Business Growth Accelerator/Local Business Marketing/Google And Yahoo Poised To Make Sweeping E-Mail Marketing Changes

Google And Yahoo Poised To Make Sweeping E-Mail Marketing Changes

Friday, January 19, 2024

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If you plan on sending bulk messages after January 2024, listen up. In October 2023, Google announced the introduction of new requirements to fight spam and keep their customers' inboxes clean.

​While these requirements aren't new, they haven't been enforced too well until now. With the prevalence of AI and increased automation of email sending, Google and Yahoo saw the writing on the wall that changes in enforcement need to be made, or their customers' inboxes will become unmanageable and abandoned.

Enhanced E-mail Security Measures

As a business owner, what does it mean to you? For most, nothing. Most businesses are not taking advantage of e-mail marketing and are leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.

​For the ones that are sending out bulk campaigns to more than 5000 people, at least on a monthly basis, your domain will need to be optimized to ensure your message doesn't wind up in the spam folder.

​But Before I get into that, let me explain a bit about tools and tech behind email marketing.

E-mail Marketing - The Tools Of The Trade

When most people think of email they think of the service providers Google, Outlook, or Yahoo. Sure there are some other small players and even regional service providers tied to internet accounts.

Those accounts are for civilians to send emails to friends, and family and reach out to businesses for help. They will end in @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, or some other variation of service provider dot com.

If your main business email ends in an iteration like that and not your actual domain, your company is what Google and Yahoo are going after.

Professional E-mail Accounts For E-mail Marketing

Your business needs a domain-based e-mail account to comply with Google and Yahoo's newly enforced policies. A domain-based email account entails name@yourdomain.com. To implement those requirements, your business needs to have the following codes in the DNS records.

In simple terms, a DNS record is like a set of instructions that tells the internet how to find and deliver emails for your business. It's like a phonebook for the internet that translates your domain name (like yourwebsite.com) into the unique address where your email is stored. Think of it as the postal system that ensures your emails are sent to the correct destination. Without proper DNS records, your emails may not reach their intended recipients.

Here are the three records that you need to have on your DNS to be compliant with bulk e-mail marketing:

  • SPF: (Sender Policy Framework) record is a type of DNS record that helps prevent email spoofing and unauthorized use of your domain for sending emails. In simple terms, it's like a digital signature that tells email-receiving servers that the email they received from your domain is legitimate and was sent from an authorized server.
  •  DKIM: DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a method of email authentication that allows the recipient's email server to verify that the sender's domain is genuine and that the email has not been tampered with during transit. It is crucial to have DKIM implemented to ensure the deliverability of your email marketing campaigns and to establish trust with the recipients by reducing the chances of your emails being marked as spam.
  • DMARC: DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is an email authentication policy that allows domain owners to specify how email providers should handle messages that do not pass authentication checks (such as SPF and DKIM). Implementing DMARC helps protect your domain from email spoofing, phishing attacks, and domain impersonation, increasing the deliverability of your emails and maintaining the reputation of your domain.

I hope I'm not losing you here. As complicated as it sounds, most of this is set up automatically once you create your professional email account with a business email service provider such as Google Workspace or Outlook. 

​With Google, the one record I know you must set up manually is the DKIM. That can be found in your admin settings under the GMAIL application - Apps > Google Workspace > Settings For Gmail > Authenticate email.

Ok, now that you have a high-level overview of the codes that need to be on your domain's DNS. Let's talk about the second tool you need to send out automated or manual bulk messages.

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E-mail Autoresponders. The heavy Lifters In The Email Marketing World

Now that you have your newly created domain-based email account, you need an application that allows you to send bulk messages. Google and Outlook have sending limits on their platform, so having an auto responder is necessary to send messages in quantities of 5000 or more a day.

​I will note, however, that for most small businesses, you can use Google Workspace's Gmail application to send bulk messages through the mail merge feature.

​But, I still recommend an autoresponder to send drip campaigns that will keep your brand top of mind to your prospects.

Best Autoresponders For Your Small Business

An autoresponder is a powerful tool in email marketing that allows businesses to automate their email communication with customers and prospects. With an autoresponder, you can set up a series of pre-written email messages to be sent automatically at predetermined intervals or triggered by specific actions.

Having an autoresponder enables your business to deliver timely and personalized content, nurture relationships, and engage with its audience effectively, all while saving time and effort. Whether sending welcome emails, delivering lead magnets, or running drip campaigns, autoresponders are the heavy lifters that streamline and optimize your email marketing efforts.

​Not all autoresponders are built the same, though. Here are the top three autoresponders I recommend based on business sophistication.

Beginner Business

If you are starting and have a tight budget, I recommend checking out App Sumo's Send Fox. It's designed to be user-friendly, eliminating the complexities often associated with email marketing platforms. With SendFox, new businesses can quickly set up and start email campaigns without deep technical expertise.

Key features include:

1. Automated Email Sequences: Set up automated emails for welcoming new subscribers, following up on leads, or nurturing customer relationships. This automation saves time and ensures consistent communication with your audience.

2. Customizable Templates: Choose from a variety of templates that can be easily customized to match your brand's look and feel. This feature allows businesses to create professional-looking emails without the need for a graphic designer.

3. List Segmentation: Segment your email list based on subscriber behavior or demographics. This enables more targeted and relevant email campaigns, increasing engagement and conversion rates.

4. Performance Analytics: Track the performance of your email campaigns with detailed analytics. Understand open rates, click-through rates, and subscriber engagement to refine your strategies and improve results.

5. Affordable Pricing: With budget-friendly pricing plans, SendFox is particularly appealing for startups and small businesses looking to get the most value for their investment.

6. Integration Capabilities: Seamlessly integrate with other tools and platforms, making it easy to manage all aspects of your digital marketing strategy in one place.

SendFox stands out for its balance of simplicity, functionality, and affordability, making it an excellent choice for emerging businesses eager to grow their audience and enhance their digital marketing efforts.

Intermediate Business

If your business has some years under its belt or it's more complicated than a small mom-and-pop shop, the autoresponder I recommend is GetResponse. GetResponse strikes a perfect balance between professionalism and user-friendliness, making it a standout choice for businesses, e-commerce platforms, and digital marketers seeking to enhance their email marketing strategies.

What makes GetResponse stand out:

1. Intelligent Automation: This isn't your average autoresponder. GetResponse offers advanced automation that reacts to subscriber behavior, allowing for highly engaging and personalized email sequences. It's like having a smart assistant who knows exactly what your customers want.

2. Easy-to-Use Design Tools: With a range of customizable templates and a straightforward drag-and-drop editor, creating professional-looking emails is a breeze, even for those without a background in design.

3. Targeted Segmentation: The platform enables precise audience segmentation, allowing you to tailor your messages to specific groups for more impactful communication. This level of personalization can significantly boost your email campaign's effectiveness.

4. Insightful Analytics: Get a clear view of your email campaign's performance with comprehensive analytics. Understanding subscriber engagement through these insights is key to refining your strategy and achieving better results.

5. Seamless Integrations: GetResponse integrates smoothly with various other platforms and tools, ensuring a cohesive approach to your digital marketing efforts.

6. Versatile Features: Beyond email, GetResponse offers additional marketing tools like webinar hosting and landing page creation, providing a holistic solution to your online marketing needs.

7. Scalable Solution: As your business grows, GetResponse adapts, offering more advanced features to meet your evolving needs. This scalability ensures that the platform remains valuable as your marketing strategies become more sophisticated.

In essence, GetResponse is more than just an email marketing tool; it's a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to engage their audience effectively while maintaining a professional yet approachable vibe. It's ideally suited for those who value both efficiency and ease of use in their marketing tools. 

Advanced Enterprise Businesses

If you are an enterprise-level business or aspire to become one and want to avoid the headaches of switching platforms, then the best software for you would be ClickFunnels. ClickFunnels 2.0 isn't just a powerhouse for funnel building and e-commerce; it's a robust email autoresponder designed to meet the complex needs of larger businesses. With its advanced email marketing functionalities, ClickFunnels 2.0 stands out as a comprehensive tool for managing large-scale email campaigns. Here's why it's particularly suited for bigger enterprises:

1. Advanced Email Workflows: Large businesses require sophisticated email sequences to nurture leads and maintain customer engagement. ClickFunnels 2.0 can create intricate email workflows with behavioral triggers, ensuring timely and relevant communication.

2. High-Volume Email Broadcasts: The platform supports sending bulk email broadcasts, allowing you to reach a large audience efficiently. This feature is essential for large-scale promotions or company-wide announcements.

3. Segmentation and Personalization: With ClickFunnels 2.0, large businesses can easily segment their vast email lists, providing personalized content tailored to different audience segments. This level of customization is critical to increasing open rates and engagement in more extensive email campaigns.

4. Integrated CRM Functionality: The built-in CRM features in ClickFunnels 2.0 help large businesses track customer interactions and history within the same platform, enabling more targeted and effective email marketing strategies.

5. Team Collaboration and Permissions: For larger organizations with multiple departments or teams, ClickFunnels 2.0's team collaboration tools, including user permissions and simultaneous page editing, ensure a coordinated approach to email marketing campaigns.

6. Real-Time Analytics for Big Data: Large businesses generate vast amounts of data from their email campaigns. ClickFunnels 2.0 provides real-time analytics, giving businesses the insights to make data-driven decisions and optimize their email marketing strategies.

7. Scalability and Efficiency: As businesses grow, their email marketing needs become more complex. ClickFunnels 2.0 is designed to scale, handling increased volumes of emails and subscribers without compromising on speed or deliverability.

8. Comprehensive Content Management: Beyond emails, the platform's blog builder and membership site features allow larger businesses to create and manage content that complements their email campaigns, providing a holistic marketing approach.

​In summary, ClickFunnels 2.0 is much more than a funnel builder; it's a powerful email autoresponder tailored for larger businesses' extensive and varied needs. Its advanced email marketing capabilities, CRM integration, team collaboration tools, and robust analytics make it an invaluable asset for any large enterprise looking to enhance its email marketing efforts and overall digital strategy.

Now that you know about professional email accounts and getting them hooked up to an autoresponder program let's get back to the requirements of Google and Yahoo. Each one of these autoresponders will ensure you have the appropriate DKIM tags for their application on your DNS once you begin to set up your account.

​The DKIM from the platform will be authenticated by the recipient's e-mail provider and determine if the message is SPAM or not.

How To Stay Out Of The Spam Box

The number one goal in email marketing is getting eyeballs on your message. You can't do that if your messages constantly go to the spam folder. I will warn you. Getting into the inbox when you are first starting will be tough. Your domain has no reputation, and if you start firing off emails before it's "warmed up," you are going to end up blacklisting your email address, and it will never make it to the inbox, no matter what you do.

Warming up an email address refers to gradually increasing the sending volume and establishing a positive reputation for a new or inactive email address. It involves sending a series of targeted and engaging emails to build credibility with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and improve deliverability rates. By starting with a small number of emails and gradually increasing the volume, marketers can avoid triggering spam filters and ensure their messages reach the intended recipients' inboxes. Warming up an email address is crucial for maximizing email marketing success and minimizing the risk of being marked as spam. It allows businesses to establish a strong sender reputation and increase the chances of subscribers' emails being opened, read, and acted upon.

In addition to warming up your email, here are 12 best practices for your email marketing campaigns.

Getting the Green Light from Your Audience
The foundation of a successful email campaign is a permission-based email list. This means building your list with subscribers who have explicitly opted in. It's like being invited to a party - much better than crashing one uninvited. Also, be honest and straightforward in your subject lines. They should be like a friendly handshake, not a sales pitch.

Making It Personal
We all like to feel special, and so do your subscribers. Personalizing emails can make a world of difference. Use their name, tailor content to their interests, and you'll see engagement soar. And remember, consistency is key. Stick to a regular email schedule to build trust and familiarity.

The Fine Print
Always include an easy way for people to unsubscribe. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's all about respecting choices. Plus, it keeps you on the right side of email laws. Speaking of choices, be mindful of your words. Avoid language that screams 'spam' - you know, those 'Act Now!', 'Free!', 'Guaranteed!' phrases. Instead, aim for a more conversational tone.

Maintaining a Clean House
Regularly clean your email list by removing inactive subscribers and invalid addresses. A tidy list means better engagement and keeps your emails away from spam traps. Also, balance your content with a mix of text and images and ensure it's mobile-friendly. No one likes an email that's all pictures and no substance.

Technical Know-How
This is the geeky stuff I covered at the beginning of this post. Setting up SPF and DKIM records for your domain is like giving your emails a VIP pass. It authenticates them and tells email providers you’re a trustworthy sender.

Engagement is Everything
Keep an eye on how your emails are doing. High engagement means happy subscribers, which is good news for your sender reputation. Segment your audience for more relevant content, and always test your emails before hitting send. This helps you spot any red flags that could land you in spam.

​By following these steps, you’re not just avoiding the spam folder; you’re creating an email campaign that’s effective and respectful – a win-win for you and your subscribers. Happy emailing!

Summing It All Up

In this blog post, we discussed the importance of having the appropriate security tags on your domain's DNS, warming up an email address to improve deliverability rates, and maximizing the success of email marketing campaigns. Warming up involves gradually increasing the sending volume and building credibility with ISPs, ensuring your messages reach the recipients' inboxes. We also shared 12 best practices for effective email marketing, including getting permission from subscribers, personalizing emails, including an easy unsubscribe option, maintaining a clean email list, and using technical know-how to authenticate your emails. By following these steps, your business can avoid the spam folder and create engaging, respectful email campaigns.

​If you need assistance with your email marketing strategy or implementing these best practices, look no further than BKXX Enterprises. Our team of experts can guide you through warming up your email address, optimizing your campaigns, and ensuring deliverability. Contact us today and take your email marketing efforts to the next level.

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