I was a bit surprised to get this email from an Indian Restaurant the other day.

Why was I surprised?

Well, firstly, I live in London, not Bexhill on Sea.

Secondly, I’ve never heard of this restaurant, nor signed up to get email blasts related to Indian restaurants, as far as I can recall.

I do, however LIKE Indian food.

And I’ve recently visited Hastings, which is on the South coast near Bexhill.

I remember that when I was in Hastings I bought the friends I was visiting an Indian takeaway as thanks for having me. And I recall that I registered my address online.

So I expect that’s how they got my email.

Fair enough – I don’t really mind them sending it.

However, when I saw the email, my critical internet marketing brain started whirring and I thought…

Hold on, there ARE some things wrong.

In the sense that they could really have hooked me in with their email with some simple techniques that anyone can use.

Because these guys have missed a trick.

In fact, they’re making some common mistakes that too many businesses make with their email marketing.

So I thought I’d share them with you…

See if they can’t boost your subscriber numbers, click-throughs and conversions.

First up…

This email was a surprise and I didn’t have any knowledge of the sender. So instantly, I was worried that it might be dodgy spam, or a scam.

It wasn’t dodgy, but my guard was up and I almost hit ‘delete’ right away.

If you’re going to email strangers, you really need to get past that natural suspicion – and sometimes the anger people feel at being emailed by unfamiliar companies.

A far better way to have approached this would have been to address me by my name. I’m sure that they probably have that on their database.

If I’d seen, ‘Dear Tom’ or “Hi Tom” I might have thought, “Oh, whoever this is knows who I am, and I must have had some dealings with them before.”

Even without knowing my first name, they could have said, “Hi Indian Food fan” or similar.”.

They could then have established a reason for writing.

Because look, if you get hold of an email address where the person hasn’t signed up directly with you, (perhaps via an affiliated business or partner) then really you need to explain how and why you’re writing.

This also applies if you’re got email addresses from people who HAVE signed up to hear from you BUT… you’ve not emailed them in a while.

That’s because it’s very easy to forget that you’ve signed up for an email service. People enter email addresses sometimes on a whim. If you don’t appear soon after they do this, and regularly, they’ll probably not remember you after a few months.


What this restaurant could have done is said the following…

“You recently enjoyed a curry from our sister restaurant in Hastings.”


“I know you’re a fan of Indian food, so I thought you might be interested in this.”


“You recently signed up to the XXXX Indian food website, which is why I thought this would be right up your street.”

Then they could have regaled me with their sales pitch. And in that part, the copy they have is not too bad. It sounds authentic and they reveal a nice benefit when they point out how much money you could save on drink by taking in your own wine.

But is that enough?

Let’s say I was in the local area and feeling hungry. What compelling reason would I have to pick up the phone?

Because the email wasn’t offering me anything special. No deal. No enticement. No sense I was in on something exclusive.
What they could have done is…

• Offered me a discount by giving me a special code that I could take into the restaurant. Or offered me ‘free desert’ or ‘free starter’ with ever meal.

• Put a time limit on that offer – for instance, it’s valid for 7 days, or 14 days, or for December only.

• Explained that it was a special deal for people who got this email only, thereby adding value to this email service (encouraging me not to unsubscribe)

That would have enticed me to click through on their link. And I might have forwarded this email to my friends in Hastings and said “Quick, get on this!”

Further down their email I also noticed this…

Again, they’ve missed a trick…

They could have offered a discount code, valid for 48 hours, or for a particular day of the week, which would have allowed me to get a percentage discount off the price of a takeaway.

This is easy to add to order pages for most eCommerce platforms.

And for takeaway businesses and restaurants it can be a great way to increase orders on quieter days of the week.

In summary then…

Don’t ignore the power of email marketing

I’m not having a go at this business. At least they are USING email. Which is a start. And lots of businesses don’t even bother.

But there’s so much more you can do with a marketing email than just paste a nice image with some blurb about your business.

• Email is personal – the inbox is a hallowed space often reserved for friends, family and colleagues, so get personal and talk directly to the customer.

• Email can be personalised – so if you are approaching relative strangers then try and use their real name, or establish a connection based on their interests.

• Email builds relationships – if you have a bit of
voice and personality in your email, you can establish a more trusting human contact

• Emails get direct responses – emails are your most powerful direct marketing tool, so if you’re doing to send an email blast, come up with a compelling reason to click – an offer, a time limit, a special deal, a deadline, a warning that stock’s are running out.

See if you can add some of these to your email marketing. And if you’ve not yet got an email list, it really is time you did!