The success of your email campaigns hinges on one critical factor: email deliverability. It's the art and science of ensuring your carefully crafted messages land squarely in the intended inboxes, not lost in the void of spam folders. Staying ahead in the game of inbox placement has never been more important, especially as the death of cookies means marketers need to depend on other methods of personalization and targeting (like in emails).

Google and Yahoo, set new standards for email deliverability starting in February 2024. These changes are designed to enhance email credibility and combat the ever-persistent issue of spam. For marketers everywhere, this means adapting to new requirements for email authentication, including the setup of SPF, DKIM and DMARC protocols.

But here's the good news: as daunting as these changes might sound, HubSpot users have a distinct advantage. With comprehensive tools and guidance at your fingertips, HubSpot is fully equipped to help you navigate these updates smoothly. From configuring your email sending domains to ensuring your messages are eagerly awaited by their recipients, we're here to ensure that these new requirements are nothing but a bump on the road to your continued email marketing success.

So, let's embrace these changes together, with the confidence that with HubSpot's support, your email campaigns will not only meet the new standards but excel in delivering results.

Understanding Email Deliverability and Authentication

At its core, email deliverability is about making sure your emails actually reach your audience's inboxes. It's a critical factor in the success of your marketing campaigns because, no matter how compelling your message might be, it won't matter if it never sees the light of day—or the light of an inbox, in this case. High deliverability rates mean higher chances of engaging with your audience, driving conversions, and ultimately, achieving your marketing goals.

But achieving good email deliverability isn't just about avoiding spam filters; it's also about authenticating your emails. This is where DKIM, SPF and DMARC come into play, acting as the backbone of email security and authenticity.

  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) provides a way to validate that an email was sent and authorized by the domain's owner. This is done through a digital signature attached to each email, helping to protect against email spoofing.
  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework) allows email senders to define which IP addresses are allowed to send mail for a particular domain. This helps receivers determine if incoming emails are legitimate or not, reducing the chances of fraudulent emails reaching the inbox.
  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) works alongside DKIM and SPF, providing a way for email senders to indicate that their emails are protected by these authentication practices. It also allows senders to instruct email providers on how to handle emails that don’t pass these authentication checks.

Together, these three standards form a crucial triad for ensuring your emails are trusted, delivered, and opened. By implementing DKIM, SPF and DMARC, you're not just improving your email deliverability; you're also building trust with your audience by ensuring the emails they receive are safe and secure.

The New Requirements

Google and Yahoo tightened the reins on email authentication to enhance the credibility of senders and combat the ubiquitous challenge of spam. They now mandate that all bulk email senders implement stringent email authentication protocols. The goal? To ensure that emails are not only coming from verified sources but are also adhering to a standard that markedly reduces the chances of these emails being flagged as spam or, worse, being blocked altogether.

Emails that fail to meet these authentication criteria will face harsh consequences, including being delayed, blocked, or funneled directly into spam folders. This isn't a small tweak but a fundamental change in how email deliverability is managed and measured.

Why This Matters

For email marketers and businesses, these changes underscore the critical importance of adhering to best practices in email security and deliverability. The ability to reach your audience via email is a cornerstone of digital marketing, and these new requirements will directly impact that capability.

Compliance with these standards is not optional for those looking to maintain or improve their email engagement rates. It's a mandatory step in ensuring your messages reach their intended recipients. The implications of non-compliance are clear: diminished deliverability, reduced engagement, and potentially a significant impact on your bottom line.

Adapting to these new requirements means taking a proactive approach to your email marketing strategy. It involves a thorough review and, if necessary, an overhaul of your current email authentication practices. For many, this will be a straightforward process, thanks to tools and platforms like HubSpot that facilitate compliance with these protocols.

The significance of these changes cannot be overstated. They represent a shift towards a more secure, trustworthy email ecosystem. For marketers, this is an opportunity to reassess and reinforce your email marketing practices, ensuring they're not just effective but also secure and compliant with the latest industry standards.

How to Prepare Your HubSpot Account for These Changes

As Google and Yahoo set the stage for stricter email deliverability requirements, ensuring your HubSpot account is up to par becomes crucial. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you navigate these updates with ease, focusing on connecting your email sending domain and configuring DKIM, SPF and DMARC within HubSpot.

Step 1: Connect Your Email Sending Domain

  1. Access Your HubSpot Settings: Log into your HubSpot account and navigate to the main settings icon in the upper right corner.
  2. Navigate to Domains & URLs: On the left sidebar menu, find and click on “Website” and then select “Domains & URLs.”
  3. Connect a Domain: Click the “Connect a domain” button in the top right corner and choose “Email Sending” as the domain type you want to connect.
  4. Enter Your Domain: Input the domain you use for sending marketing emails and follow the prompts. HubSpot will guide you through the verification process to ensure the domain is correctly connected.

Step 2: Configure DKIM for Your Domain

Once your domain is connected, it's time to set up DKIM:

  1. Find DKIM Settings: Within the “Domains & URLs” section, locate your connected domain and look for the email sending settings. Here, HubSpot will provide you with the specific CNAME records needed to configure DKIM.
  2. Update DNS Records: Access your DNS provider's dashboard and add the CNAME records provided by HubSpot. This step is crucial for authenticating your emails and proving they're sent from a trusted source.

Step 3: Add HubSpot to Your SPF Record

SPF configuration is slightly different depending on whether you're using HubSpot's shared IP or a dedicated IP:

  • Shared IP Users: Good news! HubSpot automatically includes SPF configuration for its shared IP customers. No additional action is needed on your part.
  • Dedicated IP Users: You'll need to manually add HubSpot to your domain's SPF record. Simply add a TXT record in your DNS settings that includes HubSpot's SPF information, provided within your HubSpot account's email settings.

Step 4: Establish a DMARC Policy

DMARC ties together DKIM and SPF, offering instructions on how to handle emails that fail these checks:

  1. Consult HubSpot's DMARC Guide: Within the email settings of your connected domain, HubSpot offers guidance on setting up a DMARC policy.
  2. Add a DMARC TXT Record: Similar to SPF, you'll add this as a TXT record in your DNS settings. HubSpot provides a basic policy setup, but you can customize this according to your security needs and preferences.

Verifying Your Setup

After configuring DKIM, SPF, and DMARC, give it some time for the DNS changes to propagate, which can take up to 48 hours. You can verify the status of these configurations directly in your HubSpot account under the “Domains & URLs” section. HubSpot will indicate whether your setup is fully authenticated or if further action is needed.

By following these steps, you'll not only ensure compliance with the Google and Yahoo requirements but also strengthen the overall security and deliverability of your email marketing efforts.

Ensuring an Easy Unsubscribe

Respecting user preferences is paramount, and the ability for recipients to easily unsubscribe from email communications is a critical component of this respect. Ensuring a straightforward unsubscribe process not only aligns with best practices in digital marketing but also with the expectations of major email service providers like Google and Yahoo.

Making it easy for users to unsubscribe might seem counterintuitive to your marketing goals. However, the benefits far outweigh any perceived negatives:

  • Trust Building: Demonstrating respect for user preferences builds trust between your brand and your audience. A simple, transparent unsubscribe process shows you value their inbox and their choice.
  • Improved Engagement: By allowing disinterested parties to opt out easily, you ensure your engagement metrics—such as open rates and click-through rates—are more accurate reflections of your active and interested audience.
  • Compliance and Reputation: Adhering to anti-spam laws and email provider policies by facilitating easy unsubscribes helps maintain your sender reputation, reducing the risk of being marked as spam.

HubSpot rolled out updates to marketing email headers, including enhanced ‘list-unsubscribe’ options, to meet the new standard. This update aims to streamline the unsubscribe process, making it more intuitive for users and ensuring your emails comply with the latest best practices.

How to Add Unsubscribe Links to Your Emails

In HubSpot, adding an unsubscribe link to your marketing emails is straightforward, ensuring compliance and enhancing user experience:

  1. Navigate to Your Email Settings: In your HubSpot account, access the marketing email you're working on or create a new one.
  2. Include the Unsubscribe Link: HubSpot templates typically include an unsubscribe link by default in the email footer. If you're creating a custom template or want to ensure your link is correctly placed, look for the “unsubscribe link” token in the editor and insert it where appropriate. This token automatically generates a link that directs users to an unsubscribe landing page.
  3. Customize the Unsubscribe Landing Page: You can customize this page within HubSpot to reflect your brand and provide a clear, straightforward unsubscribe process. Consider offering the option for users to adjust their email preferences as an alternative to complete the process.
  4. Test Your Email: Before sending, use HubSpot’s email testing feature to ensure the unsubscribe link works correctly and directs to the intended page.

By following these steps, you ensure that your marketing emails not only comply with upcoming requirements but also respect your audience's choices, fostering a healthier and more engaged subscriber list. While you’re at it, consider refreshing your email subscription types to ensure people are getting the information they want and need. Speaking of…

Maintaining Consent and Managing Spam Complaints

Sending emails to recipients who have explicitly opted in to receive your communications ensures that your content is landing in welcoming inboxes. This practice not only aligns with legal requirements, like the GDPR and CAN-SPAM Act, but also enhances the overall effectiveness of your email campaigns by targeting an engaged audience. Here are a few strategies to ensure you're always sending wanted emails:

  • Explicit Opt-In: Always secure explicit consent before adding a new contact to your mailing list. This means using clear, straightforward language about what subscribers are signing up for and a visible and functional unsubscribe link in every email is essential.
  • Double Opt-In: Consider implementing a double opt-in process, where subscribers confirm their email address after the initial signup. This extra step verifies their interest and reduces the likelihood of spam complaints.
  • Segmentation and Personalization: Tailor your email content to match the interests and preferences of your audience segments. Personalized, relevant content is less likely to be perceived as unwanted or spammy.
  • Regular List Cleaning: Periodically review your email list and remove inactive subscribers or those who haven’t engaged with your emails over an extended period. This helps focus your efforts on engaged subscribers and reduces the risk of spam complaints.
  • Engagement Monitoring: Pay close attention to your email engagement metrics. A sudden drop in open rates or an increase in unsubscribes could indicate that your content is not resonating with your audience, potentially leading to higher spam complaints.

Leveraging Tools for Enhanced Email Deliverability

To navigate the complexities of email deliverability and maintain a stellar sender reputation, savvy marketers turn to specialized tools. These platforms offer insights into how emails are perceived by service providers and recipients alike, helping to preemptively tackle issues like spam complaints and authentication failures. Two invaluable tools in this realm are Google Postmaster Tools and DMARC Report.

Google Postmaster Tools

Google Postmaster Tools provides detailed analytics on your email performance with Gmail, one of the largest email providers globally. By verifying your domain, you unlock access to metrics such as spam rates, domain reputation, and feedback loop information, albeit in aggregate form. This data is pivotal for identifying trends that could impact your deliverability and taking corrective action to improve your engagement with Gmail recipients. Both Google Postmaster Tools and DMARC Report offer unique benefits:

  • Insight into email performance
  • Identification of authentication issues
  • Enhanced email security
  • Improved deliverability

Integrating these tools into your email strategy not only helps you stay compliant with the latest email standards set by providers like Google and Yahoo but also empowers you to maintain a positive and productive relationship with your audience.

DMARC Report

DMARC Report complements your deliverability toolkit by offering an intuitive way to monitor and analyze your DMARC reports. Even at its Free tier, DMARC Report provides actionable insights into email authentication (SPF, DKIM) successes and failures, helping you to pinpoint and resolve configuration issues that could be harming your email deliverability.

The service aggregates DMARC data in an easy-to-understand format, allowing you to see at a glance where your email authentication strategies may be falling short. This visibility is crucial for preventing fraudulent use of your domain, reducing the risk of your emails being flagged as spam, and ensuring your messages reach their intended inboxes.

Practical Tips for Email Marketers

As marketers navigate email deliverability standards, staying informed and proactive is key to ensuring compliance and maximizing the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Here are actionable tips for HubSpot users and all email marketers looking to stay ahead in this new era.

  1. Audit Your Current Email Practices
    • Review your authentication setup
    • Regularly clean your email lists to remove inactive or unengaged subscribers. Focus on maintaining a list of active, engaged recipients who have explicitly opted in to receive your communications.
    • Review your email content for compliance with anti-spam laws. Ensure every email includes a clear, easy-to-find unsubscribe link and accurate "From" information.
  2. Embrace Best Practices for Email Engagement
    • Use HubSpot’s personalization features to tailor your emails to the recipient’s interests and behaviors. Personalized emails are more likely to engage recipients and less likely to be marked as spam.
    • Utilize segmentation to send relevant content to specific groups within your audience. This increases engagement rates and reduces the likelihood of subscribers marking your emails as spam.
    • Regularly A/B test different elements of your emails, from subject lines to call-to-action buttons. Use HubSpot’s analytics to track performance and optimize based on what resonates best with your audience.
  3. Leverage Tools for Monitoring and Improvement
    • Monitor your domain's reputation and get insights into your email performance on Gmail. Use DMARC Report to understand and improve your email authentication status.
    • Configure alerts within your monitoring tools to be notified of any authentication failures or issues that could impact your deliverability.
  4. Educate Your Team
    • The email landscape is continuously evolving. Keep your team informed about the latest email deliverability standards, best practices, and tools available within HubSpot and beyond.
    • Ensure your marketing team understands the importance of compliance with new email standards and how to implement best practices in their email marketing strategies.
  5. Prepare for Policy Changes
    • As other new requirements from email providers emerge, be prepared to adjust your email marketing practices swiftly. This may involve updating your authentication protocols, revising your content strategies, or re-evaluating your list management practices.
    • Stay ahead of potential future changes by keeping an eye on industry trends and email provider announcements. Participating in email marketing forums and attending webinars can provide valuable insights.
By adopting these practical tips, HubSpot users and email marketers can ensure they’re not only compliant with the new email deliverability standards but are also positioned to achieve better engagement and results from their email campaigns. Remember, the goal is to build trust with your audience by respecting their inboxes and providing valuable, engaging content.


These changes, while daunting at first glance, present an opportunity to refine your email marketing practices, ensuring they're not only compliant but also positioned for greater success in engaging with your audience.

The importance of aligning with these new standards cannot be overstated. Email remains one of the most effective tools in a marketer's arsenal for building relationships with customers and driving meaningful action. By embracing the upcoming requirements, you ensure that your messages continue to reach your audience, safeguarding the integrity and effectiveness of your email campaigns.

If you're looking to refine your strategy, enhance your technical setup or need assistance setting up for success—reach out to us to discover how we can help you navigate these changes with ease and confidence, ensuring your email marketing efforts remain impactful and compliant!