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:

Email Marketing in India

1]  “If you can not view Image Snatch The Deal Here.” is shitty.  There aren’t any images in the mail. This sneaky way of asking the reader to click is sick.

Email Marketing in India

2] The content of the mail says get an LCD TV on sign up and the image on the landing page simply shows an LCD TV. Post sign up there is no talk of it at all. The landing page does not talk about who all will get the offer. There are no terms and conditions. Am I to assume everyone who signs up will get an LCD TV?

3] The “from” address is bialystoknlcaek@googlemail.com. The first part of the email has some resemblance to Bialystok which is a place in Poland.  The click through is tracked by a GIF image that is hosted on a domain owned by a company in UK.

Email Marketing in India

4] This email is sent from Google groups. The name of the group is Mahindra, the description of the group says “Fresher and Experienced Jobs in India”. The email addresses of 1.7 lakh users have been added (mine was without consent) and also have been made public. Adding users this way is a feature in Google Groups but there is a very clear warning from Google: “Note: Please use this feature carefully. Only add people you know. Using this feature for sending unwanted email can result in account deactivation.

So Club Mahindra or someone generous enough to send campaign traffic to Club Mahindra has flouted all the rules and made a desperate attempt to push a sign up deal through and that too in such a shabby manner. They may have avoided black listing for now, but such costs ( like this post) catch up sooner than later.

How is this helping their Brand? Is this what the Brand stands for? They might even get a few sign-ups from people who might ignore such things, but in the long run is this a viable method of generating traffic? Why short sell your value to gain a spike in visitors?

Club Mahindra has ample ways to increase their Email Marketing list; Tie up with existing publishers, have email sign up forms on all social media pages, blog, website and even physical payment counters; start a photo sharing contest, or a viral media campaign etc.  A customer who gives his email is far more valuable than blanket blast. Quality is always more important that quantity when it comes to Email Marketing list (and in most things in life).

I hope this was a one-off mistake by someone in the Club Mahindra team who was too eager an online marketer with little experience or appreciation for what Email Marketing is all about.

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