Closed shops and restaurants, empty hotels, the coronavirus pandemic has practically paralyzed England in recent weeks, and many small and medium-sized businesses are in a dangerously precarious situation …

But necessity is the mother of invention, as we all know, and many entrepreneurs have moved their business to the Internet, where there are no viruses that damage the human body. And customers also transfer their purchases to the web when store doors are closed. This has consequences: according to email providers, the use of email has increased sharply since the start of the coronavirus crisis, as well as purchasing emails …

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In principle, this development is not a problem, but cybercriminals are taking advantage of the current situation by abusing the trust of recipients and by contacting them with the technique of phishing.

For example, the German consumer association recently warned against a phishing email from the savings bank. Customers were supposed to provide personal data via a link, which then immediately reached the fraudsters. Hackers are taking advantage of the fact that due to the coronavirus pandemic, more and more customer relationships are being emailed, and recipients are accepting this and may not be careful enough.

This is annoying for the recipients of these emails and can, in the worst case scenario, really cost them money. The high volume of these emails can therefore also have consequences for reputable email senders if phishing emails are sent on their behalf as in the case mentioned above.

A second problem is spam. Emails containing questionable offers of respiratory masks or disinfectants, for example, exploit fear of recipients for their own ends. Even spam emails on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO) have already been sent. Email providers have also recognized this and are applying their spam policies even more rigorously.

And one more very important thing for senders: once they have landed in a recipient’s spam box, they will no longer arrive in the same recipient’s inbox. In this context, it is therefore particularly important that senders scrupulously respect certain rules to guarantee the deliverability of their emails.

Small and medium-sized businesses in particular, which transferred their business activities to the Internet in the face of the crisis and now send more and more e-mails, often do not know how to protect themselves from the risk of their name being manipulated in attacks against phishing and against the loss of their good reputation.

The Certified Senders Alliance (CSA), a white list project of the German e-commerce association eco eV in cooperation with the German marketing dialogue association DDV, has set itself the goal of improving the quality of e-mails commercial, to increase deliverability and protect the reputation of shippers.

CSA experts recommend that companies adhere to the following five basic principles to protect their identity on the network and to ensure that their email ends up in the recipient’s inbox today and in the future.

Use only quality addresses

Only include in your mailing list the addresses of the contacts you have generated legally, whom you know want to receive your information and whose consent you can always prove. This not only gives you legal certainty, but also protects your reputation and builds trust with your customers.

A small mailing list with quality addresses is preferable to a large mailing list with addresses from questionable sources.

In all cases, use the double opt-in procedure. When in doubt, you should be able to clearly demonstrate at all times that you have the consent of each person to whom you have sent an email. And with Double-Opt-In (DOI), you’re on the safe side.

Take care of your professional image

Pay attention to the quality in the choice of images and words in your emails. Pixelated images or buttons or even an insignificant message object leave an overall negative impression. Make absolutely sure that all the links in your email work and respect the “rules of the game”: each link must reflect the information announced. Make sure that your overall appearance inspires confidence and is not limited to what is legally necessary.

Speak frankly

Be honest, even when it comes to attracting new subscribers to your newsletter. Say what you want in clear and understandable terms, don’t “hide” your request for permission to advertise. The recipient notices this at the latest when he receives a newsletter that he did not consciously request and, annoyed, then cancels it or worse, the spam mark in his mailbox.

Create a reference for the recipient so they know why and on what basis you are contacting them. Set a clear expectation in the recipient’s mind by choosing a subject that also reflects the content of the email. And if possible, address the recipient personally.

Don’t be “pirates”

Protect yourself and your brand against the risk of being illegally used for phishing by authentication. Use the Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) standards when sending email.

With the help of DMARC, (SPF) and (DKIM), you have the ability to make your emails clearly recognizable to an email provider and at the same time determine how it should handle the emails that are supposed to originate. from you. Thus, phishing emails can be reliably detected and filtered before they reach the recipient and cause possible damage to your customer.

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Have you never heard terms like SPF, DKIM and DMARC? Have you sent only individual emails so far, but want to expand your email communication in the current situation? Large-scale sending requires compliance with broad standards for transactional emails (e.g. invoices, order confirmations, etc.) and newsletters. CSA has summarized the technical and legal standards required in the CSA criteria.

Are you considering having your email sent by an email service provider? CSA certified shippers are committed to meeting CSA criteria and therefore meeting a very high standard. You can find certified senders at https://certified-senders.org/participants/

If your e-mail service provider offers you the possibility, use a feed back loop. Your provider will then provide you with feedback on the recipients who classify your email as spam or junk. It also helps you improve the hygiene of your list, but of course only if you immediately remove the affected addresses from your list.