Why does your business email end up in spam?

You spend time on your newsletters and emails, why does your business email end up in spam? Recently Google (and Yahoo) announced changes to how they verify emails sent to their users are not spam. You might have received an email from your newsletter company regarding these changes. This is what you need to know.

How your emails flow

When you send an email the receiving email server checks various items to verify the sender and to verify that it’s not spam. Google is now enforcing certain rules that determine if your email, your newsletter is spam. Google and other email providers used to check DNS (Domain Name Service) SPF text record. Now Google is checking DMARC and DKIM records.

See email flow infographic below:

If you work with a newsletter provider (examples: MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Manager), you should have received an email containing steps to update your DNS records to show the service is an authorized sender for your domain name (example marketing@mybusiness.ca, mybusiness.ca being your domain name).

Newsletter Campaign DNS Changes

One of my clients received detailed instructions from their newsletter service about DNS record changes they required. Unfortunately when my client exactly followed these steps they were no longer able to receive any emails. When I checked with their Domain Name Service company their support tech said the changes cause the problem and they had been getting a lot of calls and requests about similar changes which would lead to breaking email services.

Lessons from this story:

  1. Schedule making these changes carefully
  2. Have your IT consultant review and test changes
  3. Don’t blindly trust the newsletter company to know about DNS
  4. Don’t blindly trust the DNS hosting company to know about these changes either.

For my client with the borked email sending how I ended up fixing it was removing the DNS changes. I spent over an hour on the phone with the newsletter service company getting updated DNS records. The DNS hosting company said the new records would still break the email. At this point I checked with my hosting company who said they could work with the records and understood what was going on. Moved the client over to their service and redid all their DNS records.

Why go through the DNS changes?

My client sent out a newsletter a few days later and got a better open rate because their newsletter was not getting blocked by Google.

These changes by Google do not just affect @gmail addresses but any company using Google for their email and also @telus.net email addresses. Even if you send the email directly to those gmail folks not just via a newsletter service.

Why does your business email end up in spam?

You need to update your DNS records to verify who is your authorized email sender including your newsletter provider. Google will enforce the new rules in February.

If you use Google as your business email provider, Google has done most of the steps for you. You still need to enable DKIM and DMARC and add records for your newsletter service provider.