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A Passage From India - Gary Spinks Strategic Copywriter

A Passage From India

We’ll get to this passage of words in a moment but first…

Email from India

… Have you ever been to India?

It’s a fascinating country. Rich in history. Rich in culture. Rich in contrasts.

Everyone who has visited or travelled there will have left with a new experience, mixed emotions and vibrant memories.

The Taj Mahal is everything anyone has ever told you about it. Majestic. Beautiful. Peaceful. Tranquil. It lives up to the hype.

The palaces and forts of India are splendid. They filled me with awe and wonder.

The burning ghats which line the water’s edge of the Ganges river at Varanasi provide a spectacle which splits the emotions. Something inside says you shouldn’t really look… but you do anyway.

The roads are chaotic, frenetic and noisy. Travelling by train requires a cool head and the patience of a saint. The dirt, squalor, poverty and begging are all too common a sight.

A country of contrasts.

With all this richness of experience you would imagine everything about India would fill the senses and grip the emotions.

Not so the marketing emails sent overseas by its seemingly endless army of web designers, web developers, SEO specialists and technology companies.

You may have encountered a few of these recently in your inbox. Or loitering with intent in your spam folder.

Ones like the one pictured.

It could be spam and a phoney message. But it could just as easily be a genuine message from a firm in India – an authentic message but badly written.

This email makes so many mistakes on so many levels. Where does one begin?

Let’s start with the subject line…

‘web design and development services..!!’

A poor and lazy attempt to attract attention in a recipient’s crowded inbox. No curiosity. No news. No offer. No incentive. No humour. No personality. No charm. No value.

One exclamation mark here is one too many. Two is just lame and fails to disguise the fact there is nothing here to excite or interest the reader.

The sender would be lucky to get any opens. Those they do get are most likely going to be by accident or mistake. None will have been merited.

The greeting is a simple ‘Hi. Again, an unnecessary exclamation mark added to it.

The sender cannot provide a name because the only data they have is an email address. Where they got the address from is a mystery… and not our concern right now.

The greeting is perhaps a little too informal for someone who does not know me at all. But it’s by no means the worst offence being committed with this message.

Here’s how the email opens…

‘We are an Indian based Website Design & Development’ (sic).

So what?

‘We have a dedicated team of 100+ professional designers and developers’..

So what?

‘…with over 8 years of experience’…

So what?

‘…and we thrive on the idea that design makes a difference.’

What does this mean? What does it mean for me? How does it make a difference?

The opening is all about the sender and their company. It should be all about the recipient – the prospect.

The second line simply lists a string of services. No benefits. No sense of the value of these. No reason to choose one.

Dull. Dull. Dull.

And what’s on offer if by the remotest chance there’s a service of interest to me?

They will send me ‘more information’.

Why not offer some information in the email?

Why not have a link to a web page with more details?

Why not just take their BEST offer and just present that?

The sender says they can send me (and my company) ‘an affordable quotation with the best offer’…

… which is plain crazy.

There is the assumption I have a company or run a company (that may or may not be true).

There is the assumption that I am seeking an “affordable” solution. I might be looking for a premium quality service and be prepared to pay extra if it delivers much better results.

There is the assumption that this web company can provide me with a quote which meets my precise requirements with NO conversation beforehand. How many businesses buy web services without talking first?

The sender ‘awaits my replies’.

Another example of poor English. Language which rings alarm bells about a company which claims it can deliver you a quality website and web services.

OK, I get it. The message is from India. English may not be the person’s first language. But there are so many free translation tools online these days that anyone can – in a short space of time – produce a more accurate piece of communication than this one.

There’s no name in the signature line. The job title has NO mention of web design or web services. So it does not match up with the subject of the message.

There won’t be any ‘replies’ from me. No requests for more information.

And the most amusing line is left to the end.

A footnote says: ‘We are not spammers and are against spamming of any kind. If you are not interested then you can reply with a simple “NO”, we will never contact you again.’

Well, I didn’t give this person or company my permission to send me marketing messages. They have not explained how they got my details or why they are writing.

In anyone’s book that’s spam.

Now, I’m not having a go at India here. It just so happens I’ve received a few messages from companies claiming to be from there in recent weeks and they all make similar mistakes.

The source of shoddy, weak or lazy marketing emails sent to my inbox is not confined to the sub-continent.

Many messages I receive from the UK and other countries are also poor in quality and destined for failure.

No care with subject lines.

No attention to the opening.

No structure.

No offer or content of value.

No call to action.

It’s as if entrepreneurs and business owners have been told it’s important to send emails but not been shown how to do it.

Despite what you might read – especially on Social Media (typically from people selling Social Media services) – this is still a very powerful weapon in your marketing armoury.

Emails (done well) work…

If you would like yours to do a little more for you, I can help. You can contact me here.

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