Do One Thing

Incentivize Email Subscribers Without Offering A Discount

January 8, 2024

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I'm Julie — digital marketing strategist, online community expander & hype-woman extraordinaire!

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Quick Info:

Why care?Learn how to incentivize people to join & stay on your mailing list without diminishing the value of your brand.
Who should do this:All Businesses With an Email Subscriber List
Platform:Email Service Provider
How?Read on…

An incentive doesn’t have to equal a discount

Incentivizing people to get on & stay on your email list means you have to give them something with perceived value.

It’s a common belief that the best way of giving that value is through constantly sending discount codes to get people engaged with your emails. However, continually discounting your offerings is a race to the bottom. Artisanal offerings are not meant to compete with the Walmarts of the world. The quality is completely different, and deserves a price tag to match!

So how do you incentivize them without the discount?

Let’s discuss one other form of incentive that doesn’t cost you any money. Plus, your customer’s perceived value will likely trump the usual 10% off.


When you offer something exclusive to your subscribers, you give them access to something that no one else has (save the other subscribers). That makes them feel appreciated & special.
It solidifies their bond to your brand and can lead to deep feelings of connection.

These intangible feelings are often seen as massively more valuable than a percentage off their purchase.

Exclusive offering examples:

Making these items available only to those who sign up for your mailing list will increase their perceived value significantly:

First Access (or exclusive access) to New Releases:

If you’re launching a new offering, consider making it available to your email subscribers before it goes live to the public, or only to your mailing list at all. Be sure to talk about your upcoming offer through your other marketing channels (socials, website) and make the Call To Action (CTA) to join the list to gain access. 

A bonus to this tactic is a feeling of scarcity & urgency which will give the reader an extra nudge to take action.

Special Offers:

Special offers can include anything from receiving a gift with purchase, to a private invitation to an exclusive event. Let your imagination run wild and dream up some incredible offers that are uniquely announced to your mailing list. 

Again, feel free to tease the offers on your other channels to create that sense of social pressure to join in with those who are already getting access to these exclusive opportunities.

Discounts that work: 

If you do decide to offer a monetary discount, get creative with what you’re offering (both for yourself and the customer.) 

Some interesting options are:

  • Graduated Discount (eg: Buy 2, save 10%, buy 3, save 15%, etc.)
  • BOGO (The second doesn’t need to be free)
  • Try something new, for an introductory price (with the expectation that the customer will now add this consumable offer to their regular purchase routine, therefore increasing their lifetime value with you. Eg: scalp massage with a haircut; an under-eye cream with a face moisturizer; etc.)

This can help you move bundles of products while increasing your average ticket value. Again, offer these to your list and tell everyone else how they can get on the list to take advantage of the special. 

Now you’re combining a special incentive for the buyer, with a growing list of loyal customers for you!

Today’s task

✅ Make a short list of ideas that you could use to incentivize your mailing list subscribers. Then choose which months of 2024 you will send each.

Now you have a plan for how and when you will incentivize your email subscribers, PLUS you’ve also just figured out what to write in your newsletters during those months you identified.

Look at you go!

Do One Thing to add exclusive incentives to your subscriber list and watch as casual readers become loyal brand advocates! 🎉