If your email response rates are on a downward trend, you could attribute the decline to inbox saturation—or deliverability issues. But there’s another reason your email ROI could be at an all-time low: cybersecurity due diligence. As corporate America wrestles with phishing and ransomware, new measures are underway to prevent employees from opening emails from unknown sources or clicking on embedded email links.
And who can blame them? Cyber thieves are highly sophisticated in their tactics, making it harder for email recipients to discern legitimate communication from phishing or malware attempts. Yet as many as 23% of recipients will open a suspicious email, and another 11% will view attachments. Awareness training is an attempt to safeguard employees and corporate infrastructures from email risk.
The bottom line is this: recipients are being trained NOT to open or engage with your marketing emails. Some companies are going so far as to deploy phishing emails within their organizations to identify employees willing to fall for the bait and break cybersecurity protocol.
So, what’s an email marketer supposed to do? For starters, as much as we hate to hear it, cleverness in email copywriting might need to take a back seat to transparency to break through the barriers of distrust.
Return to sender; address unknown
Recipients are being told to ignore (i.e., do not open) email received from an unknown sender. The domain of your sender line, if suspicious, can trigger concern. Just the fact that the email isn’t expected or comes from an unfamiliar entity is enough to raise red flags. Be sure your sender address comes from a domain that’s verifiable and legitimate (and familiar), because your recipients are being instructed to steer clear of:
- Email from anyone they don’t know
- Email from someone outside their company
- Email from someone inside their business that is strange or out of character
- Email from unrecognized domains
Once your recipient sees your email comes from a legitimate source, the next barrier to the “open” is the subject line. Subject lines that force a reply to something that wasn’t expected or requested can also set off alarm bells. Instead of trickery, try building trust (and engagement) by customizing subject lines with data pulled from your list source. If you’re renting an email list of attendees from CES, for example, you can incorporate this to demonstrate email relevance.
Liked CES? You’ll love this
A special offer for CES attendees
Because you attended CES
Bait is for fish
Align your content with the expectation you set in your subject line and preview text—and avoid bait-and-switch tactics that can make your email look and sound like spam or phishing. Give plenty of clues that your content is legitimate by customizing text with relevant information that you pull from your list source. Give different response options, including phone number, address, and URL, to help email recipients validate your legitimacy. But above all:
- Don’t ask for confidential information within the email content
- Don’t include attachments of any kind
- Don’t send emails with typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors
- Do include a link to a landing page on your secure site to request/collect high-value data
As always, use hyperlinks sparingly (and be sure any link you use displays a valid URL when hovered on).
Contact us to learn more.