Latest Spam Tactics

What the bad guys are doing with your leaked information

This particular e-mail I received invoked anger.

What I got looked like other spam messages, but this one was a little different.  It started with the normal junk about my e-mail address being hacked, blah, blah.  It looked like a mass e-mail.  They alleged that they sent the message FROM my e-mail account (which I noticed they didn’t). But then they revealed one of my personal passwords!  Wait, WHAT!?

They said they know the password to log into my e-mail account and then provided “proof” that they actually did.  I was not happy.  How could this be?  How do they know my password?

So after a little digging, here’s what is happening.

This might be the latest tactic to scare people, similar to other scare-ware pop-ups.  The whole point is to get us scared, and then motivated to taking action.  Usually to the detriment of our bank account (ie. they hope we pay them money).

When they reveal your password, they have likely gotten it from a hacked company that you do business with.  Almost every few months we hear about the latest security breach.  Last month, for instance, Facebook announced they’ve been hit again.  They originally said 50 million users were affected, but last week admitted to “only” 30 million users.  They said last week that we don’t need to change our passwords.  Phew.

What companies have been hacked that you do business with?

So there’s a website that keeps track of hacked accounts.  You can search by your e-mail address and see if you are one of those affected.

In my case, Bitly, a company that provides our shortened web address (type in your browser address bar to see what happens.) was hacked.  They stole email addresses, passwords and more.

Some clarification: Like many of you, I use the same password for multiple accounts.  The password they revealed to me wasn’t exactly the password used to check the e-mail address they claimed.  It was a lowercase “J.”  But, in any sense, the password DID MATCH EXACTLY what I had used for Bitly. Now it made sense.  So it was Bitly’s password that needed to actually be changed and not my e-mail.

This security breach happened back in 2014.  But only now are we seeing what the bad guys are doing with the information.

Check to see what companies have been hacked here:

3 Myths to Starting an Email Campaign

Email Campaign Ripple Effect

Start an Email Campaign!

But do as I say, not as I do.

So you have a small business?  You have a limited (or no) marketing budget. Your time is very precious, but you want to connect with your customers or start an email campaign.  Sound right?  Well I agree and often don’t heed my own advise!

Emailing your fans and customers probably doesn’t seem to fit your schedule, then.  Few in the small business world do as awesomely consistent job with email marketing.  There’s always a “good” reason to put it off.  Topping the list seems to be: “I really don’t see a a direct return on this investment” and “I’m really not a writer” or “I hate getting emails, so they probably do too!”

Can I change your mind?  Since email marketing is (mostly) FREE, AND still has the greatest return on investment (ROI), then there must be something to it!


The 3 Myths

1. Email Doesn’t Provide a Good Return of Investment

Your email (as long as it isn’t marked as SPAM) WILL HIT your customers’ inbox 100% of the time!  How much time do you spend on Facebook or Twitter?  On average, less than 20% of those posts on social media will be fed to your followers.  That’s all!  Then why not spend a fraction of the time targeting a multitude of people?

How many times do you check your email each day?  Many people start and end their day checking their inbox.  Then, during the day, they check it several times.  Plan your email to send at a convenient time for your customers. Make it catch their eye and they will read it or come back to it.


2. I’m Not a Writer

Most people aren’t writers.  You don’t have to be.  Just pick your best time of the day and week that you aren’t trying to pressure yourself to be creative.  Then it’s just about practice.  Don’t try to make it the perfect newsletter.  Getting things done is better than perfection!


3. I Hate Getting Emails, So They Probably Do Too

Think again.  If you are sending information that your fans want, then why would they hate getting it?  There will be some on your list that never should be on your list.  Or were on the list for a season and now aren’t needing your information.  But it you target very specifically to these different groups of people, then BINGO.  Think about what value you can add to their world.  Then provide it!

Start by answering “what one or two questions to you always get people asking you?”  Then answer the question(s).  Provide a discount for the Holidays or offer a special invitation.  Share a story.  You might not get people to read your whole email, but if you are consistent in sending messages, eventually you will get noticed, or eventually they will have the time.

If you need additional information or help with this topic, I’d be happy to help.


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