A change at AOL and Yahoo may be causing your emails to not be delivered. The change is meant to combat a black hat marketing trick called spoofing, but the fix to it could cause you some problems. In fact, it could easily cause you to lose prospective and even current patients.
Spoofing is when spammers use real email accounts as the “From” in their email – even though that’s not really where the email is from. You may have had this happen to you before: You get an email that says it is from a friend or acquaintance, but when you open it up, it is a link to a site for “male enhancement” or some other nonsense.
Some criminal has gotten hold of your friends’ email address (likely through malware or hacking) and is using it to send everyone in his or her contacts list the same spoof email. Well, Yahoo and AOL decided to take action in 2013 against this. So they changed a setting that tells other email providers, “If you see an email that says it came from a Yahoo or AOL account, but it didn’t really come from one of our servers, then reject that email.”
How does this affect you?
Your autoresponder series emails may say they are from your Yahoo or AOL account, but those emails really are going out through your autoresponder provider, like Infusionsoft or Constant Contact.
Those emails are going to bounce. That’s bad. Staying in front of your prospective patients – maintaining what’s called top-of-mind awareness – is vital for converting prospects to paying patients. If your emails are bouncing, that just won’t happen. Even worse, those prospective patients may choose another dental provider and be lost to you for good.
Even your current patients, the ones accustomed to receiving timely, interesting, informative emails from your practice, may begin to drift away. This is also bad for your business.
The spoofing fix can affect your autoresponders, ones that you may have set up a while ago or yesterday. New and old emails will be affected. Everything I have read says that Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook and other webmail providers are likely to follow suit and implement this fix. So if you use a webmail account for your practice because it is free rather than buying accounts through your web domain, it’s time to pay the piper.
So how do you get around this if it affects you?
The best thing to do is to start sending emails from an email account linked to your web domain. If you don’t have email addresses through your web domain, you need to get some. This may be a bit of a hassle, but ultimately this is what you are going to have to do.
Email marketing is a vital channel for dental practices. Arguably, it’s the easiest and most timely way to keep yourself in front of your prospects and to keep them informed. Take immediate action to correct this potential problem and the “spoof” – er, joke – won’t be on you.