7 Psychological Triggers to Encourage Email Engagement

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We’ve said it time and time again: marketing is all about psychology. Email marketing is no different. Anyone looking to build their list and actually convert leads into customers needs to have a keen understanding of psychological triggers. After all, if you don’t know what makes your readers tick, how can you possibly expect them to open your messages (let alone convert)?

However, sometimes knowing your prospects isn’t enough to seal the deal.

Pulling the Trigger on Your List

Think about it. What you offer isn’t nearly as important as how you present it to your readers. If you want opens, click-through’s and conversions, you’re going to have to craft messages that speak directly to your audience.

Thankfully, getting into the heads of your readers is probably easier than you think.

For example, Dr. Robert Cialdini, often heralded as the modern master of influence, identified six psychological triggers which have historically influenced customers to buy time and time again.

On the flip side, copywriting legend Joe Sugarman made millions using a combination of thirty triggers which he considered indispensable to writers.

When it comes to email marketing, we’ve narrowed it down to seven psychological triggers.

These psychological triggers are about as old as marketing itself; however, they work beautifully when applied to your email campaigns.

The Magnificent Seven Triggers for Email Marketers

Looking to increase engagement with your list? Tired of ending up in the spam folder? Consider any combination of these triggers as fair game to craft messages that truly hook your readers.

Urgency

Let’s start with the undisputed number one trigger that every email marketer absolutely must master.

There are a variety of reasons why emails ultimately don’t get opened; however, a good chunk of messages fail to get read because they aren’t actionable.

You need to give your readers something do through your call-to-action, sure, but you also need to ensure that they act sooner rather than later. By building a sense of urgency, it becomes infinitely more difficult for your prospects to simply walk away from your messages

“By building a sense of urgency, it becomes infinitely more difficult for your prospects to simply walk away from your messages.”

Urgent messages will always trump timid, generic emails. By creating the notion that your readers need to act now, you’ll be able to pique their curiosity and encourage them to take action.

Exclusivity

Want to make your list feel like a million bucks?

Give them something that nobody else has yet.

Easier said than done, right?

Not necessarily.

Exclusivity is a powerful trigger that essentially gives your reader the impression they they’re getting special access to your content or deals. Whether or not this is actually true is pretty much moot: the purpose of exclusivity is to stroke your reader’s ego.

“Want to make your list feel like a million bucks?

Give them something that nobody else has yet.”

Notice how the example above uses the word “you” to pull in the reader and make the message itself feel more personal versus “Hey, we’ve got new glasses in stock!”

Never make your messages all about yourself: don’t forget that your ultimate goal should be to give your readers something to look forward to.

Social Proof

In the marketing world, there’s little more powerful in terms of social proof  to help your prospects understand what exactly your worth. By showing off your results and positive feedback from previously satisfied customers, you provide evidence that you’re the real deal versus a disposable company.

While you can certainly leverage social proof throughout your marketing messages, you can also used customer feedback and data to help encourage opt-ins (see below).

If you haven’t already started curating positive feedback from your audience, you should definitely consider doing so as soon as possible. You can likewise leverage the stories of those same customers throughout your campaigns (think: a customer who turned their business around thanks to your product).

And speaking of stories…

Storytelling

The importance of storytelling via your marketing messages cannot be overstated.

After all, competition is fierce is any given industry. The most straightforward way to stand out from the crowd is by being honest and getting “real” with your readers.

While this may sound like vague advice, consider how you can implement the following throughout your email campaigns:

Personalized subject lines that present your email as an actual message versus spam

Anecdotes and personal tales to help humanize yourself your brand and make a connection with your reader (note the example above)

Messages that touch on your audience’s pain points and what keeps them up at night (for example, a newsletter direct at new entrepreneurs could focus on financial struggles and business hardships)

Such emails require a certain degree of creativity and sometimes even vulnerability on your behalf; however, they can also help seal the deal with skeptics.

Newness

The public is obsessed with the notion of what’s new and fresh, even if they don’t want to admit.

From breaking news headlines to the latest marketing trends and product launches, presenting readers with the inside scoop will almost always grab their attention.

“Timely messages make your recipient feel like they’re ahead of the curve and your emails become exponentially more valuable by proxy.”

Similar to exclusivity, timely messages make your recipient feel like they’re ahead of the curve and your emails become exponentially more valuable by proxy. Strive not to say what your readers have heard a million times before, but come up with new insights, reports and information that offers a fresh perspective.

Bargain

This trigger is also known as “greed;” however that sounds a bit sinister, doesn’t it?

Regardless, nobody can resist a steep deal.

The steeper your deals and discounts, the more attention they grab and the more irresistible they seem on the surface. This is exactly why so many sales funnels start with a freebie: your audience can’t resist something for nothing, right?

Similar logic rings true for hot deals and discounts. Many marketers supercharge their bargain emails through scarcity, limiting the amount product available (think: “While supplies last!” deals). This creates a sense of urgency (sound familiar?) that drives your readers to act now instead of sleeping on what you have to offer.

Simplicity

When in doubt, keep it simple.

Chances are, your readers already feel bogged down by their inboxes.

While bells and whistles such as images and flashy calls-to-action are always fair game, bear in mind that it’s never a bad idea to switch up your approach. Sometimes a bold, straightforward message speaks for itself without any fluff.

“When in doubt, keep it simple.”

In an era where email is dominated with mobile readers, simplicity is key. Likewise, text-only emails help avoid laggy load times that kill your click-through rate.

Bringing It All Together

Don’t let psychological triggers fall to the wayside when it comes to getting into the heads of your readers. The more your messages work to tap into these triggers, the more likely you are to boost your engagement.

If you’re looking to start getting more out of your email campaigns, start your free trial with Sendlane and start experimenting.

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Jimmy Kim
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Jimmy Kim

CEO at Sendlane
Based out of San Diego, California, Jimmy has been a digital marketer for the past 7+ years and is responsible for selling over $50 Million dollars of product. Before his ventures online, Jimmy rose from the ranks, started off by washing cars at a local dealership and eventually ended up being one of the youngest General Managers in the country by the age of 25. After being burnt out working 80+ hours a week, he eventually turned to Internet Marketing. He found a passion in email marketing and in 2013 helped create Sendlane as one of the co-founders.
Jimmy Kim
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