Email Marketing Design & Strategy – what not to do

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Let’s talk about Email Marketing Design and Strategy.  

It’s nearing the holidays and as part of your Digital Marketing Campaign, it’s time for you to send out an email thanking all your clients for their continuous support, and also a reminder for them to do xyz. Insert Call To Action.


Now let’s have a look at this email sent from a Pediatric Dentist’s office to their patient.

They have sent an email, addressing it to Zuni, their patient, and are thanking her for her continued patronage, while encouraging her to come back for an appointment, and utilize her remaining dental benefits before the year ends.

Zuni is also a two-year-old toddler who cannot read or write and doesn’t own an email. So essentially, this email is meant for me, her parent.

Also, FWIW, there’s no subject written for the email.

I am going to be very candid about this one – This right here, is a classic example of apathetic email marketing. As the receiver of this email, it immediately ticked me off and almost offended me, because it showed lack of any thought put into creating this email. You are a pediatric dentistry clinic addressing an email to a child, when you target market is their parent/ guardian on file.

It made me question if they really cared about having us as their patient/client, etc.

Email marketing is a powerful tool but taken for granted because almost everyone uses it. As an Event Producer for high-end events and as a Project Manager for not-for-profits, I learned early on, how crucial it is to get your audience’s information correct. Their names, first and last, their titles, the spellings, the exact messaging — all matter greatly. I have seen agencies lose important businesses, fundraisers lose high-level donors, just because someone in their team got their names wrong or didn’t take efforts in customizing the messaging for their clients.

And rightfully so. If you as a brand, product, service, cannot get this basic 101 right, how are you going to be trusted. In today’s climate, you will one hundred percent come across as someone who doesn’t care enough about your customers.

Don’t get me wrong. This office is amazing at what they do. And I am still disappointed.

In the case of this email, for example, the fact is, I am the child’s parent, and my email is on record. And they’re aware this email is coming to me. It would have been wonderful to see an email that starts with:

Dear Ms Mansukhani,

As we approach the end of the year, we want you to know how much we appreciate having your child, Zuni, as our patient. We recognize you have a choice in whom you select as her dentist, and we are grateful you have chosen us for Zuni.”

There. That simple. A little bit of logic, a little bit of empathy, a little bit of effort, to show you care for our business.

So, here are three quick tips on how you can have better and effective emails sent out as part of your overall digital marketing strategy:

  • If your target market is different than the end user, tailor your messaging.
    • I cannot emphasize this enough. Depending on the nature of your product, service, etc., tailor your messaging to resonate with the primary/secondary customer, who’s responsible for the care and decision-making of the end user. Take for instance pet owners. Imagine an email sent to a pet-parent, addressing their dog named Coco, with a “Dear Coco, we love having you as our client and we love sending you dog treats each month. Now is the time to buy more.” Don’t do that. Among all the hundred emails people get from multiple businesses, this helps you stand out and goes a long way.
  • Let there be a voice to your email.
    • One sure-shot way of having customers lose interest in you, is by showing them the same. Have a voice to your email. Like you’re having a conversation. And let it be genuine. Care about your customers and mean it.
  • Have a subject for crying out loud.
    • Do I really need to get into this one?

A bonus tip: Even if you’re mass emailing, customize wherever possible. Make separate client lists and categories if you have to and edit the messaging accordingly. This also goes a long way. And make sure you have the correct list of full names, titles, spellings, etc.

That’s all for now.

© 2022 Deepti Mansukhani