A Healthy Ride to Wealth


Email Marketing 2024: Achieving Compliance – Part 2

As promised, here is the Part 2 that completes my last week post about the new rules imposed by these giants, called Google and Yahoo, to email senders.

It’s Monday already and I’m starting the writing of this post on my lunch time.

Outside, the weather is grey and a bit snowy with a warm -8 degrees Celcius.

Well, for my region in Canada, this is quite warm for this period of the winter season. In the past days we have had even warmer temperatures that caused snow to melt, dispersing humidity in the air, hence bringing to our nose a pleasant smell of spring as if it wanted to flourish sooner this year. Even if we know we’re still far to see the first flower blooming or to hear the first robin to sing, that feeling is good.

Tempting to do some poetry out of it but I will save you, this time, from my enthusiastic inspiration about the weather as we have some drab and grounded technical stuff to cover here now. 😏

Let’s recall what are the main new guidelines for bulk senders:

  • Senders have to authenticate their email implementing industry standards such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC;
  • Enable Easy Unsubscription in one click and honor users’ requests within two days;
  • Only send emails that users want reducing and maintaining a SPAM complaint rate below 0.3%;

Note: The complete list could be found on Google’s “Email Senders Guidelines” web page.

Since I talked extensively about the SPAM complaint rate in last week’s post, let’s focus on the other guidelines this time.

The guidelines I have listed above are rather straightforward in their application and doesn’t necessitate programming experience to implement. In doubt, ask your domain provider for help.

1- Email authentification

Senders have to authenticate their email implementing industry standards such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

First of all it’s worth to know what are these curious standards we are talking about.

“Let’s dive into the intriguing world of email authentication methods. In order to vulgarize a little and also to look a bit inspired (well it’s a blog after all) let’s imagine that DMARC, DKIM, and SPF are the guardians of the digital realm, shielding us from the treacherous dangers of email spoofing and phishing attacks.

  • DMARC, the knight in shining armor known as “Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance,” empowers domain owners to dictate the fate of incoming emails. It thwarts the nefarious intentions of phishing attackers, ensuring their domain remains untarnished. Moreover, it provides invaluable insights through detailed reports on email authentication results.
  • Behold DKIM, the master of authenticity, also known as “DomainKeys Identified Mail.” Armed with cryptographic signatures, it valiantly defends against tampering during the perilous journey of emails. With a single glance, the recipient can ascertain the email’s true origins, tracing it back to its rightful domain.
  • Enters SPF, the gatekeeper of truth, or “Sender Policy Framework.” It is the formidable shield that prevents email spoofing by granting domain owners the power to authorize only specific IP addresses or servers to send emails on their behalf. This ensures the sender’s identity is verified, leaving no room for deceitful emails to infiltrate the fortress.

By harnessing the power of DMARC, DKIM, and SPF, organizations can fortify the fortress of their email communications. With each layer of protection, trust blooms between senders and recipients, creating a harmonious digital ecosystem. The risk of falling victim to nefarious email-based scams and attacks diminishes, allowing us to navigate the vast digital realm with confidence and peace of mind. ”

Nice he?

OK, maybe my description is a little bit far-fetched…

Well I will not hide from you that I cheated a little on this one.

In fact, I just used for the first time one of my new tools called “Affiliate Assistant”.

My Affiliate Assistant is an AI robot assistant that is part of my Affiliate System platform. In my last post I talked to you briefly about Affiliate System being a platform that gathers together all the application tools I need to drive my business. This platform will be eventually released publicly. When this will happen, you will be the first to know if you follow my blog.

Returning to the AI assistant, I just asked it to write content about DMARC, DKIM and SPF, within a creative tone. I then modified little things here and there and you have the text you see above between quotes.

Rest assured, I made my research before I posted to ensure the validity of the given information.

Now a word about how I implemented this authentication requirement.

To properly authenticate your outgoing emails if you are a bulk sender of 5000 emails or more per day, you need to implement on your domain all three little guardians DMARC, DKIM, and SPF. For all other senders, you can implement either DKIM or SPF but DMARC shall remains.

My website is hosted on the highly secured CloudFlare servers. CloudFlare automatically generated a list of DNS records for my domain and email subdomain and these included both the SPF and a Domain Key (DKIM) TXT records. In my case, all that was required is to get a DMARC record to sit on top of SPF and DKIM.

DMARC policy allows me to specify how receiving servers should handle emails that fail SPF and DKIM checks. It helps me monitor what happened to my email while being delivered and protects against phishing attempts using my domain.

The recommendation of my mentor, was to use the free application from Easydmarc.com to generate a DMARC record. This was done quite easily after I entered my email subdomain, and answered a couple of questions to define the action we want DMARC on our emails. I just have to copy and pasted the record as TXT into my DNS list for my domain.

If you feel tough enough to learn the details of how these authentication protocols work, you can do so by visiting the CloudFlare website here.

Last advises:

  • Be cautious of spam traps, which are email addresses set up to identify spammers;
  • Avoid purchasing email lists and always obtain consent from recipients before adding them to your list.

Numerous bulk senders fail to secure and set up their systems correctly hence allowing malicious actors to exploit their resources without detection.

With CloudFlare and DMARC authentication, I consider that my domain is now well protected from these threats.

2- Enable Easy Unsubscription

This is adding an “unsubscribe” link at the end of your emails to allow your subscribers to unsubscribe.

It shouldn’t be a hassle for users to stop receiving emails they don’t want. This now shall be done on a single click. From Google, bulk senders will have until June 1 to “implement one-click unsubscribe in all commercial, promotional messages.”

The nice thing as far as I’m concerned, is that an unsubscribe link is automatically added at the bottom of each emails I send out. The Affiliate System does it for me so I can’t forget.

Once a subscriber “unsubscribes” by clicking on the link, it is tagged as “unsubscribed” in my contact list. My job is to remove it from my list in the next 2 days to comply with the guideline.

It now becomes important that I verify my email list periodically in case I have to remove people from it. I don’t want to send an email to someone that doesn’t want to receive it.

This requirement applies only to bulk senders.

3- Only send emails that users want

Probably the most difficult requirement to meet, especially for bulk senders.

See my previous post “Email Marketing 2024: Achieving Compliance – Part 1”.

What can we expect from this?

Google does say that when it comes to enforcement of the new rules, it will be “gradual and progressive.”

This gradual process have already started this month as temporary authentication failure messages have started being reported in many cases from users. Based on Google, this is to help senders to identify email traffic that doesn’t meet the new guidelines so they can resolve issue resulting in non-compliance.

Recently, I read an article in magazine Forbes that said Google has confirmed that, from April 2024, it will “start rejecting a percentage of non-compliant email traffic, and we’ll gradually increase the rejection rate.”

It is yet not clear what this percentage may be.

However it is clear that in April, the transition period will get to an end and the traffic that is still non-compliant will start being rejected.

To conclude with this post, I recommend that you read the Google’s “Email Senders Guidelines” web page.

Apart from the sending guidelines, there are plenty of other information worth to know. For example, I learned that there is a tool called “Postmaster” that I can use to know what happens to my domain reputation.

If you are expecting to build an email list:

“Use Postmaster Tools to get information about the email you send to Gmail users, for example:

  • When recipients mark your messages as spam.
  • Why your messages might not be delivered.
  • If your messages are authenticated.
  • Your domain or IP reputation and its impact on message delivery rates.”

OK that’s all for now.

If you have any question or need more details on a topic from this post, you could leave a comment below or send me an email in the contact page of my blog.

Don’t hesitate to subscribe to my newsletter for more interesting content.🤩

See you next week.

Martin


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Comments

18 Responses to “Email Marketing 2024: Achieving Compliance – Part 2”

  1. Scott Rulon Avatar

    Martin you seemed to be a creative person. What really popped for me were your pictures. Especilly the one with the three Knights of DMARC, DKIM and SPF. Your detail would make a Beginner feel very comfortable.

    Fine Job.

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Hi Scott! Thank you! I did the knight picture using Microsoft’s AI picture generator. The AI can generate pictures for you and it’s free.
      Martin

  2. Robert Klein Avatar

    I will certainly have to do more reading about email athentication. I have two blogs. One has very little traffic and the DMARC reports come back fine. But the other one has traffic from Facebook Lead ads and the SPF section always comes back failed.

    I do thank you for the reminder of Google’s Postmaster Tools. And for that domain of mine that always has the SPF failed, it is generally free of spam complaints…except for that one time lol. On advice I had sent 3 emails in one day on a particular affiliate product. I think I’ll not do that again.

  3. Eleanor Hope Avatar

    Love your posts. They are very detailed and will help people understand what you are doing to create and develop your business. Thank you.

  4. Sandy Avatar

    Hi Martin,

    Good stuff. Glad to see someone has started using the AI tool in the Affiliate System. You told a great story around those 3 guys. And I for one am glad I also have those in place, thanks for making it a bit more easier to understand.

    Sandy

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Those AI tools are very useful! Glad you appreciate!
      Martin

  5. Milissa Neirotti Avatar

    Hi Martin,
    Your creativity produced an enticing read to the must-be-done new business email protocol. I also wanted to thank you for the very detailed and beginner-friendly understanding of what these new guidelines entail.
    All the best!
    Milissa Neirotti

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      It was a pleasure! Thank you Milissa!
      Martin

  6. tony Avatar

    Great post, and nice use of A.I. I am using AI more and more and believe it is a useful tool, particularly if you know about the area you are asking it to generate content for. For me AI ia a “blank page killer” meaning I don’t have to start with a blank page, I can start on the foundation AI laid down.

    I do find though you need to ensure that the ‘voice’ is your.

    Thanks for the post

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      AI will give you the “idea” but to bring life and personality to a blog post, you need the human.
      I first tried AI on my blog with pictures and I’m still surprised of what this is able to do.
      Thank you Tony.
      Martin

  7. Alan Lim Avatar

    I like the “knight in shining armor”, “the master of authenticity” and “the gatekeeper of truth”. If you never mention it, I wouldn’t have known that it is written by AI.

    And thanks for sharing about the new email marketing rules. I have definitely learned something new. I didn’t know the enforcement of the rule is “gradual and progressive”.

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      This was an experience. I had to say it was AI otherwise I would have felt a bit guilty, the tone not being my “voice” and written style.
      Thank you Alan.
      Martin

  8. Marc Avatar

    Hi Martin,
    Great information for anyone wanting to send out emails.
    In this new world of email management, these steps will not only be required but will definitely be a decision factor to determine if you’ll be able to send emails to your subscribers.
    You used a lot of humour in your description, and that’s fantastic, but you definitely hit the nail on the head as to the importance of these steps.

  9. Kate Loving Shenk Avatar

    The material might be dry but you did a good job holding my interest with humor. AI has a way of creating content any way you deem it to. And it is thorough. How does our AI Assistant compare with ChatGPT? Have you used it? One thing, I wouldn’t have to pay for it if I started using Affiliate Assistant.

  10. Jon Wesley Bowman Avatar

    Hello Martin, excellent info. I have a feeling these rules will be a make or break for some, if your not in the loop it could cause a lot of grief. Thanks again for the heads up and reminder. Have a great week ahead!

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      You are at the right place. Thank you John, my pleasure!

  11. Atif Perwiz Avatar

    Martin, great post with valuable information that is quite complicated for people. You have laid it out and explained it well. I believe you can make an ebook from this topic as a digital product! All the best, Atif

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      I will give it a thought for sure. Thank you Atif!

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