Mighty Marketing Mojo tips and explanation for Email Deliverability Changes in 2024 for non-techie business owners

Email marketing still returns a high ROI for your business – IF you get your emails into the right inboxes and they get opened. Getting to the inbox may be a little different in 2024 as you need to be aware of major changes and requirements from two of the largest inbox/email recipients – Google and Yahoo. The major inbox sources set a start time for these changes as of February 1, 2024. These services want to cut down on phishing attempts, bad actors, and spam filling people’s inboxes; so they are requiring those who send emails to authenticate and prove they are who they say they are. These are good best practices we have already been following! But there are also updates that are a bit technical in nature that you need to follow as well. So let me offer some explanations and break things down if you are feeling non-techie, so you can take necessary steps and keep your email deliverability in a good place.

What Email Marketing Changes Are We Talking About?

Google and Yahoo made the announcement in October 2023 with a start date for ‘enforcement’ of Feb. 1, 2024 that their rules for allowing marketing or any ‘bulk emails' into their inboxes would be changing. They want to cut down on gazillion spam emails out there. Some are calling it the biggest change to email marketing since … well, ever! But let’s not panic!

Overall, it’s a positive change – none of us like spam! I do not buy into any of the hype or messaging around “Google wants to destroy email marketing!”  We want to be welcomed into people’s inboxes. It’s permission and relationship marketing.

We also don’t want bad actors, internet scum, to use our mighty reputations and domains to send phishing messages or spam!

Taking steps to keep an active, engaged email community and follow best practices will help businesses of all sizes, types, industries and niches. It’s just now we have a few extra hoops to jump to get there.

Read the initial announcements here:

Gmail protections for a safer, less spammy inbox (by Google)

More secure, less spam: enforcing email standards for a better experience (by Yahoo)


The Basics of the New /2024  Email Requirements

Google, Yahoo and all the email inbox purveyors want to keep things clean and make sure people get only the emails they want to receive from whom they signed up to get them.

They are requiring steps for things like reducing confusion, clearly showing in to/from fields who is sending the email (like using your own domain), and taking technical steps to authenticate all mass sent emails.

While the initial rules state they apply to those sending 5,000 emails daily, most of the sources I’ve seen indicate this will soon drop lower, so go ahead and take the steps you need to now. (also while the 5k number came from Google, Yahoo didn't release any min threshold #s and Microsoft has already been acting more strictly)

1️⃣ Send from an email at your own domain

2️⃣ Keep a low spam complaint rate, under 0.3% (e.g. nor more than 3 spam reports for every 1000 messages)

3️⃣ Have a clear, one-click unsubscribe option

4️⃣ Authenticate your emails using the protocols SPF, DKIM and DMARC.

Am I Affected? Do I Really Need to Worry?

Bottom line – if you use email marketing in your business, yes this applies to you; no, you do not need to panic. 😉

The rules apply no matter what industry or niche you are in, what's in your emails, or what software you are using for list-building and email marketing; as long as you are sending an email from your domain-based email address out to many people all at once.

The initial announcement and reports all mention ‘if you send 5,000 messages a day’, so many of the small biz owners I know went ‘whew, that’s not me’ – HOLD UP! Yeah, they do apply.

One, those changes are highly likely to rollout to all email marketing senders in the near future; so take the steps now and build a good sending reputation.

Two, why operate under a ‘barely maybe sorta compliant’ strategy? 😕

Three, even if you have a relatively small list, you could hit that 5K limit.

What if you’re launching a new course or running a flash sale – the kind where you may send more than one email to your list in a day? And what if you also have some automations going out to welcome people or follow up from a course?

See how things add up?

PLUS most of the smart email experts I follow, AND the email software providers, all say that this number is likely to go DOWN, not up as changes roll out. Some of the email software, such as ActiveCampaign, say that Google/Yahoo have told them the 5k limit is “not a safe zone.”

So … If you use email marketing, email follow-up in your business, sending one email to many people at once – you will need to pay attention and follow the new rules.

Stop Panicking About February 1st!

⭐❗⭐ On the Do Not Panic front and  all the fear-mongering and people trying to get you to fork over money to fix things before midnight on February 1st — STOP!🫸🏻🛑 While February 1, 2024 is given as the new START date, there is NOT a giant switch flipping at midnight that will automatically shut every business out of inboxes instantly if all steps are not complete.

Google themselves have put dates to the rollout and enforcement of the new changes, because even they know this is big!

It’s gonna take a little while. Take a deep breath here!

Here's a screenshot from the Google sender guidelines FAQ (taken as of Jan. 24, 2024 with FAQ update from 1/18/24 ) with clearly listed rollout/enforcement phases of February, April, and June of 2024.

Here it is straight from Google!

I get it, there’s been arguing going on around if this is a hard deadline, a start date, does it affect everyone equally, what penalties will there be, what happens if I email on Feb. 2nd without DMARC, etc etc etc.

Again, deep breath. Don’t panic. Do take as many steps as you can as soon as you can. Get authenticated. Ask for help. And do not panic!

You can see from Google's announcement ( or read about it here from one of the big email compliance checking tools, Valimail) that they will be phasing this in (let's presume Yahoo and others will too). The requirements start to be something we should all follow FROM Feb.1, 2024 – that's not the be-all-end-all date!

You may see some initial drop off in deliverability, higher bounce rates especially for Gmail addresses or for no-longer in-use addresses starting from Feb 1, but this will keep rolling out from there.

Work towards getting as many of the pieces in place as you can as soon as you can but do not pull a techie all-nighter on Jan. 31!

So Important to Clarify the Email Deliverability Changes I Created a Video For You!

Because of all the hype and possible misinformation or scare tactics out there, I was frustrated on behalf of all my less technical friends! So I jumped on video to talk about the issues and the phased rollout shown by Google's FAQs!


You can also come to my FB group and ask questions and I'll add more tips to this post and answer to best of my ability and librarian-mode research skills! 🤓

Need to see your current status? Use Free Authentication Tools (but watch out for upsells!)

The team at Email Smart has a free authentication checker (email opt-in required; they also have a Done-for-you upsell offer; NO aff link) that can check your domain and email provider setup for *most* of the major email marketing services. (*Grrrr, ConvertKit is NOT one of them! I had used this in past when I was on ActiveCampaign though)

Here’s another way to check your email authentication using a test email and Gmail account from EmailToolTester.com.


Breaking Down Details on the New Email Deliverability Requirements

There are a few components to the new rules –

The “being a good email sender” best practices (that many/most of us already do)

The certain technical pieces in place to ensure emails sent from you really are from you.

If you haven't been following all the email sending, deliverability best practices for things like consistency, segmenting, clean lists, clear content, low spam complaints, and generally keeping an engaged list – well now is a great time to renew those efforts!

⭐Since keeping an active, engaged email list is such a key part of email marketing best practices, why not check out my Write Your Damn Mighty Emails Kit – with a planner to help with consistency, prompts to beat blank-screen blues, and templates that encourage opens, clicks and replies – those key signals to the email gods that you have an engaged list! ⭐

Step 1 – Use Your Own Domain to Send Emails

Send from your domain email – not a Gmail, Yahoo, or other free address. This has always been a good practice, but I get that some budget-conscious new business owners start by using all the free tools they can.

However … that’s a no-go now. You can’t authenticate a domain you don’t own, like a Gmail or Yahoo or Comcast address.

You need a domain for your business so you have a professional email address, even if you don’t end up building out a website. (I’ll save why you should have a website for another argument article)

So please make sure you’re sending from something like:

laura@amazingcoach <dot>com   or Kevin <at> krauselandscaping <dot> com

not …

lauracoaching@gmail <dot> com   or krauselandscaping@ yahoo<dot>com


❗Related to this … do use your name and not “info”, “Support”, “newsletter” as they are referred to as ‘role-based email addresses’. These types of addresses are often banned or blocked by both email marketing software and the email inbox providers.

Role-based addresses are assigned to a title/role in an organization, a mailing list or a group, and not one specific person. Many of the email inbox purveyors see role-based email addresses as ‘generic’ addresses are frequently blocked. They have higher than normal bounce rates and may have higher spam complaints related to them. It’s harder for email services to know if everyone on a possible group address gave permission to receive emails, so that’s one reason they are bounced more. And some email services (such as Constant Contact, MailerLite) don’t send emails out to role-based emails.

So even if you are the sole person getting or sending from newsletter <at> yourdomain <dot>com – the inbox overlords don’t know that.

While it has not been declared offlimits publicly by Google or Yahoo, we know from how they treat role-based emails already that's not a good idea. So now is a good time to switch from using “info” or “hello” or “newsletter” to a real person's name.

Related tip … don’t sign up to other people’s email lists using one of these addresses either – you won’t get the info you wanted and it hurts your fellow small business pals in their email marketing.


Step 2 – Avoid Be Marked as Spam and Keep a Low Complaint Rate

  • Only send emails to those who have clearly, authentically opted in to receive your emails.

Related to that – Don’t buy email lists. Ever.

  • Follow the CAN-SPAM Act rules in the US and similar rules in Canada and elsewhere. This includes things like: don’t use deceptive subject lines; have a clear, real address in all your emails (most services include this in your footer); don’t use any misleading “to”, “from” or “reply to” info in your headers.
  • Keep your spam complaint low.  Gmail is now requiring below 0.3% overall.

How to keep spam complaints low?

➡️ Make sure people are clear on what they are signing up for and what they will get from you, how often you send emails, that your send tips, news AND offers.

➡️ Monitor where you get traffic from to your landing pages and opt-in offers – are they truly a fit and match for your business and offers?

➡️ Align your opt-in offers with the rest of your content and offers. For example, don’t offer a gift about email newsletters or email deliverability tips when the rest of your emails and offers are about creating your own tarot cards, spiritual business practices ( * this really happened with someone’s gift I claimed in a bundle! 😯)

If you need some help fixing an unfocused or mis-aligned freebie … why not check out my free 8 tips and fix your freebie? 😉

Digital download for 8 Tips to Fix Your Email Freebie

8 Key Tips to Fix Your Freebie

Take your email opt-in freebie from 'meh' to mighty. From unfocused to client-attracting and higher converting. 


➡️ Related to the next step around unsubscribing – we really prefer people to unsub vs. mark us as ‘spam.' Another reason we want to make sure the right-for-us people are joining our email communities, that we are offer value, we are consistent, and we don't let people forget why they signed up in the first place.

➡️ Segment your list and send appropriate emails to your segments vs sending everything to everyone.  Related, don’t mix up your lists or include multiple lists in one broadcast email.

➡️ Have an active process for managing and ‘scrubbing’ your email list to remove inactive, disengaged or ‘cold’ subscribers. Yeah, this one is a little harder these days with open rates being nearly meaningless, but it’s still necessary! I’ve worked on this a lot the past year and plan a workshop or course on it soon – so be sure to stay in my community for more info! 😉


Step 3 –  Unsubscribing must be super easy and one-click

Easy unsubscribing has always been best practice but now rules state you MUST have a one-click unsubscribe  (this has a deadline of June 2024).

Nearly every legit email marketing software/service I’m aware of has rules that your unsub link must be in every email – don’t try to circumvent that! IF your software doesn’t have one-click unsubscribe, it better add it fast or you should change services.  But seriously, this step is (or should be) being handled by the email software such as ConvertKit, AWeber, MailerLite, ConstantContact, Drip, etc.

Clicking the “unsubscribe” button or link in an email must take users to a page where they confirm unsub, but NOT need to enter any other details (like re-entering their email address).
[Also say goodbye to those black-hat dude-bro-marketer tactics of redirecting someone who hit ‘unsubscribe’ to a page where you ask them ‘are you sure? How about offer X?’  Blech! Good riddance!]

Unsubs can be good because you don't want inactive, cold folks on your list. And you don't want people to forget why they signed up and click the ‘spam' button.

This one may sting a little – as if you have a smaller email list, every unsub represents a larger % of the total until your list grows.

But unsubs are a fact of life and to be celebrated really – those people didn’t align with your message, your offers, or haven’t been reading your emails. Let them go and get deliverability up by sending only to people who WANT to hear from you!



Step 4 – Verifying and Authenticating Your Email Sending Status

The previous steps may seem familiar and even easy – bet you may already be taking those steps! Good!

The verifying and authenticating step is the one I see causing eyes to widen, glaze and tech-headaches to form because it feels like it's a foreign language and requires steps most of us have not had to take. Or it was so long ago we did the steps that stuff has changed!

Since SPF, DKIM and DMARC protocols are not part of our everyday business life, I'll walk through the what of these technical requirements, show examples, and point you to further resources.


How to Handle + Setup the Technical Requirements of SPF, DKIM and DMARC at Your Domain

Now you need to add the 3 policies or records that prove you are who you say you are in your emails and that any software you use to communicate to your audience/list is legitimately sending on your behalf.

These are the SPF, DKIM and DMARC records.

Here's some homework or prep to do to get ready for these 3 new records:

Where Are Your DNS Records? Do You Have cPanel Access? Be Able to Login There

For many /most of us we will be accessing our DNS records at our webhost. That’s where your DNS records are and can be edited to add the info from your email providers.  (e.g. BlueHost, HostGator, SiteGround, Squarespace; I host with the wonderfully responsive MomWebs[Aff link])  But it's possible your DNS records may be with who your purchased your domain from.

➡️ If you are confused or don't know you can use this DNS lookup tool to find your DNS provider.  Or the DNS lookup from MXToolbox.

NOTE: while you may have purchased your domains via GoDaddy, NameCheap, etc – you do not need to go there for any of these email settings UNLESS they are also your host.

screenshot of Siteground webhost DNS zone editor
Example from Siteground of DNS Zone Editor


screenshot of MomWebs webhost Cpanel including DNS Zone Editor
My webhost, MomWebs and my cPanel showing DNS Zone Editor, lower right


Know Where to Find the Values or Records for SPF, DKIM and DMARC for your Email Marketing Software or Any Email Senders

In a separate tab or window you’ll log in to your email marketing software to get the info from them for SPF, DKIM and DMARC records – each service has their own codes.


Most email services also have links to help sections for major or common webhosts – if yours is not listed reach out their support desks for help.  You can also try Googling or checking YouTube for “Add CNAME record at _____” and replace blank with your web host.


Psst … I did a Mighty Tools Tip video a while back showing how to add a CNAME record via the cPanel for my current, mighty awesome webhost, MomWebs.



Check the updates and help files at the end of this post for most major email marketing software providers.


➡️ In one tab or window you will be logged in to your web host and its DNS editor/zone and in another tab/window you'll have your email provider info.

  • Log in to your host and the cPanel  (or email the support team at your host for help).
  • Find the DNS editor or DNS zone – and look for ways to ‘manage’ or ‘update’.
  • Go to the account settings for your email service and/or check the help files on where to find their SPF, DKIM, DMARC record values that you will need to enter at your webhost (e.g. here’s the help page for MailerLite).



Sender Policy Framework  – is a standard email authentication method. It helps prevent spoofing or phishing as well as messages being marked as spam.

An SPF record identifies the servers or services allowed /authorized to send email on behalf of your domain.

It's recommended that your domain has ONE SPF record, but that single SPF record can have multiple pieces of data for senders allowed to email on your behalf.

For example, if you have transactional emails coming from SendGrid (receipts, password resets, etc) and your newsletter or marketing emails come from AWeber – each of those is represented in your SPF record.

Information is stored in a TXT record in your DNS provider or the DNS zone, usually where your domain is hosted.

Each time you add another platform that is authorized to send emails on your behalf, it gets updated in a combined single TXT record.


➡️Go to the DNS area at your domain provider or webhost –

Note: DNS TXT record field names vary by webhost – double check from your webhost AND your email services.

➡️Copy/paste the SPF record values provided by the entities sending email as your domain (e.g. MailerLite, ConvertKit, SendGrid, MailGun, GoogleWorkspace, etc).

It can take up to 48 hours for SPC authentication to show as working.

Here are examples of what the SPF records may look like that you will copy/paste into the appropriate fields in your DNS editor at your webhost.

Record Type Host /Name Value TTL
SPF TXT or CNAME (check your provider) @ Copy the info given by your email services – it may look something like this:
v=spf1 a:mail.solarmora.com ip4: include:_spf.google.com ~all
1 hour or 3600 seconds
Example from ConvertKit CNAME ckespa spf.dm-kmn66p4d.sg8.convertkit.com.
e.g. MailerLite + Outlook TXT V=spf1 include:_spf.mlsend.com include:spf.protection.outlook.com  ~all
e.g. someone sending from G Suite/
Workspaces and ActiveCampaign
v=spf1 include:emsd1.com include:_spf.google.com ~all



It may look like this, for Google Workspace for example :

V=spf1 include: _spf.google.com ~all

When you have other services that send for you, the TXT record will have multiple entries :    “includes:xxx” before the ~all

You can see more examples here from Google


My cPanel at MomWebs, filtered to show just CNAME types of records as my new (as of late 2023) email marketing provider, ConvertKit, gave me the SPF values in CNAME format, not TXT (last two rows in the photo below).

MomWebs cPanel DNS Editor showing CNAME records
My Mighty Marketing Mojo CNAME records – you can see ConvertKit supplied a CNAME for SPF



Domain Keys Identified Email – Like a certificate or tamper-proof seal that verifies your email is legit and hasn’t been altered or messed with.

This is the authentication part of the new rules. Or think of it like a digital signature, proving you really sent that email. DKIM records help prevent spoofing and phishing, keep you out of recipient’s spam folders, and can help you build up a good domain reputation over time.

A DKIM record is a  TXT record you will add via the DNS editor at your webhost.  It usually has a name, version, key type, and the public key – information that is provided by the service sending out emails for you.

*NOTE: Some email software will ask you to create a CNAME record, not a TXT record – as they consider CNAME more secure. They are entered and created nearly identically in the DNS Editor at your webhost.

The TXT or CNAME record may look something like this:

Record Type Host (or Name) Value
DKIM TXT  or CNAME cka._domainkey
*ConvertKit for example uses CNAME records not TXT records dkim.dm-kmn66p4d.sg8.convertkit.com.
DKIM (example from ActiveCampaign) TXT v=DKIM1;t=s;p=MIGfMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAQUAA4GNADCBiQKBgQDBzXkunA
DKIM (CNAME example from AC) CNAME acdkim1._domainkey dkim.acdkim1.acems1.com
Example from MailerLite CNAME Liteserv._domainkey.mlsend.com  


** Double Check Recommendations from Your Email Service – including if you did some or all of these steps in the past.

For example, I used ActiveCampaign for 5 years and had done the DKIM process with them sometime in the past when the legacy TXT record was allowed/recommended – hence the longer example above and in the screenshot below of my DNS records. AC now recommends CNAME as seen above.

screenshot of DNS editor for legacy DKIM record
My ActiveCampaign legacy DKIM long-form record at my webhost


screenshot cPanel DNS editor DKIM record new
new ConvertKit DKIM record for my site


Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)

DMARC is the policy or rules on what happens if someone who is not authorized (by SPF, DKIM rules) to send an email on behalf of your domain tries to do so.

It used to be that only really big list senders needed to set this up, and the help files at some email marketing software still talks about this being optional. But not anymore!  So we all get the ‘joy’ of setting up this more technical verification.

The confusion I've seen most often among less-techie solopreneurs and online business owners is around the 3 possible settings for the policy, what they mean, and what do we do about this. Also that while one setting is ok and legit, it will throw back some cautions or warnings from the various checking tools. Let's walk through DMARC.

Record Type Host /Name Value
DMARC TXT _dmarc v=DMARC1; p=none;
Example with DMARC reports added, sent to your domain (replace with your website) TXT v=DMARC1; p=none; fo=1; rua=mailto:reports@yourdomain.com;

Three basic setting possibilities:

P=none  >> means nothing happens, it still goes through to destination

P=quarantine >> means the email gets sent to spam

P=reject  >> means it isn’t delivered at all


** for the Feb 1, 2024 changes coming from  Google, Yahoo and other inbox guardians (aka the software/systems someone uses to receive and read emails – inc Hotmail, Outlook, Google Workspaces, Comcast, etc)   – basic or bare minimum is DMARC set at p=NONE **


HOWEVER …. Many of the available DMARC tests out there that check your domain records will come back with a yellow/orange ‘warning’ if you set things up (correctly!) as p=none. You still have a proper DMARC record, it’s just that it’s set leniently. And going forward Gmail, Yahoo, and others would prefer that questionable emails are rejected or quarantined.

Because yes, ideally, we want it set on reject to prevent someone from using our email addresses in a phishing scam!

It’s ok as we work on these new, stricter sending rules, to start off at the more lenient p-none setting.


Because there may be a tool or app that needs to legitimately send things on your behalf and we didn’t know or weren’t sure if we needed to setup things on that tool.


 Why Is It OK to Leave at “none” to Start?

We are taking a few weeks to watch for what happens when we send our email newsletters, sales emails, transactions, etc. We want to see if there's a setting or email sending tool we maybe forgot about or something that is causing problems.

Which do we need to maybe look out for?

Calendar/scheduling apps, old lead magnets tied to an email service you switched from (oops, is that just me?), other 3rd party lead-gen tools, external community sites like Heartbeat, Circle, Mighty Networks, possibly payment processing like Stripe, or other transactional-based email apps like MailGun, SendGrid, automated webinar registrations, etc.

BUT – many of those are sent from THOSE tools’ domains on behalf of your account with those tools. Not a problem.  It’s when we have things set to show up as coming FROM our own domains that need to have things say we are who the tool says we are.

We are taking a watchful monitoring stance in the first few weeks of these new rules.

Results of Checking My Setup for the Three New Policies

I've take these steps and set things up – AND sent a broadcast email out to my list since doing so. I ran a few quick tests and I can see I'm good to go.

Having one of your own Gmail addresses on your email list is great for testing things – you can go to your Gmail inbox, find an email you've sent from your email software and click the 3 dots at top right, then “show Original”. Look for Pass/Fail for SPF, DKIM, DMARC.  This post on checking authentication from EmailToolTester details the steps I've shown in the screenshots below.

I will still be editing my DMARC record soon in early 2024 after a few weeks of monitoring.

checking email deliverability setup in gmail
In email click the (3) dots … and then Show Original


Here's my PASS report. ✅✅✅ ☺️

Gmail showing 3 passes for the new email deliverability settings of SPF, DKIM, DMARC
Gmail showing 3 passes for the new email deliverability settings of SPF, DKIM, DMARC

Tools for Monitoring DMARC

One of the annoyances in Google and Yahoo saying EVERYONE has to implement DMARC policies is it means this watching and monitoring. Back when only really, truly big brand senders had to do this, ok, they have TEAMS to monitor stuff.Fine. But we are mostly solo operators without IT staff and now we have to make sense of these regulations AND monitor things. Ugh. 😡

Key is to have tools that can help us monitor DMARC and make sense of what’s happening in the behind the scenes. Because if we set it up to send those monitoring reports directly to our inbox (as in the chart above_) … it comes out as gobbledygook (as unreadable XML data files) that even this techie gal can’t read!

In totally transparency, while I’ve used the SPF and DKIM settings for my email marketing software for a few years on at least two different platforms – DMARC records and monitoring are new to me.

As techie as I may be, I dislike messing around in the deep backend of my website! So, I’m looking for budget-friendly tools or services to make sense of the monitoring.  We want a tool that presents the data in a way we can read and take any necessary action – especially in the weeks and early months of the new rules.

I'm testing and checking out DMARC monitoring tools  – the ones I'm listing here are just general recommendations I've seen mentioned in multiple places. Test for yourself too!


Valimail   [seen mentioned in several groups I’m in – has a free plan or free trial; I’m wary those of tools that don’t list pricing!  *I’ve also seen that it offers free monitoring for Office 365 users – may be worth checking]

AppSumo has had email reporting tools – one may have just left the lifetimedeals sale, but  there are probably others coming!

Dmarcian  tools

I have used only their free tools – domain checker and inspector; they also have a Record Wizard. I have also seen this tool mentioned many places and by other small online biz owners   [Personal plan, up to 2 domains, 1 user $0; Basic plan for business/nonprofits $24/mo ]

MXToolbox [Free plan for 1 domain and weekly monitoring; then jumps to 129/mo!]

EasyDMARC   free plan for 1 domain, up to 10,000 emails, 14 days of data ; then $36/mo

⭐Easy DMARC also has help articles for SPF/ DKIM configuration for many email services (I saw Mimecast, MooSend, ConvertKit, Groove, AmazonSES and so so many more!).   Also checkout/ use the EasyDMARC email investigation tool to check your settings;

Postmark  – free trial/version, $10/mo per domain plans


Other Questions About Making Email Verification Changes


I use ThriveCart as my shopping cart and course platform – do I have to change things there?

ThriveCart sends out receipts/logins from THEIR domain, not yours so nothing for me to change right now.

For other shopping carts – check how transactional emails such as receipts, registration, logins, password changes are handled.

IF you use something like SendGrid, MailGun, Amazon SES – then YES, you will need to add these as authenticated senders to your SPF records at your domain.


Do I have to pay extra for a domain-based email?

If you already have a domain and your website is hosted somewhere – then you most likely get free email with your hosting! Some people do pay extra to have their domain emails go through Google Workspace (the former GSuite – and I have one domain email where this is the case). OR you could set up forwarding and an alias in a free Gmail account (as I’ve done with another domain-based email – see my video on setting this up here.)


Wait, you said there’s only one SPF record in a DNS setting at a time, but I see something different in your screenshots?  OR  But my email software told me to use CNAME not TXT?

Yep, I ran into this with ConvertKit who wants the SPF record to go in a CNAME file, not be added to a single TXT file. Turns out all kinds of rules and best practices are evolving and there’s more than one way to get the info into the right places. Double check with your host and your email service!


I used the checking tools and got different results! For example, MXToolbox gave me green lights but EmailSmart did not. Why?

Could be several reasons including: the team at EmailSmart checks things at a higher/stricter standard (apparently based on Microsoft’s rules which are stricter than Google?!);  some of the large platforms actually use a 3rd party email protocol/tool to deliver emails and this may show some odd things in tests. (e.g. ConvertKit may show in tests as SendGrid; Drip, Kajabi, Flodesk, Klaviyo and others also use a 3rd party).


I did the checks but it said my emails were coming from SendGrid? I don't use them, I use ConvertKit – what's up?

Ok, ConvertKit actually uses the SMTP (or email transfer/delivery) tool SendGrid on the backend to get your emails to your subscribers. Nothing to panic over here – totally ok.


I ran checks on my setup and it says passed but it also says only 50%! What did I do wrong?

You likely didn't do anything wrong! If you followed the initial setup instructions for most of the email software providers, they recommend for now a DMARC policy with [ p = none ] in the TXT field. That's the bare minimum for now and let's us monitor things. See above on DMARC monitoring. But since we have it at =none, it's going to return some fails or say “ insufficient alignment” or that 50% alignment warning in many of the tools.

That's ok! It's saying there IS a DMARC policy to align to … but it's not set to take action (like quarantine or reject) if the SPF/DKIM checks fail.  We do not want to rush to take actions until we have a clearer picture of what's going on with all our email sending, the Gmail/Yahoo monitoring, etc.


It's ok folks! Even if we aren't feeling techie (and some days I sure don't!) there's lots of help out there plus some time to make changes, monitor, and adjust. Keep in mind the other email sending best practices matter too.


❓Got other questions? Come ask in my Mighty Marketing Mojo Facebook Group and I'll do my best to answer and update things here as well.

More Email Deliverability Tools

Google Postmaster Tools

Check your DMARC records by MXToolbox

DKIM Key Checker from Protodave – as recommended by PostMark

Email Sending Tips + Requirements from Major Email Marketing Services


2024 Deliverability Tips from Aweber

Verifying domains with MailChimp

ActiveCampaign's Guide to Google and Yahoo Changes in 2024

MailerLite’s updates on the new inbox protection rules

Flodesk’s updates on the 2024 email marketing compliance changes

ConvertKit’s update on the Gmail Yahoo requirements

BirdSend's tips on email sending and changing your domain  (note – they still haven't updated to show that SPF DKIM etc are not just for advanced users!)

Get Response's response to Google, Yahoo email changes

Wix help guides for email deliverability

Squarespace help for adding custom DNS

Shopify help guides for setting up their email and the Shopify post on the 2024 requirements (even if you use other services for marketing emails, make changes at your Shopify site too for those automated customer emails such as purchase notifications)

Setting up custom email sending at Podia

Kajabi's updates on the Google, Yahoo email requirements



Now You Have the Knowledge to Take Action and Control Email Deliverability in 2024 + Beyond

Hopefully with these steps, record examples, screenshots and resources you'll feel a little more comfortable about taking the steps necessary for solid, reputable email marketing in 2024 and beyond. The good news is that we have to set this stuff up once and then not again!  Well … not until we change email services. 😉

About the author 

Jennifer Burke

I want all of my solopreneur pals to feel confident and mighty in their marketing - sharing what makes their work special and so vital to their clients. No B.S. or fluff here. I do the digging and research for you, translate "marketing-ese" into simpler terms, and help you avoid marketing headaches.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}