Email marketing psychology is a huge part of selling anything through email. To make sales, we need to appeal to people's senses and make them feel something if we plan on getting them to buy.
Some people buy when they feel inferior. Others buy if they get excited enough. Some consumers are complete impulse buyers and will buy anything if you don’t give them enough time to think about it.
When it comes to email marketing, it’s essential to understand some of the psychology behind converting emails into dollar signs. We put so much emphasis on the subject line and getting the email open that it's easy to ignore the copy we put inside.
Here are eight simple ways to get inside your client's brain and come out with something shiny.
1. Have a Value Proposition
We hear this a lot these days, right? You need to provide value upfront if you expect to get anything on the back end. We hear that we can’t sell to people all the time and expect that they’ll always buy from us.
If you’ve ever heard of the popular Youtuber and Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, you’ll know where I’m coming from. He wrote a book called “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook”. In it, he talks about how you need to slowly introduce your offers to your prospects by offering them free value initially.
After about three free offers (ebooks, swipe files, intro courses, videos, etc.) you can pitch a paid offer. Your audience will feel more compelled to purchase something from you since you’ve provided them so much free value.
Has someone ever done something for you in your life, and you immediately thought, “oh man, I owe this person big time.” You want the people on the other end of your email to say, “Holy crap, I can’t believe they’re giving this away for free!” If you can accomplish that, you’re almost guaranteed to pull in a sale down the road.
2. Scarcity Technique
We’ve all heard of FOMO (fear of missing out). You want to use this strategy in your emails to deploy the psychological anxiety associated with missing out on a great offer. We see this all the time in digital marketing now.
Someone releases a course at a ridiculously low price and offers that price to only the first ten people who join. Then after that ten join, they extend that price for another few weeks. Then they up the price, and they get all the people who missed out initially. It goes on like that as a smart marketing tactic. They never had a concrete destination with the price all along. Please use this ethically, with a real reason for this style of deadline.
Research company Worchel, Lee, and Adewole offered two groups of students ten cookies in two separate jars. They told the students to rate the value of the jars. Both jars had the same type and amount of cookies, so they had similar values. They then removed eight cookies from one jar, and the students picked the one with only two left.
You can implement this in your emails by putting deadlines and limits on all your offers. You want to combine these first two points for the ultimate psychological smackdown.
Imagine if your potential client says, “Whoa, I can’t believe they’re giving this away for free, but it’s only available today. I better jump on it!”
There are many ways you can add scarcity to your emails. The key is to make your offer so great that they fear missing out on it if they don’t act quick enough.
3. Give it Away
Giving something away for free in your emails triggers the pleasure centers of the brain for the people who are reading it. We’ll use a great example from another popular digital marketing pro, Grant Cardone. This guy does millions of dollars in sales of his courses by cold calling the heck out of every business in the country.
He has a popular book called the “Millionaire Booklet,” and he gives it away for free but asks you to pay for shipping. Now, he’s not making any money off this book, but it’s a springboard to everything else. He reels you in with his free book, gets you to watch his videos, and eventually gets you to buy some of his merchandise. And maybe a course or two.
The moral of this story is don’t be shy about using free offers in your emails, just make sure you can back it up. You don’t want to mislead people or make an offer that you can’t back up.
Another great example is the whole “free shipping debate.” We feel like anyone who doesn’t offer free shipping at this point is at a huge disadvantage. Free stuff is a powerful psychological tactic and free shipping means there aren't any surprise costs at checkout.
Give free stuff away in your emails frequently. Then make sure you hit your subscribers up with a brilliant offer that makes sense for your audience.
4. Start Small
Think about your email marketing like trying to pick someone up at a bar. You wouldn’t go over there and start trying to lock tongues with the person now, would you? You need to set the stage a little. Offer some value, show off your personality, and get them to like you before you get anything in return.
The same goes for your email marketing strategy. We recommend getting your audience's feet wet with a few small but valuable actions. Then once you've introduced yourself, they’ll be more likely to complete a more significant action.
For example, you could ask the subscriber to watch a video or download a PDF file that will help them with something. While you’re not asking for much, you can ensure that this action will trigger them to want more from you. Now, when you come back later with a larger offer, they’ll feel more inclined to open up their virtual door and let you in.
We see this used a lot in email drip campaigns, and you want to keep that image in your head. You’re dripping content to them; you’re not dumping the whole bucket all at once. If you come in too hot with a huge offer right off the bat, you’ll scare them away. And then you’ve lost them for good.
Start small, be patient, and it will pay off.
5. Pricing and Email Marketing Psychology
One of our absolute favorite examples of selling psychology at work takes place with pricing. There are two great ways to use pricing to play with people's heads. Let’s use the movie theater popcorn example first.
You have three sizes of popcorn - small, medium, and large. The small is $2.49, the medium is $5.29, and the large is $5.99. Can you see the psychology at work here?
People will walk up to the counter in a buying mood because they’re out looking to have a good time at the movies. First, they look at the small popcorn. The first thing that runs through their head is, “It’s priced way too low so it must be tiny. I don’t think it’s going to be enough.”
Then they look at the medium and figure that’s the way to go. But then they look at the large and see that it’s only 70 cents more. And they opt for the large because it’s the best deal. Cool, right?
You can make this example work for you in your cold emailing, as well. You want to make sure that you don’t give away the whole boat with your initial upfront offer.
Look at it like this. Your first offer shouldn’t be enough to make your customers feel like they don’t need to come back for more. Course creators are great at this. They’ll offer a free course upfront that only gives you a little information. It makes you excited to think about what you could accomplish if you had the full course. In the end, you buy the full course. Then you get upsold on one-on-one coaching and masterminds.
The free course is the small popcorn. The full course is the medium, and the coaching is the large.
6. Personalization is Key
Gone are the days when you could send emails out saying “to whom it may concern” and get a 70% open rate. Those days are over. We need to personalize our emails with the client's name, business name, and some conversation points if we expect to get anything in return.
Everyone knows that few people write every email they send anymore. But, you still want to make the prospect feel like you went the extra mile to send them a personalized email.
Starting with the subject line, you need to make them feel like the email was written specifically for them. Including their name or business name in the subject line is a great way to make this happen.
In the body of the email, you need to use their name. And perhaps talk about some things you noticed on their website or social media.
Following these steps may take much more work. But it will benefit you in the long run with better open and response rates from potential customers.
7. Use the Right Colours
Many business psychologists believe that colour causes 60% of people to either accept or reject a product or service. Colour may cause someone to experience an emotional response. You want to make sure to choose the right colours for your brand to use in your email. The colour of your CTA button should contrast the rest of the email.
When you think of the colour red, you might think of danger or urgency. When you think of blue, you might think of trustworthiness and security. Attached to each color is a specific emotion, and the only way to figure out which works best is to test everything.
Colour is a great variable to use on a call to action button in your emails. You want the colour to make sense for your branding, and also try to invoke an emotional trigger from your audience.
8. Sell the Outcome not the Features
One of the greatest psychological mistakes you can make is to talk too much about yourself and what you offer. You want to sell the outcome of your product or service rather than all the features you’ve worked so hard on.
It’s important to keep this in mind at all times when writing your copy. Think about it this way; if you offer:
- Real estate photography
- Virtual tours
- Drone aerial photography
You might want to rephrase that as:
- Stunning photography and virtual tours that sell houses 75% faster than traditional methods.
Your client is not trying to get real estate photography; they’re trying to sell their house. They’re thinking about all the great things that will happen when they sell it. Maybe they want to move to the beach, plan on traveling, or are suffering a loss and just want to get out.
Sell your subscribers or prospects on how doing business with you will change their life.
Whew, congratulations on making it this far. By now, you should have a solid understanding of the importance of psychology in email marketing. Since you’re not sitting across a table from the person you’re selling to, you need to ensure they get in their own head. Making them think is the key to closing more deals and making more money with your email efforts.