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The Psychology Behind Effective Email Marketing. Image shows a man having a manicure. He's holding a mobile phone in one hand whilst the nail technician works on his other hand.

The Psychology Behind Effective Email Marketing

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Email marketing can be a daunting task, especially when you’re spinning all those plates in your business by yourself. You spend hours crafting that “perfect” campaign, only to be met with disappointing open rates and even fewer clicks. If this sounds familiar, you’re not on your own!

Here’s the truth: getting people to click on your emails isn’t rocket science, but it does take a bit of finesse and understanding of how people think.

I’m going to let you in on the psychology behind effective email marketing. Whether you’re looking to boost your own skills or feel ready to hand this off to an expert, you’ll walk away knowing how emotions, personalisation, social proof, and timing can help your campaigns stand out and resonate with your audience.

Understanding the Role of Emotions in Email Marketing

People make decisions based on their emotions all the time, and email marketing is no different. Let’s look at a few examples of how you tap into those emotions.

Humour: Adding humour to your subject lines and content can be a fantastic way to increase your open rates and overall engagement. Studies by MarketingSherpa show that emails with funny subject lines tend to perform better. Try using a light-hearted subject line like, “Ready to laugh your way to success?” It leaves a positive impression that encourages people to click.

Emails with funny subject lines have significantly higher open rates than those without.


Urgency and Scarcity: Creating a sense of urgency or scarcity by offering limited-time deals or exclusive content taps into FOMO (fear of missing out). Studies by Constant Contact show that emails using urgency or scarcity resulted in higher click-through rates when combined with compelling CTAs. Phrases like “Offer ends soon!” or “Limited stock available” can get your audience clicking quickly.

Excitement: Getting people genuinely excited can make a huge difference in engagement. If you’ve got a new product, event, or announcement, use exciting language in your emails. Let people feel like they’re part of something big. Something like, “Guess what we’ve got in store for you?” piques curiosity and keeps people coming back.

Personalisation and Relevance: Making Emails Feel Personal

People don’t want generic, one-size-fits-all emails—they want to feel like you’re speaking directly to them. Personalised emails can make your audience sit up and take notice.

Personalisation: Constant Contact research shows that personalising emails based on subscriber behaviour, interests, and engagement leads to higher open and click-through rates. For example, sending product recommendations to individuals based on their previous purchases or including personalised greetings helps build stronger connections.

Segmentation Best Practices: Segmenting your list is essential for targeting content effectively. Constant Contact recommends segmenting based on engagement level, purchase history, lifecycle stage, and email preferences. Segmentation improves the relevance of your emails and can result in a noticeable increase in engagement.

Segmenting your contacts and sending out targeted email campaigns can:
– Improve open rates
– Improve sales/donations
– Improve customer relationships

Constant Contact

Click Segmentation: Incorporating click segmentation into your campaigns allows you to understand what subscribers are interested in and refine future content. By creating segmented lists based on link clicks in emails, you can send highly targeted follow-up messages.

Social Proof and Trust Building

Social proof and trust are the magic ingredients that help reduce uncertainty and build credibility.

Social Proof: Reviews, testimonials, and customer stories are powerful because people tend to trust what others say. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from others, even if they don’t know them personally. Sharing quotes from happy clients or success stories will help your readers feel more confident about choosing your brand.

92% of consumers trust recommendations from others, even if they don’t know them personally. 


The Importance of Timing and Frequency

Timing and frequency are often overlooked but can significantly impact open rates and engagement.

Timing: According to Constant Contact, optimising timing depends on your audience’s habits. By using automated tools and A/B testing, you can identify the best days and times to send your campaigns.

Test the timing of your emails using automated tools and A/B testing to find the optimal days and times.

Constant Contact

Crafting Calls to Action that Get Results

A strong call to action (CTA) is what turns curious readers into loyal customers.

Language Matters: Using the right action words in your CTA can nudge people toward that all-important click. Research by Constant Contact shows that phrases like “Learn More,” “Start Your Free Trial,” and “Get Started” are particularly effective when aligned with your audience’s interests.

Aligning with Emotions: A good CTA resonates with the emotions of your audience. If your audience is looking for exclusive access, “Unlock your VIP invite” might be just the push they need.

Still Feeling Nervous: If these tips feel useful but a bit overwhelming to implement, think about handing your email marketing over to someone who knows their way around a solid strategy. My Croissant service offers tailored strategies to boost your open rates and conversions, freeing you up to run your business. Book 30 minutes with me today!

Let’s Recap

From humour to personalisation, urgency to timing, understanding the psychology behind effective email marketing can help your messages resonate with readers and encourage them to act.

But let’s face it: it can be a lot to keep up with, especially when you’re running a business. If you’d rather let an expert handle it, book 30 minutes with me to discuss how my Croissant service can take the stress out of email marketing and help you engage your audience so your business can thrive.

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