Preparing Your Email Marketing for Google’s & Yahoo’s changes

In February 2024, there are some big changes coming that can impact the deliverability of your marketing and sales emails that come through your email marketing software. This article breaks down some action steps for you to take, as well as links to help articles and resources.
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Google & Yahoo are making some huge changes that go into effect February 2024 that can impact how you do email marketing.

The short of it is that they’re doing it to reduce Spam messages and people pretending to be you, which is always a good thing.

But as someone doing email marketing – regardless of the size of your email list – it means that there are some important steps you’ll need to do in order to have your emails show up in your subscribers’ inboxes instead of your emails going to spam or being flat-out blocked.

I’m providing information to the best of my understanding and updating this post as I learn more or find more resources. If you have any questions or concerns, I recommend you reach out directly to your email marketing software.

Since there’s a lot of confusion around Google’s & Yahoo’s upcoming changes and how to set up things correctly, I hosted a free workshop with one of ConvertKit’s email deliverability specialists to talk about the upcoming Google/Yahoo changes.
Sign up to watch or listen to the replay.

This post contains some affiliate links. Read my disclosure for more information.

Use an email address that matches your domain

You won’t be able to use a free Gmail or Yahoo account to send emails through your email marketing software.

Meaning, if you’re using something like ConvertKit, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Flodesk, Mailerlite, Constant Contact, etc – and you currently use a free Gmail or Yahoo email address (such as business@gmail.com) – you’ll need to get an email address with your domain (such as hi@business.com).

(If you have an paid email address through Google Workspace that is @yourdomain.com, you should be good. But keep reading!)

That’s because you don’t own the domains @gmail.com or @yahoo.com and prove you are who you say you are, which brings us to the next important piece of information.

Authenticate your sender domain

In short, you need to prove you are who you say you are. Google has two broken it down into two requirements:

  1. Everyone who sends bulk emails (does email marketing through an email marketing software such as ConvertKit)
  2. Anyone who sends 5,000+ bulk emails a day*

*On ConvertKit’s podcast, Deliverability Defined, they clarified to say “5,000 emails in a day,” although this is Google’s specifications and Yahoo hasn’t given any. In short, even if your list size is considerably smaller (like mine), you should still make these updates.

How and where you do this depends on where your domain is hosted.

For example, I have a self-hosted WordPress website, and my emails come through my domain, so I have to make some updates on my cPanel. If you have a WordPress website, I recommend reaching out to your host.

If you have a Squarespace, Wix, Kajabi, or Showit website, or you have a custom domain email address through Google Workspace, authentication will look different for you. I recommend reaching out to them directly.

Note: if you haven’t authenticated your email address before, you might need to adjust your email marketing strategy as you build up your domain’s “reputation”. (This is something I will be doing.)

Resources on authentication your domain by email marketing software

Remove inactive / cold subscribers

If you haven’t done list cleanup in awhile, do it as soon as possible! (This is something I recommend that everyone do regularly before all these changes came.)

Google & Yahoo will be deleting abandoned accounts, and you don’t want a large chunk of your emails suddenly bouncing.

The more subscribers not engaging with your emails (opening, clicking, forwarding, etc.) or bouncing, the more negatively it will impact your domain’s reputation.

Generally I recommend starting by reengaging those subscribers identified as inactive / cold by your email marketing software. That means you send them about 2-3 emails to see if they want to stay on your email list. Liz Wilcox has some templates in her Email Marketing Membership to help guide you on what to say and how to approach it.

Here are links to help articles based on which email marketing softwares you use. Some email marketing softwares do not make this easy. I’ve done it it Mailchimp for clients and it’s clunky (but doable!). If you use Squarespace’s email marketing function, it’s basically impossible.

Resources on identifying inactive subscribers by email marketing software

Don’t see your email marketing software listed? If you search “[name of your email marketing software] inactive subscribers” you should find an article with more specific information and directions on how to do it on your email marketing software.

Resources on Email Deliverability & Upcoming changes

Below is a collection of other documents as it relates to deliverability as I find out more. Want to receive updates as I make changes to this post? Sign up for my newsletter.

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