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How to overcome the fear of emailing your list to sell to them?

Nov 11, 2020

Do you send enough emails to your email list?

As an online business strategist, I've worked with a lot of different businesses in a lot of different industries, but one of the most common fears to come up for many of my clients is around email.

Particularly the fear of emailing their list too much!

Or worse! 

Emailing people on their list to sell to them.

And worst of ALL.

Emailing people on their list multiple times in a day or a week to sell to them! 

It seems to be something that REALLY freaks people out, often to the point of them not emailing much at all.

Emailing once or twice about a promotion is enough, isn't it?

Well frankly, no, in most cases it isn't anywhere near enough.

Just a heads up

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Growing your list is important, but...

I see many online business owners putting a huge amount of effort into growing their lists. Promoting lead magnets everywhere they can, running ads to free resources, or creating loads of content to get potential subscribers to opt in to their list. And for good reason, email marketing is an incredibly powerful way to grow your business and make sales. 

With a growing email list, you have a group of ideal customers who've expressed an interest in you and your business, and have given you permission to contact them. It makes sense to let them know what you've got going on, not ghost them or contact them so infrequently they forget who you are.

Email marketing is incredibly powerful, accessible and cost-effective.

But for many, many small business owners, emailing their list can feel scary.

Especially if you don't want to come off as salesy or pushy. There is a lot of negativity in the world about being sleazy, cheesy or even aggressive in business, as many online marketers do fall into this category.

It's natural you wouldn't want to be like that with your audience.

Who would want to have people think negatively of them? Especially if it's because of an email?! 

So you may put off sending emails or only send a couple every now and then if you're running a promo, rather than really maximising the resource you've put so much time and energy into creating.

You're in the business of making money and email is a great way to do that

As an online business owner, you're in business. Which by definition means that you are running this operation for the purpose of making money.

Money may not be your top priority, you might be doing this for altruistic reasons, to help or to be of service, but as a business, in order to survive and grow, you need to make money. The more money you make, the bigger impact you can have and the more people you can help.

One of the most effective ways to make money in the digital world is through your email list.

But growing the list is only ONE part of the making money from your list equation.

In order to make money from your list, you need to actually email them, often.

Not just to say hi, but to let them know how you can help them. To let them know what services you can offer them. To let them know when you're running promotions and special offers.

And a direct result of all that emailing is making sales - which means money coming into your business, so your business can continue operating and growing. The awesome thing is, the bigger your list grows, the more money you'll make each time you email.

Making money from emailing is completely normal.

It isn't salesy or pushy or aggressive or cheesy. It doesn't make you one of "those" marketers (with a lambo in the driveway of your beachfront mansion), it makes you a regular business owner who is promoting their sustainable business.

But there is a direct correlation between the number of emails you send and the number of sales you make.

If you hold back on sending emails because you're worried about what people think of you because you've sent a sales email, you're missing golden opportunities. Or if you're worrying that people might unsubscribe because you've sent too many emails, you may be looking at things all wrong.

The point of having an email list is to sell.

I'm sure you started your business with a goal in mind, whether that was to spend more time with your kids, to have freedom so you could work from anywhere, or to never have to worry about how you were going to pay the rent again - despite everything happening in our world.

To achieve your goal, your business needs to sell things.

Whether that is an online course, a subscription to your membership, coaching or consulting call, templates you've made, ebooks or other products. 

Business = selling things. And email helps you do that.

secondary benefit is to connect with your audience, help them with relevant and interesting content, and perhaps even have some great conversations. 

Often these things are touted as the main point of your email list, but I'd argue that it isn't.

At the end of the day, the reason you're doing all the connecting and helping and writing is because ultimately, you want to sell something and ideally, you'd like the people on your email list to buy it.

So if you don't send enough (or any) emails that let your subscribers or potential customers know about your promotions, products or services, the people on your email list won't buy it, because they won't see it. 


Average open rates on emails are around 15-20%, maybe 25% if you have a VERY healthy list. 

Which means that 75-85% of the people on your email list won't see your email. So if you send just one email about whatever it is you're selling or promoting, chances are, most of the audience you've spent time building, won't even hear about it!

You could send 10 emails over a week and still have a large part of your audience not hear about your launch or promo. When I promoted Digital Course Academy earlier this year, I sent an uncomfortable amount of emails - 11 emails over 16 days, it was the most I'd ever sent before. And despite that, I still had 2 people contact me to say they didn't realise I was a DCA partner and they'd missed out on my affiliate bonus package.

What if you get lots of unsubscribes?

If you send an email promoting your product and you find you're getting a lot of unsubscribes from your list, it can feel like you've done something wrong or you've made a mistake when actually getting unsubscribes is 100% NORMAL.

No matter what you do, people will unsubscribe.

And in most circumstances, it may not have anything to do with you.

They could be:

  • doing a Marie Kondo on their inbox and unsubscribing from many newsletters
  • no longer interested in the products or services you offer because they have different interests or a different business now
  • not in your target audience, so your emails don't really resonate for them
  • a freebie seeker who signed up to get your freebie, but is totally unlikely to ever BUY anything from you
  • having a bad day and unsubscribing from EVERY email that comes through (I had a few of those days at the start of the pandemic)
  • realised that your values aren't aligned with theirs for some reason

Whatever reason they unsubscribed, don't let it get to you, as in most situations, it's not about you, it's about THEM.

Don't take it personally!

Unsubscribes are normal - every time you send out an email, there will be someone on your list who, for whatever reason, decides they don't want any more of these emails. It could be one person, it could be 20 people.

I personally can't wait til the day my list is big enough so I can send out an email and get 100  unsubscribes and will be celebrating that day with champagne!

Celebrate your unsubscribes as a metric you're doing something RIGHT. 

And remember, anyone who unsubscribes because you're selling something, would have been highly unlikely to have ever purchased from you anyway!

The only time you may need to worry is if your unsubscribe rate is higher than 1% for a general newsletter and higher than 4% for promotional content.

So what is the ideal frequency for sending emails?

It's one of those how long is a piece of string answers, as it's different for every industry and every situation. And importantly, you need to make sure the emails you are sending are good emails - frequency is FAR less important than quality.

But is daily better? Or monthly? Or something different altogether? There are a few different scenarios to think about and it's different for each.


Ideally, you'll be sending out a regular newsletter to your audience on a reasonably consistent basis, it's frequently suggested by online marketers that a weekly newsletter is a good goal to aim for.

There is no right or wrong frequency, but in order to make the most of your email marketing strategy, being consistent is the best plan. So whether you email daily, weekly or every three weeks, keep it as regular as possible. 

Tarzan Kay, email marketing superstar, recommends a minimum of at least once every two weeks, but ideally more often.

Laura Belgray from Talking Shrimp, went from an irregular "when she felt like it" newsletter, to a consistent three times a week schedule and found significant improvements to her bottom line. She decided on a regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, with Friday emails more promotional and linking to one of her mini products. Through implementing this email frequency, she found her average monthly sales from email going from around $2000 per month to $8000 per month!

Experiment with the schedule and frequency of your regular emails and see how much impact it has with your subscribers and their engagement to find the perfect sweet spot.


The very first email you send out to a new subscriber is likely to have the highest open rate of any email you send. If you have a welcome sequence going out after that, which is a series of emails designed to invite your new subscriber into your world and increase the know, like, and trust factor for yourself and your business. These also tend to have a higher open rate than general newsletter content: 30-50% is pretty standard, but it drops over time.

The ideal frequency of your welcome sequence is something that varies from business to business, and is potentially good to experiment with. You could send daily for the first week, then twice a week after that. Some welcome sequences will go out every few days over a 3-4 week period. Again there is no right or wrong, just monitor your statistics for any increase or decrease and adjust accordingly. 


A simple rule of thumb I like to go by when working out if I'm emailing too much is if it doesn't feel uncomfortable, I'm probably not sending enough emails.

As a keen marketer with a special interest in email marketing, I am on a lot of lists, and pay a lot of attention to what the big players in the online space do with their email marketing.

Most casual promotions have between 4-10 emails promoting the offer over a few days or a week, but for major once or twice a year launches, that number can climb to 20-30 (or sometimes MORE!).

It's not uncommon to see 2 or 3 emails on the first day (especially if there is some kind of fast action bonus), 3 or 4 just on the last day of a big promotion, with daily emails before, during and after the launch.

I like to see what the big players are doing (the ones with huge teams and resources to measure what is and isn't effective) and I've generally seen email frequency and volume going UP, not down, across multiple industries. I like to emulate what I see working in multi-million dollar launches.

If in doubt, send more, is something I think most entrepreneurs would be wise to remember, even if you're not in doubt, send more!  


If I could sum up this entire blog post in 3 words it would be, send more email.

You are FAR more likely to have an issue with low email frequency than high frequency as you'll likely have to push yourself out of your comfort zone to come close to sending too many.

If you're really worried about offending or overwhelming your subscribers, you can simply ask them their preferences. Give the option of a weekly or monthly digest and segment them accordingly. Give your subscribers the option to opt-out of promotions they don't want to hear about.

And if you're curious, experiment for a month with your regular news or switch things up for your next promotion. Double your usual email frequency or volume, see what happens (and don't forget to let me know!).

Sue x


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