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Blog > Email

Changes to Bulk Email Marketing – What You Need to Know

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16th June 2024 | Rachel Kerr

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Changes to Bulk Email Marketing  – What You Need to Know

At the start of 2024, mailbox providers (MBPs) such as Yahoo and Gmail began implementing some new requirements (and tightening up some existing terms and conditions) to help deal with the ever-increasing problem of spam – and let’s face it, we could all do with less of that in our inboxes! But don’t worry, as a Click customer you’ve got all the help you need to keep your email campaigns on-track!

Watch our recent Ask the Expert: Deliverability webinar on-demand to find out more.

What’s Happening?

Google, Yahoo and other MBP’s are tightening up. There is an industry wide push to clamp down on the security risks posed by bulk senders – Google defines a bulk sender as one that sends over 5000 emails to @gmail addresses in one day – and the new requirements are highlighted below:

Email Authentication: The MBPs want their customers to be able to trust where their emails are coming from. They are now requiring that ALL bulk senders adhere to the authentication best practices and industry standards such as DKIM, DMARC & SPF.

Easy Unsubscribe: Unsubscribing from an email campaign shouldn’t require a degree in puzzle solving! From now on, email recipients must be able to unsubscribe from bulk sends easily – Google says with one click, and Yahoo says no login requirements – and those requests should be processed by the sender within two days.

Send Wanted Emails Only: Providers will be closely monitoring the spam rates of bulk email senders, and if the percentages of messages marked as spam or junk are deemed too high, the bulk sender’s email reputation will suffer. They haven’t published what these new parameters will be, but we can assume they will be a lot stricter than in previous years. Remember, having a lower score on your sender reputation will negatively impact your ability to run successful email campaigns.

What Steps Should You Take?

Let’s look at the authentication process first. There are more detailed instructions on Google and Yahoo’s sites (links at the end), but these recommended actions will help you understand the process.

  1. Check that you have published a DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) policy. This allows senders to indicate that their emails are protected by DKIM (Domain Keys Identified) and/or SPF (Sender Policy Framework) as described below and tells the receiving system what to do if these authentications fail.
  2. Authenticate EVERY email with DKIM. This creates a signature of the email content and allows the provider to associate emails with a specific sender – ensuring that the email’s content hasn’t been changed or adapted during transmission.
  3. Publish valid SPF records. These records allow senders to specify which IPs are allowed to send mail for that domain, so providers can easily reject IPs that aren’t listed.

What needs to be done to make sure you’re following the unsubscribe rules?

  • Provide an obvious unsubscribe process that ensures recipients can opt out of emails without jumping through hoops. There should be a visible unsubscribe button, or a link to a webpage that doesn’t require a login of any kind. NB: This is already part of the CAN-SPAM federal law, so you should really be doing this already!
  • Ensure that you support One-Click Unsubscribe. This is an industry standard method for signaling a one-click function for the List-Unsubscribe email header.
  • Make sure that you have a robust system in place to process all of your unsubscribe requests within the newly specified two-day time frame.

Finally, how can you ensure that you’re sending wanted emails only?

This is a little trickier, but it’s also where being a Click customer really helps!

You should already be receiving valuable email data from Click, which you can use to track engagement stats such as Opens, Form responses, Survey responses, Web Visits, and Landing Page Views. Working with your CRM Administrator or CRM Partner will help you understand that data more clearly, so that you can identify your most engaged, and more importantly (in this case), your least engaged subscribers!

Remember that having users who don’t open your emails – or worse, report them as spam –  will harm your delivery reputation and metrics. That will make it harder to send the good stuff to the right people! Here a few tips to set you on your way:

  • Firstly, run regular and consistent checks on your lists to ensure that the email addresses that you have are valid. Monitor the soft and hard bounce-back rates and remove the bounces promptly.
  • Decide what constitutes an active or engaged recipient for your organization. What percentage of emails are they opening, are they clicking through links, are they forwarding them on to others? These metrics will be different for every Click customer, and will depend on how many emails you send, when and why, so let the data speak for itself!
  • Next, decide whether your inactive recipients are valuable enough to warrant a campaign to encourage re-engagement. Again, this will be different for every organization. They could be active customers that just haven’t engaged with email, or a potential lead that has engaged previously but hasn’t opened anything recently.
  • Finally, segment your valuable inactive users and target them with a specific win back campaign to encourage them to reengage with you.
  • You can also send the less valuable users a final Confirmed Opt-in email that gives them a final call to action, before permanently removing them.

You should now have enough information to start putting some actions in place to ensure that you stay well within the new rules and regulations. Please do reach out to us at any time if you need some more advice.

Watch our recent Ask the Expert: Deliverability webinar on-demand to find out more.

In the meantime, here are those links to the Yahoo Blog and the Gmail Blog that we mentioned earlier on.