NEW Private Practice Email Marketing Rules 2024


You may well have heard about the new rules and regulations brought in by Google and Yahoo from the 1st of February 2024. It isn't a scheme to make our lives harder, but an attempt to better control the current situation where email spoofing, phishing, and spamming are on the increase.

I want to just explain in this blog how that is going to impact you and what you need to do to make sure that your emails keep being received by your patients so that you can help them better.


New email marketing rules - outline

The first thing to know is that these new rules are really aimed at bulk senders. So those people who are sending out 5,000 or more in a day. This probably doesn't apply to an awful lot of small practice owners, but what follows is current best practice, so if you're looking at building a robust business with really strong, systems and processes inside it, you would do well to implement these changes now so that as your practice grows, you don't need to think about it.


Six key steps for email marketing success


My advice is to go to your email provider and see what service they are offering to make these changes for you, because technically it's quite tricky, but I want to empower you to understand the language and feel confident enough to go and have that conversation.

At the outset, if you don't do these things your emails are going to bounce or end up going into spam and the objective of your email marketing is to get your email into the inbox of your patients or your potential patients so that you can help them.

Here are the 6 most important elements of these new private practice email marketing rules that I think you should aim to comply with.


1. Authentication

Google and Yahoo are coming down really hard on making sure that every email that lands in an inbox has been authenticated, to make sure it hasn't come from a phishing, spamming, scamming place and it has genuinely come from a real person.

They're going to do that in several ways. Your authenticator domain can no longer be the domain of the platform you are using to send your emails. Your emails are sent from your email address, which will come from your practice e.g. [email protected] - so the 'send from' email is [email protected]

What sits behind this domain is an authenticator URL. Often that authenticator URL is the URL of your email provider. Under the new rules, the sender and the authenticator URLs have to match.

So you need to make sure that the authenticator email in the setup of your email system is your domain and not the domain of your email provider.

The rule is basically making sure that authentication is improved by using your own domain for both elements of the process.



2. DMARC - the why, what, and how

Also connected to authentication, Google and Yahoo are looking at your SPF, your DKIM, and your DMARC protocols.

Don't worry you don't need to know what they mean. You just need to feel confident to have the conversation with your email provider, to question if your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols have been updated.

One word of advice around your DMARC protocol: there are three levels of DMARC record that you can have inside your email system. The lowest level is where you simply set your DMARC record to P=none. This is enough to comply with the new rules.
Some people will try and talk you into more complex setups because technically it might be more strategic to do it differently, but you genuinely don't need to worry about that at this level. 

So long as your DMARC record is set to P=none, you're home and dry.

When you set up a DMARC record, you then trigger a thing called "DMARC record reports" and you'll become inundated via email with these reports. I suggest you set up an email address just for those DMARC reports, just in case you need them at any point.

That way, all you need to do is routinely, delete a whole raft of them, you don't need to read them or look at them. But if you have these reports emailed to your practice email address, you will get snowed under with them.


3. Spam Complaint Rates

Google is now going to hugely cut down on your spam complaint rates. That is the percentage of people who report your emails as spam based on the number of emails you send in each mailing.

They are going to be measuring and looking for a spam complaint rate between 0.1% and 0.3%. Anything above that, and your emails will start triggering alarms in their systems.

They don't care what the spam complaint rate is inside MailChimp, for example. They're only concerned about what it looks like actually inside Google. To review your spam complaint rate, you'll need to access your Google Postmaster Tool. I know it's complex, but get somebody else to do this for you!

Set up your Google Postmaster Tool so that you can see your spam complaint rate and make sure you are between what Google is looking for 0.1%, Yahoo is looking at 0.3%.

I'm convinced that most of you are not sending out anything that is going to be construed or reported as spam, but you just need to check and make sure.


4. Ditch your Gmail email address

You can no longer send out email marketing using a Gmail address unless you are sending your marketing emails from Gmail.

So if you have a Gmail email address for your practice and you're using MailChimp for example, you're no longer going to be able to do that. You need to have a domain-based email address to use any email platform other than Gmail.

To be honest, using emails that are connected to your domain is best practice anyway.

It's really simple. If you speak to your hosting company, you will very easily and cheaply be able to set up multiple domain based email addresses.

You want to have an email address something like getintouch@ or hello@ or reception@ - and then your practice name. Example - [email protected]

If you do that, then you will be able to continue using platforms like MailChimp in order to send out email marketing, but you will no longer be able to do it with a Gmail address.


5. One-click Unsubscribe

This will probably be done by your email platform, but you need to make sure you have a one click unsubscribe on all your emails. This means what it says - literally, I click unsubscribe and I'm unsubscribed. I'm not clicking it to get to a page where I have to retype my email address, then. I have to click confirm, then yes. Are you sure? Yes.

It has to be a one-click and I'm unsubscribed.


6. Forward and Reverse Domain Records

And finally, another techie one. But you need to know that your domain has forward and reverse DNS records. That's all you need to know. You don't need to know what it is, you just need to be confident to have that conversation with your email provider to say, "Does my sending domain have forward and reverse DNS records?"

 OK, that's it for complying with the NEW private practice email marketing rules in 2024.


What will happen if you don't comply with this?

If you are currently sending out less than 5,000 emails in one day, you're not going to be impacted necessarily.

However, I would recommend it is best practice and if you want to build a robust practice with longevity, you would probably be wise to put these steps in place.

If you don't and you go over the threshold of 5,000 emails in one day your emails are going to bounce or go into spam, which means they don't get delivered, which means they cannot have the impact that you want them to have.

All of this is about email deliverability, and if you work through these six key steps, you are going to be home and dry and for a long time to come, your emails are going to be robustly delivered without any trouble at all into Gmail and Yahoo inboxes.

If you have any questions at all, please ask them at the bottom of the page as always.

Take care, stay safe, and make sure you are building a robust email marketing system!



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