How to Avoid the “Ick-Factor” in Your Sales Emails

February 6, 2023

We have all received emails that feel pushy and manipulative. No one wants to read something in their inbox that feels like a bad car salesman wrote it. If your lead feels like your emails are icky, they will unsubscribe, and you’ll lose them. But, if your emails aren’t motivating at all, they never convert. So, how do you write persuasive emails that aren’t gross?

The most basic thing you need to know is that the number of emails you send isn’t a factor in how “ick” they feel. You can send an email every day, and if the content is good, your prospect will never be put off by them. Here’s how to focus on making content better, with some resources to learn more.

You’re the Guide

Brands love to toot their own horn, but customers aren’t a big fan of it. It can be really off-putting to hear a lot about what a brand has accomplished or what it can do for you. If you find yourself writing:

  • My brand will make it so that you never have to heat-treat your hair again.
  • I’ll exercise your dog properly and fix their energy problems overnight.
  • Don’t you want to make your next party the highlight of your friend’s summer?


Prospects might tolerate the occasional sentence like this, but if your whole email is full of big promises you’re making to your customers, it will be “icky.” Why? Because you’re supposed to be your customer’s guide, not their hero.


In the book “Building a Story Brand,” author Donald Miller outlines that the best way to get a customer to listen is not to lecture or push them but to offer them information. You function as their support or their guide. They are the ones on the journey. This book is a powerful tool to help you—definitely consider reading it.


Your Lead is the Hero

Who is making the decisions here? It should be your customer. They’re on a journey to better their hair, support their dog, or throw the best party ever. So your emails should highlight that they’re the hero who is making the choices. Your brand is just their humble guide.


Consider how to rephrase your approach to help empower your customer to choose you. Here’s a rehashed version of all those sentences that were icky:

  • You can protect your hair from heat damage with our product.
  • You can provide your dog with the exercise he/she needs without spending more time, we can help.
  • Throwing the best party is stressful, but we can help you achieve the party of your dreams.


Be Careful with Pain Points

Segmenting your email audience is a good way to avoid the “ick.” When you talk to clients about pain points that don’t resonate with them, they lose interest in a hurry. Be sure you’re addressing the problem your prospect is really facing.

Start Emailing without the “Ick” Today

We can help you craft emails that never make a lead go “ew.” Inquire about our email marketing strategy sessions or writing support today.


  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To get started with moderating, editing, and deleting comments, please visit the Comments screen in the dashboard.
    Commenter avatars come from Gravatar.