Email marketing has been a powerful tool for marketers for decades, but what makes some campaigns more successful than others? The answer lies in the psychology behind email marketing and how human behavior impacts email campaigns

By understanding the psychological principles that influence people’s actions, marketers can create more effective campaigns that resonate with their target audience. Let’s dive into the various email marketing strategies that tap into and encourage human behavior, like clicks, opens, and other forms of engagement.

The Psychology Behind Email Marketing

The psychological aspects behind email marketing relate to the ways in which human behavior and decision-making influence the effectiveness of email campaigns. When referring to email marketing, there are six psychological principles that impact it: 


People are more likely to engage with content that is personalized to their interests and preferences. 


People are more likely to respond positively to a message if they feel they owe something in return. Offering something of value in the email, such as a free resource or discount, can increase the likelihood of a response.

Social Proof

People are influenced by the actions of others, and email campaigns that highlight positive reviews, testimonials, or social media shares can leverage this psychological principle to encourage recipients to take action.


People are more likely to follow the lead of those they perceive as knowledgeable or authoritative. Establishing authority in the email, such as including credentials or industry awards, can increase the likelihood of a response.

Urgency or Scarcity

People are more likely to take action when they feel a sense of urgency or scarcity. Email campaigns that use limited-time offers, countdown timers or emphasize low stock levels can create a sense of urgency that motivates recipients to act quickly.


People often make decisions based on emotions and perceived benefits rather than rational analysis. Email campaigns that emphasize the benefits of a product or service use persuasive language, or highlight the emotional impact of a purchase can tap into this psychological principle to encourage recipients to make a purchase.

By understanding these psychological principles and incorporating them into email campaigns, marketers can create more effective campaigns that resonate with their audience and drive engagement and conversions.

Psychological Factors that Encourage Email Engagement

Next, let’s look at some specific email components that motivate your email recipients to take certain actions. 

Why People Open Emails

People are motivated to open emails based on various factors. These factors include:

  • Curiosity: People may be curious about the subject line, preview text, or sender of the email, prompting them to open it and learn more.
  • Relevance: If the email content is relevant to the recipient’s interests, needs, or desires, they are more likely to open it.
  • Personalization: Emails that are personalized with the recipient’s name or other personal information in the subject line may pique their interest and encourage them to open the email.
  • Relationship: People are more likely to open emails from brands or individuals they have a positive relationship with, such as a company they have purchased from before or a friend.
  • Trust: If the sender is perceived as trustworthy and credible, recipients are more likely to open their emails.
  • Timing: The timing of the email may also impact whether or not someone opens it. For example, if the email is sent during a busy workday, it may be overlooked, but if it’s sent during a leisurely weekend morning, it may be more likely to be opened.

Why People Click on CTAs in Emails

A CTA that encourages human behavior is the following:

  • Clear and concise: A good CTA should be clear and concise, with a specific action for the recipient to take.
  • Action-oriented: The language used in the CTA should be action-oriented and encourage the recipient to take immediate action.
  • Eye-catching: The CTA should be visually appealing and stand out from the rest of the email, with the use of contrasting colors, bold fonts, or buttons.
  • Relevant to the content: The CTA should be relevant to the content of the email, so the recipient understands why they should click on it and what they will gain from doing so.
  • Placed in a strategic location: The placement of the CTA is crucial, and it should be placed in a strategic location where it is easy to find and click on.
  • Mobile-friendly: With the rise of mobile devices, a good CTA should also be mobile-friendly, with large and easy-to-click buttons.
  • Urgency: A sense of urgency can be a powerful motivator to encourage recipients to click on the CTA, such as using phrases like “Limited time offer” or “Act now.”

The psychology of email marketing is a crucial factor in creating successful campaigns. By understanding the principles that influence people’s actions, marketers can create more engaging and effective content that resonates with their audience. Personalization, social proof, and urgency, and the psychology of decision-making are all important factors to consider when crafting your next email campaign. By focusing on these principles, you can create campaigns that not only drive engagement and conversions but also help build a stronger relationship with your audience.