To make sure emails stay safe and reliable, Google and Yahoo are rolling out some fresh Email Sender Guidelines. This means that it’s more important than ever to ensure that your email communications are of the highest quality.
To ensure that the emails you send are as ‘deliverable’ (likely to arrive in your audience’s inbox) as possible we recommend adhering to the guidelines as closely as possible.
We’ll walk you through these new rules and explain what steps must be taken regarding email marketing.
These new guidelines can be broken into 8 key sections:
- Maintaining Sender Reputation
- Permission-Based Sending
- Content Quality
- Authentification Protocols
- User Engagement Metrics
- List Management
- Monitoring and Compliance
- Technical Guidelines
While these are simply guidelines, there are certain rules that you MUST adhere to if you send more than 5,000 emails per day to Gmail accounts. Please see the end of this post for more information on that.
Maintaining Sender Reputation
Sender reputation is essential in email deliverability.
These guidelines stress the significance of maintaining a positive sender reputation by sending relevant and engaging content, reducing spam complaints, and promptly addressing any issues reported by recipients.
You must always have the recipient’s permission before sending them any emails.
Be sure to use permission-based sending, where senders obtain explicit consent from recipients before sending marketing or promotional emails. This not only improves the user experience but also helps in building trust between senders and recipients.
The guidelines emphasise the significance of creating high-quality, relevant, and engaging email content.
There are various signals to determine the quality of an email. If an email is considered low-quality by Google’s quality checker, it risks being marked as spam or going straight in the recipient’s Junk folder.
Avoid misleading subject lines, spammy content, and excessive use of capital letters or exclamation marks to ensure a more effective and credible communication.
It’s vital to have proper email authentication to prevent phishing and unauthorised access.
Senders are encouraged to implement industry-standard authentication protocols such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance).
While most of these terms sound complex, don’t worry! Most email marketing systems already have all of this in place to make your life easier.
User Engagement Metrics
Make sure to monitor user engagement metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.
Senders with consistently low engagement metrics may face challenges when it comes to sending emails. These challenges can include:
- Deliverability Issues: Low engagement often leads to emails being classified as spam.
- Sender Reputation: Low open rates and high spam reports negatively impact your sender score, making it more likely for your emails to be treated as spam.
- Spam Filters: Low engagement, such as low open or click-through rates, may trigger certain filters, leading to emails being flagged as spam.
Therefore it is vital to constantly analyse and improve these metrics over time.
Effective list management is vital to maintain a healthy sender reputation.
You should regularly clean your email lists by removing inactive or disengaged subscribers. Additionally, there should be easy ways for recipients to unsubscribe from their mailing lists.
Monitoring and Compliance
Regularly monitoring email practices and staying compliant with email regulations is essential.
Make sure to do your best to stay informed about industry best practices and legal requirements related to email marketing.
Google provides technical recommendations to ensure optimal delivery.
This includes configuring DNS records correctly, using dedicated IP addresses, and following best practices for HTML and CSS coding in email content.
For those sending 5,000 or more emails per day
Please note, while the above is provided as a set of guidelines to follow, the below points MUST be adhered to by those sending 5,000 or more messages per day:
- Set up SPF and DKIM email authentication for your domain.
- Ensure that sending domains or IPs have valid forward and reverse DNS records, also referred to as PTR records.
- Use a TLS connection for transmitting email.
- Keep spam rates reported in Postmaster Tools below 0.10% and avoid ever reaching a spam rate of 0.30% or higher.
- Format messages according to the Internet Message Format standard (RFC 5322).
- Don’t impersonate Gmail From: headers.
- If you regularly forward email, including using mailing lists or inbound gateways, add ARC headers to outgoing email. ARC headers indicate the message was forwarded and identify you as the forwarder. Mailing list senders should also add a List-id: header, which specifies the mailing list, to outgoing messages.
- Set up DMARC email authentication for your sending domain. Your DMARC enforcement policy can be set to none.
- For direct mail, the domain in the sender’s From: header must be aligned with either the SPF domain or the DKIM domain.
- Marketing messages and subscribed messages must support one-click unsubscribe, and include a clearly visible unsubscribe link in the message body.
To prioritise user experience and email security, these email sender guidelines are designed to create a more reliable and trustworthy email environment.
Adhering to these guidelines not only improves email deliverability but also creates a healthier relationship between senders and recipients.
By staying informed and implementing best practices, you can navigate these guidelines successfully and contribute to a safer and more effective email environment.
If you’re worried about whether your email marketing campaigns are compliant, or if you’re facing issues with low delivery or engagement of your emails, get in touch and we can conduct an audit of your email marketing strategy.