If you are anything like me, this alphabet soup of email deliverability, including SPF, DKIM, and DMARC implementation, can be a little frustrating. It seems many people have figured out they can sell a bill of goods to small business owners through the fear that their emails won’t be delivered if they don’t hand over their credit card. While outsourcing in this context does make sense, widespread panic is probably not needed. So like me, first and foremost, we just need to take a breath. For 99% of us small business owners, the effect of these new email policy changes will be minimal. In fact, we might just have less trash to wade through in our email boxes come February 1st. So, what exactly are these new policies?
Email Deliverability Update
Google and Yahoo have introduced significant updates to their email policies, effective February 1, 2024. These changes primarily target bulk email senders, defined as any sender/domain sending 5,000 or more messages to personal accounts within a 24-hour period. This is what most email services and providers are leaving off. 5,000 or more messages to personal accounts within a 24-hour period.
Again, for most of us, especially those concerned with small business email deliverability, these policies won’t change a thing. But this update does highlight a fact that we should understand. These policies have long been best practices, so even if they don’t directly affect you, you should learn or work with someone who can make these updates for you.
Important for Small Business Owners Email Deliverability
The key aspects of these updates are:
- Domains must use SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to authenticate emails, verifying the legitimacy of the sender and the message. This ensures the email genuinely originates from the claimed domain, and that the content hasn’t been altered in transit.
- Unsubscribe options must be easily accessible, preferably supporting one-click unsubscribes in email headers. Unsubscribe requests must be honored within two days.
- Both platforms are intensifying their fight against spam. Senders should aim to keep spam complaints at 0.1% or lower. A spam complaint rate averaging 0.3% or higher will lead to deliverability issues.
Spam Threshold for All Senders
- All email senders, not just bulk senders, must keep spam rates under 0.3%.
Unsubscribe Options for All Senders
- All emails must provide clear and easily accessible unsubscribe options.
If you fall into the category of sending 5,000 or more messages to personal accounts within a 24-hour period, the failure to comply with these requirements can result in emails being blocked, delayed, or directed to spam folders. These measures are designed to protect users from spam and phishing attempts and ensure a more secure and reliable email environment. They also serve to reduce email providers’ costs as they attempt to limit the amount of email their servers must process, especially with the proliferation of AI-generated content.
Again, for small businesses, this means that even if you don’t currently qualify as a bulk sender, it’s important to align with these best practices. Authenticating emails using DKIM, SPF, and DMARC, ensuring easy unsubscribe processes, and maintaining low spam complaint rates are crucial for ensuring your emails reach your audience effectively. These changes signify a more stringent approach to email security and deliverability, emphasizing the importance of proper email practices for all businesses.