Why You Should Stop Giving Discounts

  • Published on:
    June 7, 2020
  • Reading time by:
    5 minutes

Why Now More Than Ever, You Shouldn’t Be Following Best Practices in Email Marketing

I know it can be tempting to send another discount email.

You’re exhausted, your creative fuel is running low, and everybody else is doing it, so why shouldn’t you? Email best practices say that subscribers love discounts, short emails, and snappy subject lines.

But have you noticed what your email subscribers think of those “best practices” after getting the same types of emails from you for 3+ months? They start to ignore them. Your best practices become your worst enemy because you give no other reason for subscribers to open your emails and right now especially…you need your readers to be listening to you

So throw your best practices out the window, listen to the data, and start sounding like a living, breathing human being. No one’s going to read writing that sounds like a robot right now.

Focus on Value, Not on Price

So many retailers compete on price, but what else do you have to offer? You have to keep in mind that competing on price is a losing battle because people don’t connect through numbers, they connect through emotions. So before you write your next set of emails, list dozens of ways your products can bring value to your reader. 

  • If she were to buy coffee from you, what would she no longer have to worry about? 
  • What kind of health benefits would she be getting? 
  • Is it already ground? 
  • Does the packaging come with tips on how to keep the cofee fresher for longer?
  • How has it helped others like the reader?

When you offer value, your reader will have an infinitely easier time of choosing your email to open over every other email offering a discount because you won’t be boring them, you’ll be educating them.


<a screenshot of my email onbox>

In a Sea of the Best, Be Different

New York Times best-selling author and former advertising executive, Sally Hogshead, has famously stated that it’s better to be different than it is to be better. You can apply this same principle to the inbox. Why? No matter how incredible your company claims to be, there are hundreds of others PER DAY claiming the same thing. Do you want to be a carbon copy or do you stand to stand out amongst the crowd?

Lots of companies like to claim that they’re #1 but leave readers wondering why. Instead of claiming to be the best, show how your products are ideal for your reader. Your reader won’t care if you’re selling the best damn Cab Sauv on this side of Napa Valley if she doesn’t enjoy full-bodied reds. She cares about wine that she can share amongst friends in a virtual meet-up or when the pandemic is over. She likes low tannins and fruity flavors. She cares about the way the grapes are grown and if your wines are organic. She wants to know the shipping process and how you make sure to handle it with care.

Start with showing your reader how your company is different. She can decide for herself if your products are best for her, not for everyone.

Address Objections Instead of Relying on Persuasion Triggers

One of the greatest marketers, Eugene Schwartz, wrote in his book Breakthrough Advertising, “You cannot create desire, you can only channel it.” 

That means that you can throw all of the persuasion triggers you want into an email, but unless you create a clear path to someone’s desire, they ain’t gonna budge. Even the most interested buyer in the world is going to have objections before eventually buying your product.

For example, if you run a luxury clothing rental subscription company, there might be dozens of items you’ve listed in your email that look beautiful to your reader. But seeing what a piece of clothing looks like is not the only reason someone will buy. There’s the issue of shipping, spills, rips, cleaning, fabric material, and so many more. Your reader wants to know about all of these different details before she gives you her hard-earned money.

She wants to know if you can solve all of her problems more so than anything else, because she’s not just buying a kickass maxi dress. She might buying a comfortable way to look good at a summer barbeque without worrying about sweating through her clothing.

What Should You Do Now?

It costs a lot to constantly run ads to acquire more email subscribers, so use these tips if you want to increase your lifetime value. Keep sending canned discounts and you’ll burn through your list before the summer. 

Veronika Kabarguina

Veronika Kabarguina is an e-commerce email marketer who has helped dozens of e-commerce businesses get more revenue using on-brand, kickass email copy. Her email marketing philosophy is based entirely on handling reader objections over offering discounts. She’s a big proponent of sustainable and organic practices. When she’s not writing, she likes to walk her King Shepherd, cook a new meal, enjoy a stellar glass of wine, weight train, and write in the first person.

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