Want to set your email marketing program up for long-term success? Take a page out of your security and legal teams’ manuals and focus on creating safe and secure programs for customers. One of the top goals of your email marketing program should be to get customers to trust your messages. They should trust that you have valuable content, engaging offers, but they should also trust that it is, in fact, your brand they are interacting with.
Your team spends a lot of time creating eye-catching subject lines to draw subscribers in and perfectly designed messages to engage them. All this work helps to create an overall perception of your brand. For instance, The Skimm is known for providing a quick and creative overview of the news from the previous day. Likewise, Groupon is known for their daily deals. These brands have spent a lot of time and effort earning the trust of their subscriber base by consistently providing valuable content. But while your brand is diligently creating content that cultivates trust, this trust can be exploited by cyber criminals “acting” under your name.
All email marketing programs are at risk of phishing, but ironically the most trusted are especially vulnerable. While some industries—like consumer banking and finance—might seem like the most attractive targets given the amount of data they possess, the nature of their interactions with customers not only prompt them to be wary, but the amount of financial email interactions are relatively few.
A more enticing target for cyber criminals are brands that are prevalent in the inbox. Retail brands are not only in the inbox more often, with their various marketing, transactional, and confirmation based emails, but these brands also maintain larger list sizes, offering cyber criminals not only more opportunities but more potential victims.
A recent study by Intel found that 97 percent of people can’t correctly identify a sophisticated phishing email. In other words, while your consumers might automatically trust that an email with your logo is coming from your brand, they shouldn’t.
In addition to these criminals masquerading as your brand and damaging your reputation, they are also stealing business away. Google conducted a study on phishing and found that the more sophisticated scams have up to a “45 percent conversion rate of getting users to turn over information.” With declining subscriber engagement already contributing to the overall decline in deliverability, allowing cyber criminals to discourage your users from engaging doesn’t seem like the optimal plan.
Protecting your email is not a new concept. Not only are many finance and banking brands protecting their email program from cyber criminals, but many retail brands are realizing the value in protecting the customer journey. Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) understands not only how damaging being spoofed can be, but how the damage to brand reputation would result in a significant loss in ROI. As Kevin Hickey, global marketing manager at IHG states, “The revenue loss that would be incurred if our customers didn’t feel safe responding to our emails is impossible to calculate.”
Publishers at Clearing House believe that by protecting its customers, the company is protecting the trust they have in the PCH brand. Sal Tripi, AVP digital operations and compliance says the with an anti-phishing solution in place, “When incidents do occur, we detect them very quickly and are able to direct mailbox providers to reject these fraudulent messages. This protects our customers and maintains the trust people place in our brand.”
Email marketing has an average ROI of $44 for every dollar spent, making it one of the most effective marketing channels. Don’t put this channel and the opportunity it offers at risk by leaving your brand vulnerable to cyber criminals.
This article originally appeared on ClickZ.