Legal Shield Infographics

 

If you’re part of the Legal Shield team, we have included the 3 holiday infographics in a Seasonal campaign for you.  To view, go to Autoresponder tab, View Email, scroll down to Seasonal and see the 2013 Infographics emails.

 

Backup Your Computer

Don’t lose valuable information on your computer! 
Local weather related power outages or computer crashes could wipe out your business and personal information. Using an offsite backup service, with daily backup, means your information and data is secure (yes, it’s encrypted) off site in the cloud, and available to you 24/7.

We’ve researched many backup services and recommend the one we use ourselves. IBackup has the best options and reasonable rates.

Online Backup

  • 25-30% faster and more consistent on backup and restore compared to other services
  • professional business platform – great for businesses and home office computers
  • can use on multiple computers – great for your desktop and your laptop. 
  • works in offices with multiple computers (just choose the right backup size service for the amount of data you need).
  • 24/7 file access from any standard web browser
  • Monitored 24 x 7 x 365 protection against physical and network security threats
  • Encrypted transfer and storage that prevents tampering, alterations and unauthorized access
  • Simple to use:  Download, install, and run the IBackup application.  Accept the default backup set and schedule, or easily customize.
  • Use Promo code sohosnet

 

How To Overcome Email Spam

Here’s the remainder of the article I posted yesterday about the business of spam.  While there may be "few" spammers, they are very prolific and send out a lot of email (as I’m sure you have seen in your own inbox).

In addition to what is shared below, be aware that any attachment that ends in .exe or .zip is a clear indicator of trouble. Do not click on it unless the .zip is for a file you are expecting from a known and trusted sender.  If you receive an email that appears to be from your bank or credit card company asking you to click a link to log in for some reason, do NOT do that.  Go instead to the website and log in as you normally would.  If the email is legitimate you can proceed from there. Unfortunately, the likelihood is the information is not legitimate, but you saved yourself from being tricked by the spammers.
Marian

by Marti Trewe in Tech News – February 9, 2013

How to overcome email spam on your own
email spam
First and foremost, people should use discretion when giving out their email address and be guarded with it, especially on unknown websites.

Most importantly, avoid clicking any links in any emails when at all possible, unless you know for sure it is from someone you know and trust, and are certain it is not a spam email sent from their account after being hijacked – if you aren’t sure if the link is legitimate, verify by sending a separate email to the person asking if they just emailed you a link.

You should never respond to a spam email, even if it tells you “reply to unsubscribe,” particularly if you’re being sold Viagra or casino chips, or other common targeted spam keywords we’ve all come to know and hate.

Report email spam which is a built in feature of some email services, like Gmail. Alternatively, to take it a step further, forwarding what you believe to be spam to “spam@uce.gov” will get the email into the hands of the federal authorities (the Federal Trade Commission) who add them to a database used to prosecute those who are scamming or practicing deceptive advertising methods. About.com offers several more tips and tricks for fighting email spam.

The takeaway
Although it feels like this problem should have been eradicated by now, it simply is not, so safeguard your email account, especially if you use it for work. These spammers may be few in number, and while the federal government is pursuing their illegal acts, they are vicious in their practices, so the best weapon is awareness.

How Does Email Spam Work?

While spam can be any email send without some form of permission, we’ve all had spam emails filling our inboxes, trying to get us to follow the spammer’s tricks.  I recently found the following article that shares some interesting information about the business of spamming (and yes it’s a big business!).  In many cases they’re also identity thieves.  My next post will share information on how you can be proactive in protecting your email account.
Marian
 

by Marti Trewe in Tech News – February 9, 2013  

email spam
Nearly 80% of email spam traced to under 100 spam operations. Email spam is a riddle yet to be completely solved, but the majority of spam is perpetrated by so few spammers. There are ways you can avoid getting spammed or scammed.

According to Spamhaus.org, as much as 80% of spam received by Internet users in North America and Europe can be traced to fewer than 100 spammers. Spamhaus maintains the Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO), a database that collates information and evidence on known professional spam operations.

These spammers operate illegally and move from network to network and nation to nation seeking out Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with lax security. ROSKO says they are a “three strikes” register, listing only spammers who have been kicked off of at least three ISPs.

So how does email spam work?
Generally speaking, spammers obtain email addresses from websites and through various means, then deliver spam emails to those addresses attempting to trick email filters, and look legitimate (like fake failure notices). Recipients that are tricked may either click a link that results in a chain of events wherein their email account begins sending out spam links to everyone in their contacts list, their computer is infected with a virus, or they are sent to a website that looks like it is selling legitimate goods, but are not (hence collecting credit card numbers and the like).

How do they make money? Spammers make ad revenue from clicks to pages, or for buying/selling email addresses, or from scamming people into giving them money for non-existent goods or charities. In a study by multiple universities, it was uncovered that 95 percent of revenues email spam perpetrators make is cleared through only three banks.

Not only are email spam operations few in number, the banks clearing their money are fewer.

ResponderWorks Holiday eCards

 

For those of you using the ResponderWorks.com contact manager and autoresponder system, we’ve activated some holiday cards for you to use to send to customers, prospects and others.

When you log into your system, Go to Autoresponder tab, then View Emails, and select Seasonal in the left hand box.  You will have 5 options in the right hand box. Select them one at a time to view before choosing which card you want to send.

 ResponderWorks Holiday Greetings 2012

Email Lists and Marketing Campaigns

If you plan to promote your business, you should seriously consider email marketing as at least one tier of your online marketing campaign. Not using email marketing can cause you to lose out on a great deal of business. If you don’t appeal to potential customers via email, your business may lose out to competitors who are using email marketing campaigns to reach customers around the world.

The first step of your email marketing campaign should be creating an email campaign (series of email letters that go out over a period of time that you determine).  Then you need an email distribution list.  Here are a couple of common ways to add people to your email campaigns. Once you have made the decision to start using email marketing to promote your business you are likely facing the dilemma of compiling an email distribution list. This is essentially a list of names and email addresses to whom you will email your advertising and promotional materials.

Purchased Lists
One common way to gain a list of email addresses is to purchase a targeted list. This is very important because you want to reach a large audience of your overall target audience with your email marketing. Sending unrelated email to people with no interest in what you have to offer will get you poor results and possibly get you labeled as a spammer.  When you purchase a list you need to know if the list is current. People change email addresses often and then you’d be paying for names and email addresses that go nowhere.  You also want to know that the people on your list actually opted in to receive email from you or someone else who has what you have to offer. Some list brokers get names through what is called co-registration.  This happens when someone requests information on an item online (for example, information about a vacation city) and then a new message asks if they might also be interested in diets, magazines, or other items before processing their original request. Some will list demographics (home ownership, income level, age, etc.) and then the person gets emails and calls from home security systems, for example.  Totally not related to the travel city.  When you call a lead from this type list, your prospect usually has no idea why you are calling. This is not a good list.  Some list brokers sell the same lists numerous times.  It’s best if you use lists that people you trust have referred you to, or do the research to make sure you are working with a reputable list broker.

Referrals and online opt-ins
Another way to create an email distribution list for your email marketing campaign is to ask current customers as well as interested potential customers to give you a personal okay to send them information. Or they can register on your  website to receive additional information and periodic updates about your products and services as well as other information which might be of interest to them.  You can include a link to your opt-in web page in the signature block of your emails, for example. This landing page provides a place for them to "opt-in" by filling in their name and email address and phone. This provides you with a database of names and email addresses from current customers as well as potential customers who have a genuine interest in your products and services and who are interested in learning more. With Responderworkspro.com opt-in forms, the prospect’s information is immediately added to your email campaign database for you, and the email letters start going out to them. This is why you want to have your email campaign in place first.

Sending emails to your lists
As you build a list of interested customers or potential customers you should be sending emails to the members of your email list. These email letters should contain a wealth of valuable information as well as a soft sell pitch for your products and services. This information will be valued by the readers and may help to persuade them to try your products and services. You might also want to include useful links to your website or other websites which may be of interest to your readers. Your content should also contain a portion which urges the reader to take a specific action such as making a purchase or at least investigating your product or service further.

Avoid being labeled as spam
Internet users are very quick to delete materials they believe to be spam without even opening or reading the emails. In fact most Internet service providers include spam filters which may automatically delete your emails if your messages appear to be spam. These filters run complex algorithms on the subject heading and content of the message to determine whether or not it is spam.  They are quite adept at weeding out real spam, but if your email has wording that is part of the spam filters, you can be treated as spam as well. Therefore you’d run the risk of having your email marketing effort wasted if the majority of recipients never even read or receive the message. It is wise to learn what words to avoid and to not sound like hype or make unsubstantiated promises.  Make your content value driven and create a subject line that draws the reader into the email for best results.
 

Why your computer gets viruses

An interesting study by a Danish security firm found the main reasons people get viruses is because they don’t update their software.

The main vectors for getting infected are via old versions of Adobe Flash, Adobe PDF Reader, Java and Microsoft Internet Explorer. So if you use these, make sure you keep them up to date!

The conclusion of this study is that as much as 99.8 % of all virus/malware infections caused by commercial exploit kits are a direct result of the lack of updating five specific software packages.

As they say, prevention is better than a cure. As annoying as it is, it’s safer to keep your software up to date (and less annoying than getting a virus).

Microsoft recently published a similar study where they found about 90% of virus infections were through unpatched software.

Company Name Change

ResponderWorks has many members who are part of a company that recently changed its name. This is certainly an historic event for Pre-Paid Legal Associates, now known as Legal Shield. 

We’re working behind the scenes to change out the company name on the email campaigns created by us for PPLSI – LegalShield associates. First you’ll see the changes in the prospecting campaigns, then retention campaigns, and we’ll continue to make sure all email campaigns have the Legal Shield name instead of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.

If you’ve created your own campaigns you’ll need to change those company references yourself.

We’re happy to help you stay current with your contact information. If you have questions about this change, please email us at customerservice@sohos.net.

Tech Tips – Spyware, Risks and How to Prevent it

Spyware is a type of malware (software) that can be installed on computers, and which collects small pieces of information about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user, and can be difficult to detect. Typically, spyware is secretly installed on the user’s personal computer. Sometimes, however, spyware such as keyloggers are installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or public computer on purpose in order to secretly monitor other users.

Keyloggers are software programs that covertly record and monitor keystrokes (like your passwords) made on a remote computer, typically using a dedicated software application or piece of implanted hardware. Companies may do this to monitor their employees’ use of their computers like going to game sites or other non-work related sites while on the job.  When done covertly on your personal computer, it’s definitely not intended for your good. It’s an automated software program, and not some individual watching your computer activity.

Risks:

  • Identity Theft- stealing passwords, account information, even credit card numbers
  • Shutting down your computer or permantly erasing files
  • Using your computer as a server. Spyware can and will embed itself in your computer and then act as a remote server (pass through computer) to distribute other harmful programs or images, delivering malicious programs to others. This means the spyware program is using your computer to send these things out.  Each computer has an identity number so doing this masks their identity and points to you as the one sending the harmful programs or images. Porn suppliers randomly seek computers they can hack for this purpose.
  • Redirecting your URL’s. Your website content will disappear and the hacker’s content will appear.

Malware, spyware, and other junk software typically makes it onto a computer for a number of reasons:

  • You down load something you really shouldn’t have, from an untrustworthy source. For example, you get an email from an unknown person promising something you might be interested in, or some official looking email saying they need to verify your information, and they give you a link to click on – don’t!  This might be a virus, or spyware or a keylogger program that will compromise your computer and your identity.
  • You thought you were installing a “reputable” application, but it actually bundles “optional” features that are actually malware. Malware is often lurking behind a “reputable” source but disguised as something innocuous or desirable. This technique is known as the Trojan Horse. Be very careful of what you are installing and its source.
  • You’ve already managed to get yourself infected, and the malware installs even more malware. Once a system has been compromised most malware software will install a backdoor. This allows for other malware or harmful things to be easily installed in the future. This method is typically used by a malicious individual to gain secure remote access to a computer, while attempting to remain hidden from view. 

Prevention:

A good Anti-virus program is a must. There are free ones like AVG or you can purchase the well known Norton’s or McAfee, as well as others. You can set them up to run automatically at night (if you leave your computer on) or sometime during the day when you do have your computer on.  You’ll want to select a time when running the program doesn’t slow down your computer while you are using it.

Regularly back up your computer.  This way if something does infect your computer you will be able to recover programs and data.  The same thing applies here – you can set up an automatic backup at a time when you know your computer will on. Pick a time when you aren’t actively using your computer.

If you get an email asking to verify information and it’s to an account that you do have, such as PayPal, do not use the link in the email to go to the website.  Open your browser and fill in the domain name yourself.  If it’s a legitimate request you’ll be able to get the information there, and if not, you have potentially saved yourself a lot of grief.

If you do get a virus or other unwanted programs on your computer, contact someone who really knows how to remove them.  A trained person can save you time, frustration and lost data.

 

Using Social Media and Email Marketing to Grow Your Business

Social Media isn’t just for updating your friends and sharing your latest photos, it can help you grow your business!

As of May 31, 2011, Facebook was fast approaching its 700-millionth signup. You don’t even have to tweet to enjoy Twitter.  Whether you tweet 100 times a day (please don’t) or never, you still have access to information about what interests you. Many people simply use Twitter as a way to keep up with friends and acquaintances or get the latest information on your interests.

According to a SocialWare survey, 79% of the largest Fortune 500 firms use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or corporate blogs to communicate with customers and others. And 69% of them report that their companies have gained measurable business benefits from social technologies, including more effective marketing, more innovative products and services, better access to knowledge, lower costs of doing business, and higher revenues.

So does that mean Email Marketing isn’t as effective? Absolutely not! Email Marketing is still going strong. According to an Econsultancy survey in early 2011, 72% answered that Return On Investment (ROI) of their email marketing campaigns is excellent. Also, 39.4% of marketing industry executives called Email Marketing “the most powerful advertising channel for their business”, according to Datran Media’s 2010 Annual Marketing and Media Survey.

By using social media avenues you’re able to direct people to your email campaigns. Include occasional posts with your business website or landing page. Have your website link in your social media bio information. Those who are really interested in what you’re offering will sign up (opt-in) to learn more about your information and why they should become customers or join your business. Your email campaign should give them more information about your product or service.  Include a link to your Facebook or Twitter page on your website if possible. In fact, 54% said their marketing efforts were better with both social media and email campaigns.

With social media, be sure to follow the unwritten rules, which include how often to share your marketing message. You need a combination of personal information, valuable topical information, and only 25-30% of your posts about your business. Be purposeful in what you post and you’ll develop a following who know, like and trust you. Using email to boost your social media voice and vice-versa is key to reaching more people and growing your business!