How much do you know about email deliverability changes that are happening on February 1st, 2024?
This is not something you need to panic about, but if you’re currently using email marketing and sending emails for your business, this is something you do need to action, otherwise 3/4’s of your emails won’t get delivered to inboxes, they’ll simply be blocked or sent to spam folders.
So, what’s changing?
From February 1, Google, Yahoo & Microsoft are introducing tighter processes to make sure that emails that are being sent aren’t spam. In order to get from your email service provider (Mailerlite, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, etc) to your subscribers inboxes, you need your email address to be authenticated (showing them that you’re the real deal and not spam!) Up until now, we’ve been able to use the reputation and authentication of our email service providers, but from Feb 1, that all changes and it’s up to us.
Here’s an article explaining it in more detail: https://www.inc-aus.com/jason-aten/after-19-years-google-announced-its-most-significant-update-to-gmail-yet-itll-change-your-inbox-forever.html
So, how do we do that?
We have to add some little lines of code, known as records into our DNS – where our domain is hosted. Sounds tricky – and honestly, it is a little, but know that you can do this and this is part of running a business, doing things that might seem hard sometimes. You’ve got this.
So specifically, we have to add records for our SPF, DKIM & DMARC.
What the heck are they?
SPF is like a digital passport for your emails, letting the world know that your emails, from a variety of apps you might use to send emails on behalf of your domain email, are legit travelers from your domain.
DKIM adds a unique signature to EACH email, making every single email that’s sent even more secure.
DMARC is the backup for it all, safeguarding your domain email from any internet bad guys.
After you do this, you’ll likely have ONE SPF record on your domain that covers your email service provider, as well as any apps that send emails on your behalf (google business, shopify, etc). The exception being some email service providers that use a sub domain, like Convertkit. If you use one of these, you may have two SPF records – but that is the exception, not the rule. You’ll have multiple DKIM records, one each for any app that sends emails from your domain email address as mentioned above, and ONE DMARC record to safeguard your domain email as a whole.
Depending on which email service provider you use, what you need to do might be a little different (this is where I think the confusion can come in!) I’ve created a simple checklist for you that I’ve added below, which is the process that I used when authenticating my email address.
Here are some of the most common ESP’s instructions for you to look at:
Please just google the one you use and they should have support around this. I’d suggest you work through the steps in the checklist below and if you run into any issues, reach out to your Email Service Provider (ESP) or domain host. I can almost guarantee this is nearly all that they are doing for their customers at the moment.
What about DMARC?
Sign up for this free tool (https://dmarc.postmarkapp.com/) and once you put in your email and your domain, it will then give you a Dmarc TXT record for you to add to your DNS. Why I love this is because if you just signed up without a tool like this, you’ll most likely get all the reports to your inbox, which can be A LOT – but instead of that, PostMark send you weekly reports.
After you add the SPF, DKIM & DMARC records to your domain, use the ’email health’ tab in MX Toolbox to check they are set up correctly. Simply click ‘all tests’ underneath the results and scroll down to check: https://mxtoolbox.com/emailhealth
Lastly, please remember: EVERYTHING IS FIGUREOUTABLE. Carve out some focus time this week, with a hot cup of coffee and you can do this! Xx
EMAIL AUTHENTICATION CHECKLIST FOR DANCE STUDIOS
- If you’re using anything but your domain to send bulk email (gmail, etc) add email to your domain now (it looks more professional too – something like email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Make a list of all the apps that send on behalf of you and your domain.
- Sign up for Google Postmaster Tools and check your domain isn’t blacklisted.
- Clean your email list and delete subscribers that haven’t engaged with your emails in 60-90 days (be sure to run a ‘win back’ campaign first).
- Set up a stat tracker to track your open rates after you authenticate your domain (this can just be a google sheet).
Add SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to your DNS records (which is in the DNS editor wherever you host your domain). Please note, you should end up with the following:
- ONE SPF RECORD that includes all the apps that send emails on behalf of your domain email address
- MULTIPLE DKIM RECORDS for each app that sends emails on behalf of your domain email address
- ONE DMARC RECORD – this will cover your domain email address as a whole.
- Generate your SPF record and add it to your DNS as per your email service provider instructions (not all email service providers need this, some combine SPF & DKIM and call it something else – google to make sure).
- If your email service provider doesn’t combine the SPF & DKIM, add a DKIM record as well.
- Sign up for DMARK service (Postmarc is a free one that I use) and follow the instructions to add the DMARC record to your DNS.
Use an online checker to make sure everything is done correctly. I’ve been using MX Toolbox for this and selecting ‘all tests’ underneath the main results box.
Explore Our Resources:
Our Free Dance Studio Social Media Security Checklist is a great resource to check your social media security settings and make sure your assets are as safe as possible. If you’re looking for comprehensive guidance on all aspects of using social media to grow a successful dance studio, consider joining the Social Systems Academy for Dance Studios. Our membership program provides you with valuable resources, training, and support to thrive in the competitive dance studio industry.
Or head to my free Facebook group for regular tips and resources: Dance Studio Social Media Made Easy