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The New Rules For Sales Email Automation: Why Your Outreach Needs To Shift

In case you missed it, Google and Yahoo recently announced plans to impose stricter email-sending practices starting in 2024 to mitigate spam and create a more enjoyable and safer inbox experience. 

Both platforms plan to enforce a spam complaint threshold of 0.3% to help reduce spam in their users’ inboxes. If senders fail to meet this threshold, Google and Yahoo will start automatically blocking all messages coming from that organization. An important note is that the new rules count all emails from an organization towards this limit, regardless of the platform or method used to send them.

The new rules for bulk email sends

Google will begin enforcement on February 1, 2024, while Yahoo will start in the first quarter of 2024. They will be requiring all email senders to follow these guidelines: 

  • Desirable communications: Moving forward, Google will enforce a clear spam rate threshold that senders must stay under to ensure Gmail recipients aren’t getting content they don’t want. If a sender’s complaint rate goes above 0.3% their messages will start getting blocked. 
  • Email authentication: High-volume senders will be required to strongly authenticate their emails following well-established best practices. A "large sender" is defined as any entity sending 5,000 or more messages each day to Google or Yahoo email addresses. 
  • Easy unsubscribe: If you no longer wish to receive communications, expressing so should be as easy as one click. So Google will require what they call “large senders” to give Gmail recipients the ability to unsubscribe from commercial email in one click, and to process unsubscription requests within two days. 

Tips to craft emails that aren’t spam

The best way to avoid being marked as spam is to, well…not be spammy! These new rules are going to up the bar on quality content and outreach to improve standards. 

So first and foremost, outreach emails need to be useful and engaging, not just clickbait. Something else to consider is frequency: imagine the pain for a company to have their entire email workspace shut off because of one seller creating a multi-step sequence that triggers a spam issue. So, being thoughtful and succinct is going to be key. 

Here are some more keys to writing useful outreach email:

  • Know your audience: Understand your target audience's preferences, interests, and pain points, and tailor your content to resonate with their specific needs.
  • Clear and relevant messaging: Communicate the main message of your email and ensure that the content is relevant and provides value to the recipient.
  • Personalize your content: Personalize your emails with the recipient's name or other relevant details, and utilize dynamic content to tailor messages based on the recipient’s behavior or preferences.
  • Use effective storytelling: Share success stories, case studies, or anecdotes to engage your audience emotionally.
  • Don’t be wordy: Keep your content concise and focused on key points to avoid overwhelming recipients with too much information.
  • Make your content scannable: Use subheadings, short paragraphs, and bullet points to ensure that important information is easily identifiable.

Going beyond email: If you work in sales, what are other channels to leverage?

Besides needing to comply with upcoming requirements to avoid disruption in email deliverability, sales people will need to start testing out other channels. These rules are being implemented as AI becomes more mainstream, but ideally before it completely takes over outreach and communications. That’s why it’s so important to build best practices now, i.e. use AI to support your efforts, but not to replace the human touch!

  • LinkedIn’s InMail has been a good alternative channel to email, but with these changes coming for email it’s only a matter of time until InMails start being more regulated.
  • Physical goods, sending direct mail and gifts via platforms like Sendoso can help cut through the noise in a virtual world. They also provide great opportunities to create hype, brand affinity, and UGC (user generated content) when prospects receive gifts and post them to social media organically, creating hype for your product or service.
  • Phone, remember that thing? Turns out it’s not just for texting. However, you still need to be careful of SPAM issues.
  • And of course…relationship-led growth! This is all about leveraging referrals and introductions. RLG is the original mechanism for sales; before the invention of the phone, computer, and internet it was all about establishing human connections. While it may seem quaint, in a digital first world relationship-led growth works because it’s based on trust and trust cuts through the noise.

While big changes like this can be daunting, the updates Google and Yahoo will implement in 2024 are good for everybody. The new rules will reinforce best practices when it comes to email outreach, and make sure that content sent and received is desired and useful. Sellers will need to be more thoughtful and creative in their approach, but the good news is that it’ll be easier to stand out from the crowd when not everybody will be able to just set up a multi-step email sequence and hit send. 

Tools like Hifive will help sellers explore other avenues of reaching prospects, tapping into preexisting relationships, and reaching the right potential buyers at the right time.

Posted December 7, 2023