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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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 www.EquityMaster.com.

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 not to do Email Marketing: Westside

In this post I look at two important things in an email, relevance and timing.  I received this email from Westside. Several things are wrong with this email. Let’s look at some of the positives first.

How not to do email marketing

The name of the sender is Westside. This is a good practice as the consumer can identify the brand at a glance. This is better than simply mentioning “customer service” as many companies do. The “from” and “reply-to” address says “mywestside.com”.  This is the official domain of Westside but probably Westside.co.in (which is available) or westsideonline.in could be also some possible domains. This just about gives the email a “pass” grade.

I see that it’s mailed by someone called Juvlon.  Juvlon may be your email service provider but this could appear suspicious to your consumers.  A simple solution to this is to create your own sub-domain mapped to the service providers servers.

There is a legal disclaimer which is a plus point, but on looking closer it says “Trent Limited proposes, subject to receipt of requisite approvals, market conditions and other considerations, to issue cumulative compulsorily convertible preference shares on a rights basis to its existing equity shareholders and has filed a draft letter of offer”. Huh? A, don’t expect your customers to know that Westside is a brand owned by Trent, and B, what’s with the preference shares?

One big image = no display = email fail.  If Westside is paying its email service provider per email delivered then this email and many such are wasted money.

When I view the email, the contents look like they are for some competition for children. The contents tie in to the subject line which is again a good point.  However, I don’t have children and this is totally not relevant to me. Looks like someone has just sent an email “blast” (I hate this word and cringe at it every time) without any thought to the profile of the consumer. I guess that there is zero integration between the CRM and email marketing and there is no process of customer segmentation.  Notice the nice flashy GIF image telling me the competition ends on 30th May? Well I received this email on 29th of May.  How successful do you think this email was in getting responses from people?

What was the objective of this email anyway? Was it to get me to sign-up for this competition? Was it to create brand awareness? What has this email achieved irrespective of the Open rates and CTRs? Curiously, even though I am not the target audience, when I click through and go to a landing page, I am unsure of what the child needs to do in the competition; enter a spelling test perhaps or a general knowledge test, probably walk on a ramp.

I believe this was a very well intended idea (asking parents to do something for children in our reality TV obsessed culture sure sounds like a good idea) and if the campaign was executed better it could have made a significant impact in the overall marketing objectives.


How not to do Email Marketing

In this post I look at email from the financial services firm Religare and evaluate it against some very basic email best practices.
How not to do Email Marketing

The from email address, reply-to address and  the from name have the company name.  This builds trust.   Yay!
The subject line is short and very interesting. It makes me want to open the email.  Yay!

How not to do Email Marketing

The entire email body of the message is one large image. Images are usually blocked by most email clients. The customer in such case sees nothing.  This is an opportunity lost. Why should the customer rake the pains of clicking the display images  links and download a massive image?  This  email could have been easily made in HTML to preserve the look and feel of the offer. The only positive point is there is a link to view the email online. #fail

The content of the email is good. It ties in with the subject line. The offer is clear, its short, single message with a single call to action which is great for high recall high response promotional campaign.  Yay!

It is always a good practice to include the main terms and conditions in the footer of the email. This builds confidence and also required legally.  Every email should have an a link for the reader to opt out or a inform the reader about how they can unsubscribe (via link or a reply to with a subject line)#fail