In October 2023 Google announced some policy changes around the way its platform could be used to send large volumes of emails. In December 2023 it watered down these proposals, but these are still worth exploring in advance of their roll out in February 2024.
There are implications for businesses using outbound email as a sales and marketing tool, both as a result of the proposed changes, but also the ‘direction of travel’ it’s clear that Google is beginning to take.
In this blog we aim to shed light on Google's initially stringent email policy changes, the subsequent modifications, and the strategic shifts necessary for sales teams to stay ahead of the evolving email landscape.
Understanding the proposed changes
The journey began with Google's announcement of the "Bulk Sender Guidelines," later rebranded as "Email Sender Guidelines" in October 2023.
Initially, these guidelines posed a significant threat to companies sending a substantial volume of emails from their Google accounts. The risk was particularly pronounced for companies using their primary domain for outreach or transactional purposes, as Google's policy hinted at potential domain shutdowns in case of spam-related issues.
Evolution of the email sender guidelines
However, in an update in December 2023, Google clarified that these stringent measures primarily applied to emails sent to Gmail accounts. This change considerably lowered the potential impact on B2B activities, as Gmail is predominantly used by private individuals.
While this modification eases the concerns for B2B outreach, it serves as a critical reminder for companies to reassess their outbound email strategies.
Why it's important to be a good email sender
Maintaining a positive domain reputation, minimising spam rates, and ensuring optimal email deliverability are not just responses to policy changes; they are fundamental practices for any successful email outreach strategy.
Being a good email sender is about more than just compliance; it's about avoiding wasted effort, protecting brand reputation, and engaging in targeted, effective communication.
Steps to navigate the changes
To navigate the evolving email landscape effectively, sales teams must adopt proactive measures.
Utilise postmaster tools: Leverage Google's Postmaster Tools to evaluate and improve email sending practices.
Implement email authentication: Ensure DMARC alignment, SPF, and DKIM to enhance email security and authenticity.
Email warming: Gradually increase email volume to build trust with email service providers.
Adopt unsubscribe best practices: Include one-click list unsubscribe options and encourage replies for manual removal, fostering engagement.
Operating effectively within the rules
Moving from good to great involves embracing advanced techniques that sales teams should now be considering.
Options worth your review include:
Email sequencers: Employ email sequencers to automate and optimise email campaigns.
Data signals and triggers: Utilise data-driven insights to trigger personalised and timely communications.
AI-personalised copy: Leverage artificial intelligence to create highly personalised email content.
Advanced writing techniques: Incorporate “Spintax” and other writing techniques to enhance email variability.
Implications for the future of outbound sales
Reviewing the way outbound sales is evolving, it's crucial to consider the broader implications that Google’s original announcement heralds. Bear in mind Google is usually more relaxed in following Microsoft’s lead on all-things-security, seeing Google leading the charge here suggests this won’t be the last move either of these two key players makes.
We see the world moving to…
More tools and more rules: With the rise of outbound email tools, anticipate an increase in tools and regulations to protect recipients.
Informed recipients: Post-GDPR, recipients are more aware of their rights and will challenge bad actors.
Return to phone power: While outbound strategies may shift, the power of telephone and SDRs remains significant.
Tech-enabled SDRs: SDRs equipped with technology can operate more efficiently and adapt to changing regulations.
Something to take away
In conclusion, the recent Google email policy changes serve as both a cautionary tale and an opportunity for sales teams.
While the initial alarm has subsided with the revised guidelines, it is essential to recognise this as a call to action for refining outbound email strategies.
By proactively adopting best practices, staying informed about policy changes, and embracing innovative techniques, sales teams can not only comply with current regulations but also use them to their advantage.