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Tying customer psychology and automated email messages together

Tapping on the right customer emotion is of utmost importance if you want to sell your products or services. When a customer makes a purchase decision, emotions play an integral role and therefore, you must understand how customer psychology works before executing your marketing strategy. Email marketing is no exception to this.

If you are struggling to draw the attention of your subscribers and boost the performance of your email campaigns, you must rethink your email campaigns and optimize them by taking into account marketing psychology. More often than not, marketers think that email marketing is just about setting up the automation workflows and watching the conversions. That, in fact, is not the case. Your automated email messages must be humanized as far as possible and be in sync with your brand’s style and tone. 

To start off, let’s understand how you can connect psychological tactics in your email automation and make the campaigns more effective for your business. 

1. Follow the Zeigarnik Effect

Are you wondering what this Z word is all about? Well, that’s exactly what you have to employ in your email marketing strategy too, especially while drafting the subject lines. Zeigarnik effect refers to the fact that humans have a tendency to focus on incomplete tasks rather than completed ones. Leave a gap for the subscribers so that it builds curiosity and encourages them to complete the action. 

For example: Consider a subject line like “You might not have seen this before”. By claiming this, you are more likely to get the email opened as it challenges the subscriber to ‘finish’ a task of ‘seeing something they have never seen before’. Once the subscriber opens the email, if it resonates with them, you might have a conversion too.

2. Make small requests at the outset

Once a customer signs up, you must greet them with a welcome email that introduces your brand and informs them about the products or services you offer. Send them a series of welcome emails that would reflect brand credibility and convince them to purchase from you. Remember the “foot-in-the-door” technique. It means that if people agree to a smaller request made by you, they will be more open to abide by the bigger requests.  

Take a look at this welcome email series by Office.

The first email welcomes the new subscribers with a chic hero image, followed by an engaging copy. The CTA “Show me the shoes” does not ask for any huge commitment from the subscriber. 

welcome email

In the next email of the series, they have subtly asked for the subscriber’s birthday so that they can send personalized emails with relevant offers for the special day. Such emails would make the subscriber feel special and increase the likelihood of providing their information. 

birthday email template

3. Back your promotional emails with social proof

It is no rocket science that your subscribers are keen to know the opinions of other users who have availed your services. This psychological inclination is known as ‘social proof’. Feature testimonials, customer reviews, and feedback of other users to build a sense of trust and get the subscribers to purchase from you. Whether you have an ecommerce store or SaaS company, social proof always goes a long way in your automated promotional emails. 

Grammarly sends out compelling promotional emails (with social proof) to nurture their leads and persuade the subscribers to avail their premium plan. 

Take a look at one of the email templates by Grammarly in which they have shared a real tweet from a fellow user. It would help the customers to make the purchase decision without any apprehension.  

promotional emails

4. Take help of FOMO

As humans, we are always more worried about what we cannot or don’t have rather than what we do. We tend to have loss aversion and that’s evident from the fact that 39% of people are more likely to open an email to relieve their fear of missing out.

Whenever you are sending an automated email, you must include something that creates a sense of urgency and triggers FOMO. Words like “Hurry”, “Last day”, “Limited stock”, “Offer valid till (DATE), and “1 item left in stock” would tap on the FOMO instinct and get better conversions. 

You can use this principle in occasion-based email marketing too, wherein you have to generate instant sales with the help of impulsive buying behavior. Furthermore, you can even use a countdown timer in the email to emphasize the fact that the offer is for limited time. Scarcity, urgency, and FOMO are the keys to garnering better conversions and if your emails tap on these emotions, conversions are not far away. 

Boden creates an impressive workflow to promote their discount offer. While the first email informs the subscriber about the schedule of the discount offer with the help of three doors, the last email displays closed doors to convey that the sale has ended. It asks the subscribers to add them to their address book (whitelisting) or priority inbox so that they do not miss the chance again. 

automated email

5. Use the right visuals

Your visuals speak volumes about what you want to convey to the subscribers. Humans can retain 65% of visual information at the end of three days. Therefore, you must make sure that the images strike the right chord with the subscribers. Choose images of smiling and happy people and avoid using impersonal images in the email. Take help of visual cues to direct the reader to the CTA or an offer that you have highlighted in the email. By doing so, the reader’s attention will shift to that. 

6. Choose the popular colors

You must use colors that are popular with people. HubSpot has revealed that just by changing the CTA color from red to green increased their click rate by 21%. According to Three Deep Marketing, the CTA button should contrast the rest of the email. 

Moreover, there are specific emotions associated with every color. For instance, red color signifies danger and urgency while blue gives a sense of trustworthiness and assurance. You must make sure that the color you use matches your business industry and works as an emotional trigger.   

Other than that, it is important to consider the colors people like the most and the ones they dislike. Take a look at the pie chart below.

42% of the respondents said that blue is their favorite color while none of them listed it as the least favorite color. According to this study by Joe Hallock, it is clear that you must refrain from using orange and brown or overloading the email with too many colors. 

7. Follow the theory of reciprocity

Do a favor to someone and they will get obligated to return the favor. That’s the theory of reciprocity. Whenever you set up a lead nurturing workflow, send out a free gift to your subscribers or incentivize them with a discount offer. You can even offer a free video course, whitepaper, or ebook to your subscribers. This will not only build a stronger relationship but also inspire the subscribers to take the next action. 

8. Harness the power of three

Remember the book “Eat, Pray, Love” and the three monkeys of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)? That’s the power of three when it comes to storytelling. Having three sections in your email will highlight the message in a better way. You can use the same trick in the subject lines too. 

Here’s an automated email message by OfficeMax that informs the subscriber about their weekly offers, rewards policy, and free shipping in their welcome email. 

welcome email

Wrapping Up

Email automation is a great tactic to make your business grow. However, it would not work unless you are optimizing it at regular intervals and taking into account how your customers perceive these messages. Just follow these principles and you will surely be able to make the most of your automated emails.

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Disha Bhatt (Dave) works as a Senior content writer at Email Uplers. She is a dentist, who has found her calling in words & technical subjects. She loves to pen down travelogues and romantic short stories in her free time.

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