Email Marketing Psychology: Tips to Make It Work

Email Marketing Psychology: Tips to Make It Work

Human behaviour is so widely complex that even people who study it are in awe, discovery after discovery. This is because no one can truly understand and predict how human behaviour ultimately affects a person’s daily decision-making processes.

According to the University of the District of Columbia, psychology helps explain why people act as they do. In the context of this article, we will be delving into how human psychology influences a person’s consuming behaviour. 

What is email marketing?

Email marketing shouldn’t be a new concept for marketers as this has been a widely used, tested, and proven digital marketing method that helps marketers generate new customers, high conversion rates, upsell current customers, and generate higher ROI in the long run.

The idea behind email marketing isn’t a secret. You send out a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly email on your email list, or prospective leads, to engage your prospect market. They can be newsletter emails, marketing emails, or welcome emails; email marketing comes in various types. 

Here is an example of a Weekly Roundup email from Time:

Source: Screenshot by User

The question here comes down to this: how effective is your email marketing strategy?

Eric Mills, Owner of Lightning Card Collection, said, “Everybody can send out mass emails at the simple click of a button. But the idea behind email marketing is convincing your target to read your emails and converting your customers. That’s where email marketing becomes tricky.” 

Psychology in Email Marketing 

As an academic discipline, psychology studies how the human mind works and its effect on behaviour. On the other hand, marketing is a channel to promote and raise awareness about your products and services. 

If we combine both concepts, we come up with “marketing psychology”, or the principle of incorporating the study of human behaviour to encourage customers to patronize, consume and buy your products or services.

Fear not, because although we use the concept of psychology to sell in this context, you don’t necessarily have to be a psychologist to use these concepts to gain an advantage over your competitors. 

Psychology Triggers for Effective Email Marketing

We use the term “psychological triggers” because these concepts are the spark that triggers or induces consumers to buy a specific product or service. 

Hit the Human Ego

The idea of ego and ego marketing has been quite harmful in the marketing world. This is no surprise, as ego marketing has become “all about you” (the seller) and less about your target consumers. Self-confidence is one thing, but crossing the “ego zone” is off-putting for most customers. 

However, in this context, we are using our customer’s egos (in a good way) and ego-inducing content to attract them to our emails, generate leads, and generate high conversion rates. 

The thing about ego-inducing content is that it should be highly personal. Ego is someone’s idea about their worth, and if you know how to stroke that ego through your email, you’re in for a treat.

Here’s an example:

Normal content: “Many people have tried X product!”

Ego-inducing content: “50,000 people have tried and tested X product. You’re the only one that hasn’t!”

Here is an example of ego-inducing email marketing from Apple:

Source: Screenshot by User

The simple subject line “You have goals. The App Store can help.” is short but triggers the reader’s ego in terms of the goals which Apple promises to help them. 

Everyone Fears Missing Out

According to the National Library of Medicine, FOMO or fear of missing out is a phenomenon in which a person has the compulsive behaviour to maintain social connections by avoiding the feeling of “missing out” on what their connections have or have experienced. 

It is simply the desire to stay connected with what everyone has or is doing or not letting a good deal or chance go by without grabbing it. 

Here is an example:

Source: Screenshot by User

Using this psychological phenomenon in email marketing, the fear of missing out (FOMO) will induce your email recipients to patronize a specific offer, fearing that it will not come by again. FOMO tactics usually come in the form of limited-time offers, which are “selling out fast” resulting in impulsive behaviour to not miss out on something so exclusive and great.

Jerry Han, CMO of PrizeRebel, says, “FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a psychological behaviour that social media has slowly but surely been integrating into the human minds for years. Dare I say that it has been one of the most triggering factors that drives up sales and revenue performance among all marketing tactics simply because people are afraid to be ‘out of the loop.’ And it has been working and will continue to work in the future.”

The Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency is also connected to the fear of missing out in that it instills a sense of an “act-now-or-miss-it” approach. 

Using email subject lines and images that alert human perception of a product being “out of stock soon” or adding pictures or videos of an actual countdown for a particular sale or promotion is an effective tactic to arouse curiosity among your market, thereby increasing clickthrough rate.

According to Fernando Lopez, Marketing Director at Circuit, “When started using email subject lines that help arise a sense of urgency, many companies witness the clickthrough rates on our emails and our website article clicks on camping skyrocket over a short period.”

Here is an example of email marketing that uses an urgency approach:

Source: Screenshot by User

Mutual Benefit and Reciprocity

Mutual benefit and reciprocity work as, “You give me something, and I’ll give you something in return.”

Human desires work like this; nothing is for free, and according to Harvard University, the mutual benefit should have an outcome that benefits all parties involved, increasing the benefit for everyone.

Jerry Han, CMO of PrizeRebel, says, “The concept of our organization works like mutual benefit and reciprocity. You take our surveys and get something in return, be it PayPal cash or other rewards. This very well fits into the psychological concept of reciprocity in marketing. After all, human nature is always attracted to something that benefits them in return.”

Mutual benefit and reciprocity, as a psychological behaviour, mutual benefit and reciprocity work in marketing where companies offer discounts, freebies, templates, combination offers, or vouchers in return for a purchase.

The company benefits from a purchase, and the customer benefits from discounts or rewards points that they can use at a future time, which also, in return, benefits the company for increased customer loyalty.

Here is an example of mutual benefit and reciprocity offered by a bank with the use of a credit card:

Source: Screenshot by User

Nothing Beats Social Proof

According to Alex Milligan, Co-founder & CMO of NuggMD, “The math is simple here. Genuinity in social proof is important. I’ve seen more organizations generate more profit through social proof than any other marketing technique, and that is because people believe in people—and nothing beats that as a marketing strategy.”

Simply put, social proof is the evidence or proof that a person or group of people have used and tested your product through genuine reviews, reactions, and recommendations.

The best way to attack this psychological behaviour is to include a real review of your product in your email marketing efforts. Your audience needs to know what others think of your product or service or how it has helped them and changed their lives. Doing this will significantly build trust between you and your audience and increase the chances of clickthrough rates and conversions. 

Source: Screenshot by User

Do remember, though, that the keyword here is real. We have seen multiple marketing social proof efforts that have sounded so out-of-brand and robotic that they don’t feel real and are too forced. 

Other social proof efforts you can try are as follows:

  • Screenshot social media comments 
  • Use eCommerce platform reviews
  • Do influencer marketing
  • Use (realistic and reliable) numbers
  • Customer video testimonials

Why is psychology important when doing email marketing?

The reason why email marketing fails is that it is often misused. Email marketing has so much potential, but ineffective marketers simply look at it as a mass emailing effort and nothing more. There are tools that help automate email marketing, so marketers should put the effort into the “Why” and not the “How” of email marketing.

Understanding human behaviour is a part of any marketing effort, mainly email marketing, where people receive tens if not hundreds of emails daily.

Think of your customer’s inbox as a war zone, where only the best among the pack will survive. And to do that, you must practice specific marketing strategies that best arouse your audience’s curiosities, behaviour, impulses, and sense of urgency, and nothing beats human psychology in this field.

Does your digital marketing strategy need a boost? Give TechWyse Internet Marketing a call! We specialize in a wide array of digital marketing services. From SEO and Paid Media to Web Design and Social Media Management. Plus, we are backed by a team of fully certified experts that is prepared to give you the data-driven results you need to succeed.

Choose our services and get ready to watch your business flourish! To schedule an appointment, call (416) 410-7090 or contact us here.

Post By Roman Shvydun (3 Posts)

Roman Shvydun is a freelance writer. He writes informative articles about marketing, business, productivity, workplace culture, etc. During 10+ years of content creation experience, his articles have helped numerous entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses.


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