Digital marketing has completely changed the face of business.

Most of the transactions that people make today are online. The first currency people use is time. The second one is attention. Lastly, once they used their time to pay attention, they’ll use the currency that they’re most aware of, and that is their money.

As an email marketing practitioner, you are probably aware of how fast the marketplace is changing at this very moment. New trends, new strategies, new opportunities, new ways of selling. These are all part of the entire business game, and they could be part of your email marketing game.

Keep It Simple

What does “business” mean?

In my terms, it’s the trade of money for value. People pay their beloved currency to improve their lives one way or another. To sell well, your product must be the “perfect solution” for the person in trouble or in need of something.

The principles haven’t changed, and they never will. The truth is, if you care to keep things simple, you won’t have to experience the chaos that most businessmen and marketers indulge today. I’m talking about tirelessly A/B testing of email headlines, ad pictures, fonts, audience targeting, ad copy, ad format, and so on.

In fact, to be good at business, which means to consistently generate product sales, you must have a basic understanding of human psychology.

Turning simple website visitors into loyal customers is a true art, and it also involves the element of skill. We’re living in a world led by millennials, and many of our customers are millennials too. Considering that 73% of millennials prefer the email communication over anything else when it comes to business transactions (product vs. money), you should be quick to understand one simple fact:

The better you:

  • Understand the millennial generation, the better you’ll know when, how, and what to offer to them.
  • Understand basic psychology (a few principles), the better you’ll capture your prospects’ time & attention.
  • Measure and optimize your email performance, the better your conversion rates and the bigger your success will be.

Simple, right?

Well, in today’s post, we’re explaining six psychological triggers that you may use to convert your email campaign into an unstoppable selling machine. The purpose of these triggers, which are mostly based on simple psychology principles, is to capture attention, inspire action, and lastly, to close sales

6 Psychological Triggers to Turn Email Marketing Prospects into Loyal Customers

1. Pain & Pleasure: The Primary Motivators of Human Behavior

Pain and pleasure are the most powerful driving forces of human behavior. Stop for a second and filter this thought: all your actions are driven by the desire to gain pleasure or by your urge to avoid pain. Even when something is (or becomes) painful – a relationship, a bad habit such as smoking or drinking, or anything that drives pain – we tend to ignore the pain because we love the pleasure that comes with it.

For example, when students must do their homework, they often procrastinate until the deadline is very close because this is their way of avoiding pain. However, when there is no more time left, they enter a state of urgency and – most of the times – they get to work. The urgency is triggered by intense emotions of pain that are associated with the negative consequences that are about to follow.

The key to a great marketing and selling performance is to know what forces are already influencing your customers before actually interfering. Whether they’re after pleasure or pain, you’ll be able to customize your message accordingly.

Try to emphasize pain and pleasure stimuli through language. Use stories and words that represent the feelings that you want to convey. For example, words as “hard,” “sad,” “problems,” “struggles,” “overwhelm” indicate pain. “Love,” “benefit,” “positive,” “effective,” or “joy” will convey pleasure.

Take your email prospects from where they’re at (point A) to where they want to arrive (point B).Educate them for free and try to improve their journey’s experience as much as you possibly can. When they feel close to point B, they will associate their progress, and that’s exactly when they’ll feel safe and ready to invest in your ultimate solution that comes through your products.

2. Explain the Reason Why

Because the rational mind searches for meanings in every situation and information that we perceive and process, there’s a huge power behind reason. A famous Xerox experiment performed by a recognized psychologist named Ellen Langer showed how people respond to even the most arbitrary reasons.

A person went on and addressed several crowds of people who were waiting in line to Xerox their documents. The question was: “May you give me your spot…because I need to Xerox my copies”. 90% of people said yes. Why? Because their brains have instantly responded to a reason.

Now, to sell your products productively through email, tell your subscribers exactly why it’s important for them to pay attention to your content. Why should they open each of your email headlines and why should they follow through?

When you present your products, it’s essential that you show them why your products are the perfect solution for their needs or problems.

Marketing research blueprint worksheets email

Lastly, yet very importantly, tell them why it’s important to buy right NOW. Not later, now. Urgency is often the best factor that will motivate the reason why now or never.

Digital Marketer email

3. Tell Remarkable Stories

Stories are an incredible way of playing with your customer’s minds. If you didn’t know, stories trigger emotions. We, humans, are emotional beings whether we like it or not. Surprisingly for some of you, 95% of our cognitive processes happen in our subconscious mind.

Our subconscious minds are also the primary triggers for our emotions. Therefore, by telling remarkable stories, you are soaking your prospects into their subconscious minds. You develop imagery, sound, feelings, smells, tastes, and so, you take him into a beautiful, imaginary world.

To inspire and motivate your readers to take action and finally purchase your products, you’ll have to make them resonate with the morale of the story, or with one of the characters. The stronger the impact of your wording the faster your prospects will make up their “own mind” and decide to purchase your solution.

protect the world you play in

4. Bring Novelty

Bring something new to the table, and you shall have people’s attention. Did you know that your dopamine levels are skyrocketing when the brain experiences something new? Well, novelty is exactly the type of trigger you need to help your prospects’ brains to release dopamine, so that they’ll be more open and eager to experiment with your brand.

Look at Apple. They release a new version of iPhone every few months even if the changes are insignificant. Wonder why they do it?

Obviously, they bring novelty because it is so efficient that it encourages people to get rid of their “old phones” and get new ones simply because they’re new.

How can you benefit from this trigger? You can tweak your content in multiple forms, deliver new content in new formats, and appeal to your audience in new ways. Secondly, you can (and should) release new products on a consistent basis.However, do not overdo it because you may look like a fraud or like someone who’s “out of value.”

5. Trigger Curiosity

When the average customer encounters a gap between what he knows and what he doesn’t know, he’ll often want to take action to discover the missing components. I’m talking about the well-known psychological principle of curiosity.

Most individuals are curious. When you hit the spot and say something they relate to, something they want, or something they desperately need, you truly got their full attention.

However, to see this content, your subscribers need to stumble upon a thought-provoking headline. It all starts with the email headlines, so ensure that you keep your email open rates high by carefully testing and optimizing your titles.If you manage to generate enough curiosity, you can expect people to seek more and more, up to the point where they reach your products.

Digital Marketer headline

6. Emphasize Benefits, Not Features

Again, people are selfish creatures. Even though it’s not nice to hear, most of us think only about our needs and problems. Once you accept this reality, as a marketer, you’ll understand that presenting the features of a product will be ten times less effective than emphasizing the potential benefits that come with it.

As Jane Smith, Marketing Manager at Aussie Writings, suggests, “tell a person all the details and features of your new product, and they won’t be able to care less. Tell them that it’s going to make them rich, famous, healthy, beautiful, and they’ll suddenly start paying attention.”

In your content and advertising copies, ensure that you use enough words that emphasize benefits. Don’t forget about the features. Find them a good place in your sales copy page and let the prospect absorb them once they’re already “hooked” by the future benefits provided by your products.

Digital Marketer Lab email

As you can notice, the Digital Marketer team knows what it’s doing. They manage to promise you the sea of benefits you’ll be getting in just five rows. Short and concise, focused on benefits rather than features.


Once you comprehend the true power that lies in these basic yet powerful psychological triggers, you’ll be able to change your sales game forever.

What other triggers and principles do you currently use to generate sales? If you had or have struggled to understand or implement any of these psychological triggers, post your queries in the comments and expect for a quick answer. Wish you the best of luck!