Email marketing is still among the best marketing techniques. Despite what many marketers fear, 73% of millennials say email is the best way to communicate with brands. The practice is not going to die out any time soon.

The driving force behind email marketing is psychology. You’re more likely to perform an action if you’ve already performed a smaller step. This makes people who have subscribed to your newsletter more likely to go deeper into the sales funnel. Besides, many subscribe with the sole aim of waiting for a discount to buy something later.

Leverage psychology even more to supercharge your email marketing campaign. Here’s how you do that.

Segment the audience

You probably know that segmenting the audience is considered to be a standard practice in email marketing. But you don’t have to do it just because everybody else does. You have to do it because it works wonders for your campaign. Segmented emails bring in two-thirds of revenue.

This is the case because people expect to see personalized offers. They don’t want to browse through everything you have on the list, they just want to read about what interests them. This is why personalized emails are opened 26% more often.

What do you do to make the emails really personal? You get to know your audience with as much detail as you can. Here’s what you have to consider when segmenting the audience.

  • Activity on the website
  • Activity with the emails
  • Social media activity
  • Explicitly stated preferences

With these four factors, you can deliver the content and products your subscribers want to see, making the click-through rate higher. But it’s not the only way of doing it.

Create a subject line

The subject line is the first thing your subscriber sees. Write a catchy line, and the CRT is going to skyrocket. Write a boring or a spammy one, and it’s going to plummet. Here are psychological tricks for writing a killer subject line.

Mention a name

Are you writing a B2B email? Business people tend to not have time to read every email they receive. Attract their attention by mentioning a name they’re familiar with. It’s perfect if they know you already and will open an email that mentions your name. If you’re sending a cold email, mention the name of a shared contact.

Invoke urgency

You probably know that many people buy based on emotions rather than meticulous calculation. What you may not know is that negative emotions sell just as well as positive ones. An urgent offer puts the customer in a state of stress. They need to decide on making a purchase now, or the discount will expire. Many people will choose to buy out of fear of missing out.

Include a deadline in the subject line or the email preview to leverage this fear.

Make a free offer

Offering something for free is a classic strategy for making customers convert more. It still works, too. Subject lines that feature words “free delivery” receive 50% more clicks. Use this magic phrase to increase CTR.

Invoke curiosity without being fishy

Why do people click on your emails? Because they want to know what content or hot deals you have for them. Because they’re curious.

A good email subject line has to evoke curiosity. A great subject line evokes curiosity in a subtle way, avoiding the Nigerian-scam-email curiosity. You don’t have to come up with fantastic ideas or promise something you can’t deliver. Often, it’s as easy as withholding the right information.

Use this free tool to check what your subject line looks like on popular mobile devices. 

Craft the email

Now you have a great subject line that attracts clicks. The customer journey doesn’t stop there. You have to lead the users down the sales funnel. This involves doing two key things, grabbing readers’ attention and directing them towards a certain action. Here’s how psychology helps you do this.

Place the logo in the top-left corner

Grabbing attention starts with small details. One small detail like this is the very first thing you see when you open up the email. For many people, it’s the brand logo placed in the top-left corner. As left-to-right language speakers, we instinctively start looking through the email from the left corner, so placing the logo there increases the chances of being seen.

Norman Nielsen group research suggests that brands whose logos placed like this have 89% more chances of being recognized. This both build the brand image and increases the chances of visitors reading your emails to the end. Even the big brands do it.

Source: Really Good Emails

However, some companies can pull off a quirky logo placement in their emails.

Source: Really Good Emails

Catch attention with the design

3 in 5 people check the “Incoming folder” on the go and don’t have the time to decide whether your email is good or not only based on the content. Make the template design appealing to the readers, and more of them will keep reading the email.

Compare the price

Price anchoring is the psychology marketing tactic that’s been working for decades in retail and can be used in your email. The thing is people don’t know how much your products are worth. If you only show the discounted price, they won’t make anything of it. It only matters if you compare it to the original price.

Always show the original price of all discounted goods in comparison to the new price for a better effect. This email sure looks good, but it only mentions a 30% decrease in price with no numbers.  Learn from their mistakes and craft a better email.

Source: Really Good Emails


You weren’t segmenting the audience for nothing. You can’t personalize every email to every person, but you can use marketing automation to craft the perfect emails for different audiences. People who subscribed to you may only want one type of content or products in their “Incoming” folder. Deliver what’s relevant to each group, and you’ll increase the conversion rate.

It’s not purely theoretic either. Personalized emails can lead to a six-fold increase in transactions.

Show faces to invoke emotions

A human face is one of the best ways to make readers feel emotion and associate it with your brand. This is why your email can benefit from a human face. But don’t put a cheesy happy face from the stock website in there. The emotion you’re trying to invoke doesn’t even have to be happiness, for that matter. In this Adidas email, it’s focus.

Source: Really Good Emails

Uniqueness and urgency

Many people who subscribe to your newsletter seek a bargain. They want to get something unique for a low price. Their biggest fear? The marketing classic, FOMO, or fear of missing out.

Show that the deal you’re offering needs an urgent decision. The urgency can be in the form of a promotion that ends in a day or the last 10 items in stock. If you’re doing a good job personalizing your sales and marketing emails, you can offer truly unique offers for different groups of people to make this psychology trick work even better.

Keep it short, simple, and visual

61.9% of emails are opened on a smartphone. Many people who open them are checking the emails for only a couple of minutes when they’re on the go or getting prepared for a day of work in the morning. They don’t have the time to read a 500-words email.

Keep the content short and express what you can with imagery. Don’t tell the readers how good the product you advertize is, show them a picture, describe the main points in a few words, and leave a link.

Make these few words as simple as you can without compromising the meaning. It’s not “dumbing down,” it’s just making your email easily digestible for a 10 second’s read it’s probably going to get. Even the President knows this, this is why Trump’s speeches use the vocabulary of an eight-year-old

Include a clear CTA

In a perfect world, your subscribers will see a discount and head to the website themselves. In reality, they need a bit of instruction to make the decision easier for them. The discount seems fair, the button is right there, so why not do it right now?

Besides, the CTA button is probably a part of customers’ perceptual set by this time. This practice is so widespread, customers expect to see one in the email. Don’t fail their expectations.

Put a foot in the door

The “Foot in the door” technique is extremely important in marketing, and email is the channel where this technique can be used best. The point of an email is not selling something upfront, it’s making the reader do a small action that doesn’t require that much dedication to your brand. Once they do it, they’ll be more likely to invest their time and money in a more demanding action like making a purchase.

It takes multiple touchpoints to make a single conversion. Email can be the touchpoint you use to take your leads on a journey from sharing an article on Facebook to become a brand advocate.

The bottom line

It’s been a long read, and the fact you’re still here shows your dedication to your job. Now that you’ve learned how to make your sales and marketing emails more effective, from segmenting the audience to writing the body of the email, don’t stop there.

Build your email list, and try creating an email yourself.