Have you heard about the latest email rules from Google and Yahoo?
As a subscriber, they're great for reducing the amount of spam you receive.
Sounds good right? And who can blame them? We all hate spam and those pesky phishing threats. So, to combat these annoyances, they're tightening up their email validation rules.
But for senders... they could cause you some issues if you're emailing a large number of recipients. You know, like a recruitment trends newsletter or jobs bulletin perhaps, that your database has legitimately subscribed to.
From February 2024 (now), Google and Yahoo will start enforcing their new email sender guidelines for anyone sending to more than 5,000 Gmail/Yahoo accounts. Something that has led to these Gmail and Yahoo new rules being referred to as the '5000 email spam limit'.
How this affects you?
Well the email rules for recruiters are no different to any other business. So, we suspect the chances of your marketing mailers starting to move from your contacts primary inbox into their spam folder are quite high.
What can you do about it?
Sadly this isn't one you can solve by coming up with more engaging subject lines (although you should do that anyway if you're looking to increase open rates) or updating your email templates.
- Asking subscribers to whitelist your email domains.
- Asking them to move your email messages to their primary inbox if they find them elsewhere (like their junk or clutter folder).
- Asking them to click on something in your emails and send a reply.
- Making sure your emails contain an unsubscribe link (and process anyone who requests to be unsubscribed within two days).
- Sending to a smaller more targeted number of email addresses where possible.
Then it gets a little more technical
Bulk email senders, those with email lists containing over 5,000 email addresses, need to go through an email authentication process. This means proving that you are who you say you are, eliminating any vulnerabilities exploited by attackers.
How to verify your email sending domain
By updating your DNS records.
Ideally if you have access to your DNS (or work with an IT provider for this) then that's the best thing you can do. You'll need to set up SPF or DKIM email authentication as appropriate.
More advice on this from Google directly here.
The other thing you need to keep an eye on is your spam rate. It's all about making sure your recipients consider your emails relevant and valuable. Much of that will be down to your content but...
Here's how to monitor your email domain health
In whichever tool you use to send mailshots, keep an eye on your:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Hard bounce rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Spam compliant rate / spam report rate
Low open rates (below 17%) and low click-through rates (below 2%) indicate a lack of interest from your recipients - which isn't want you want either from a marketing or deliverability perspective.
High hard bounce rates suggest that your mailing list may be out of date and needs a little care and attention.
High unsubscribe rates can imply that your content isn't what your subscribers expected when they joined your mailing list. This is definitely a stat you'll want to keep an eye on.
And your spam compliance or report rate is based on the number of people that have reported your email as spam. This is one of the key reasons you'll always want to include an unsubscribe link in your emails - it's far better for your overall delivery rate for someone to click unsubscribe than to mark your email as spam.
What this all means for recruitment agencies
Now, let's not panic but I'm sorry to say, these changes will likely have an impact on email marketing for all recruitment agencies. You'll definitely find lots of Gmail and Yahoo addresses on your candidate lists AND you'll likely find that some of your clients (or target clients) use Google as their email provider.
But in addition to following all the advice above, if your email deliverability rates do take a dive, you'll need to think about how else you can get in front of your target audiences.
Alternative strategies for recruitment success
We mentioned your content a little bit earlier in terms of the body of your emails. But optimising your content for your target audience applies to whatever your medium.
Email marketing is very much an outbound marketing tactic but by ensuring inbound marketing tactics are part of your recruitment marketing strategy, you'll draw clients and candidates to you, rather than you going to contact them.
What inbound methods are we talking about?
- Content marketing such as blogs, whitepapers and any added value content available on your website gated or not (as long as the landing page is readable by search engines).
- Third party validation e.g. media coverage, comments, opinion articles and guest posts.
It's not just about showing off your writing skills, it's about building credibility, expanding your reach, and drawing your targets to you. Establishing a positive brand image is key to attracting both clients and candidates and in fact, in our recent poll, we found that 44% of recruitment agencies are focusing on building their brand in 2024.
Understanding and adapting to these new email rules is vital for your recruitment agency's success but don't forget the importance of tapping into alternative strategies like SEO content, guest blogging, and PR to effectively engage with those desired audiences.
As BlueSky PR’s Head of Marketing, with almost 10 years’ prior experience in the recruitment industry, Jennifer writes articles and guest posts to inspire recruitment agencies to build their brands, improve their content, bring in more leads and generally make their lives easier.