Good Email Marketing: Metro Shoes

I like to shop at Metro Shoes and when their store opened in my home town I was thrilled (shoes and women, what can you expect?).  I found their website and quite liked it; It’s got a pleasing design, it’s simple to explore and has lotsa white space.  When I signed up for their newsletter I got a nice welcome email.  Here is a quick glance of all the good things about their emails (and some suggested improvements).
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Developing Quality Email Lists

Getting people to sign-up for your emails is a task that needs patience and hard work.  Here are some pointers to how you can start this program:

Email Marketing in India

1] Respect your visitors. Why should they sign-up for your emails at all? Don’t answer this question, ask people in your neighbourhood, on the street, in your gym. You will be amazed at the insights.  At the height of dotcom frenzy we worked on a TV product company’s website where we got carried away with the features and sizes of TVs and created a complex “compare” TV feature on the website. Sense prevailed and it was thrown out. My assignment after the exercise was to stand in a TV showroom and observe buyer behaviour. 🙂

2] Type of emails. Define email categories and see to it that every email that goes out falls in one of the defined bucket.  Avoid email drips – emails that slip out without falling in any of the buckets. For example you may have a contact us form, that posts to a customer care system and sends out a text thank you email. You will be amazed how many companies do this.  A mutual fund house for example, could send out monthly general newsletter, specific company results information, basics of investing sort of e-learning email, a webinar/ seminar invite, discount / offer/ promotion email or just a collection of who in the industry said what (I personally would love this).

3] Set up goals. How big is your current list? How big do you want it to be? It’s no use having a purchased list of 100,000 customers if your unique visitors every month are less than 1000.  Your list has to be a proportion of your visitors that makes common sense.  This also means that your site traffic needs to grow in tandem with your list growth goals.  I did say this needs patient work. List growth is not something you can buy your way into. Set up an achievable target, a set percentage of your new visitors every month.  Once you decide that 5% of new visitors is your goal, you can start meaningful list increase program.

Email Marketing in India

4] List growth tactics. This is a huge topic and I am so full of thoughts for a next post on this one, so I will simply highlight some nice tactics followed by I got a free Rs 50 Voucher the moment I followed them on twitter via a DM. The link in the DM lead to a quick registration page followed by a promo code valid for a set period. I got a nice welcome message the moment I registered.  A few days later I got another voucher for Rs. 100 off on certain set products. The products were good and well thought out; a book, a lamp, a health product and a wireless headset (who does not need one?).  The email promoted twitter channel prominently and announced that followers would get a discount code.

Email Markeing in India

Not everyone needs or has upfront money to run a program like this but this is far better than spending money on purchasing a list.

5] Monitor List Quality. Your CRM / Email list is should be like an ant hill. Treated with care, intricate, built over a period of time and most importantly their labyrinths combed and cleaned.  Measure hard and soft bounces and move emails that have bounced a few times out of the list. Keep a close watch on unsubscribes and spam reports.  Clean the email addresses for syntax.

I would love to hear from you about your ideas and how you are trying to grow your list.

Bad Email Marketing Practices

This post is not a personal rant. My intention is to show Email Marketers in India why shitty email marketing does not work.

I was introducing myself to a group of people yesterday and mentioned that I do Email Marketing.  The person said, “That’s spamming”. I cringed.  A dialog ensued where I patiently tried to explain how great Email Marketing is and that it is bad marketers that give Email Marketing in India a bad name.

Then this morning I got an Email from Mahindra Club Resorts. Mahindra is a respected brand and group. Their website is great, they have an excellent blog, Mr. Mahindra himself is active on twitter and is a much respected individual. Why then is Club Mahindra pursuing such shitty email marketing practices? (I try not to be so blunt, but you will see why I feel strongly about this.) Here is the email:
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Why dont online retailers in India use Email Marketing?

The online ecommerce space in India is hotting up. I purchased my first book online in 1999 from which was the most happening eCommerce site in town then. It is now merged with Today at least 15 to 20 websites sell this simple first-to-go-eComm product. Prem Piyush Goyal recently wrote a nice post about his experience of shopping on some of these sites. I checked out myself – from an Email Marketers perspective.

The registration was quick. There was no verification of the email though. However I did get a nice welcome email from them promptly (a great thing to do!).The HTML email was very well formatted, showed nicely in my inbox even with the display images option turned off (great!).

Email Marketing in India - Infibeam Email 1

Email Marketing in India - infibeam email

I dont think they are tracking the click throughs though, what a waste! My account does not have any option to subscribe or unsubscribe to a newsletter. I am wondering if they have an Email Marketing program at all. Since there was no link to view the email in a browser, nor an unsubscribe button I am thinking they don’t yet have this in place. If not, it is a shame.  Book lovers love wish lists, deals, second hand books, hot selling books, current best seller must read fiction and non- fiction lists etc. Email is such a wonderful hook to get people back to the site again and again for such book worms (like me!).

One reason why Email Marketing in India is not in the mainstream marketing is due to its “bulk and blast” nature and perception.  Most well known brands in online Email Marketing Services are in Europe and USA. The payments to these companies need to be made in dollars.  I think Indian companies also think that since they have so much programming talent they should have a software in-house to manage their own emails. Because of  low cost resources,  a lot of small companies offer this service at really low rates. The low rates in turn have left the big marketing agencies away. This approach while being cost effective lacks the best-practice direction of marketers. Plus there are no spam laws in place in India. It’s no wonder that mushrooming bulk email companies have spammed Email Marketing out.

There is no reason why a Indian companies can’t download a respectable open source Email Marketing Solution, have a low cost development team to manage it and run their program with Email Marketing best practices.  Where there is a will there is a way!

How long should your email be?

I could not resist writing a second post on this one. I received and email from the nice people at

Email Marketing in India

As far as  long emails go I think this one definitely breaks the record. How long do you think this email is? 5319 words. Yes. I copy pasted the text into a word file just to check how long it might be. With Arial 10 point font and no special spacing, the email is 14 pages long. The image obviously is just the beginning part of the email.

Try reading it. It might just be fun.

How long should your email be?

How long should an email beA simple answer is 600 pixels wide and 600 words long, but you know that the real answer is “it depends”.

The first question I ask is what is the email supposed to do? It is supposed to generate a click through to  your landing page, right? You can tinker around with your design, subject line,  call to action buttons all you want and even  optimise your landing page.  Nothing is going to help you if  the content you have on your site  and therefore the email is not what the reader is looking for.

The question is not how long should the email be. The real question is, is the email relevant at all?

To give you an example,  I subscribe to  Ajit Dayal’s “The Honest  Truth” newsletter.   This is an email that has no special HTML design and is a very long one indeed almost 1500 words long. Yet, this will not be considered long by most of his readers.

Another example is of CNBC India Business update that I get daily in my inbox. I have now begun to quickly scan the email and click on only the most interesting story.  This too is not really a bad thing so long as I can quickly scan the stories of the day.

So the real answer is your email could be long or a short one, it really needs to be relevant.

Opportunities in Email Marketing in India