2024 Email Changes: Everything About Email Authentication with Cheryl Rerick

A smiling woman with wavy hair wearing a denim jacket against a wooden backdrop.

The way we approach emailing our lists is changing for the very first time in a very long time…almost as long as email has existed! If you haven’t heard about the email changes that Google and Yahoo initiated in December 2023, you need to catch up….right away. In fact, when it comes to email authentication, February and April 2024 will also be pivotal months with major updates taking place.

And this is exactly why I asked Cheryl Rerick, an email marketing specialist, to come on the Talk Copy to Me podcast and explain what you need to know in detail. You’re about to learn why email authentication is so important for businesses now and into the future.

In the episode, I mention that the reason I chose Cheryl specifically is because I purchased and worked through her program, Deliverability Unboxed, to update and adjust my own email authentication tech. It was so well done and extremely informative, and I highly recommend grabbing it for yourself if you want to learn more, or if you plan on DIYing these email changes for your own business.

If you’d like to learn more, you can watch a no-cost webinar replay to learn about the email changes taking place. Or, you can grab Deliverability Unboxed, and you’ll have immediate access to the course.

And, if you like Cheryl as much as I do, you’re going to want to get on the waitlist for her April 2024 launch of Automate and Chill…because I hear it’s going to be awesome.

Copy says: Listen in to this episode of the Talk Copy to Me podcast

Here is what Cheryl and Erin want you to know about the 2024 email changes

  • What’s happening with the 2023 and 2024 email changes
  • Why everyone needs to learn about these email changes, even if their email list is less than 5,000 subscribers
  • What’s coming down the road for email authentication in April 2024
  • Why these email changes are taking place
  • How email actually works—it’s not as simple as you may think.
  • The main email authentication acronyms you need to know (and more importantly, understand)
  • How email authentication plays a role in getting good email deliverability
  • How reputation plays a role in email authentication
  • Why email authentication benefits you as a business owner
  • What four things are an email marketer’s responsibility…now

Other podcast episodes and resources mentioned in this episodes:

Important Email Marketing Predictions for the Next 4 Years with Liz Wilcox

quotes from this episode of the Talk Copy to Me copywriting podcast

Quotes about email authentication and other 2024 email changes from Cheryl and Erin

  • “Google is a business…it makes sense for them to reduce the amount of unwanted email in people’s inboxes.” – Cheryl Rerick

  • “The idea that authenticating your email can protect you and your business is beautiful.” – Erin Ollila

  • “The interesting thing is email marketing has one of the highest, like returns on investment than almost any other marketing practice.” – Erin Ollila

  • “It’s there to protect your brand. So what it does is it prevents people from pretending to be you.” – Cheryl Rerick

  • “That relationship building is what those algorithms are looking for. They’re super smart, especially in the age of AI.” – Cheryl Rerick

  • “By really building that connection with the people on your email list and asking them to participate, not only is it gonna give you a boost with the reputation building, but you’re getting excellent data from your customers.” – Erin Ollila

  • “You might be blocking your own self from getting in the inbox. You might be sending your own emails to spam accidentally.” – Cheryl Rerick

  • “When you see [unsubscribes] that it’s actually a really good thing, because it means you’re gonna get to reach the people who do wanna hear your message easier.” – Cheryl Rerick

  • “Losing people is a good thing, you know, like, let people test you out. It may not be a great match between both of you, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” – Erin Ollila

  • “I’ve heard people say they have more spam in their inbox and more legitimate marketers in their spam folder than ever before, and I think this is growing pains.” – Cheryl Rerick

Meet this episodes guest expert on Talk Coy to Me

Cheryl is an email marketing strategist, automation engineer, and deliverability expert who brings the magic of automation to coaches and course creators so they can live their lives away from the tyranny of tiny screens.

As the creator of the Automate and Chill™ method, Cheryl’s long-term conversion system will have you making more passive sales, free up hours each week, and create a life-proof business… all with your emails.

Learn more about Cheryl on her website, and then connect with her on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Want some goodies from Cheryl? Here’s a free on-demand webinar about the Google and Yahoo updates we talk about in this episode, and the training I bought and mentioned in this episode to help get it done.

Get to Know the Host of the Talk Copy to Me Podcast Erin Ollila

Learn more about your host, Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and went on to co-found Spry, an award-winning online literary journal.

When Erin’s not helping her clients understand their website data or improve their website copy, you can catch her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast and guesting on shows such as Profit is a Choice, The Driven Woman Entrepreneur, Go Pitch Yourself, and Counsel Cast.

Stay in touch with Erin Ollila, SEO website copywriter:

Here’s the transcript for episode 112 about the 2024 email changes with guest expert Cheryl Rerick

NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors. [00:00:00] Erin Ollila: Cheryl, everyone is freaking out right now about this authentication that they have to do with their emails. So let’s just jump right into the conversation. What the heck is happening and why do these people have to authenticate their emails? [00:00:19] Cheryl Rerick: Oh, I love this question. It it, there’s so much buzz around it right now, and so the why behind it is Google. [00:00:27] Cheryl Rerick: is cracking down on spam, right? They’re trying to clean up inboxes, but Aaron, it’s not because they care about your inbox or my inbox. Let’s be honest. The problem is, is billions of emails are being sent. And even more since 2020, like it’s ramped up huge and studies find that over half of that. is spam. [00:00:48] Cheryl Rerick: So the problem with that is people are abandoning their email accounts at a record rate. If you ever signed up for like a free Gmail or account or Yahoo account, just for all the flyers, just for all the spam. And then you’re like, Oh, what’s that log in again? Right. And so back in December, they shut, they started shutting down old accounts that hadn’t been accessed in over two years. [00:01:10] Cheryl Rerick: And part of the problem is they become a security risk when people do that, as well as. Google can’t make money if people aren’t, happy in their inbox and actually engaging in a meaningful way because they need that data. Google uses that data. All the stuff we do is tracked, right? I hate to break it to everyone. [00:01:29] Cheryl Rerick: It’s not just Facebook tracking you. They all are. And it’s not like they’re spying on Cheryl. from BC, Canada, or, you know, like they don’t care. It’s just, you know, a 43 year old mother of three and her shopping habits types information that they’re looking for. And so Google is a business, right? And so it really makes sense if you look at it with that lens, that it makes sense for them to reduce the amount of unwanted email in people’s inboxes. [00:01:55] Cheryl Rerick: And it keeps people engaged and happier there and using their email accounts. So that’s the sort of like why it’s happening behind the scenes. But I know it feels like a lot to absorb for us business owners that use email marketing because there’s a whole new set of rules that we need to abide by now. [00:02:12] Erin Ollila: Yeah, and I think that I really appreciated how you talked about what happened in December because at least up until this point and I’m gonna I should probably preface this in this episode is that I am just learning all of this and I’m learning it from Cheryl I Purchased her course. I highly recommend it. [00:02:27] Erin Ollila: I will link to it. So if I say anything wrong, please Please correct me, Cheryl. Don’t feel nervous about that. As of our current timeline, the December changes were that they were starting to delete the actual email addresses that were no longer being used or weren’t being used for a while. But on February 1st, there was also another change and do you want to talk about maybe what happened in February, so people kind of can tell the difference between the two? [00:02:54] Cheryl Rerick: Yeah. Let me give you some backstory before we get into that so that we understand the February changes. So the other major change that they’re making is that they’re requiring all people who send bulk emails. [00:03:06] Cheryl Rerick: So that’s like one email to many. So that’s not me emailing my friend, Erin. But that’s me as a business owner sending bulk emails out to an email list. They’re requiring us now to basically show ID when we show up in an inbox, right? When our message gets sent from our email service provider to the mail client server, that would be like the inbox at Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, proof who we are. [00:03:28] Cheryl Rerick: That’s always been best practice actually, but we didn’t have to do it. So a lot of people didn’t bother because it’s kind of technical. So before you could use ConvertKit’s reputation when you show up in the inbox or ActiveCampaigns or Keeps or Flowdesk or MailerLite or whoever you’re using, their reputation mattered. [00:03:47] Cheryl Rerick: And then it would be like, “Hey, I’ve got an email, will you accept it?” And the email server would be like, “Well, okay. Who are you? Are you a good sender? And you’re sending with ConvertKit. So like, okay, we’ll let you through. Like, we’ll take their word for it” like that’s a super simplified version, but in a nutshell, that’s what was happening. [00:04:04] Cheryl Rerick: You could do that. And as of February 1st, you can no longer do that. you have to prove who you are when you show up in an inbox. And the way you do that is with some lines of code that go on your DNS records, which is like your website domain name records. That’s what we call email authentication. [00:04:20] Cheryl Rerick: You’re authenticating that. Yes, I am who I say I am. Yes, I have a good reputation. I’m a good sender. And now we have to build our own reputation on our own brand. So as of February 1st, that was the start of those rules, or was supposed to be the start of those new rules, and then Google, this is happening mostly with Google and then Yahoo followed suit. [00:04:41] Cheryl Rerick: And then they decided to roll it out a little bit slower than originally thought, which is great news for everyone who is just hearing about this now. That’s great news for you. And they’ve only been issuing a small amount of error codes for some authenticated mail so far. They haven’t been rejecting emails, but now they’ve moved that hard deadline to April. [00:05:02] Cheryl Rerick: Come April, if you’re not compliant, you stand to have your emails rejected completely. So this does require everyone’s attention. If you do any email marketing at all, you’re just in time to deal with this now. [00:05:15] Erin Ollila: Yeah. And I want to really talk about one thing that you’ve said, because this is where I think people are starting to ignore the issue. [00:05:21] Erin Ollila: It’s that, um, Google, when they came out with the, uh, advice of how they’re going to implement this mentioned, if you send more than 5, 000 emails in a day, which I understand that they need to have a general scope, right? So like people can understand, like you mentioned, this is not just like when I email like Cheryl, my mom and my grandmother at the same time, like that’s not the group email that they’re talking about. [00:05:47] Erin Ollila: They’re trying to get businesses in the mind frame of understanding that. A larger group email, like is what you’d send to your entire list. However, I think that people are interpreting that number as like, like the Bible, like if I’m not sending, let’s say I have a list of 2, 500 in one day, I’m only going to email them once. [00:06:09] Erin Ollila: So I’m good. I don’t have to do this. And I think that’s really, really untrue. So. I mean, I’m looking to you here, because I’m like, I’m saying it’s untrue, but Cheryl, please tell me, am I right? People who have less than 5, 000, they need to like, pay very close attention, correct? 100 percent correct. So here’s what’s happening out. [00:06:31] Cheryl Rerick: There’s a lot of People’s talking about this who are not experts, and I mean, it’s good. They’re spreading the word, but there’s a lot of nuance to this and Google and Yahoo is recommendations. It’s not like they’re clear and created for the average person. Like, let’s be honest. They are not making this easy on the lay person, the normal person to read these requirements, but because I have a certified expertise in this area, and I work with people behind the scenes who are experts, we’re able to read between the lines a little bit. [00:07:02] Cheryl Rerick: And so when Google is saying that, I mean, if you have a list of 500 people, you are small peanuts. You’re barely on their radar compared to like what most email lists they’re worried about are like old Navy, you know, like with like a million subscribers or something. but it still does matter because these rules are set by computer algorithms. [00:07:24] Cheryl Rerick: Like you either pass or you don’t, right. So it still matters for the small sender. And the 5, 000 email thing. It’s 5, 000 emails in one day. So on a cart close day of a launch, you send four emails, that’s now 1250 people. It happens quickly. And then what if you have also automations running in the background, like a welcome sequence or might be people in there getting emails, it gets complicated to keep track of. [00:07:50] Cheryl Rerick: And you only have to hit that threshold once to then forever be considered a bigger sender. And it. It’s not worth playing with, but here’s where I’m going to prove you completely right. Yahoo followed suit with Google and, and piggybacked and said, yeah, we’re going to do all the same things. Except for Yahoo hasn’t given a threshold at all. [00:08:09] Cheryl Rerick: It says all bulk senders, no matter what. Right, [00:08:13] Erin Ollila: and I was just going to ask you that. I was going to be like, and my understanding is Yahoo has said nothing. So let’s say Yahoo puts out guidance today, the day this episode goes live, and then they say, Oh, if you send it to more than 100 people, vastly different, right? [00:08:27] Erin Ollila: And then people will be rushing to catch up to something that they, one, don’t know enough information about, and two, that they really, truly, 100 percent need to make sure that they’re covering their, their bases to make sure that they’ve done things [00:08:41] Cheryl Rerick: correctly. Absolutely. And if you use email in your business, it is not worth messing around. [00:08:48] Cheryl Rerick: It is not. that complicated. It feels big and scary because it’s a little bit of technical stuff, but it really isn’t that complicated. And it’s so worth doing for your business. And just to clarify what we’re talking about, if you’ve heard acronyms out there on the internet streets, like S B F D K I M like D Kim and D Mark, I’m sure D Mark is being talked about a lot. [00:09:10] Cheryl Rerick: That’s what we’re talking about here. Those are just lines of code we’re going to put on your, on your domain name. And the thing about it is, It’s there to protect your brand. So what it does is it prevents people from pretending to be you. It prevents spammers from hijacking your email address and sending an email that says it’s from you, but it’s really spam and, spammers love to do that. It’s more common than most people realize. That’s called spoofing and phishing, you know, like these types of words that you’ve might have heard about with spam. So having these, this code. Is actually protecting your brand from that right? It’s giving the internet servers like an approved sender’s list, like who is allowed to send email on behalf of your brand. [00:09:53] Cheryl Rerick: So like your email service provider, maybe Google workspace, maybe you send emails from your course platform or from Stripe or Shopify or wherever you send emails from your brand. Then you can protect that you can certify that essentially with I. D. so that if email comes from you, but it’s actually not from you, you can get notified and that can get flagged. [00:10:16] Cheryl Rerick: So it’s actually a really good thing for all of us to have. It’s it’s not, um. I mean, it sucks right now, right? It’s like one more thing we have to deal with. Like, thanks a lot, Google and Yahoo to figure this out, but it’s actually kind of good. They’re forcing everyone to do it. It’s always been best practice, and it’s super good for you to protect your own brand name [00:10:35] Erin Ollila: online. [00:10:36] Erin Ollila: Yeah, and I think there’s actually multiple benefits to this, right? Like, that is the most obvious one is that you have that protection of your brand, which really did not exist prior to this, right? Like, this, like, being able to spoof a business or a brand, it was the, like, Absolute easiest thing anyone could do. [00:10:54] Erin Ollila: And it’s, you know, like you talk to like, um, your parents, grandparents, like older people, older generation, and you try to explain to them like this email could be spam. This email could be not real. Like sure. It says U.S. Social security. Sure. It says that it’s coming from Best Buy, but like that does not mean that it is. [00:11:14] Erin Ollila: And you have to take so many steps to be able to, as a consumer, to be able to identify whether it is real or fake. And that is so overwhelming. People don’t want to look in their inboxes and make these guesses or to do the research to find it. So as the business owner now, the idea that authenticating your email can protect you and your business is [00:11:37] Erin Ollila: beautiful. You know, and one thing I want to point out is last week we did an episode with Liz Wilcox for our Leap Year miniseries. And when we very, very briefly talked on this, what she had mentioned that I thought was really interesting was: it also kind of sets the bar for business owners, right? [00:11:54] Erin Ollila: While we say this is just one more thing, and it’s new, like anything new and that is technical can be very overwhelming for the average business owner. I get that. But once you do it, I think you recognize it was actually pretty easy to get it implemented, whether you’re hiring it out or doing it on your own. [00:12:13] Erin Ollila: So once you’re on the other side of it, I think what people should kind of appreciate is that it’s now moving that bar of entry to starting a business a lot higher because while it was a little, you know, okay to, to implement on your own, there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to hear this and see this and say, no, thank you. [00:12:34] Erin Ollila: I’m not even going to bother like doing that. I’m just going to run my business on social media. Or no, thank you. Like I’ll do this incorrectly. And then, you know, they’re getting kind of blacklisted at that point because they’re not following the best regulations and people don’t have the trust in their brand. [00:12:49] Erin Ollila: And that, I mean, once that happens, that’s kind of following you longterm. So I think even like a hidden benefit to making sure you’re authenticated correctly is that once you’re showing that you’re following these best practices, you are getting that extra level of like professionalism and trust from your audience. [00:13:08] Cheryl Rerick: I completely agree. And there’s two things you mentioned that I wanna jump on there ’cause that was really great points. One is [00:13:15] Cheryl Rerick: I’m hearing a lot of, Oh, I did my DMARC. I did my D Kim. So my deliverability is set. I’ll have good deliverability now. And I think what people miss is that this actually. This is just your ticket in the door. This doesn’t actually get you anywhere, or this is your plane ticket. It doesn’t get you on the plane, right? [00:13:33] Cheryl Rerick: So what happens now is you’re sending email on your own reputation, your own domain reputation. CherylRarek. com has a reputation, right? Your website has a reputation. Your domain name has that. It’s on us now for it to be high or low, right? It’s everything you do after that really matters. And like you said, it’s like step up as a real business. [00:13:56] Cheryl Rerick: Emailing consistently matters more than before. Making sure you have list cleaning practices will matter more than before, because now it’s directly related to your own reputation. So we have to have more grown up practices and systems in place for that. And then you mentioned social media. And what’s funny about social media is that people have no problem learning new trends or new algorithm changes, right? [00:14:22] Cheryl Rerick: Like now we like carousels and we like short videos, but we’ve taken email for granted. [00:14:28] Erin Ollila: Such a good point. Like, and honestly, like I always have a bone to pick with social media and I don’t think that there’s anything inherently wrong with it, but I think coming from the copywriting and marketing world, I think that people take very important marketing. [00:14:43] Erin Ollila: Things for granted because there’s such a low bar of entry to social like you just have to physically show up like press a couple buttons and then you are there you have arrived on social media yet it gets so much attention it like people will sell themselves in order to follow whatever the newest trend is with the hope that it has an ROI which the interesting thing is email marketing has one of the highest like returns on investment Then almost any other marketing practice. [00:15:13] Erin Ollila: And I can include things like SEO and advertising because with both of those things, there’s a bit of a testing phase that is involved. Whereas if you are following best practices for email marketing. That’s it. You’re in. The return you will get on the investment that you have just put in is there. [00:15:33] Erin Ollila: It’s flush. So, like, don’t sleep on email. I’m gonna let you get back to your point. I’m sorry. I just had to get, jump in there to agree with you completely because it’s such a valid point. [00:15:43] Erin Ollila: People will put a ton of effort in for social and then ignore. The things that can actually benefit their business. [00:15:51] Cheryl Rerick: Like you took the words right out of my mouth. [00:15:53] Cheryl Rerick: I’m so sorry. [00:15:53] Cheryl Rerick: No, I love it. I love it I’m nodding the whole time because it’s true and I think the thing people are panicking with this email thing like oh It feels technical. [00:16:01] Cheryl Rerick: I don’t know what to do. I mean, I’ll help you. Don’t worry about that Like I’ll hold your hand and I’ll help you. [00:16:06] Cheryl Rerick: But we do it all the time with social. Instagram changes the algorithm. And now we do reels. We had to figure that out. Just like that. We have to figure this out. We’ve we’re really lucky. We haven’t had to figure out new stuff every six months with email, right? [00:16:22] Cheryl Rerick: It’s been 20 years since the latest update that matters almost since. It came on the scene that an update of this magnitude has happened and this in this particular case, this update is really good news for serious business owners because it’s going to protect your brand. It’s going to make it easier to stand out in the inbox. [00:16:41] Cheryl Rerick: I will say that I’ve noticed this is great timing for this interview because we’ve already passed the first deadline. So I’m getting. New feedback. I’ve heard people say they have more spam in their inbox and more legitimate marketers in their spam folder than ever before. And I think this is growing pains. [00:16:55] Cheryl Rerick: Spammers sort of know how this all background stuff works. So they’re going to be trying some stuff for a bit and regular business owners, especially solo entrepreneurs where we wear all the hats in the business. We don’t have tech teams to figure this out. So a lot of people don’t know about it yet. [00:17:09] Cheryl Rerick: And they’re ending up in the spam folder now when they weren’t before. So for a while, it might be, it’d be like, wait, what is this change done? Like now I have more spam. It will balance out. And in the end, you’re going to have a lot less clutter in the inbox, which is, I think, great for everyone. And you’re going to see those people who are really serious, showing up better in your inbox for sure. [00:17:31] Erin Ollila: Yeah, and it all goes back to exactly what you said is like this is all based on reputation building So you don’t just authenticate and then have a good reputation You are borrowing your previous reputation now You have to build your reputation which doesn’t have to be hard [00:17:49] Erin Ollila: and you know Liz mentioned something last week that I think would be very helpful in this conversation Maybe to make people feel more comfortable about What’s happening is that she said, you know, like first party data is so incredible to get right. [00:18:02] Erin Ollila: So like the idea that if you’re getting email responses or people clicking on links like that’s what I think she means by what she was saying in the episode and [00:18:12] Erin Ollila: Friends! That is how you build your reputation, right? So yeah, maybe you are starting from scratch, and maybe there’s going to be a little bit more effort that you have to put in, but by really building that connection with the people on your email list, and asking them to participate a little, not only Is it going to give you a boost with the reputation building, but you’re getting excellent data from your, your customers, you’re learning about them. [00:18:37] Erin Ollila: So you can better give them like a quote unquote customer experience in this case, an email, a list experience that will make them actually look forward to reading your emails and not put you in the spam box or not just delete them because they’re so overwhelmed with the rest of the messages that they’re getting, but actually look forward to reading your emails because you’ve built that reputation and shown them that you are, you know, credible and worthy of being in their inboxes. [00:19:08] Cheryl Rerick: Like 1000%. I have a group program called Automate and Chill and that is the entire focus is the relationship building over like building a journey for your people. Because that is what we’re talking about here is relationship building in the inbox. It’s such a cool tool, email marketing, right? Where you can actually connect with people. [00:19:26] Cheryl Rerick: It’s almost like you’re in their living room or in like you’re on their phone. You’re wherever they are having a one on one conversation with them. And that relationship building is what those Algorithms are looking for. They’re super smart, especially in the age of AI, right? They know when people want to get your emails and those triggers, right? [00:19:47] Cheryl Rerick: Are huge for building your reputation. So let’s like back up for a sec, if you don’t mind, I’ll explain like how email even works. Please do. I think a lot of people don’t realize what happens when you hit send. We think you hit send. And then it goes to the inbox and then they read the email, right? That is not how it works. [00:20:03] Cheryl Rerick: There’s a lot of steps in between and I’ll just give you a couple of them. But when you hit send in your email service provider, the first step it goes to their, what we call MTA. It’s a message transfer agent. And that’s like when you schedule an email in advance, it’s sort of like hangs out there for a bit until it’s supposed to send. [00:20:17] Cheryl Rerick: And then it presents to the mail client, which is The inbox, right? Whether it’s they have a Gmail inbox or a workspace inbox, or they’re like on Microsoft, like Outlook inbox or wherever your people have an inbox. And that’s where that conversation happens that we were talking about before. Like, Hey, I have a message from Cheryl for Aaron. [00:20:37] Cheryl Rerick: Will you accept it? And they look at a bunch of data like, do you have all this code? Are, are you who you say you are? Is your reputation decent enough? And then they go, yeah, okay, I’ll take that email. That’s considered delivered. That is not deliverability. That is all the email service providers are responsible for. [00:20:56] Cheryl Rerick: So when you say like active campaign or convert kit or whoever has 98 percent deliverability, that’s what they’re talking about. It does not mean it ended up in the inbox at all. From there, it’s a hundred percent on us. And our email practices and our, uh, reputation online, whether or not it ends up in the spam folder or in the inbox. [00:21:16] Cheryl Rerick: So it’s really deliverability is our job as business owners, not our email tools job. Their job is quite simple, right? Our job is to get into the inbox requires good practices. And We could talk all day. I could have a whole nother course on all of the types of things you can do to get into the inbox for good practices, but I’ll distill it down really simply for you. [00:21:40] Cheryl Rerick: Just do the friendship test, right? If you’re talking to a friend. You’re not being spammy by accident. You’re not using those patterns that spammers use. I’m not going to say, Hey, Erin, what’s up? Bye now. Click here. Like I’m not doing that, right? I’m not, um, today only get it now. I’m not talking that way to a real human. [00:21:59] Cheryl Rerick: So if you can just bring that lens in to your email copywriting. That’ll go a long way to getting you into the inbox, right? Because spammers, what Google thinks spammers are, and what you think spammers are, are different. And what Google and Yahoo thinks spammers are, or anyone who embodies any of the patterns that they see spammers do. [00:22:17] Cheryl Rerick: And we can accidentally do that really easily, right? Especially following some of the marketing we’ve been taught over the years. You know, the way people will email, or we can be spammy by accident. And the way they look at spam is, are you emailing people? Like, do people want your emails and do they interact with them or not? [00:22:37] Cheryl Rerick: And if they’re not, and you keep emailing anyway, you kind of are a spammer, right? So we do have to build that relationship. And that is 100 percent what I believe email marketing is. should be [00:22:48] about. [00:22:49] Erin Ollila: I completely agree with us. And I think a valid point here is, um, it is on us to do that front test, right? [00:22:57] Erin Ollila: For one other reason, and it’s lightly out of our control, but it’s the whole reputation building. If you do that, if you build, use the front test, it will get you past this. And what it is, is that people’s inboxes are overwhelmed. So For example, they might like your newsletter, they might like you, they might have purchased from you before and want to stay connected. [00:23:19] Erin Ollila: But if they’re getting so many other messages from other businesses, whether they’re tiny businesses, online businesses, uh, product based businesses The Old Navy’s are huge, big brands that are literally emailing multiple times a day. Sometimes I’m like, do people need to shop at Old Navy this much? [00:23:35] Erin Ollila: Because they’re an aggressive emailer, . Anyway, back to the point. The inboxes are crowded. So even if they like you and they want to stay connected with you, If they’re not opening your emails, you’re not building that reputation, let’s say. I don’t want to say that as like a scare tactic. What I mean here is if you approach email marketing from the friend test, if you, don’t harp on these spam tactics, if you use storytelling wisely and not just follow this, like level of persuasion marketing or like pain point marketing, or really just. [00:24:12] Erin Ollila: emailing for no reason, even if you do it all correctly, it’s going to skyrocket that reputation building that you’re trying to do. It’s going to make people actively seek out your name in their inbox. [00:24:24] Erin Ollila: I have multiple email accounts, one is specifically that like first level tier of like testing people out. I sign up for all the lead magnets from it. I sign up for coupons in this email account. And it can get thousands of emails in a day. So even if I want to hear from Cheryl. I might not hear from her. [00:24:43] Erin Ollila: I might miss an entire promotion that she’s doing and Cheryl then as the business owner might be like, “wow, gosh, I can’t believe more people didn’t participate in this promotion” or “I’m like really surprised that like I’m not getting enough feedback.” No, Cheryl. That’s just because I have 2000 emails coming in. [00:24:59] Erin Ollila: So all of these changes are really going to make that much better, both for the business owner and for the consumer. And I really just want to like Reinforce following good email habits, best practices, not just the like get rich quick, like schemes that you hear that people want you to like play your email list. [00:25:21] Erin Ollila: If you can put that aside and follow the best practices, it will help you build your reputation way quicker and it will really make you a lot more attractive to those people who are on your email list. [00:25:33] Cheryl Rerick: Yeah. I think it’s important to remember they’re humans on the other side, right? Right. Get to know them a little bit. [00:25:38] Cheryl Rerick: Think of, think of a few of them when you write that email, cause I think that can be felt on the other side. You know, when you’re looking through that sea of a thousand or two thousand emails, your eye is going to go to that person that makes you feel heard and seen when you read their email rather than the people talking at you or, , like you said, just emailing for no reason, all the fluff stuff. [00:25:59] Cheryl Rerick: We get bored of it, especially in 2024. It’s boring. We have to sort of, dial it back to why we’re here in the first place, which is people. [00:26:08] Erin Ollila: Yeah, absolutely., one thing that you had mentioned, we started talking about, like, what the job was for email marketers or small business owners who are emailing. [00:26:16] Erin Ollila: But like, within this actual conversation, what are the responsibilities that they have for authenticating? Because the, yes follow best practices and be a good email marketing citizen. But now with the changes that are taking place, like what do people actually have to do to be in compliance? [00:26:36] Cheryl Rerick: Okay. So first things first, if you send marketing emails from an at Gmail account, you can’t do that anymore. [00:26:43] Cheryl Rerick: Or an at Yahoo or an at Hotmail, any of those free email accounts. You can’t send marketing emails from those anymore because you can’t, you don’t own it, right? I’m not Google, so I can’t authenticate that my domain, right? Like I can’t authenticate Cheryl Rarick at Gmail because I don’t own Gmail. I have to have property that I own. [00:27:07] Cheryl Rerick: And so you have to use your own domain name. If you don’t have a domain name, great news. You get to go shopping. It’s actually pretty fun. I have like way too many domain names I’m not using right now. You too? Yeah. So, uh, you get to go buy a domain. And it, like you said, I get to level up your business and be a real business, which is really fun. [00:27:24] Cheryl Rerick: Um, so you can’t use your free Gmail account anymore because then you’re impersonating Google or you’re impersonating Yahoo or Microsoft when you do that. So that’s the first, first thing you have to do. [00:27:36] Cheryl Rerick: The next change that they’re making, they’ve already started rolling out. They’re rolling it out slowly and sporadically is a one click unsubscribe link in the header of the email. So this one gets, people get this wrong a lot. [00:27:48] Cheryl Rerick: So I’m gonna try and explain it real simple. You know, when you send a marketing email from your email service provider, if you scroll down to the bottom, there’s the unsubscribe link. You can click on it. Sometimes it takes to like a survey page saying, why are you unsubscribing? And then you can answer or not. That’s fine. That can stay. That is within your email service provider. They’re unsubscribing directly from, you know, your active campaign, your convert kit, your whatever, and having a couple of steps there is fine. The new one is in the code of the email, right? So you don’t actually have to worry about this. [00:28:19] Cheryl Rerick: Your email service provider should be taking care of this on your behalf. And it shows way at the tippy top of the email, right beside the send address. So it is really like you log into an email and it says unsubscribe right at the top, kind of in your face. And that button is in the code of the email. [00:28:35] Cheryl Rerick: You can’t control it. So don’t worry about it. They’re going to take care of that for you. But when someone clicks that, that is internal inside of Google, like in Gmail, and then it sends the message back to your email service provider that this person is unsubscribed. And that’s new, a new requirement. [00:28:51] Cheryl Rerick: And it’s a little bit unnerving as a business owner. We work so hard to grow our list. We’re like, “can we not ask them to subscribe like immediately upon opening an email? Right? Like it’s, why is it in their face?” And I feel like that too, let’s be honest. However, We don’t want to email people who don’t want our emails. [00:29:05] Cheryl Rerick: It’s much better to have a smaller, more engaged list than a giant list who doesn’t want your email. So if they want to leave, let them leave. They can always come back. It’s fine. So that’s rolling out. People are panicking. If they’re not seeing it, they’re like, “Oh, it’s not on mine. What do I have to do?” [00:29:18] Cheryl Rerick: Nothing. Your email service provider will figure it out. And Google is only choosing to show it sometimes on their end. So don’t stress about it. But if you start seeing that, that’s what that is. So number two, let people unsubscribe. [00:29:31] Cheryl Rerick: Another thing is the spam threshold has changed slightly. So marked as spam is different than the spam folder. Spam folder you get filtered into when you send that email if they’re not sure. Your email is wants to be received by the person they’ll put in the spam folder. Being marked as spam is when someone opens an email and clicks on the three little dots in the corner and says, “this is spam.” [00:29:51] Cheryl Rerick: That’s bad news. Before you could reach a rate of 0. 1%. You go above or below a little bit. It wasn’t the end of the world. You can fix it fairly easily, but now going forward, if you hit point four and above, you could be blocked completely. Point one is already affecting your reputation with whether or not you’re going in the spam filter. But more than ever before, we need to make sure people want our emails, right? And one of the best ways you can do that is by cleaning your list. If people aren’t engaging. Then stop emailing them, right? [00:30:23] Cheryl Rerick: So that’s another thing that’s happening. And then the main thing everyone is talking about, and we were talking about, is email authentication. That’s having that ID when you show up in the inbox. That’s those acronyms that we were talking about. SPF, DKIM, DMARC. Some lines of code on your DNS. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. [00:30:39] Cheryl Rerick: I promise you. The hardest part is knowing like your business and where you send email from and like figuring out which tools you need to do it for. But the actual doing of it is not that complicated. So in a nutshell, that’s our responsibility to do all of those things before April. , [00:30:56] Erin Ollila: If you’re hearing this and you’re feeling overwhelmed, especially about that last part, one, you can hire someone to do it for you. [00:31:02] Erin Ollila: And two, what I did was, I did it myself, but I, I purchased Cheryl’s course, which is deliverability unboxed. And I did that for a very specific reason. I wanted to make sure that I actually understood what was happening, so that way, if anything changed in the future, if any more updates were made, I wouldn’t have to go all the way back to square one just to figure out why this is happening. [00:31:25] Erin Ollila: And I think that if you are interested, Which you should be, you know, I would definitely make sure you’re getting better education on it. [00:31:31] Cheryl Rerick: Yeah, so what I see a lot right now is people just blindly trusting their ESP, like their email service provider, going, Oh, I did what ConvertKit said, so I’m good. [00:31:39] Cheryl Rerick: Or I did what ActiveCampaign told me to do, so I’m good. And that’s only partially true. They’re doing a good job. Most of them. Now they were, they were all laid out of the gate. Let’s be honest. This one’s announced in October. [00:31:50] Cheryl Rerick: Most of them got their act together in January, so they, they’re generally telling you what you need to do for their tool, but that’s where their responsibility ends and they don’t know where you send email as a brand. And then the harm in that is if you set some of the settings up a certain way. And you don’t include all the places you send email, you might be blocking your own self from getting in the inbox. [00:32:12] Cheryl Rerick: You might be sending your own emails to spam accidentally. I’ve seen a lot, I’ve fixed a lot of people’s back ends with that happening. Um, so like you’re right, it’s just like these little nuances of education. And then it’s actually not that complicated. And so that was my plan with the workshop series is to walk you through step by step and making sure that you understand what we’re doing at each step. [00:32:34] Cheryl Rerick: Because let’s be honest, Aaron, this is the new, this is the new email marketing world we’re in. Like these, this isn’t anytime you add a new tool to your tool stack, to your tech stack, you’re going to have to make sure it’s authenticated if you’re sending email that way. So we need to know these things going forward. [00:32:49] Cheryl Rerick: You can definitely hire it out if you don’t have time or you’re just like can’t even. Definitely. I can refer a really great team for that if you want, but I would encourage you to learn it for yourself because it’s just that leveling up you were talking about as a business owner to write like this is just part of doing business online. [00:33:09] Cheryl Rerick: If you can learn how to do Instagram rules, this, you can handle this. I promise you. I promise you. Agreed. [00:33:16] Erin Ollila: Um, so final question for you and you may have actually just answered it, but what are. Some of the biggest mistakes that you’re seeing people do right now, is it that they’re just relying on their ESPs to do this for them? [00:33:27] Erin Ollila: Or are there other things that you’re seeing that people are making mistakes when it comes to authentication? [00:33:33] Cheryl Rerick: So I have two big mistakes. I see we touched on both and a third one. I think we touched on as well, but I’m going to wrap it up with us because I think it’s important to, to leave it top of mind for everybody. [00:33:44] Cheryl Rerick: The three things I see people doing is, um, number one, thinking it doesn’t apply to them, right? I have a small list. Doesn’t apply to me, right? It does apply to you. If you send marketing emails. It applies to you and just, it’s just better to not mess around and do it. We don’t want to be the ones to find out, right? [00:34:01] Cheryl Rerick: We don’t want to find out. Let’s just get it done and, and protect our email list because it’s that high ROI. It’s worth it. I promise you. And then number two thing, people not recognizing there’s more to it than just their email service provider. And that is a shame. Um, that’s incredibly frustrating for me because I feel like the email service providers aren’t helping me out with that message very well. [00:34:24] Cheryl Rerick: They’re trying to calm people down and I appreciate that, but you should let them know they might want to check their other tools also. And the number three thing is that new one I mentioned where people think this is all they need to do and that the conversation stops with doing these, this line of code. [00:34:41] Cheryl Rerick: They’re like, okay, I’m done now. My, I have a good deliverability. And so I see people posting Facebook groups going, my open rates are down, but I did the DKIM thing. So why is it, why are they down? I’m like, well, it has nothing to do with that. Or it might actually, because now you’re on a baby fresh reputation and you didn’t, you know, you have to build it up the right way. [00:35:01] Cheryl Rerick: It has to do with email practices going forward. So going forward now, we’re going to be more conscious and pay more attention. To our email habits, right? And we’re going to not email people who don’t want our emails. We’re going to make sure we have good consent for emailing people when they join our list and that they have expectations for what they’re going to have on our email list. [00:35:20] Cheryl Rerick: And we’re going to treat them like human beings on the other side so that they don’t complain as spam. And they recognize that we actually bring value to their inbox. So those are probably the top three things. I think people need to be most aware of right now. [00:35:33] Erin Ollila: Yeah, and I think, you know, earlier you had mentioned that, like, everyone, like, worries a bit when they get unsubscribes, or they feel frustrated because they’ve worked so hard to build their list. [00:35:42] Erin Ollila: But I think, you know, an additional benefit to all of this is that when your reputation gets built, um, Even if you’re losing people, even if people are unsubscribing throughout this process, it will be so much easier to recognize the list that you have built is a quality list, because people forget that they want a quality list. [00:36:04] Erin Ollila: They don’t want numbers, and that’s part of the, you know, other problem. So losing people is a good thing. You know, like, you know, let people test you out. It may not be a great match between both of you, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And I. think that once they start to build their reputation, once their deliverability gets better and they can see higher open rates and click through rates and things like that, it will give the average email marketer a bit more confidence and a bit more clarity when it comes to that, that losing people are fine. [00:36:35] Erin Ollila: And I think that’s just part of the lesson in an experience in general, even before this, that Email marketers have to get to like, you have to get to a point where, you know, seeing 15 unsubscribes in one email doesn’t hurt because you recognize that it’s just a part of the process. And in other emails, maybe you won’t get any, maybe you’ll get emails back from your email list to thank you for what you’re doing, right? [00:37:00] Erin Ollila: Like it all weighs each other out in the end. [00:37:03] Cheryl Rerick: It is hard, right? We work so hard to get emails to subscribers. But I would reframe it like this, especially given the new requirements and what we’re doing with deliverability. [00:37:13] Cheryl Rerick: We want people to unsubscribe. Rather than disengage, because disengaged people on your list brings that reputation down. It makes it harder for you to get in the inboxes of the people who do read your email, right? So that’s why removing unengaged subscribers important. But that that takes effort on your part. [00:37:32] Cheryl Rerick: If people unsubscribed, they saved you the effort of having to remove them from the list in two months. You know what I mean? That’s actually much better. That we just bless them on their way. And, you know, I find people come back sometimes, sometimes it’s the timing. Sometimes it’s their inbox is full, like you said, and maybe they prefer to consume content elsewhere. [00:37:49] Cheryl Rerick: Maybe they would rather do social follow you there, or it’s actually not really our business, how they want to manage their inbox, but unsubscribing. Just remind yourself when you see them, that it’s actually a really good thing because it means you’re going to get to reach. The people who do want to hear your message easier, right? [00:38:07] Cheryl Rerick: The less, the less, I don’t want to call it deadweight. These are human beings, but like, you know, the less unengaged, uninterested people on your list, the better it is for you, actually. [00:38:16] Erin Ollila: Awesome. All right, everyone. Like I mentioned before, I will put the links to the free deliverability webinar so you can learn a little bit more about what’s happening. [00:38:26] Erin Ollila: Um, and just get a better understanding if you are interested in really, truly learning this and making sure that you’re doing it correctly in your own business. Um, as someone who has purchased it herself, I highly recommend Deliverability Unboxed. I will get those links for you. Um, and, and also just how to reach out to Cheryl and get to know her better and her business better. [00:38:46] Erin Ollila: So thank you so much for being here today, Cheryl. I really appreciate your time. And I just think this is such a great and helpful episode. Yeah, [00:38:53] Cheryl Rerick: thanks for having me.

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