Marketing vs Phishing: Emails That Get The Most Clicks

Posted by on October 16, 2017

I was reading “Phishing Emails that Invoke Fear, Urgency, Get the Most Clicks” and immediately got worried that if the author swapped “phishing” for “marketing” and “victim” for “prospect” the copy would still apply.

Case in point, the subhead reads: The most commonly clicked phishing emails include urgent calls to action, or exploit victims’ desire for popularity.

“When you look at the top five items, four out of those five have words like ‘expires,’ ‘immediately,’ ‘notification,'” says Greg Kras, KnowBe4’s chief success officer. “They’re all designed to get that sense of urgency. When people see that, they go into corrective action overflow where they’re trying to address what they consider to be a problem.”

Marketers may not use quite the same trigger words in their email subject lines as attackers, but there is still room for caution in your tests. Does the subject line and the content in the body of the email connect? Are you delivering on your promise – or testing out a gimmick?

I’ve learned that subject lines that include scare tactics perform well when used thoughtfully. It’s best to use this approach when speaking to vulnerabilities, challenges and threats tech professionals face in their role such as “6 Reasons Your Top IT Employees Will Quit.”

Think about ways that you can evoke emotion and sense of urgency around important issues your audience is focused on. For example, if you’re looking for leads that are from a certain vertical, such as banking or government make sure that your title actually appeals to them! This is simple advice, but there are so many emails promoting assets meant for vertical leads that don’t have anything to do with the vertical in the subject line. What banking professional is going to open or click on an asset that has the title of “Tips for Power and Cooling”? Why should they? That title doesn’t speak to them at all. Instead, that title could be changed to “Tips to Cool Your Bank’s Critical Data Center Today.” It features the vertical you’re targeting and includes a light dose of urgency.

Don’t scare just for shock value. Think of ways to get your message across that will make your readers think and want to read what you have to say beyond a single email.