Future-Proof Your Email Strategy: Adapting to Gmail and Yahoo’s 2024 DMARC Updates

Belinda Weaver, copywriter, leans next to the words, Future Proof Your Email Strategy. Adapting to Gmail and Yahoo's 2024 DMARC Updates.

Sometimes, just when I think I’ve got this online business gig figured out, the digital landscape shifts beneath my feet again. New algorithms upend our SEO strategies, social media platforms change the game overnight, and as soon as we’ve mastered the art of visibility, a fresh batch of rules lands on our desks. 

The latest curveball? Significant policy changes from email behemoths Gmail and Yahoo.

Having weathered numerous changes in copywriting, SEO and social media over the years, I’ve learned to adapt and evolve. However, these new email policies signal more than just another adjustment; they are the first declaration of war against spam and a proclamation of inbox integrity. 

Did you know that 49% of the 333 billion daily emails sent are considered spam? That’s 162 billion spam emails are sent every day! (numbers recorded for 2022). 

A woman in a yellow dress sitting at a desk.

That’s what we’re competing against and why Gmail and Yahoo are tightening the reins with the new authentication requirements for emailers: to create a safer, more authentic inbox experience by making it harder for spammers to hide behind fake identities. 

Whether you’re crafting emails for your clients or finessing your own newsletter, understanding and adjusting to these changes is not just beneficial—it’s essential for ensuring your message doesn’t just end up as digital driftwood. 

What do you need to do as an emailer?

To make sure you’re not lumped in with the phishers and spammers, we need to get all up in domain authentication practices like SPF, DKIM and DMARC. While these acronyms might seem daunting, fear not—the process is simpler than cracking your first Wordle puzzle.

Let me do a quick acronym breakdown though:

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework): This verifies that emails sent through third-party platforms (like your ESP or tools like Bonjoro) are legitimately from you.
  • DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail): Think of this as a digital seal on your emails. If the seal’s tampered with, it’s a red flag.
  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance): This one tells email servers how to handle emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks.

For a more in-depth guide, I recommend this free, on-demand webinar by Cheryl Rerick, a Certified Deliverability and Email Marketing Specialist. It’s a goldmine for understanding these requirements and their implications, and one I watched when the email changes were hitting the fan in February 2024.

What if you only have a small list?

There has been a rumour floating around that if you don’t send 5000 emails a day, you don’t need to worry. Not so.

Get your domain authenticated. Start building your email reputation and improve the deliverability of your emails. 

Not sure if you’re already authenticated? Use this free tool to check!

If you’re not sure how to authenticate your domain (and you’re getting sweaty just thinking about it), get someone to help. There are a bunch of tech-savvy legends offering services to help you, and it’ll save you hours of time trying to figure it out. 

Now let’s talk about your email copywriting strategy

Because getting the tech sorted is just the first step. 

The real magic happens when you align the technical fixes with strategic shifts in your email content and approach.

In a recent discussion with email strategist Eman Ismail, we delved into tactics for 2024, aiming to bolster engagement and steer clear of spam filters. 

With any luck, you’ll be reading the rest of this blog thinking, “I already do that, Belinda.” Which I am pre-emptively celebrating the hell out of you for.

If not, I’m giving you some food for thought—for your own emails and for the emails you write for others as an email copywriter.

It starts with consent. 

Getting a thumbs-up from your subscribers before hitting “send” is more than just ticking a box; it’s the golden rule. And consent is becoming even more important in the light of the 2024 email changes. 

You can no longer simply add people to your regular email list, not without their permission. Not even when you gave them a digital downloady thing. 

Make sure subscribers know what they’re opting in for. And better yet, get them to check a box to say they’re okay with that. 

Sending emails without consent = SPAM.

Focus on engagement over volume

Gone are the days when the sheer volume of emails sent influenced the success of an email campaign. Today, it’s all about engagement—writing and sending emails that are opened, read and interacted with. 

Your goal is to have each email welcomed like a much-awaited (or at least, much-appreciated) update from an old friend, rather than another piece of junk mail. 

But how do you know how deeply you are connecting with readers?

You measure. 

Key metrics to guide your email engagement

Open rates, though less reliable than before, still give us a glimpse into how well your subject lines are resonating. But open rates alone aren’t enough.

Click-through rates (CTRs) and replies are where my focus will be in 2024. And that means changing the way I write some emails, writing slightly different emails, and just being more intentional about what I’m asking readers to do. 

When it comes to boosting replies: remember to ask! Give readers a prompt or question to answer, or simply ask them to reply. 

It’s also important to look at unsubscribe rates. A bit disheartening sometimes, but unsubscribes are actually worth celebrating as each person who proactively leaves your list will boost your email deliverability along with your email metrics. 

Become besties in 30 days 

The first 30 days after someone subscribes to your list are akin to the honeymoon phase of a new relationship. It’s when your new subscriber has just said, “I want to know all about you, and I give you permission to email me!”

Use it.

Stats show that after 30 days, subscribers who aren’t engaged tend to stay that way.

Welcome sequences will help you connect with your new subscriber, but they can be so much more.

A good welcome sequence will segment your audience (so you can send them relevant content and offers), introduce yourself and your story, offer some value, and train your readers to click, reply and even buy! 

A very simple outline from my Copywriting Inkubator course is: 

  • [EMAIL 1] – deliver any lead magnet or promised content. 
  • [EMAIL 2] – introduce yourself, sharing your story, values and personality.
  • [EMAIL 3] – link to valuable or popular content.* 
  • [EMAIL 4] – share how readers can work with you and make an offer on their best next step.

You don’t need four emails, or seven or fourteen, but you should have at least one email welcoming your new subscriber to your world.

* Better yet, customise which content you link to based on your segmentations, which I’m talking about next! 

Personalise your emails

And I don’t mean just popping in a %FIRSTNAME% tag here and there. In a world awash with generic content, authenticity and personalisation are your life rafts as an email marketer.

Segmenting your audience means categorising them. I like to ask a question and get subscribers to click on the most relevant option, then assign a tag that tells me which bucket they’re in.

What you need to figure out is which categories are most important to you.

Do you differentiate between subscribers based on their interests? Their levels of experience? Their industries? 

Once you know, you can make sure your content and offers are landing with the right people, which in turn keeps you out of the SPAM folders.

So where to now? 

As we wrap up this deep dive into the shifting tides of email marketing, it’s clear that the landscape is evolving, but so are we as email copywriters. 

Just to recap, I covered:

  • Looking at your metrics and being intentional about writing emails that will boost engagement metrics
  • Making sure you have a welcome sequence 
  • Segmenting your readers and personalising your content

Gmail and Yahoo kick us into action, but our email marketing will be better as a result. IF we take some time to evaluate how we email. And who. 

Remember, each email you send is an opportunity to resonate, to add value, and to foster a relationship built on trust and genuine interest. The technicalities of SPF, DKIM and DMARC, the strategies for engaging content, and the metrics to measure success are all tools in your kit. It’s up to you to use them. 

Keep building your list. Keep writing to your ideal reader as if it’s just you and them.

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