The Top 3 Mistakes Business Owners Make with Email Marketing that Prevent Them from Closing the Sale

The 3 massive mistakes online business owners commonly make with their marketing materials are surprisingly simple things that are very easy to rectify once you know how. The trouble is that most small business owners either don’t concern themselves with the business of marketing (by entrusting this job to others who may or may not know what they are actually doing) or they misunderstand the basic premise of marketing. Marketing, put simply is about effectively communicating what you offer in a way that encourages the maximum amount of people to say “yes” to the deal you are presenting.

Below are three of the most common mistakes business owners make with their marketing, that prevent leads from being generated, and sales from being made.

1.Marketing materials don’t clearly speak to and identify their target audience

 Psychology studies show that everyone likes to feel special. Research also shows that as humans we identify with specific roles we have in our lives (e.g cat owner, mother, teacher, cancer survivor etc) and that these give us a sense of self-worth. Such roles become egoic labels that we can use in our marketing to hook our target audience in from the beginning and get them to listen to our sales ad or read our written marketing materials without discarding them. Sadly, lots of marketing I’ve seen doesn’t seem to have a clear target audience in mind, let alone state that in the opening line. It seems that many business owners worry that if they define a specific target audience, they will lose out on sales. Perhaps you have beliefs like “I’m barely keeping my business afloat as it is. If I narrow down my audience I will probably make even less sales than before”. I know this might seem logical but it actually isn’t true. The thing is intimacy sells. When you choose a specific audience to market to, you can get personal. You can let this audience know that you really understand them, that you know what they need, and that you have just the solution for them. When people feel understood, your marketing becomes more magnetic and creates an emotional engagement that convinces people to buy. By contrast if everyone is your potential client, you will likely have few actual clients.

2.Marketing materials don’t give value to the client.

We’ve all seen email marketing, and online video promotional pitches that are either so aggressive that we instantly recoil in horror, or so boring that we barely notice them. For marketing materials to generate genuine interest without being pushy, they need to give value to the client by educating them on something that concerns them or something they wish to know more about, which is the foundation of Education-Based Marketing (EBM). Now it may seem counter-intuitive to give away some of your wisdom and knowledge for free, but what that does is actually give you credibility as an expert in your field and build trust. Trust is the foundation of all good relationships, including business relationships. If clients perceive you as someone that knows what they are talking about, and as someone they can trust, they will be more likely to buy from you. Period.

3. Marketing materials are written from the business owner’s point of view not the client’s point of view

Research shows that 30% of potential clients have zero interest in your product or service, and a tiny 3% of people are actually looking for the solution you offer right now. However the vast majority of potential clients, a whopping 67% are sitting on the fence. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow turn that 67% of people into paying clients? The answer is that you can, however most businesses don’t. The reason for this is that most marketing materials just list the service offered, maybe the price and some general contact details. The trouble is many of your potential clients may not be aware that they even have a need for your service!

Say you operate an online nutritional consulting business for example. Now many people out there might not currently be looking to get nutritional advice, however there are probably lots of people out there suffering from obesity, headaches, poor sporting performance, constipation and other problems that nutritional advice would benefit. These symptoms are known as “Top of the mind symptoms” and these are the things that keep your clients up until 2 o’clock in the morning, worrying. In order to convert these people into paying clients however, you need to let your clients know that this problem is just an outward symptom of a deeper source, that being a poor diet, which you can treat and fix. What Education-Based Marketing does is take the top of the mind symptom, use it to initially connect with the client, then educate the client about the source of this symptom in order to strategically position your online business’ unique solution at the end. When this is done effectively, you will have guided potential clients through a process of self-awareness, which raises motivation to act immediately.

So how can you turn around these mistakes, and get an edge on your competition?

Firstly, be clear about your target audience. If you’re not sure on who your target audience is, make one up. Think about a close friend you know who would benefit from your service, or one of your satisfied and existing clients. How do these people identify themselves? What demographic are they? What roles do they have? Create an in-depth profile of them and keep that in mind next time you are writing a sales pitch, or putting together an ad, and use the egoic labels they would identify with in your opening line. For example, in the title of this post, I have identified my specific audience as ‘business owners’. When you read that line, you probably thought to yourself, “That’s me. I’m a business owner” and whether conscious, or unconscious, this motivated you to read this post. The same will be true for your audience.

Secondly, give value. This can be through facts or statistics or maybe through a personal story or anecdote. Both are great ways to build connection, and trust with your audience, as well as establish you as an expert.

Thirdly, get out of your head. Think as a consumer, not as a business owner. What would a consumer happily spend money on (usually something that addresses their outward symptom) and why do they need what you offer? Educate your client about deeper sources so that you can strategically position your offer, and close the deal. It’s all about getting that yes! Remember: Symptom, Source, Solution.


Photo Credit: 'Email' by ianmunroe on Flickr


Michelle Bunt is a freelance copywriter who specializes in Education-Based Marketing. You can contact her or find out more about her services at her website




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