Why Do Hackers Target Email Marketing Platforms?

Email marketing is something that takes practice, and you can fall into any number of traps without realizing it that will send your sender reputation plummeting and your emails straight into the spam folder. While you can spend your time learning the ins and outs of email marketing to know exactly what to do, it’s much easier to let an email marketing platform do it for you. However, there are plenty of ways that hackers can take advantage of these platforms, so watch out when you’re starting a campaign! It might be your undoing.

What Is An Email Marketing Platform

An email marketing platform is a piece of software designed to help you solve all of your email marketing problems. Essentially it’s an interface where you can look at the problems you’re having and how you might fix them without having to delve into the data yourself.

Marketing platforms are designed to take all of the data that you input and produce easy to understand graphics and information which will help you make your next decisions with regards to your marketing campaigns. One thing to keep in mind is that an email marketing platform only tells you what is going on, not what you should do next. That decision falls to you.

So, what pitfalls do you need to keep an eye out for? Well, it’s what those platforms do that can be taken advantage of. Below you’ll find some of the features of email marketing platforms, and how they leave you open to exploitation should the worst happen.

Email Deliverability Tools

Nothing is worse than sending an email only for it to end up bouncing or in someone’s spam folder. Email deliverability, or the rate at which your emails reach their intended destination, is a key metric in email marketing. By using a tool to keep an eye on your delivery rates, you can immediately identify when you have a problem and what that problem is.

Email deliverability tools are designed to scale, which means you won’t run into any of the problems that you might when simply using an ordinary email address to conduct your campaigns. It doesn’t matter how many you send, your rating should be up to date and accurate.

The downside? All the information floating around is a prime target for spammers. Getting into someone’s inbox isn’t easy, and those who send malicious content are always on the lookout for ways to get into someone’s inbox. At best you’ll end up having to start your campaign again as you’re flagged as spam or malware, at worst you might take the blame and be sued for letting the damage these people did with your information.

Subscription List Management

Building a subscription list is easy, but when it comes to managing it things can be trickier. Using the tools available for email hygiene, email validation and similar processes you can make sure that your mail is being sent to those who want to receive it, and therefore lower your chances of getting marked as spam (a big hit to your sender reputation).

The software can track last known interactions, how often emails are opened by an individual account and track purchases made linked to that account too. If you’re seeing signs that a user is disengaging, you can track any attempts made to re-engage them and see their effectiveness.

So why is this relevant? Well, hackers often target inactive email accounts in order to create cybercrime that can’t be traced back to them. Having such an account on your list is a bad look, that’s true, but it can also be used to take information about how your emails are formatted, how your images are designed, etc. in order to impersonate you and spread malicious content in your name.

Email Testing Tools

Emails need to be formatted. Unfortunately, the formatting that one ISP uses isn’t the same as another, meaning what comes out as a nice, well laid out email to one recipient can end up being a complete mess to another.

Email testing tools let you see what your recipient would see, allowing you to dodge the side effects of sending to multiple domains. By using these tools, you can be sure that each and every person on your mailing list receives their mail in a format that they can read and understand, minimizing errors and inconsistencies. They can also be used to test your emails’ deliverability, sort of like sending a letter to yourself to check that the postal service will get it to you on time.

The catch when it comes to email testing is that anyone with this information can impersonate you easily, since they know the different formats you use and can spread malicious content in your name. They can even be sold to other organizations under the table, who’ll take advantage of all the hard work you’ve put in to boost their own sales! An underhanded tactic definitely, but one that works.

Data Analysis & Use Tools

Behavioral segmentation, demographic analysis and more, data is the key to marketing and the more personal you can make an email the better equipped you are to tackle the challenges that will come. By taking into account the personal data available on each individual email address and customizing your content accordingly, you’ll see a much higher rate of engagement.

All this requires information, which is ripe for the picking should any hacker get inside your databases. Remember, personal data security is taken extremely seriously by the public at large, with the organizations that were hacked taking the blame rather than those who did the hacking. Keep your information secure and encrypted, and if possible in a format where it’s unable to be traced back to an individual if taken.