Earlier this year, Outreach.io (sales engagement platform) released a memo, which you can see below, that raised many eyebrows. It referenced Google and Yahoo’s latest efforts to curb spam. Here’s what you might have missed beyond the headlines, and where you might need more clarity.

Starting in February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo will enforce new requirements for bulk senders, including authentication of emails, enabling easy unsubscribing, and staying under a spam threshold. The changes will impact how outbound prospecting is conducted, particularly for bulk email senders. The key changes include email authentication, one-click unsubscribing, prompt honoring of unsubscribes, and maintaining a low spam complaint rate. To comply with these new rules, sales and marketing teams need to implement specific strategies and tools.

What’s Important to Know:

    • “Bulk senders” aren’t the only audience affected. This applies not only to senders using Google and Yahoo services but also to lower-volume senders and Gmail recipients. You can’t circumvent these rules by using a different service or domain.

    • The spam email threshold is 0.3% (1 of every 1,000 emails). Exceed this, and you risk having your user account or all emails from your domain blocked.

    • Prepare and update your authentication to ensure that your headers match or DKIM is in place, and make your content easy to subscribe to and engage with, as well as easy to unsubscribe from.

    • The enforcement date begins on February 1, 2024.

With these changes in mind, here’s what businesses should do to adapt.

    • Implement Email Authentication: Use Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) to authenticate your emails. This ensures the legitimacy of your sending domain.

    • Incorporate One-Click Unsubscribe Links: Add easy, one-click unsubscribe options in your email sequences. This is essential to comply with the new rules and respect recipient preferences. When recipients choose to unsubscribe, ensure their requests are processed within 48 hours.

    • Maintain a Low Spam Complaint Rate: Craft compelling outbound email sequences to keep your spam rate below the 0.3% threshold set by Gmail and Yahoo.

    • Regularly Monitor Sender Reputation: Use tools like Google Postmaster to check your organization’s sender reputation and address any abuse complaints.

    • Align Sales and Marketing Strategies: Ensure that both sales and marketing teams are aligned in their email outreach strategies, considering the cumulative impact of emails sent from the same domain.

    • Adopt a Personalized Approach: Move away from the “spray and pray” methodology. Tailor your messages to suit the recipient’s interests and needs.

    • Be Cautious with AI Assistance: While AI tools can aid in email composition, ensure they don’t inadvertently increase spam flags.

    • Consider Separate Domains for Different Campaigns: To manage sender reputations effectively, you might set up separate domains for marketing campaigns and cold outreach, bearing in mind the associated challenges.

    • Check Your Spam / IP / Domain Ratings and Credibility: Check Google Postmaster tools: https://postmaster.google.com/u/0/managedomains

These upcoming changes by Gmail and Yahoo mark a significant shift in how outbound email marketing and prospecting will be conducted. Adapting to these changes requires a more targeted, personalized approach, emphasizing authenticity and respect for the recipient’s preferences. By implementing these strategies, companies can continue to engage effectively with their audience while complying with the new email standards.

What does it all Mean? Experts Weigh-In

This is not the great email apocalypse. Just like sales acceleration tools helped sales teams increase their bandwidth for sales, email tools helped marketing teams. However, just as sales teams need to tighten up their sales motions, marketing teams need to focus their email outreach, understand who they are reaching out to, and why they are reaching out. There are ways to scale this up, but you’ve got to be smart about it.” – Steve Eror, Signals

“Bigger, fewer, better — this is the new mantra for marketers in 2024. Take the “hits” in automation and put the priority on creating quality content that people want to tuck in their back pocket for later. The idea of “one size fits all” is over. Marketers have to be more careful about what content they send and to whom they send it. So plan ahead. Define your ICP (ideal customer profile) and overall strategic goal way in advance of launching a campaign. Drive engagement based on recipient needs, versus your own wants. This is much more challenging to do, but will be more effective in the long run.”Gabi Barragan, Wrench.ai Co-founder

“ISPs have always monitored email volume, complaints, engagement, and authentication from marketers. Maintaining a high IP and domain reputation, as well as low complaints, is critical to landing in the inbox. It is time for marketers to get serious about implementing DMARC to protect the domain’s reputation. Review your DNS records, tighten up your list, ensure your content is relevant, and monitor your reports!”Chris Arrendale, CEO and Founder, CyberDataPros


Do you have concerns about Google and Yahoo’s latest efforts? Drop a comment — happy to hear your feedback.

Further Reading