latest trends in social media and digital marketing by reading industry publications, attending conferences, and consulting with peers.