The Right Way to Use Email for Giving Discounts to Customers or Clients

Giving discounts to a clients or customers via email can be a great way to spark a little energy into your business and boost sales for the month.

But writing an email for giving discounts to customers and clients can be a bit tricky at times:

On the one hand, you want to grow sales or get more clients.

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On the other hand, you don’t want to cheapen your services or cut into your profit margin by offering discounts via email to customers who were going to buy anyway.

You also don’t want to annoy your email subscribers by sending so many discount emails that you make them unsubscribe and leave forever.

It’s such a fine balance.

I’ve personally used email to drive hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to my own small business (and millions when I used to work for someone else). You can learn more about building a business using cold emails in my course: Cold Emails that Convert.

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In today’s article, I’ll share with you my best advice (based on 15+ years of marketing experience) for sending an email offering discounts to customers or clients.

This article will focus on the words (or the copywriting) you’ll use when sending emails offering discounts to your customers or clients. Before diving into the how-to, I’ve also included a small free email template/sample for offering a discount.

You can, of course, dress up any email by hiring a graphic designer on sites like Fiverr or just send a plain text email (which sometimes converts better anyway).

Free example email for offering discount

If you need a quick sample email for offering a discount to clients or customers, here’s one that could work well.

Keep in mind, this is written for a freelancer or service-provider but can be modified to fit your business needs.

Hi, Sara.
Thanks so much for being a loyal Lemon Creative customer for all these years!

To show our appreciation, we are pleased to offer you a discount on any design work you need help with before the end of the year.

To claim this offer, just hit “reply” to this email before Dec 12 with any work you need before year-end and we’ll take 30% off when we send the final invoice.
It’s our way of saying: Happy Holidays! 🙂Wishing you all the best,
Lemon Creative

PS: You know how busy it gets this time of year which means, we can’t offer this discount after Dec 12 (even if we want to!) so be sure to hit “reply” right away and we’ll get you on the calendar. Cheers!

How to write an email for giving discounts to customers & clients

Learning how to write an email for offering a discount to clients or customers is a real art. Some people go to school for years (and then work in agencies for much longer) before they finally master the art of copywriting.

If you have a huge amount of money riding on your email offering a discount to clients, I’d recommend using sites like Upwork to find a high-rated copywriter who can bring in fantastic results.

But if you have to write your email offering a discount on the cheap, I understand. So here’s some of my best advice for writing your own email.

Don’t waste your subject line

When sending email with client or customer discounts, your subject line is probably your most valuable asset.

Why? Because if they never open the email in the first place, how will the click the offer? And if they never click the offer, how will you ever boost sales?

I’ve written a whole mini-course on improving your subject lines, but here are a few quick tips for better open rates:

  • Incite curiosity by not giving away everything in the subject line. Instead of saying “25% discount inside” use “25% or 35%? Open to see this month’s discount.”
  • Be honest and avoid spammy-sounding words like “you won’t believe” or “click to open”—both email providers (like Gmail) and customers themselves will punish you for those.
  • Add value by promising a good return for opening the email. Something like “Immediate savings inside” will help them see it’s worth their time to open your discount email.

Tone is everything

First of all, tone is everything when using email for giving a discount to customers.

We’ve all experienced a misunderstanding when we communicate via words on a screen.

To avoid that, use language that matches your usual conversation with clients or customers when sending a discount offer via email.

Consider the difference in tone between these 3 options:

  • “We are pleased to offer you a discount…”
  • “We’re saying ‘thanks’ by sending a discount your way.”
  • “You’re about to save some major money this month!”

Get to the offer quickly!

I recently received an email giving a discount on a service I was actually looking for. But honestly, I almost didn’t see the offer because the person writing the email was so long-winded.

I almost missed the discount offer.

Every email you send should have a purpose—in fact, it should have one purpose.

You’re not sending an email to show off, to entertain, or even necessarily to foster a relationship. You’re sending an email for offering a discount to a client or customer.

Add urgency or scarcity

You probably know as well as anyone else: once an email gets marked as “read,” it almost never gets opened again. Particularly not a marketing email offering a discount.

The harsh reality is: if you don’t get your client or customer to open their email and use their discount immediately, you probably won’t get them to use it ever.

To remedy that you’ll want to use two copywriting tools marketing writers have been using for ages: urgency and scarcity.

In short, urgency (real urgency, not the fabricated, fake kind) forces your customers to act now or miss out on the offer forever. Scarcity helps your customers understand that your discount isn’t unlimited and, if they want it, they need to be among the first to take action.

To learn more about urgency and scarcity in copywriting, you can start here.

Good luck with your email offering discounts to clients/customers

That’s all for now.

I wish you the best of luck as you use email to offer discounts to customers and clients.

I’d love to hear what kinds of things you’ve done to improve your open, click, and conversion rates when offering discounts to clients or customers.

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Millo Articles by Preston Lee

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Adobe, and many more. Connect with Preston on Twitter.
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  1. This was very helpful,I was in dire need of positioning myself with new a client.I wanted to show good will and appreciation for their business. Some of my products are considered luxury items and a discount was already applied to the posted price.Later during sales process a discount was asked for but I wanted to uphold the integrity of my product without cheaping my business services & the product itself. You article helped me to do just that! Thanks for the article.!!

  2. Amanda Fleming says:

    This article is indeed incredible! I love reading this. Creating income with graphic designing is amazing. But I’m very much impressed with these shared ideas on how to offer a professional discount without cheapening the services. These ideas are actually so cool and pretty interesting as well. I’d better try this soon. Thanks!

    1. April Greer says:

      Glad to help, Amanda!

      1. I am very glad for this article, it is very helpful. Maybe to ask, what are some of the messages you would write to potential and frequent clients to inform them about the discount. Am stuck and need help

  3. Thanks April, great article! I often wonder what to do besides thank a client for a referral. I just ran across this situation today. It was a small job that was referred, but I would like to encourage more referrals. Do you think putting a “coupon” in a thank you card is the right thing to do for a small referral? And what about for a large project? I often thought of sending some sort of monetary thank you…but then it’s awkward to set that precedent if you don’t intend to send that every time…thoughts anyone?

    1. April Greer says:


      I think if you’re going to send a monetary thank you, you’ll need to standardize it so that clients don’t get upset if one gets a referral and another doesn’t or if they get different amounts for multiple referrals.

      I also don’t subscribe to the idea of giving away money – there’s no incentive for them to spend it with you. 15% off their next project (I prefer to go ‘no strings attached’), or $50 off their next project, or whatever you want for their next project encourages them to work with you again.

      Good thoughts!


  4. Brent Galloway says:

    Great article as usual, April! I love the “milestone certificate” idea – I might do that for one of my long-term clients! 🙂

    I look forward to seeing everyone else’s thoughts on this discussion!

    1. April Greer says:


      It’s a small gesture, but it’s a nice one. Not only can you thank them for years of (hopefully) great business, it reminds them (and you) of how long your relationship has been…and you can share how excited you are for adding years to it.

  5. sureewoong says:

    Nice article April, just wonder what you guys going to do for your client this coming Easter?

    1. April Greer says:


      Well, there are a lot of possibilities! What about mailing plastic Easter eggs with discounts (and candy) inside of them?

      Thanks for getting our creative juices flowing!

  6. Michael Pingree says:

    I select one customer per month and give them FREE SHIPPING on their next order. I also offer cash discounts on next orders when they reach lifetime $ volume levels. Example, once a customer buys $1000 worth of products, they get $10 off their next order, $20/$2000, $30/$3000 etc. I don’t talk about this, so it is always a pleasant surprise for them.

    1. April Greer says:


      Great ideas as always! Thanks for sharing.


  7. Deirdre McKenna says:

    Great topic for an article, thank you! It is important to use a discount, as you say, as a real reward and “thank you”. Great ideas to motivate future projects, too. The only thing I would caution against is referring to a client as your “Least Stressful Client,” because a) the idea of stress is negative and presents you in a differnt light other than capable and positive and b) your stress is not only subjective, it should never be the client’s concern that they they care about your personal stress level.

    1. April Greer says:


      Perhaps “Most Organized Client” would be a more positive spin on it.

      Thanks for sharing!

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