In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, a significant shift has occurred, one that demands immediate attention from email marketers everywhere.
As a matter of fact, if you use any type of bulk emailer/autoresponder, this applies to you so don't skip reading this blog post because your email deliverability is counting on it.
Now to be clear, what I am going to discuss in this post ONLY applies to people who send over 5000 emails per day from their autoresponder.
I can guarantee you, this is only the start.
Eventually it will be with people below that threshold as well. So don't ignore this post and think you are safe because you are below the 5000 per day threshold.
I have put together this comprehensive blog post which underscores the critical need to adapt to these changes.
Also we focus on why setting up your domain and implementing robust email authentication protocols is no longer just best practice, but a REQUIRED necessity for success.
Just an FYI, if you are not a part of my Fearless Influencer Academy, you should be. We have been teaching about this exact topic for almost 2 years now to our active members.
FIA members are well aware of these changes and have been prepared for months for this change.
If you want to get more information on the Fearless Influencer Academy membership click here.
As part of the Academy we have our 3 level, 9 stage framework called “The Keystone Framework” and I am going to give you access to one of the trainings where we cover this in detail.
Here is the training below…
The Tipping Point in Email Marketing
As of February 2024, Google and Yahoo have drawn a line in the sand.
The use of free email accounts (like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook etc.) as the “From” or “Sender” address in autoresponders is now a direct ticket to the spam folder.
This change is more than a policy update; it's a response to the alarming amount email spam.
If you want to read the actual announcements you can click here for Google.
Confronting the Spam Challenge
The numbers speak volumes: out of the billions of emails sent daily, a staggering 162 billion are classified as spam.
This flood of unwanted messages has prompted email service providers to take stringent measures to protect their users.
This is also why we are seeing the demand for greater email authentication on bulk senders and no longer being allowed to use free emails to send from.
Why This Matters for Your Business
The implications of these changes are profound for anyone using email as a communication and marketing tool.
Relying on free email providers for business correspondence is no longer viable when using autoresponders.
It's time to pivot, to embrace the new standards set forth by industry giants, and to recognize the value of owning your domain and securing your email communications.
The Professional Edge of Domain Ownership
Owning your domain is more than a branding exercise; it's a statement of legitimacy and commitment to quality communication.
It sets a professional tone, distinguishing your business in a crowded digital space.
The Non-Negotiable Need for Email Authentication
With the new landscape, email authentication – through protocols like DKIM, SPF, and DMARC – becomes an indispensable part of your email strategy.
These are not just technical acronyms but the pillars that will ensure your emails reach their intended audience, maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of your communication efforts.
According to Google, of all the emails that are sent everyday, 162 Billion (Yes, Billion with a B) are spam emails. This accounts for about 49-50% of all emails sent daily.
Scammers are relentless, sending out masses of emails, hoping someone bites.
Many times they are using email spoofing, where scammers mimic your email address to send out nefarious messages, and it is rampant.
This is precisely why email service providers are demanding domain authentication going forward and to be honest, I couldn't be happier about it and you should be happy also.
Setting Up Your Domain for Email: A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Choose Your Domain
If you already have a domain for your website or funnel, great! You can use the same one for your email. If not, it's time to purchase one.
There are several places to buy domains; choose one that resonates with your brand.
The one I recommend GoDaddy or alternatively HBADomains.com which is a reseller of GoDaddy, but its less expensive.
2. Opt for a Reliable Email Service Provider
I personally recommend Google workspace, you get a basic starter plan that integrates your domain. It's user-friendly, professional, and doesn't break the bank.
Why Google Workspace?
- Integration with Gmail: Use the familiar Gmail platform with your own domain.
- Cost-Effective: At $6 per month, it's a steal for the value it provides.
- Professional Look: Sends the right message about your brand's seriousness.
Alternatively if you want an even lower cost option HBAdomains.com even provides an email option for $1.99/month however, it doesn't have the Gmail interface you might be used to, but still great.
How To Set Up and Authenticate (NOT OPTIONAL!)
Email authentication is like your digital handshake in the online world. It's a way to prove that an email from you is genuinely from you. This process involves setting up three main components: DKIM, SPF, and DMARC.
Let's break these down.
1. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)
Understanding DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) can be a bit like unraveling a tech puzzle, but it's a crucial piece in the email deliverability game. Let's break it down with some clear examples to make it easier to grasp.
What is DKIM?
Imagine sending a sealed letter. DKIM is like a unique seal on your email, ensuring that it hasn't been tampered with during its journey from your outbox to the recipient's inbox.
It's a digital signature that authenticates your email, proving it really came from your domain.
How DKIM Works: A Simple Scenario
- Creating the Signature: You write an email and hit send. Your email server (like an autoresponder) takes this email and uses a private key to create a digital signature. This signature is then attached to the email's header – think of it as a hidden tag that travels with the email.
- Email in Transit: Your email, now with the DKIM signature, travels through the internet to the recipient's email server (like Gmail or Yahoo).
- Verification on Arrival: The receiving email server looks at the DKIM signature and retrieves the public key from your domain's DNS records. This public key is like a decoder ring – it can read the signature.
- Checking Authenticity: The receiving server uses the public key to verify the DKIM signature. If the signature is valid, it confirms that the email hasn't been altered since it was sent and that it indeed comes from your domain.
Let's say you're sending an email from your business domain,
- When you send an email, your server (like GetResponse) attaches a DKIM signature. This signature is a string of encrypted characters, invisible to you and the recipient.
- The email reaches your client's server, say Gmail. Gmail checks this signature by looking up the public key listed in the DNS records of
- If the public key decrypts the signature correctly, Gmail knows the email is genuinely from
firstname.lastname@example.org not altered. It then delivers the email to the recipient's inbox.
Why is DKIM Important?
- Trust and Deliverability: DKIM significantly boosts the chances of your email being delivered to the inbox, not spam. It's like having a verified badge on your emails.
- Security Against Spoofing: It protects your domain from being used for email spoofing. Without DKIM, someone could send emails that look like they're from your domain, potentially harming your reputation.
2. SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
SPF is like a VIP guest list for your email domain. It specifies which mail servers are authorized to send emails on your domain's behalf.
When an email is sent, the receiving server checks your domain's DNS for the SPF record to see if the email originated from an approved server.
This is another layer of verification to ensure your email is not marked as spam.
What is SPF?
Imagine SPF as a bouncer at the door of an exclusive club, deciding who gets in and who doesn't.
In the world of email, SPF is a security protocol that specifies which mail servers are authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain.
It's like a whitelist of servers that have your permission to use your email address.
How SPF Works: A Step-by-Step Scenario
- Setting Up the SPF Record: You create an SPF record in your domain's DNS settings. This record lists the mail servers that are allowed to send emails from your domain. For example, if you use a service like MailChimp, you'll include their servers in your SPF record.
- Sending an Email: You compose and send an email from your domain,
email@example.com. The email is sent through one of the servers listed in your SPF record.
- Email Reaches Recipient's Server: The recipient's email server (like Gmail) receives your email and checks the SPF record of
yourbusiness.comto see if the server that sent the email is on your approved list.
- Verification Process: If the sending server is listed in your SPF record, the email passes the SPF check, significantly reducing the likelihood of it being marked as spam.
Let's say you're using GetResponse to send a newsletter from
- In your domain's DNS settings, you set up an SPF record that includes GetResponse's servers.
- You send out your newsletter. It's dispatched through GetResponse's server.
- A subscriber's email server, say Yahoo, receives the newsletter. Yahoo checks the SPF record of
- Seeing that the email came from a server listed in your SPF record, Yahoo delivers the email to your subscriber's inbox, recognizing it as legitimate.
Why is SPF Important?
- Reduces Spam Flagging: SPF helps email servers identify legitimate emails, reducing the chances of your emails being mistakenly marked as spam.
- Protects Your Domain's Reputation: By preventing unauthorized use of your domain for sending emails, SPF helps maintain your domain's reputation, ensuring your emails are trusted and delivered.
3. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance)
Let's explore DMARC with some clear examples to understand its role in safeguarding your email communications.
What is DMARC?
Imagine DMARC as the supervisor overseeing the security at your email's virtual gate.
It's a policy and reporting protocol that works alongside SPF and DKIM to ensure that an email claiming to be from your domain is authentic.
DMARC also tells email receivers what to do if an email doesn't pass SPF or DKIM checks.
How DMARC Works: A Step-by-Step Explanation
- Creating a DMARC Policy: You set up a DMARC policy in your domain's DNS records. This policy outlines what should happen to emails that fail SPF and DKIM checks – whether they should be rejected, quarantined (like going to spam), or let through.
- Email Sent from Your Domain: You send an email, and it goes through the usual SPF and DKIM authentication processes.
- Email Reaches the Recipient's Server: The recipient's email server checks the DMARC policy of your domain after verifying SPF and DKIM.
- Action Based on DMARC Policy: If the email fails SPF and DKIM checks, the receiving server looks at your DMARC policy to decide what to do – reject the email, mark it as spam, or let it through.
- Reporting Back: DMARC includes a reporting feature where you receive feedback on emails sent from your domain. This helps you monitor and adjust your email security settings.
Let's say you run an online store,
yourstore.com, and send out promotional emails.
- You've set up SPF and DKIM, and you also create a DMARC policy stating that emails failing SPF and DKIM checks should be rejected.
- You send a promotional email to your customers. Most emails pass SPF and DKIM checks and are delivered successfully.
- One email, however, is sent from an unauthorized server and fails the SPF check. The recipient's server checks your DMARC policy and sees that you've instructed to reject such emails. The email is then blocked, protecting your brand's integrity.
Why is DMARC Important?
- Enhanced Email Security: DMARC adds an extra layer of security, ensuring that only authenticated emails are delivered.
- Protects Your Brand: It helps prevent email fraud and phishing attacks that can damage your brand's reputation.
- Insightful Reporting: The reports you receive under DMARC provide insights into your email ecosystem, helping you identify and address security issues.
So Where Do You Go From Here?
To help you navigate these water I am bringing out all the stops. These trainings below are a two part series from my paid membership “Fearless Influencer Academy“.
Take the time to go through these if you really want to understand the importance of this topic. I promise you will get TONS OF VALUE.
Here is part two of this training.
Your Next Steps…
Now, setting up DKIM, SPF, and DMARC can be a bit daunting if you're not tech-savvy. It's crucial to get these settings right, as any misstep could land your emails in the spam folder.
This is why I recommend getting professional help for this setup that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Meet Josh: My Email Deliverability Guru
Josh Schonert, a friend and an expert in email deliverability (and in the trainings above), offers a fantastic service for this.
He has a Fiverr gig where he charges $125 (Currently) to set up these email authentication protocols for you.
He even does a live Zoom call to walk you through the process and answer any questions.
To check out Josh's Fiverr gig Click Here
PLEASE NOTE: Josh is getting SLAMMED right now with people enlisting his services. So if you see it on hold, keep trying. As spots open up, you can lock one in.
Tell him I sent you – he's a great guy and incredibly helpful.
So did this post help you? I know this is confusing if you are NOT techie, but its a subject you need to know and thats why I recommend hiring Josh to get it done for you.
You should get a good feel from the trainings above how to do this and it gives you a good understanding of what this is all about.
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If you got value from this blog post leave me a comment below and if you know someone else that needs to get this issue fixed for their email authentication share it with them.
PS: Want to work directly with me? Click Here