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Reason 1 | Why Ecommerce Brands Fail at Email Marketing & SMS: Bad Relationship Building 

 November 29, 2022

By  HiFlyer

This ecommerce strategy article is an excerpt from our new book, The Ultimate Ecommerce Email & SMS Playbook. We’re diving into our ecommerce strategy chapter focused on the Why Ecommerce Brands Fail at Email Marketing & SMS. 


How does it feel to be sold? To many, a salesperson is the most abhorrent of individuals. They pressure or smooth talk you into buying products or services you don’t need. They make you uncomfortable even if you came into the store looking to buy. We attempt to make zero eye contact and cringe when they come over to see how they can help. Most customers know that salespeople are not there to “help” but rather are angling to meet their quota. 

If you’ve ever read the book, The Ultimate Sales Machine, by Chet Holmes, which I highly recommend for every business owner to truly understand customer acquisition, Chet clearly outlines one of the major sales flaws: actual selling. 

Ironically, in a book all about sales, Chet says, “selling breaks rapport, but education builds it.” Yet most brands are focused on selling their stuff, and they use email to share with the world that they’re selling stuff. You have an email list, so why not sell them some stuff? Forget if they want it; they’re on your list so let’s sell them. 

Think about how it feels to be sold. You feel like you’re “being talked at” instead of “being connected with.” Translating that to email & SMS, brands are simply “talking at” their customers instead of “communicating with” their customers. That’s an email marketing fail. Brands de-prioritize relationship building in favor of selling stuff; that approach breaks rapport and leads to tuning out, disengagement and unsubscribes. 

That’s reason number one why brands fail at email & SMS: they focus only on selling stuff instead of building relationships.


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