New rules that impact the deliverability of emails are coming into force. This applies to emails sent from Quoox, as well as sent by other means via other software products.
In October 2023, Google released this blog post which details new rules that they started to soft implement on 1st February 2024 and will hard implement on 1st March 2024. These rules apply to Gmail and Yahoo!, but it is widely expected that the other big providers, such as Apple and Microsoft, will adopt similar policies in the next few weeks/months.
The new rules affect the likelihood of your email being successfully delivered. Some new requirements are technical, and others are related to the content and surrounding processes.
In a typical month, Quoox sends a couple of million emails to leads & members on behalf of its clients. We have an incredibly high delivery rate, with email failures typically only being if a mailbox is full, does not exist, or if a recipient has marked your emails as being SPAM. To achieve and maintain this, we operate our own dedicated email servers and ensure that we maintain best practices – both technically and structurally.
To ensure continued high delivery rates, we have implemented a new enforcement rule regarding the content of emails sent from Quoox. Further details can be found below and whilst we appreciate this isn’t a very interesting topic, we do encourage all customers to read and understand these rules.
Some important but seldom understood concepts.
Before entering into the details of the new policies, there are a couple of important realities to understand regarding email deliverability.
Microsoft calls it a “focused inbox”; Gmail calls it a filter; and other providers have other names. However, the concept is the same and is based upon learned behaviour from the email recipient.
Very simply, if an email recipient doesn’t read your emails or delete them without reading them, the email provider interprets this as the email’s “not being of interest” to the recipient. They, therefore, after time, start to move them out of the main in-box and into an alternate folder. This is a “learned behaviour” that the email sender cannot control.
So, if your member/lead tells you that their emails keep ending up in “junk” or another folder, this will likely be learned behaviour based upon their previous actions. In most email software, there are options provided where the recipient can undo this behaviour and mark your emails to be delivered back to the main inbox.
Marking an email as junk/SPAM
Many email providers make it easy for recipients to mark an email as junk/SPAM. However, few people understand the impact this has. While most think it simply moves the emails to the junk folder, it does way more behind the scenes. A report is automatically sent to the email sender service provider (Quoox), advising that we must not send the recipient any more emails. Furthermore, and of wider consequence, this increments the SPAM score for the domain, and if it creeps above just 0.3%, the deliverability of all emails to all recipients will be affected.
Most people who mark emails as junk do it for one of the following reasons:
- No unsubscribe option is provided (see below)
- The sender has ignored their request to stop sending them emails
- Laziness – it was easier to click “junk” than unsubscribe properly
The technical stuff Quoox takes care of
There are a myriad of technical requirements relating to reliable email sending that Quoox takes care of on your behalf. This includes the implementation of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, along with maintaining a very low SPAM score. We also make sure that our email servers are configured in such a way that they comply with best practices and that we distribute our email delivery across all of our server infrastructure.
As a Quoox customer, you don’t need to worry about these things or what they mean. We take care of all of that for you. It is, however, important to understand your role in complying with email evolving sending rules and permissible content.
Your role in ensuring compliance and optimal email delivery
Several compliance responsibilities fall under your responsibility and cannot be managed by Quoox. However, we have implemented several things to make this as simple as possible.
Privacy, GDPR, and opt-ins
To meet legal requirements, it has always been the case that Quoox customers must comply with data privacy & GDPR obligations. This includes ensuring that you only send emails/communications to members with whom you have a demonstrable business relationship or to leads who have opted-in to receive communications from you.
All leads registering via Quoox campaigns opt-in to receiving communications from you. If you import leads via other means or add them manually, you should also ensure that you have the person’s opt-in approval.
Whilst most members are aware, it’s worth making sure that your members know that they can opt out of session reminder emails via the “my profile” section of the Quoox mobile app or FitnessHub.
Never bombard your members or leads with excessive messages. This increases the chances of them marking your emails as SPAM. Of course, there are times when you might legitimately be communicating with a lead/member daily, but use sensible judgment.
It has always been a requirement that you provide an option for your leads to unsubscribe from your emails, but the same now also applies to members. At first, the ability for your members to opt out of your communications might seem frustrating, but consider that it is far better they opt out gracefully rather than mark your emails as SPAM – which will potentially impact delivery to all members.
The methods for adding an unsubscribe link to your emails and how Quoox assists are outlined below.
You should write the content of your emails to be as non-spammy as possible. Single-sentence emails that comprise a URL link will very often be routed to junk email folders, so rather than sending people a link to an image in Canva, consider better employing the functions available to you in Quoox with immersive emails.
Active Campaign has a good article that outlines some words & phrases that you should avoid in your emails, as using them increases the chances of your emails being routed to junk folders.
It has always been a requirement that leads are provided a method to unsubscribe from emails via a link in the emails they receive, but this also now extends to members. Gmail, Yahoo!, and, likely, the other providers are now looking for unsubscribe links in emails.
We know many emails get sent through Quoox where customers have not included the unsubscribe link. To ensure compliance and protect your email delivery, Quoox will now automatically assist you in this process.
Providing an unsubscribe link
The Quoox merge field
[[UNSUBSCRIBELINK]] provides the recipient with a unique URL that they may access to unsubscribe in one click. This is generally best presented in a hyperlink with the URL set as
[[UNSUBSCRIBELINK]], wrapped with appropriate wording. Such as “If you do not wish to continue to receive our emails, click here to unsubscribe“.
[[UNSUBSCRIBELINK]] merge field may be placed both in the body or the template for an email. It is populated with the URL at the time of sending, as each link is unique to the recipient.
Important: From 8 February 2024, Quoox will start detecting the presence of the
[[UNSUBSCRIBELINK]] merge tag in emails. If it is not present, Quoox will automatically add an “Unsubscribe” link in small text at the very bottom of your email. Therefore, from this date, every email sent by Quoox will be compliant in this area without our customers having to make any changes. However, the benefit of adding the tag yourself is that you can control where it displays and what it says.
When an email clicks the unsubscribe link in a Quoox email, they immediately unsubscribe from all emails sent via Quoox. Even if an email is sent to them from the Quoox system, Quoox’s email servers will detect that they have unsubscribed and silently ‘drop’ the email.
When a lead unsubscribes, the following occurs:
- A system alert is raised, advising of the unsubscribe.
- A note is added against the lead record, recording the unsubscribe.
- The lead is added to the “Unsubscribed from emails” lead group.
- All nurture programs and campaigns for the lead are terminated.
- The lead is terminated if they are not already terminated.
- The lead is added to the system block list to ensure they do not receive further emails from the Quoox system.
When a member unsubscribes, the following occurs:
- A system alert is raised, advising of the unsubscribe.
- A note is added against the member record, recording the unsubscribe.
- The member is added to the “Unsubscribed from emails” member group.
- All nurture programs and scheduled triggers for the member are terminated.
- The member is added to the system block list to ensure they do not receive further emails from the Quoox system.
Reversing accidental unsubscribes
Occasionally, a lead/member may swear blind that they did not unsubscribe from your emails – but they did!
To comply with the rules, an individual may be removed from the block list once and once only. To remove a person from the block list, raise a ticket with Quoox support. Provide the full name and email address of the individual, and state explicitly that they have authorised the recommencement of receiving emails.
If an individual, having been reinstated, unsubscribes again, there is no route for them to recommencement receiving emails without changing email address.
SPAM reports are treated the same as unsubscribes. The process is outlined above, with the addition that the alerts will indicate that the lead/member reported your communications as SPAM.
If you receive more than a couple of SPAM reports, you should review the content of the emails you are sending and whether they could be better written.
The above requirements are not something Quoox has put in place but reflect changes originating with Google (Gmail) and Yahoo! These requirements will likely become more widespread over the coming months.
With the increased prevalence of AI, it is also possible that email filters will become even better at detecting and filtering emails that use “spammy language”. Therefore, you should take care in crafting your messages and ensuring that you send communications that are of interest to your leads/members.