If the last month has taught me anything, it’s “be prepared for the unexpected.”
Winter can’t seem to make up its mind whether it wants to be warm or cold. After we got buried in snow and ice recently, I’ve been keeping a coat in my Corolla … just in case. You never know exactly what’s coming.
The same holds true for the marketing world.
We’ve had an eventful month here at RMDS. Google and Yahoo!’s email changes forced us to move up the timetable on some of our email updates. We have bigger additions for some of the platform features (particularly LearnDash), but those had to be pushed back behind 3.4.3 to address these verification changes. This is a big deal, and you need to understand how things are changing; that’s why this whole State of the Platform is dedicated to going through them and how they affect you.
Rainmaker Platform Version 3.4.3
The Andromeda version of the platform has been updated to 3.4.3.
Our biggest change in this version is adding WP Mail SMTP and DNS checks/platform alerts to help deliverability. You might notice some messages on your dashboard if you’re using a Gmail or Yahoo! email address or don’t have DMARC set up on your custom DNS.
To see a full list of changes, check the changelog.
Why Is Email Deliverability Changing?
We sent out an update message last week explaining Google and Yahoo!’s email delivery changes and how to ensure you reach recipient inboxes — but if you haven’t read up on them, you might not know why these changes are happening.
If you’ve had an email address for any length of time, you probably remember the bad old days. I had an email address I used to keep in touch with my summer camp friends in my teen years. I got emails from them … but I also got a lot of unwanted emails for male enhancement pills, foreign princes who needed help accessing their inheritance and sketchy e-commerce stores. It was so bad that I began to dread logging into my inbox and scrolling through all the spam.
It hasn’t been like that in years. Providers got wise, implementing authentication tools like SPF, DKIM and DMARC. We only want to let the emails through that people actually want to see. An easy way to understand what these tools do is to think of what you’d do if you received a package you weren’t expecting. You’d look at the return address, verify that the name was someone you knew and check that the address matched their location. If you were feeling really suspicious, you might even call them on the phone and ask if they sent it. That’s what SPF and DKIM do. DMARC tells the server what action to take after the check. And those email deliverability checks are why we’ve had to update Rainmaker Platform.
Addressing Email Deliverability on Rainmaker Platform
If you have a Gmail or Yahoo! email set as your “from” address for your admin emails and haven’t taken action, you WILL begin to lose deliverability. You will also begin to lose deliverability if you are using RainMail and do not have DMARC set up.
Here are the possibilities you need to be aware of:
- We control your DNS, you’re using our tools and an email address from your own domain. In this case, you don’t need to do anything.
- We control your DNS, you’re using our tools and an email address from Gmail or Yahoo! Set up the free Add-On WP Mail SMTP. For how to do this, see the Knowledge Base article “Updating My Email Information for Spam Compliance” and contact Support if you need more help.
- You control your DNS, and you’re using RainMail to send broadcast emails. You will need to add the DMARC record to your DNS provider. If you’re using a third-party mailer like MailChimp or Constant Contact, you’ll need to contact them for the DMARC record and update your DNS; otherwise, you can use the one we’ve provided in the Knowledge Base. For detailed information, see the Knowledge Base article “Updating My Email Information for Spam Compliance” and contact Support if you need more help.
Here are a few useful links for updating DMARC through your DNS provider if we don’t manage it for you:
The Best Option: Use Your Own Domain Name
The best option for your site email is not using WP Mail SMTP to get a Gmail or Yahoo! email to work. It’s using an email address from a domain you own. A domain email address used to indicate professionalism; now it also matters for deliverability.
Right now Gmail and Yahoo! are the only two major providers that are requiring these more stringent domain verification checks. We expect a lot more providers to join them over the coming months. Gmail is the market leader, and where it goes, people follow.
There are many ways to get an email with your domain name — for example, if you don’t want to give Gmail up, one easy solution would be Google Workspace, which lets you do a business email instead of the gmail.com domain. Do a little research and pick the email service provider option that’s right for you.
Deliverability matters. If you can’t connect, you can’t sell. There’s nothing worse than having to tell your customers to check their spam folders for an important message. Follow these guidelines to make sure your emails get where they need to go. We’ll keep you posted on all the latest technical news moving forward.
Rainmaker Digital Services