While the inbox might seem like a safe place to connect with your base of customers and build lasting bonds, there’s always a few bad apples out there who are more than willing to ruin this opportunity via scams and other underhanded tactics. In fact, these less than savory forces have gotten even more aggressive as of late by utilizing increasingly effective phishing schemes.
Unfortunately, this means that consumers are more wary than ever before as they continue to face down these external threats – which in turn leads to viewers who are less accepting of your inbox outreach. With this outlook guiding the conversation, here’s a quick look at the current concerns plaguing the average email marketing audience member, as well as what your brand can do to overcome this wariness and regain the trust of these valued customers.
Mapping out the Rise of Phishing Scams in the Inbox
To start off this discussion the right way, it’s imperative that you understand exactly what’s going on in terms of phishing threats in the inbox. According to a report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), phishers have increased their efforts significantly over the past year as far as engineering both consumers and business entities into leaking sensitive information – credit card information, domain access credentials, etc.
More specifically, the APWG report notes that about a third of all computers globally were infected – often via the inbox – at any given point in 2015. On the corporate operations side of this issue, the amount of Business Email Compromise (BCE) scam attempts rose by an astounding 270 percent.
Oddly enough, the United States served as the leading origin point of these scams in eight of the nine months analyzed. This unique shift has naturally led to plenty of confusion among inbox audiences that expect poorly executed attempts (e.g. the “Nigerian Prince” email scam) from criminals in third-world countries and other remote locations.
Understanding the Consumer Response to This Trend
To say that many customers have become wary of unusual or unfamiliar emails – even from the most reputable brands – is putting things lightly. Of course, it’s hard to blame anyone that’s been overwhelmed by a deluge of scams in his or her inbox for being apprehensive.
That being said, email marketing can still be one of the most effective method of connecting with consumers. Your brand just has to work a little harder in terms of building trust and familiarity if it wants to buck this trend and recapture the attention of these wary inbox contact list members.
Crafting a Plan to Regain the Trust of These Audience Members
So what does a plan for regaining the trust of your target audience look like? The process starts with clearly identifying your brand in the “From” field of an incoming email, as well as laying out what your content intends to cover in the subject line. Vague or confusing entries within either of these portions of the marketed message in question are sure to make a poor first impression and raise the alarms of the consumer viewing this offering.
Once you have these key pieces of the first impression puzzle in order, the team from the Marketing Experiments blog suggests placing an emphasis on espousing the truth within your content. It might seem like an appealing tactic to “bend” the truth a little bit when hammering out the details of your email copy, but being caught red-handed engaging in non-transparent marketing in the inbox can damage your brand’s reputation permanently.
Going a step farther, there’s nothing wrong with letting someone else do the bragging for your business. Outside of serving as an attractive and powerful addition to your marketed message, including social proof and testimonials gives the wary individual on the other side of the screen some reassurance from the most trustworthy source possible – other satisfied consumers. At the very least, heading down this path ensures that your brand doesn’t leave its current contact list membership feeling nauseous due to an endless flood of over the top and thinly-veiled self-promotion.
By now, the message here should be pretty clear: Earning the trust of an audience that has faced down countless phishing threats in the inbox – and throughout the rest of the digital world – requires a commitment to hard work and patience. Thankfully, with a deeper understanding of this issue and the aforementioned trust-building tactics leading the way, you can move forward with confidence as you continue to foster a lasting bond with the people that matter most to your brand.