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Improve Open Rates With Targeted Emailing

Improve Open Rates With Targeted Emailing

Beyond • March 2, 2018

So, if you ask me what was the first thing I did when I started doing email marketing, it was  building a list. That is one thing that any marketer can do from the beginning. Having a list is the best way to deepen your relationship with the audience. Having said so, it is equally important to master the art of targeting in order to unleash the full power of your email lists. Having a list of your most engaged clients or subscribers is a most important asset for a business. It\'s All About Being On Target Targeted emailing is a key for building a foundation for your effective email outreach. Some marketers never realize the importance of targeting and end up generating leads that aren’t qualified. You have to realize that your email list consists of people with varying interests, behaviors and profiles. We have to remember one size doesn’t fit all. So, why treat them the same? The solution is to split them into small groups and send personalized email campaigns to each segment. The common mistakes some marketers make is treating their email list as a single entity. According to the case study done by Marketing Sherpa, artbeads.com saw conversion rates jump by 208% when they used targeted emailing instead of email blast. 32% of marketers say segmenting their email database is one of their top priority for the year. Furthermore, 52% of marketers believe that they are in great need to improve their list segmentation. What Are They Missing Out On? Jupiter Research found targeted email marketing campaigns can generate nine times more revenue than broadcast mailings. The more personalization that is included in each email sent to your subscribers, users are more likely to open the emails, clicks on call-to-action and then convert to buyers. On average, untargeted email campaigns have open rates of only 20%, a click-through rate of only 9.5% and conversion rates of only about 1%. On the other hand, targeted email campaigns have a 33% open rate on average, a 14% click-through rate, and a conversion rate of 3.9%. With a targeted list, you will always have a group of loyal customers. For instance, if you are a bookseller and have a chain of retail outlets, then you can segment your list into people who prefer certain genres of books, age-groups, most valued customers etc. You can also classify your list on the basis of the purchases your customers make. This means you may have a separate category for people who make purchases between $300 and $500 or between $500 and $1000 or above $1000. Benchmark Email provides you Targeted Emailing tool to help you get better ROI from your email lists. Targeted Emailing takes your campaigns and compares all the opens or clicks to create segmented lists for you to target. Targeting specific contacts is a great way to improve your engagement in your emails.  It isn\'t the size of your list, it is also the quality of your list.  Targeted Emailing can also be used to clean your lists as well, as it creates a list of contacts that have not opened your emails. Targeting specific contacts is a great way to improve your engagement in your emails.  It isn\'t the size of your list, it is also the quality of your list.  Targeted Emailing can also be used to clean your lists as well, as it creates a list of contacts that have not opened your emails. You can access this feature in your navigation bar. There are two ways you can create targeted lists. The first one is based on opens & unopens of your email campaigns. The second list is based on the URLs clicked in your campaigns. General Clicks and Opens The process for Targeted Emailing is this: Select up to 10 campaigns to compare Choose whether to base the comparison on engaged or non-engaged contacts Based on each individual emails or all your emails Opens or Clicks Save So in the first step, you\'ll need to select the campaigns you want to compare. It\'s recommended you compare similar campaigns to accurately segment or target your campaigns, but is not required.  Just to reiterate, as it is important, you can only select from the most recent 50 campaigns that are older than three days. Then you can only select up to 10 campaigns to compare. The third step is to select whether to compare your campaigns individually (Some or one Emails), or compare them all against each other (All Emails). Depending on what you choose, you can have a very different number. The Some (or one) Emails option, will combine through all 10 emails and depending on opens or clicks, it will place the contact in the list at the end. The All Emails option will take all 10 of your campaigns and looks for contacts that opened or click all of your emails that you\'ve selected. This will produce a significantly lower number. Lastly, you simply choose whether you want a list of opens or a list of clicks or both!  After this, you\'ll be able to create a second list based on different settings. At this step, you can also calculate the number of each set so that you can also visualize the number of contacts for each, as it takes time to assemble the list.  Don\'t forget to name it and then save your list! Click Focus Click Focus is different from Clicks & Opens. This will compare not the emails themselves, but the URLs within the emails. So if you are a retailer with promotions, or if your emails contain a lot of URLs, this may be the best option for you.  Comparing all the products and URLs is difficult manually, but Click Focus automates the comparison and allows users to create lists based on certain settings. Much like Opens & Clicks, you can select from the most recent 50 campaigns that are older than three days and you can select up to 10 campaigns. A little similar to Clicks & Opens, but still different. The difference between the previous option and Click Focus is that this extra step you select the URLs you want to gain contacts from.  For example, if you are a sports retailer and have sent several emails related to different sports.  You can create a Click Focus lists of contacts who are interested in Soccer products, then create a strategy to market to only Soccer players based on what they clicked.  That\'s exactly how Targeted Emailing is meant to work. So the First step is to choose the campaigns you want to look at, then second you choose the URLs you want to see contact.  You can only select up to 10 campaigns and 10 URLs to compare. The next step is to select ANY or ALL of the lists.  This is much like the same concept as before that is sometimes hard to grasp.  If you choose ANY, the system will collect contacts that have clicked on at least one URL in ANY email.  If you ALL, the system will look at all the campaigns, and collect contacts that have clicked on ALL of the emails.  The ALL option will most likely produce a significant number than the other.  Then name the list and click save. What You Need To Do If you have just started then it can be an intimidating task, if you do not have a clear direction. So to start with, you’ll need to determine what your objectives are for each targeted email marketing segment and how success will be measured. You’ll also need to figure out what your strategy will accomplish. Benchmark email’s Targeted emailing tool makes it easy to identify your most loyal subscribers. If you haven’t used it yet, test the tool in and out and let me know your feedback.


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Insights About Spamhaus & SpamCop

Insights About Spamhaus & SpamCop

Beyond • February 27, 2017

In previous posts, we have discussed types of spam traps and how an email marketer can stay out of them. In this article, we are going to talk about the blacklist services Spamhaus and Spamcop. Spamhaus Spamhaus is an international non-profit organization that helps the majority of Internet Service Providers, ESPs, corporations and other security vendors by tracking spammers and blocking the vast majority of spam and malware sent over internet. It provides several blacklists such as SBL, XBL, PBL, DBL and ZEN, which can be used by mailbox providers for protection against spam-like activities. SBL - The Spamhaus Block List is the collection of IP addresses from which Spamhaus doesn’t recommend the receipt of email. It is maintained by a devoted team of investigators spread over 10 countries. XBL - Exploits Block List is a real-time database of IP addresses of hijacked PCs infected by illegal 3rd party exploits, including open proxies (HTTP, socks, AnalogX, wingate, etc), worms/viruses with built-in spam engines and other types of trojan-horse exploits. PBL - The Policy Block List is a DNSBL database of end-user IP address ranges which should not be delivering unauthenticated SMTP email to any Internet mail server, except those provided for specifically by an ISP for that customer\'s use. The PBL helps networks enforce their Acceptable Use Policy for dynamic and non-MTA customer IP ranges. DBL - The Domain Block List is a real-time database of domains (typically web site domains) found in spam messages. Mail server software capable of scanning email message body contents for URIs can use the DBL to identify, classify or reject spam containing DBL-listed domains. ZEN – This is the latest Spamhaus list which combines all of the blocklist zones. It is the most recommended, as it integrates the feature of SBL, XBL, PBL. Rather, you should be using only zen.spamhaus.org in your IP blocklist configuration. Never use ZEN together with other Spamhaus IP blocklists as it will simply be wasting DNS queries and slowing your mail queue. SpamCop Spamcop is the premium service for reporting spam and it gets its list by crawling the internet and from users that report spam. Spamcop discovers the genesis of unwanted email and reports it to the pertinent Internet Service providers. It’s reporting service is free and you can get started by clicking this link: https://www.spamcop.net/anonsignup.shtml. What is the SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL)? The SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL) is a combative spam-fighting tool that indexes IP addresses which have transmitted reported email to SpamCop users. The SCBL is a quick and automatic list of sites sending reported mail, with multiple report sources, including automated reports and SpamCop user submissions. The SCBL also quickly and automatically delists these sites when reports cease. You can read about the working rules of SCBL and it’s implementation here: https://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/297.html. What to do if you are listed on a Spamhaus or Spamcop blacklist? Take prompt action: To know if you are listed on Spamhaus enter your IP address or domain name here: https://www.spamhaus.org/lookup/ . If you are blocked on Spamhaus, getting delisted should be your first concern as it will affect your deliverability. Review your recent email sends to find the possible issues that triggered the blacklisting. Gauze your list for bounces and inactive email IDs. Resolve the issue: To get delisted from Spamhaus, you need to fix the issue that caused the blacklisting. Your technical support will be able to guide you through the process. Some of the points you should check are: Review your list procurement - Investigate all your sources of list acquisition and stop sending emails to rented or purchased lists. Follow all the components involved to maintain list quality such validation of email addresses and implementing double opt-in. Remove inactive & bounced IDs: Inactive users are vulnerable to spam traps. These are users not engaging to your campaigns and a segmentation policy should be placed to filter out these contacts. Mailbox providers will send an unknown user code a year in advance before turning it into a spam trap. It is important that you identify bounces and remove contacts identified on feedback loops. As soon as you complete the above checklist, follow the delisting process here:  https://www.spamhaus.org/lookup/. While completing the delist form, briefly inform them that you have fixed the issue. Once you are removed from a blacklist, make sure to monitor metrics like complain rates, unknown user rates and spam trap hits proactively.


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Marketing Webinar: SaaS Drip Campaigns Using Automation Pro

Marketing Webinar: SaaS Drip Campaigns Using Automation Pro

Beyond • February 25, 2017

You can learn about basic drip campaign strategy and how to use it for your SaaS business in a new webinar we are excited to announce will be held on March 1st at 5:30 PM IST (4:00AM PST). Benchmark’s Automation Pro has been helping customers to get their drip marketing inline with their sales goal. Join this webinar to learn how. This Drip marketing webinar is free to join and open to everyone. Just click on the link to sign up. Jump in to learn Drip marketing is all about giving people the right information at the right time. Do they really work? When done incorrectly, many drip emails will only serve to annoy your customers. However, a thoughtful set of drip emails can be the perfect way to connect with your target audience. In this webinar, Michael Benedict, our Digital Marketing Manager, will guide you through these topics: What are Drip Campaigns? How can Saas Businesses use Drip Campaigns? How does Benchmark’s Automation Pro help reach your Drip Marketing goals? We’ll also go through a sample SaaS Campaign Journey. Questions For all webinar related questions, kindly use the #benchmarkwebinar hashtag on Twitter for all your comments and suggestions, before, during and after the webinar. See you all there!


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How Do Dead Email Addresses Get Turned Into Spam Traps?

Practical Marketer • September 20, 2016

Brands that depend on email marketing always ensure that they check the spam scores of their emails before hitting the send button. Regardless of following all measures of legitimate email marketing, are you falling into the prey of spam traps? This happens when you fail to keep your subscription list updated enough. ISPs choose inoperative addresses to use as spam traps A spam trap is an email address which is specially created by ISPs to find spammers.  ISPs pick random dormant email addresses and customize them into their version of spam traps. It could be those email IDs which were once active, but after a period of inactivity, they started returning hard bounces. If theses addresses receive emails, ISPs will understand that the list is either purchased or rented. Mostly rightful though enervated digital marketers fall into this trap as they fail to revise their list regularly. Drop your Hard Bouncers or get stacked into the spam can Mailers should be clear about the types of bounces they receive for their email campaigns. Hard bounces occur when the email address is either invalid or it doesn’t exist. All types of terminated email addresses including Hotmail aliases return hard bounces even if their primary addresses are still active as Mailer Daemons are unable to identify them. If you continue to send emails to hard bounces ISPs smell it as spamming and will finally lump you into the spam can. Attrition rates can overshoot one-third of your list Churn rate is an important factor for any business with a subscriber-based service model. It can multiply up to one-third every year. There could be numerous reasons for which people drop their email addresses but one of them could be the rapid increase in the use of Hotmail aliases by customers. People hide their primary email information from the marketers by creating aliases and dispose of them later. The primary reason driving email churn is the value and efficacy of your marketing campaign. Lack of relevance of your content, over-emailing could be some of the marketer driven reasons. The other reasons could be the change of domains, perhaps a start-up business failed to flourish and all the email addresses associated started returning hard bounces. The common types of spam traps are: Pure, Pristine or True Spam Traps are either created by ISPs, mailbox providers or blacklists services like Spamhaus, Spamcop. They place these email addresses on public websites in a way that is hidden from a normal user but can be scraped by email harvesting bots. Mailing to pristine spam traps can cause several deliverability issues and can even lead to blacklist. Recycled Spam traps are those email addresses that were used by real users in past became abandoned and then converted into a trap by mailbox providers. If you follow unclear list collecting practices you may pick recycle spam trap. Is it possible to remove 100% spam traps from your list? ISPs, anti-spam authorities and inbox providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail never disclose which email addresses are traps. Revealing this list will certainly weaken their purpose of catching spammers. The optimum possible solution is to follow proper list acquisition process. It is always preferable to monitor your reputation proactively using Return Path reputation monitoring. The biggest small change to your email marketing strategy Your company must delete all the hard bounce email addresses on priority. The result will be visible in your campaign reports as an increased open rate. Companies relying on email marketing can put to an end by the blockage of their email marketing campaigns. Hence, it is important for a legitimate email marketer to consider their list cleaning as imperative as making payroll. Benchmark Email adds these addresses to a suppression list which ensures that even if you send emails to them will not get delivered as we understand they are of no use. We want our customers to practice lawful email marketing, therefore we have decided to educate them.


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Understanding Your Email Marketing Reports

Understanding Your Email Marketing Reports

Beyond • July 28, 2016

Whether you’ve been doing email marketing for 24 hours or 10 years, understanding the important metrics in your reports is a crucial part. I come across this question often in regards to the many features our platform offers is, “What does it all mean?” Every marketer should have a sound understanding of these factors in order to fully enjoy the fruits of email marketing. Benchmark offers five types of reports to help marketers identify their targeted and loyal audience: 1. Email Reports We offer real-time tracking of your email marketing and social media campaigns. It gives you the platform to understand your subscribers, clients and fans better with these analytics. Everyone likes to see high open rates and an additional increase in the traffic due to email click-throughs. Let’s also look to help understand what other metrics inform you and how you can apply it to identify your email marketing growth. [caption id=\"attachment_5622\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"997\"] Check this report to identify how many subscribers opened your campaign and, most importantly, who clicked on what.[/caption] The basics: Open rate: It’s pretty self-explanatory. This is the unique number of users who opened your email. Bounces: This includes the list of users who are temporarily or permanently unable to receive your emails. The temporary bounces, aka soft bounces, are due to a full inbox or a subscriber\'s service being unavailable. Permanent bounce, aka hard bounces, occurs due to fake or mistyped email IDs. Stay away from bounces, and remove hard bounces instantly from your list. Links Clicked: Check which link in your campaign received the most clicks and which subscribers clicked those links. Unsubscribe: This number tells you the subscribers who are no longer interested in receiving your campaigns. Make sure to update your database and refrain from sending any campaigns to them in future. Emails Forwarded: Check this to see how many really liked your campaign and have shared with their friends and clients. The click map feature will tell you what percentage of subscribers are clicking your call-to-action buttons. This can help you to design your next campaign with more targeted CTAs. Campaign Comparison reports:  This is a powerful feature that compares multiple sent campaigns on the basis of open rates, clicks, bounces, etc. This report can be helpful to understand how your subscribers reacted to your campaigns. With the geo-tracking feature, you can discover where in the world your subscribers are opening your emails. Easily segment lists based on time zones to make sure your emails are always delivered at the time you want. 2. A/B Test Reports A/B Testing is a common practice in email marketing.  With a very broad audience and a lot of content, sometimes it\'s hard to judge what words or style that a subscriber might like.  We want the contact to like the email so that they will open the email and continue to open future emails you send to them. But what subject line should I use?  What email format works better?  These questions will always be on the mind of an email marketer before sending an email.  The answers to those questions come in the form of A/B Testing.  Not only can you test the subject line, you can also test different emails as well. Reports of A/B Tests can be viewed under the Reports section of your dashboard. Select the A/B campaign for which you want to analyze the results. You can view the opens, bounces and forwards for that campaign. 3. Survey Reports This unique feature helps you to learn more about your subscribers. You can ask their opinions on various subjects and company developments. Benchmark allows you to create a survey in minutes to reach your audience on any device. You can host these surveys to your domain and embed them on any web page. Reports of the survey created can be seen under the Reports button on the dashboard. View the responses, export it in a PDF or reuse it for a new survey. Gauge the individual as well as overall responses that can help you to be even more successful in your future business endeavors. 4. Poll Reports Using Polls can help you discover what your subscribers like. Polls create better engagement with subscribers and your company. Similar to a survey, a poll can be distributed through your email campaigns or placed on your web page. Use a poll to find out what your subscribers want, need and like. Stats for each poll can be seen by clicking on each item under the poll name. You can view the percentage of votes received by each option in your poll. Polls give you the unmatched convenience and efficiency of direct, free engagement with your subscribers. 5. Automation Reports In 2016, we introduced this awesome tool to our customers. This practical tool for marketers has helped them to become a Precision-Oriented Marketer by keeping their email marketing on autopilot. The reports on automation journeys created by the users in Automation Pro can be seen under the Reports section of the dashboard.  The email reports are similar to the one which is available for your general campaigns. It is useful to understand which automation journeys are working for the product and which needs your attention. In Summary At the end of the day, email marketing improvements are based on a few important metrics which every marketer must understand. By following certain tips like maintaining an opt-in list, writing compelling subject line, maintaining streamline sending frequency can help you improve every metrics explained above.            


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Top 10 sales email subject lines to increase open rates

Top 10 sales email subject lines to increase open rates

Practical Marketer • May 20, 2016

You invest time drafting a perfect sales email pitch, inserting the perfect links and crafting the perfect CTA (call-to-action) for your emails. Is your time well spent? All this is a waste if nobody even bothers to open your email. This is where the importance of a subject line becomes the topic of discussion. Email marketing is still among one of the best method of communication with prospects, leads and customers. In the era of the crowded email inbox, before your prospects, leads or customers reads your email ... it has to be opened first. That’s why the subject line of a sales email plays a vital role. The more people that open your emails, the increased probability for sales. Hundreds of billions of sales emails are sent every day to grab the attention of the customer. How many unread emails are there in your inbox? 200? 500? Probably 1,000 if you have subscribed to countless mailing lists. People today get many emails daily and most of them go unopened. People are flooded with more information than ever before and have less time to soak it all in. Most of the emails are simply ignored ... unless they have a rocking subject line. According to a study on email statistics, 35% of recipients open emails based on the subject lines alone and 69% of the recipients report an email as SPAM based on the subject line of the email alone. There isn’t a silver-bullet subject line for a given subject, because what works for one business might not work effectively for another. Just think about this: will you open an email that has a subject line “Open Me” or “Hi” or “URGENT” or “Register to win FREE iPhone 6S+” or something similar? All such emails directly land in your SPAM folder. A bad subject line will get 5x less customers that open and read your emails. The best sales email subject lines should be creative, igniting the interest in the customers. They should have a curiosity seeking subject that is relevant to them, all while also being informative. Looking for some interesting and provoking subject lines for your sales emails that scream out “Open Me Now?” Then here are best sales email subject lines that will boost the open rates of your emails: “Need My Help?” or “Hoping to Help” The best sales people today are the ones who can help their customers solve problems. If your email lands in the inbox with an open-ended subject line like “Tell Me What You Have Been Struggling With” or “Tell Me Everything That You Have Tried and How Can I Help You” or something like “Hoping to Help” there is an increased chance for your emails being opened. Prospects get an idea on your willingness to be of service to the customers. “[Name of the Prospect], do you have 15 minutes for a conversation?” These kind of subject lines distinguish your emails from other marketers, because you’re asking a question directly in the subject line which addresses the person with his or her name. Personalized subject lines with a question in the subject help increase open rates. “We found you through [Name of the Referral]” or “[Name of the Referral] suggested that we connect” If someone referred you to a prospect, make sure to use their name in the subject rather than saving it for the body of the email. Using the name of the referral in subject line grabs a prospect’s attention right away and also gives automatic credibility to the sender for leveraging an existing connection of the prospect. A Subject Line With A Reply “Re” Many marketers use a “Re:” or “FW” in their email subject lines with an eye towards increasing their open and conversion rates. This is a clever tactic, as it exhibits a personal relationship with the prospect that you know them. However, once a prospect open the email and gets to know that they have been tricked and have not had any prior conversations with you this kind of an email subject line will not impress them. If you have actually spoken with them before and this is a factual reply then you can try removing the subject line as a whole and just including “Re” to increase the response rate of your sales emails. Email Subject Lines That Convey An Idea The Prospect Cares About If you are a blogger, an email with a subject “Idea for increasing unique visitors to your [blog name]” may intrigue you enough to click through the email and read it. Nobody wants to miss out on a free idea and the probability that prospects will open an email is greatly increased. Listicle Subject Line With Tips Or Ideas Listicle subject lines in sales emails are an effective and simple way to attract the attention of prospects.  If you are an email marketer, a subject line with “10 Best Email Subject Lines to Increase Your Open Rates by 80%” will attract you more than a subject like “Email Subject Lines To Increase Open Rates.” Using numbers in the subject line makes a prospects aware of what they are going to read. Personalized Email Subject Lines with a Question: “Hi [Name of the Prospect], [Question the prospect is looking to solve]?” If James is a content writer, then an email with a subject line something like “Hi James, Do you know how to write compelling content that boosts traffic?” will surely motivate James to open the email as it addresses his problem. Subject lines with a question are a great way to compel people to open your emails, as prospects are promised that the email content is intended to guide them and help achieve a goal. “Don’t Open This Email” Human Psychology works just the opposite way. If someone refrains you from doing something, you always are keener on doing it. This subject line is the most simple and effective means to create curiosity among the prospects to open your emails. Email Subject Lines That Benefit the Prospect= “A [Benefit] for [Prospects_CompanyName]” If a company, “ABC Inc.,” has recently launched a blog and is looking to increase its subscriber base, then a sales email subject line like “Get your first 2000 subscribers to the ABC Inc. Blog” will invoke the self-interest in opening the email to find out what’s in store to increase the number of subscribers for the blog and help it grow. That level of personalization in the subject line is likely to catch the eyes of the prospect. Email Without A Subject Line / A Blank Subject Line Email Yes, you read it right. If you cannot think of any subject line and have been scratching your head for quite some time, then just type in your email body and hit SEND. According to a study by Sidekick, emails with an empty subject line are opened 8% more often than the emails that contain a subject line. Remember getting your sales email subject lines right or wrong can actually be the difference between your emails being opened and converting to customer or lying dead in the spam folder. The ultimate goal is to make your sales email subject line stand out. These are just some of the convincing sales email subject lines that will increase your email response rates. How you customize these subject lines based on your niche in order  to increase your open rates and click-through rates is up to you. What are your favorite sales email subject lines that have stood out for your email marketing campaigns? Chime in your thoughts in the comments below!


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Gmail Introduced an Additional Security Feature to Warn Users about Unencrypted Emails

Gmail Introduced an Additional Security Feature to Warn Users about Unencrypted Emails

Beyond • April 12, 2016

Want to know if your email has traversed the web over an insecure and unencrypted connection? Gmail’s New Security alert feature was released on Feb 9th, 2016 .With 1 billion active users and growing, Google’s Gmail service rolled out a new feature in honor of “Safer Internet Day.” Google played its part for a better internet on “Safer Internet Day” with the new authentication alerts feature. In 2014, around 40% to 50% of the emails between other service providers and Gmail were not encrypted. Google made an announcement in November 2015 that it would warn users of emails from providers that are not sent from secure and encrypted connections. The novel authentication feature is a fulfillment of its promise. Encryption is a vital security measure in email exchanges, as it reduces the risk of hacking by a third-party. Gmail already uses HTTPS protocol to encrypt user’s connection between the server and web browser, but besides that users do not have any control on the security of the emails that are transmitted on the web. Ideally, emails are sent from one mail server to another server in an unencrypted format. However, with recent advancements in networking and security, Gmail started using a secure transmission protocol Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt messages that are sent through their server as a measure to restrict snooping. This is helpful only when both the parties exchange messages over a TLS protocol. If a server that uses TLS protocol for message transmission with a server that does not use TLS protocol –it is considered as an unencrypted standard. To avoid cyber bullying and hacking attacks, Gmail now alerts its users who do not support TLS Encryption. The new feature is designed with the intent to help users send and receive emails that are completely safe and secure. The two new features rolled out on Feb 9th, 2016 are: Gmail users get an alert whether the email is encrypted or will be encrypted during transmission to the recipient. Gmail users also get an alert about the recipient being authenticated. Gmail now alerts users with a broken lock symbol similar to the one that is used in Google Chrome and other browsers to indicate an insecure connection. Upon clicking the padlock, a dialog box pops up that issues a warning message to the user. The warning sign mentions that their email service does not support encryption and that if the user email contains confidential information, they might want to prefer sending the email using a different email provider that is safe and secure. The novel security feature also warns users when they receive an email that cannot be authenticated cryptographically indicating the probability of a phishing attack. A question mark (?) sign appears on the avatar or the profile photo of the Gmail user whenever they receive an email that cannot be authenticated. Unauthenticated emails might not always be deceitful or dangerous, but this feature is just a reminder for the users to exercise caution whenever they send or receive emails. The additional security feature has been rolled out as a measure to enhance Gmail user’s privacy by warning them on suspicious account access attempts and enforce strident two-step authentication. As a commemorative bonus, Google is providing its users with an additional 2GB of storage space on Google drive if they complete the new security check-up on their Google Account. Isn’t it amazing? What are you waiting for? Upgrade to the new Gmail security check and claim your additional 2GB drive space for free now.


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EU-US Agreed Upon A New Framework “Privacy Shield” To Replace Safe Harbor

EU-US Agreed Upon A New Framework “Privacy Shield” To Replace Safe Harbor

Beyond • February 4, 2016

Recently, we briefed you on Safe Harbor ending and what that meant for email marketers. We told you new developments should be on the way soon. Well, they’re here. This week, the European Commission and the United States agreed on a new framework for transatlantic data flows: the EU-US Privacy Shield. The new arrangement will include the following elements: Strong obligations on companies handling Europeans\' personal data and robust enforcement: U.S. companies collecting personal data from European subscribers will need to commit to comprehensive requirements on how personal data is processed and individual rights are guaranteed. The Department of Commerce will monitor that companies publish their commitments, which makes them enforceable under U.S. law by the US. Federal Trade Commission. In addition, any company handling human resources data from Europe has to commit to comply with decisions by European DPAs. Effective protection of EU citizens\' rights with several redress possibilities: This includes creating “functionally independent ombudsman” who will help citizens to resolve their complaints in case they find that their personal data is being misused. They can easily raise an inquiry or complaint and companies have to reply within a deadline. Under the new agreement, an annual joint review will be conducted for all the US agencies accessing EU citizen’s data to ensure it remains fit for further years. It will be conducted by the EC and US department of commerce. Undoubtedly, Privacy Shield has provided the much needed relief for many businesses that depend on online data transfer. Benchmark Email will continue to adhere to the updated policy and will provide full protection to its user’s data. For further clarification, feel free to contact us at support@benchmarkemail.com


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What is the US-EU Safe Harbor Program and its Importance for Doing Business?

What is the US-EU Safe Harbor Program and its Importance for Doing Business?

Beyond • December 1, 2015

The Data Protection law formulated by the European Commission in 1998 prohibits the transfer of personal data of European citizens to other countries that do not meet privacy protection standards. To comply with this directive, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the EU developed the Safe Harbor Program. It was designed to help to protect the privacy and integrity of the personal information collected and processed by U.S. companies. It allowed companies to self-certify that they would protect EU citizens’ data when transferred to servers and data centers located in U.S. U.S companies should adhere to 7 principles for Safe Harbor certification: Must inform customers the purpose of collecting information about them and the choices and means the organization offers individuals for limiting its use and disclosure. They should also inform the type of third parties they share their information with and how to contact the organization with any inquiries or complaints. Provide clear and affordable mechanism for the users to choose how the information they provide will be disclosed to third parties. Before sharing any personal information with a third party, an organization must see to it that they follow the above two principles. They must also ensure that the third party subscribes to the Safe Harbor Principles. Organizations involved in collecting, processing and the maintenance of users personal data should protect it from misuse, loss, alteration and unauthorized access. An organization should use the information only for the purpose for which it has been collected and should be responsible for keeping it updated and current. Individuals should also have access to the information they provide to the company to an extent. The access may depend on the nature and sensitivity of the information collected. Companies must also include the mechanism for assuring compliance with Safe Harbor Principles and a course of action for the organizations not following it. How does it help with doing business? Curious why so many companies joined Safe Harbor? Or why they chose Safe Harbor over other cross-border data transfer restrictions? Brian Hengesbaugh, a partner in the Chicago office of Baker & McKenzie, said, “It is better suited for online data transfer as it doesn’t require to obtain the consent from the website visitors or enter into bilateral agreements again and again.“ It also helps to avoid the administrative burden of maintaining model contracts and executing new contracts to cover new affiliates for business. Some of the key factors that drove U.S companies to join Safe Harbor were increased demand of cross-border data transfer and reliable solution for implementing data scrutiny. Among other benefits, it also enhanced brand reputation and EU customer satisfaction.


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Benchmark Email and EU Safe Harbor Certification

Benchmark Email and EU Safe Harbor Certification

Beyond • November 29, 2015

After 15 years of successful data transfer based on Safe Harbor Principles, the European courts recently rendered it illegal. Safe Harbor was one of the approaches U.S companies adopted to successfully address the concerns of data security for European citizens. A deadline has been set for the end of January for EU and US authorities to come up with an alternative, which we believe they will accomplish. Meanwhile, we would like to assure you that Benchmark Email strictly complies with the Safe Harbor Principles as stated in our privacy policy. As the European courts have ruled the Safe Harbor agreement is no longer valid, we may update this page. We will continue to adhere to these principles, so if you are already with Benchmark your data and that of your customers or recipients are safe and secure. This invalidation will not affect our services, so you can continue to use Benchmark Email confidently. Those who are new to Benchmark Email can review our terms and policies to gain an understanding of how we protect our customers data. Please contact us at support@benchmarkemail.com for further clarification.


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