How To Stop Spam (Especially If You’re Already a Victim)

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Spam.  Those annoying, time-consuming emails that clog your Inbox and ruin your day.  You wonder: How did it ever get so bad?  While it’s not possible to completely eliminate spam, there are quite a few things you CAN do about the problem to reduce your burden.

Spam is defined as an unsolicited email trying to get you to buy something.  In addition, it’s email that tries to get you to give up something: your credit card number, social security number, login ID, etc., by pretending to be a legitimate email.  Here are ten tips for stopping the current spam you’re getting, and avoiding getting on new spam lists.

1. Maintain two email addresses: a Personal Email Address (that you give to family, friends and business associates), and a Safe Email Address (one you use whenever you’re ordering something online, signing up for an email newsletter, or creating a profile on a website).  For instance, I use a Hotmail account for my Safe Email Address.  If a spammer were to get a hold of that address, fine.  All the spam will go into my Hotmail account, which I only look at once a week.  Hotmail has a great anti-spam filter built in, so it’s easy to see what’s spam and what’s not.  This practice leaves my personal email account relatively spam-free (maybe I get two spam emails a day to my personal account).  Some free email services include Hotmail, Yahoo and GMail (Google’s new email service).

2. Use your Safe Email Address to send emails to companies who might be harvesting email addresses from incoming emails. For example, say you want to write to a company to ask them about their products.  Some companies will harvest your email address from the email you send to them, and put you on their mailing list.  By using your Safe Email Address, you can avoid seeing messages from these companies come to your personal email address.

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

It’s Raining Spam (Again)!

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Have you noticed more spam than normal lately? If so, it’s not a figment of your imagination. According to this article in The Red Tape Chronicles, spammers have found a new way to annoy you: PDF attachments and “You’ve Got A Postcard” emails.

Some spammers are sending emails with PDF attachments, in hopes that the PDF attachment will get past spam filters (unlike executable files, which most spam filters will catch). Other spammers are pretending that you have an electronic greeting card from someone. This one is actually quite clever because we’ve been trained to open these sorts of messages from legitimate people sending us online greeting cards.

The good news is that we’re seeing less of “image spam,” those emails that contain just a graphic touting a product, site or stock. Images used to be able to get around the spam filters because the filters can not read the text in images. But spam filters got smart and said, “Hey, if an email only contains one image and no surrounding text, it’s probably spam.”

If it helps you to feel more in control, check out Symantec’s blog and their monthly “Spam Report“.

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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What’s New in Internet Marketing – Part 3: Email Marketing

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Of course, email marketing isn’t new; we’ve been doing it for over 10 years now. But according to some of the latest research into email marketing, over 70 percent of email marketers say the impact of it is increasing, not decreasing.

Anyone who uses email marketing techniques can tell you, getting through spam filters is part of the battle. While text-only emails received the poorest return-on-investment numbers, some ISPs are now blocking HTML emails and only allowing text emails to get through (notably BellSouth).

It’s a quandary: produce newsletters that will get through filters, or produce newsletters that get results? I wish I could tell you otherwise, but truly, there are no easy answers to this question. However, here are some tips that might help you to think differently about your campaigns:

  • Instead of a full newsletter or a long email, consider the “postcard” format for an email; email postcards received 75% higher click rates.
  • Higher ROI tweaks include testing your email campaign with an A/B split, altering your subject line, having a specific landing page for your campaign (instead of merely sending them to your normal home page); and re-sending the same email message two weeks after sending the first one (especially if your email software can send it to only those people who did not open the first email)
  • Consider putting your call to action in your subject line (register for the class, sign up for the discount coupon, call for a free quote)
  • While 65 percent of emails now come with suppressed images, a large majority of users will manually turn those images on. This means that you should include images in your email campaigns.
  • According to survey results, once-a-month mailings actually have less impact than shorter, weekly mailings.
  • Consider segmenting your email mailing campaigns between customers and prospects, tailoring the message to them based on whether they’ve purchased from you before or not.

See Part 1 of this article series here:

See Part 2 of this article series here:

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