email marketing best practices exclusive offer

Beware the Lure of the Exclusive Offer!

Exclusive offers: How exclusive are they, really? Be careful with the word. Be careful with the offers. You want your offer to mean something, not nothing. Here are three reasons for keeping exclusive offers elusive.

Offering deals in exchange for email addresses is standard email marketing best practices. You can’t expect something for nothing, and an email address has value. You must offer something of value in exchange for it. Hence, the email best practices around it. However, you lose credibility if the offers aren’t so exclusive.

In fact, you can train your subscribers not to pay full price. And that’s the first and foremost reason for being specific with your specials.

I know of a small business that makes an incredible product. There’s nothing else like it on the market. When I run out, I’m distraught. Yet I don’t dash to the computer to order more because I know if I wait long enough, a 20% discount will show up in my inbox. Why pay 20% more when a little patience saves me a little cash?

You see, they’ve trained me not to pay full price. Every month brings another email, another discount. This is less an exclusive offer and more a pricing structure for anyone on their email list. I’m sure I’m one of many who wait for the deals before buying! The company has told me they see a spike in online sales every time they send an email. Well, of course they do! We are all trained to wait for the promo code before buying, yet we all need the product. So when the email with the promo code goes out, the orders go in.

Companies that promise exclusive offers and hand out their discounts and special pricing willy nilly might sabotage their credibility too. It could be the consumer’s mindset becomes one of “discount” whenever thinking of that company’s brand. Should they later try to pitch higher priced or higher quality items to the audience that has been getting the deluge of deals, they might have a hard time persuading that same audience to think of them as anything but discount.

And the third reason for not overdoing it with the exclusive offers? You lose the sense of urgency. You might say “this week only” in your email, but you’ve trained your in-house email list to know if they don’t act on this email, another will soon follow. “This week” means nothing any longer.

Offering incentives in exchange for email addresses is still smart and good email marketing best practices. Just be careful to ensure any exclusive offers remain elusive offers…not a permanent price discount.

Published On: June 24th, 2011Categories: Email marketing best practices

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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