As you email to Gmail addresses, you build a reputation with Google, which wants its subscribers to receive only properly sent messages that subscribers actually want to receive. If your email reputation with Google suffers enough, you could find yourself unable to reach Gmail addresses through MailChimp or Constant Contact or other providers. Worse, you could find yourself unable to send regular emails (e.g., from your own Outlook address) to Gmail accounts.
Starting February 1, Google and Yahoo require that:
- Your sending domain (typically your company web domain) is authenticated using SPF or DKIM authentication. SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework. DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. Neither of these standards are new. They allow an email client (say, Gmail) to understand that MailChimp or another vendor truly is authorized to send on your behalf. (After all, that MailChimp email isn’t actually coming from your domain … it’s just prepared to look like it is.)
- Your bulk emails allow simple unsubscription. No one likes to see a client unsubscribe from a corporate message … but you’d MUCH rather someone unsubscribe than report your message as “Junk.” An unsubscribe affects only the one recipient; a spam report can affect your entire ability to send emails.
- Your spam reports in Google Postmaster Tools is below 0.1%. Say you have an email list of 800 clients you send to on a quarterly basis. If JUST ONE PERSON marks your message as spam, you’ll exceed the threshold for that message. BE CAREFUL with your list.
What to do
Of course, none of this is news to MailChimp, ConstantContact and other providers. It’s in their interest to help you maintain a good email reputation. You’re likely to find good help from the vendor, but there are steps you have to take away from the email platform.
Specifically, you need to have access to the domain settings to create the appropriate records. You may need input from an IT provider to be sure everything is as it should be.
If you’re exploring these topics on your own, something you can try is sending a message to a service such as https://www.mail-tester.com/. Setup a message the way you would for clients. Then, go to Mail-Tester and collect a recipient address; include that address on a test message. Review the report for problems. You’ll see, for example, if your DKIM record is properly in place. (Note: as of this writing, Mail-Tester and MailChimp have a compatibility hiccup that may prevent testing in some situations.)
How to think about all this
There’s so much you can do on your own. Email deliverability and reputation looks like one of those things … but unless you know your way around your domain settings, it isn’t.
Be careful with emails. Your ability to send your clients—including those with Gmail addresses—corporate emails is something you probably take for granted. Don’t.
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