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the most lethal long term email mistake (even though it works in the short term)

After working with several brands on their emails, auditing even more brands, keeping my eyes peeled on certain brands and their email marketing strategy, and developing my own product launch system, there’s one mistake that trumps all the others when it comes to your email marketing strategy:

The way you run, plan, and promote your promos.

I’ve sometimes also referred to this problem as offering a discount in every single email, but that ain’t quite right. If you have a high-ticket program, for example, it makes sense to run a somewhat continuous discount to make people take action today vs waiting for tomorrow. (Ecom brands rarely have high-ticket offers, but many in the infoproduct space do this with large success.)

But both mistakes are in the same ballpark. It’s just not so much the fault of the discounts and promotions as it is your reliance on urgency-based emails.

Before I tear them to shreds, let me give them some props:

Urgency-based emails are often shorter and sweeter compared to what I call “content-based” emails. Instead of telling a story, teasing info that can take you from where you are now to your desired state, and otherwise proving you not only know your shyt but eat it too (wait, wrong analogy… not only do you know your shyt, but you’re giving every subscriber a reason to keep opening and reading your emails), urgency-based emails don’t do none of that.

They just get straight to the point. For example, if you want XYZ product for 30% off, you only have a few hours to grab it before the discount goes away. And they work like gangbusters.

The problem is, most brands rely too much on urgency-based emails.


Well because, frankly, they work. Nine times outta ten, urgency-based emails generate more sales than any other type of email, which fools brand owners into making urgency-based emails the main crux of their strategy.

But this is a mistake.


For several reasons:

1. Most people already (wrongly) believe that shorter emails are better. The people most likely to believe this falsehood are the owners of said brand, who themselves hate long emails because they’re busy, and don’t realize that their customers aren’t the spitting image of themselves.

2. Short and punchy urgency-based emails offer no other incentive to continue staying subscribed, opening, and reading your emails — other than to get a discount for products. This kind of email strategy will keep some people subscribed, yes. But many people will flock to the unsubscribe button. The worst part? Those who stay subscribed will slowly stop engaging with your emails, tanking your engagement and deliverability.

3. Y’know those mfs who stayed subscribed? Well, they’ll also create less lifetime value for your brand, and have a lower average order cost, because now they’re buying products from you at a discount—sometimes as high as 50% off the actual price—when they otherwise would’ve bought the products from you at the full price. (I’ve done this several times with a company I love and support, but I’m not gonna pay full price for something when I know I can get it for half off by waiting a week.)

4. This burns people out. Either people unsubscribe and forever jettison your brand from their minds. Or they stay subscribed, and engage less and less with your emails. Meaning, you have to offer bigger and bigger discounts to even get them to open your emails, let alone buy from them.

And that’s my beef with a strategy that relies too much on urgency-based emails.

I’ve worked with brands who did this before we started working together, and it’s not an easy (or swift) process of un-fvcking their emails. I see some of my all-time favorite brands committing this mistake, and it makes my heart ache. And, if you’re falling for the lies of an urgency-based strategy, I want to help you before you commit brand suicide.

So, hit reply and let’s chat if this sounds like you or your brand.

In my email strategy, I use urgency-based emails, I’m not a dummy. But I don’t use them in every. single. email. like many brands do.

The result?

You still get the “perks” of urgency-based emails. But you also minimize the negative side effects of basing your entire strategy off of them.

In other words:

You can make short-term sales without sacrificing long-term sales. In fact, both short-term and long-term sales feed each other — instead of one feeding off the other.

If you’ve been making this lethal mistake in your business, booking a call as soon as possible—like right now soon—will only help your long-term success. It takes time to reverse the damage of an urgency-only strategy. And the sooner you grab a time with me, the sooner we can start reversing the damage before it becomes permanent.


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