Email Marketing in Sri Lanka: Why Mass Mailing Wont Work

Email marketing in Sri Lanka is on the rise with daily deals sites leading the way in making use of it as a marketing and sales channel.

However there are still many businesses in Sri Lanka who do email marketing the wrong way and suffer heavy losses because of it.

When it comes to email marketing one of the biggest mistakes made by Sri Lankan companies is buying email lists and hoping for a quick turnaround. Needless to say these usually end up as a failure because of many reasons.

Usually a list of around 250,000 Sri Lankan email addresses can cost between Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 40,000. Assuming at least 20% of the list open the email this sounds like a bargain. But the reality is less than 1% open the email and even less take any action based on the email. Now that’s a waste of money if there ever was one. Why such a low open rate? Keep reading.

Why buying email lists won’t work in Sri Lanka

This applies to buying email lists and sending mass emails via another company as well.

  • Majority end up in spam folder
    If you’re sending emails through another company using their list then high percentage of them will end up in spam folders and won’t even reach the users inbox.
    The thing is most of these companies have acquired these emails unethically and people are fed up from emails from them. And marking them as spam is the easiest way to get rid of them.
  • They don’t know you
    Imagine getting an email from a company you know and another mail from a totally unknown company. If you’re a sane person like me you’re more likely to open the email from the known company. When you buy a list or send via another company to a mass list they’ll end up wondering who the hell you are.
  • Most emails are inactive
    Nowadays people are aware and wary of spam emails. They know that when they sign-up for an offer etc. that the emails address is most likely to be sold or share. So most have an email especially for offers that they hardly check. And most email lists are filled with these ones.

Things to Consider When Hiring Email Marketing Companies

I hope I have given you enough reasons not to buy email lists. But what about email marketing companies that send mass mails to their list? Are they worth a try?

The answer is yes some are worth a try, but make sure to do the proper background checks to make sure you won’t end up losing your money. Below are some things you should consider before handing them your email marketing campaigns.

  • Reference customers
    this is something you should look for before buying any service, let alone email marketing. Ask for at least 3 reference customers so you can measure their strengths and weaknesses.
  • How they acquired the email addresses
    if they have acquired the email addresses in an ethical way by providing a genuinely quality service to their list you have a better chance of engaging that audience
  • Campaign targeting
    If you’re promoting a herbal shampoo for ladies there is no point sending those mails to males. Similarly if you’re marketing an aftershave then no point sending that to ladies in the list. Not all companies have these details so choosing a company that has these details will make targeting easier.
Email marketing in Sri Lanka

Ignore email marketing at your peril

Why You Should Build Your Own List

As I mentioned above email marketing in Sri Lanka is on the rise but still very few companies actively use it as a proper marketing tool.

Many still see it as an opportunity to run one off promotions. But an ethically acquired well maintained list can be a powerful marketing tool. Below are few reasons why you should build your own list today.

  • To act as a customer relationship management tool
    having a good relationship with your customers is essential in today’s saturated marketplaces. This is the reasons companies spend so much time and effort manage Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. But they have severe limitation when it comes to personalization.
    If you have a list with decent data you can send a personalized with for your customer on his/her birthday or anniversary. You can tell how long he was with you as a customer and send him a special offer accordingly and do so much more.
  • A tool to inform
    you can use it to inform customers so they’ll benefit more from your products. And more they benefit from your product more likely they’ll buy from you again. For example when someone register for Creately ( I manage online marketing for them ) you get a welcome mail explaining the various tools available in Creately and what you can do with them.
  • Bring in Repeat Sales
    As I mentioned below you can send personalized offers for birthday and anniversaries send in special seasonal offers etc. The ones in the list have already bought from you and hopefully satisfied with what they got. So likelihood of a repeat sale is exponentially higher.

How to Build Your Own Email List

It’s not the easiest task in the world, but it’s not very complex either. Basically you need two things

  • Email delivery service – You need this to send emails and manage your email subscribers. Services like Mailchimp allow you to have up to 2000 subscribers for free. However if you’re list goes beyond that there are other services like Aweber that might work better for you.
  • An irresistible offer – You need to give them a reason to subscribe. An offer can come in many forms. It could be a downloadable book, a special discount to email subscribers, a product brochure or anything that is relevant to your audience.

After you decide on these two add an email capture form in your website and display it in a prominent place.

Doing Email Marketing in Sri Lanka

Building your list is half the task done. Probably the harder part is managing your email subscribers. If you want to be successful in email marketing testing is very important.

You should test your offer, test your email subject lines, and test the email templates. Once you build a decent list you can experiment with segmentation and other advanced features.

This post is long as it is, so I’ll leave advanced email marketing to another post. Make sure to subscribe so you won’t miss any future posts. Have questions about email marketing in Sri Lanka? Do share your concerns in the comments and if you want me to handle your digital marketing for you contact me.


  1. Vindya says

    Hi Sir,

    I am a small scale business women in Sri Lanka. My business is mostly depending on Email Marketing. What are the email address gathering tricks?

    Thank You!

    • says

      Hi Vindya,
      The best way to get email addresses in a legitimate way is to come up with an irresistible offer. Use the contact me link and get in touch so I can see your business and recommend a strategy.

  2. Dr. george Wickramasinghe says

    I have a Christian teaching ministry, which I ran on my money and it has come to a stage of pumping more money for the ministry, which I do not have. So I ave to raise funds by means of donations from Sri Lanka. Can you help me. I can give details of the ministry and bank details.
    Best Regards
    Dr.George Wickramasinghe
    031 22 34054

  3. says

    In present scenario email marketing has become the need of an online business. It’s the best way to communicate with existing customer and also to connect new customers. Actually, it gives you the most affordable and effective means of business promotion. In my opinion, it is the most effective methods of marketing compared to other.

  4. Joseph Mayadunne says

    Hi Nishadha,

    Great article. Thank you for the tips. I run a business in Sri Lanka and planning to incorporate email marketing. I would like to contact you and see if your company can help us in this area.

    Please email me when you get a chance.



  5. July says

    I think email marketing does not work most places now. customers are applying many filters, antispam, so there is very small chance they gey our emails, and when they get it, small chance they read it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 5 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)