eCommerce Made Easy

How To Improve Email Deliverability & How To Avoid Emails Going To Spam

January 16, 2024 Carrie Saunders Episode 38
eCommerce Made Easy
How To Improve Email Deliverability & How To Avoid Emails Going To Spam
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Everyone hates spam emails.  I know even with spam filters, spam still gets into my inbox. Going through my email and deleting those unwanted emails is so annoying and feels like a time waste.  But what if it’s your business emails that are ending up in spam? Or worse, being blocked and un-delivered?  How do we address this and make sure our legitimate business emails are being delivered?  

At the time of this podcast's release, Google and Yahoo are setting stricter requirements for bulk email senders that can affect your emails reaching your users. In this episode, we will be talking about email deliverability, what it is, why it is so important, how to ensure better deliverability and how to stay up on the current rules.


In this episode, you will learn:

  • Why online businesses are required by email providers such as Google & Yahoo to have advanced email set ups such as DKIM, SPF, and DMARC.
  • The risks of spam, spoofing, and phishing to both your users and your online business.
  • What factors play into email deliverability that can determine whether your business emails will end up spam or be blocked by email providers.
  • What Google and Yahoo’s upcoming requirements for bulk email senders are.
  • The importance of staying up to date on requirements, even if they won’t affect you just yet. 
  • Next steps that you can take to start setting yourself up for better email deliverability and compliance!

 Next Steps

1.  Check if you are compliant with current email provider requirements.

Use the following tools below to see your domain’s email reputation as well as security compliance.

2.  Grab a pen and paper or open a digital document and list out all of the applications that send emails through your domain. 

Some examples could be: 

  • Email service provider, like Aweber, ConvertKit, MailChimp, Flowdesk, etc
  • CRMs
  • Ecommerce and Web applications such as Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify, Kajabi, Wordpress, etc.
  • Etc.

3. Look through each of your applications to see how to comply with email requirements. 

Each application can be a bit different, but often times, they provide documentation on how to make sure you are complaint with their software tools. For some of you, this may be easy, but for those with multiple applications or domains, it can be difficult.

Have your tech provider help you through this process or, if you don’t have someone competent in email services, feel free to drop us an email at podcast@bcsengineering.com or connect on social!


Find out more information about the Business Visibility Made Easy Course at www.ecommercemadeeasypodcast.com/bvme

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Be sure to subscribe to our podcast where ever you are listening!

You can find our show notes at:
https://www.ecommercemadeeasypodcast.com

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Speaker 1:

Everyone hates spam emails, right? I know. Even with spam filters in place on my email, spam still gets into my inbox and when I go through my email and I'm deleting those unwanted emails, it gets annoying at tiring and I feel like I'm wasting my time. Right, but what if it's our business emails that are ending up in spam or Worshat, are being blocked and not being delivered at all? How do we address this and make sure that our legitimate business emails are getting delivered? In this episode, we will be talking about email deliverability, what it is, why it's so important, how to ensure better deliverability and how to stay up to date on the current rules.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Ecommerce Made Easy podcast. I'm your host, kiri Saunders. When we started this business, all I had was a couch, a laptop and a nine month old my main goal to help others. Now, with over 20 years in the Ecommerce building industry and even more than that and web development, I have seen a lot. I love breaking down the hard tech and to easily understandable bits to help others be successful in their online business. Whether you're a seasoned Ecommerce veteran or just starting out, you've come to the right place. So sit back, relax and let's dive into the world of Ecommerce together.

Speaker 1:

Welcome back to this week's episode of the Ecommerce Made Easy podcast. I'm your host, kiri Saunders. Today we're diving deep into email deliverability, and it's a bit of a techie topic, I'm going to warn you there, but I am going to try to really break it down for all tech levels out there and try to help you understand the impact of it, the basics of it, how you can get better at it and some resources in case you are stuck and need even more help. You may have heard all the buzz about the new email rules that are including having SPF and DKIM set up so that your emails are being delivered, and these rules are supposed to go into effect of February of 2024. And even if you're listening to this later on, this episode is going to really help you understand email deliverability as well. We're just going to touch on the new rules at the end of the episode.

Speaker 1:

So what are these terms like SPF and DKIM, and why do we really even care? Let's first start with why. Why do we need these more advanced email setups? Simply put, it helps email systems verify who sent the email as well as if it got delivered. So, just like when you write a letter to a person or send a package, you can write whomever you want as the from on that letter or package, and you can do the same with email. A lot of people don't realize this. You can change who the email is from if certain security systems aren't put in place. So if you know a little bit about tech, this is not too hard to do, and that's what people have, while spammers have really been doing over the past many, many years, and bigger email service providers like Google and Yahoo are now really cracking down on some rules to help prevent and mitigate this.

Speaker 1:

So you might also, in addition, to hear about websites getting hacked, and I get asked a lot well, why do people hack a website anyway? What? How does it benefit them? Well, one simple reason is to be able to send mass emails out from the hacked site, and it's a bit hard to trace it back to the person who's actually doing the hack and sending the emails. So they'll use a hacked site as their means to send out all these spam emails. So so one of the reasons that large email service providers like Google and Yahoo are requiring these new requirements is so that there's a bit more proof that the sender of the email is actually who they say they are. This not only protects you, the recipient of the emails, but it also helps protect you as a business owner, so that someone else isn't spoofing your emails as the from, and spoofing just simply means, in other words, pretending to be you, so it's a way to help ensure the identity of who is sending the email. So malicious people can take that one step even further with sending out these spoofing emails and send out emails that what are called phishing emails. So phishing attacks are now cost organizations large organizations over $15 million each annually. That is a significant amount of money. It's costing large corporations and you can even kind of imagine what that's going to cost middle, medium and small businesses as well. That's quite a bit of money. This is a significant amount of money from either wasted time for their employees from deleting and trying to decide whether an email is actually truly actually from the person they're reading it from, or whether it's a phishing success and they've actually gotten private information.

Speaker 1:

So a phishing email? If you're not quite sure what that is, it's basically an email that says you know, sometimes you'll get these from big corporations like, oh, your password has changed and we need you to update it. And then you click on the link and you put in your new password and if you're not paying attention, you may go and be going to the website that's not actually that website or they might be like oh, your credit card expired, update it quick before you lose your Netflix service, for example. And if you're not paying attention, you click on the email, you put in your credit card information and, bam, they have your credit card of information right there. So phishing scams are super important to prevent and mitigate as much as we can. And again, this is why these big corporations like Google and Yahoo email are starting to enforce these email security systems. That's been in place for a while, but a lot of people haven't implemented them yet because it can be very complicated, and that's what we're going to try to break down on this podcast. So email security reduces the opportunity for hackers to forge emails from your company, reducing their options for phishing. It also improves email deliverability now. So when the major free email service providers like Google and Yahoo see that you have the proper email security measures in place, they can be more confident that the email is actually from you and not being faked from somebody else, from a scammer or a hacker, for example.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so now that we've talked a little bit about the why, let's go now into the basics of what is email deliverability and what really affects it. So email deliverability refers to the ability of your emails to reach the intended recipients inboxes successfully. It's super crucial as a business owner, of course, to make sure your emails are actually getting to your potential customers inboxes. It could mean the success or failure of your business. Just like packages in the mail need to go through several different steps and places to arrive to the intended recipient, email also goes through various steps to reach the recipient's inbox.

Speaker 1:

Email deliverability involves ensuring that your emails don't end up in spam folders or get blocked by these email providers. So, for example, a little bit of a tangent type of not tangent but a tangible, I should say type of example is just a few weeks ago, I got an email from a shipping provider about a package that was being delivered to our house and that the package was delivered. It was a package I was looking forward to having in a timely manner, but the problem was the photo of the front door in that email was not my front door. It was one of my neighbors and I actually wasn't even sure which neighbor it was at the time. If it hadn't been for this delivery confirmation email with a photo of the wrong door, I would have never known that the Our item was delivered to the wrong house. I would have thought it was just maybe lost, right. So having delivery confirmation and knowing that your emails are actually getting to the recipient is very important in this whole process too.

Speaker 1:

So just like there's several factors and steps to receiving packages on time and at the right location, there are also several factors that influence your email deliverability that you can control. So number one is sender reputation. So this might sound a little simple as far as the words go, but just like people trust certain mail carriers, email providers trust certain senders. So maintaining a positive sender reputation by sending relevant and wanted email help ensure that your emails are delivered. So making sure that what you're sending is what your people are expecting is super important. Otherwise, they're gonna click that spam button probably on it. Right and same for content quality. This is very similar.

Speaker 1:

The content of your email matters. Emails with suspicious or spam-like content are more likely to get filtered out for one, so it's essential to create well-crafted and legitimate emails and making sure that you aren't spamming it with lots of words like free and sale. You can obviously use those in your emails, but you do wanna use them sparingly just like you wanna use specific keywords that we talk about a lot on the podcast sparingly across the one page you're targeting. You don't wanna put it too much or it looks really spammy. Also, recipient engagement has a big factor. Here too, email providers pay attention to how recipients interact with your emails. So if people are regularly opening and engaging with your emails, then it signals to providers that your emails are valuable and they're going to deliver them better. It's kinda similar to when people click on your website from a search. When people stay there, then the search engine know that that was good, relevant content for them.

Speaker 1:

Also, authentication so email authentication methods like SPF, which stands for Sender Policy Framework A bit techie, but we're there. We can just think of it as SPF for short and DKEM, which stands for Domain Keys Identified Mail. I know super tongue twister there too, but just remember SPF and DKEM, that's the way most people call it. They don't ever say what it actually stands for. They both help verify the emails are generally coming from you and not from imposters. So currently, and before this has been put in place, spf is. What you just needed and we're gonna talk about in a little bit later in this episode is when is SPF needed and when is SPF plus DKEM needed. So we're gonna talk about that a little bit later. So try not to get too overwhelmed on the tech here. I'm gonna try to break this down for you, okay.

Speaker 1:

And then, lastly, something else that affects deliverability is your opt-in practices. So sending emails to only those who've explicitly opted to receive them improves the deliverability. So avoid purchasing email lists or sending unsolicited emails as as is just a general rule of email marketing anymore. So, in simple terms, good email deliverability ensures that your emails are getting a high chance of reaching the intended recipients, inboxes and allowing your message to be seen in red. All right, let me just recap real quick those. So send a reputation, content, quality, recipient engagement, authentication.

Speaker 1:

This is what's a bit more newer or kind of pushed onto us as rules now, and then opt-in practices, okay. So now that we have a bit of the basic stance of why email service providers like Google and Yahoo are requiring these new email service security policies in February 2024,. Let's touch a bit on what the new requirements are. So requirements always changing, though, and I want to make sure you understand this, because you may be listening to the podcast past the time of this requirement or when requirements have changed, but currently, in February 2024, google and Yahoo are requiring different things depending upon whether you send less than 5,000 emails or more than 5,000 emails as the general rule. So if you send less than 5,000 emails per day, you're going to need an email authentication tool such as SPF or DKEM, and then you also need lowest spam rights.

Speaker 1:

Okay, sounds a little bit simple. So if you're in this situation here, try not to panic on the newer requirements. It's something I do recommend we're going to do, which is the next set of requirements I want to talk about that. You do that as soon as you can, but don't panic. You should be okay after February of 2024, at least for a bit, okay.

Speaker 1:

So then, if you send over 5,000 bulk messages per day, you're going to need both SPF and DKEM, and they must be in place and properly set up. You must also have a DMARC policy in place. I'm not going to go too much into what DMARC is. It's a little bit more complicated, but you're going to need DMARC in place and we'll have some resources in the show notes on that one. And then you must pass DMARC alignment, which is this is just kind of a communication tool so that you can see when your messages aren't being received it's kind of a feedback tool would be a short way of saying what that is and messages must include a one click unsubscribe.

Speaker 1:

This I'm actually excited about is a one click unsubscribe, because there's nothing more painful than clicking unsubscribe and it's like oh, what email do you want to unsubscribe? I'm thinking you already know what email you send it to me. That's just how email service providers work. Usually, the email is embedded in the link to unsubscribe. I want to have to type an email in, but that's a little bit of a tanger that drives me crazy. So I'm looking forward to that because it's going to save us time and money.

Speaker 1:

So, like I said, if you send less than 5000 messages a day, I wouldn't panic and rush to get these done if it's not already done. I do, however, recommend you have a plan in place to get this done as soon as you can, because I am sure that they are going to require it for people who send less than 5000 messages a day. That's a lot. Most people that I know, even though larger businesses we work with. Some of them might send more than 5000 a day. Let me just be honest with you, but many of our clients do not send more than 5000 messages in a day, but I do see this coming forward and going to be something that's going to be required of all businesses in the future, so I highly recommend you work your way towards this as soon as you can. Okay, so this is something that's a little bit hard to keep up with and stay up to date on. So if you want to stay up to date on requirements like this, you can always visit our podcast website at ecommercemadeeasypodcastcom, and towards the bottom of the page, there'sa place where you can subscribe to our newsletter, and this is where we keep our clients up to date on important business tech topics like this. We're going to break it down and point you to all kinds of resources to help you out.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so, now that we know all this information, what action steps can you take? How can you get ready for this? How can you make sure that you have your email services set up properly. First check to see if your compliant are not already. There will be links in the show notes of common tools that we use to check email health and deliverability. It can check whether you've been put on a spam list. It can check to see if you have SPF set up correctly. It can check to see if you have DMARC set up correctly and DKIM, et cetera. So look for the tools that we're going to link to you in the show notes and then next I want you to get out a pen and paper, or however you like, to notate things, and I want you to list out any and all applications that send email as you and your domain.

Speaker 1:

So some examples would be an email service provider, such as Aweber, convertkit, mailchimp, low Desk, et cetera. It could be a CRM where you have your customers in there. It could be e-commerce and website applications, such as Magento, bigcommerce, shopify, kajabi, wordpress, et cetera. So you could have several different places that you are sending email from as you. I know many companies we work with have at minimum two or three places that send email as their domain. Many of them actually probably have more like four or five or more.

Speaker 1:

So you really need to document what sends email as my domain. So then, once you have that list, you're gonna need to look at each of these applications documentation. You need to see exactly how to comply with their software tools and make sure that you have DKIMM set up properly there, and this is going to vary based upon application to application. So if you get stuck and can't find the right documentations, you're welcome to reach out to us on social or drop us an email and we'll be happy to help you. But you really need to be looking. I know, for example, aweber and ConvertKit and Kajabi and many of these places are putting out help documents on how to make sure that you're set up correctly, and so if your application doesn't provide that, then do get a hold of us, but it should already let you know on how to do this. And then, if you don't have somebody competent in email services too, you wanna make sure when you go to your tech provider that you have and ask them about this and have them help you out. But if you don't have somebody like that, you're welcome to drop us an email or connect to us on social, as we've helped hundreds of clients over the many years set these things up, so we're here to help you if you don't already have somebody to help you with. Okay, so I know that was a lot, but hopefully I broke it down and the pieces to help you understand what email deliverability is, why it's important and how to get a good handle on it and get yourself compliant.

Speaker 1:

So let's recap real quick what we talked about in the episode. First, we talked about why free email service providers like Google and Yahoo are getting more strict and the fact that others are going to follow suit and they're gonna get even more strict when you're sending even less emails. And next we talked about the basics of email deliverability and what factors affect your deliverability and email. It's kind of a hard word to say. And next we talked about the requirements that are being put into place and how to stay on top of the new requirements as they come out. Make sure you subscribe to a good newsletter like ours we like to keep up to date for clients if you're not already on a good tech provider's email newsletter. And, most importantly, we talked about what steps you can take to make sure you are compliant.

Speaker 1:

That's all I have for this week's episode. I hope it was super helpful for you. I know it was a bit more on the techie side, but necessary for business success. So be sure to visit our show notes at ecommercemadeeasypodcastcom forward slash 38 for this specific episode. And if you're watching on the YouTube channel, make sure you hit that subscribe button so you don't miss out on any of our upcoming videos. And if you're listening on the podcast, hit that follow button wherever you're listening on your favorite podcast app. If you're listening to this and have found value in today's episode, we would love to hear from you. What other content do you want to hear on the show? Drop us an email at podcast at bcsengineeringcom, or leave us a review on your favorite podcast app. Thanks again for listening and we will see you next week.

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