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How Can Customer Psychology Be Used In An Email Marketing Campaign

Email Marketing

Have you ever wondered how to use human psychology to increase reach? There are some customer psychology email marketing tricks to use to create a better email campaign based on people’s behavior.

Internet users’ average time reading brand e-mails fell from over 13 seconds in 2018 to 10 seconds in 2021. Part of the reason for this is the increased volume of emails people receive daily. Consequently, marketers have to try harder to get their readers’ attention and convert them.


If you want to get through your target audience, you need to consider customer psychology. Creating content that connects with people will be easier once you know what they want to hear and see.

Ultimately, it will help to generate more conversions, sales and increase the overall effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Let’s look at some of the ideas you can use to make your emails more effective:

1. Make use of scarcity

Scarcity in email marketing uses customers’ Fear of Missing Out (or FOMO) to get them to take action. It’s based on the psychological principle that people want what is difficult to acquire.

Scarcity, or the idea that something is limited in supply, is an excellent trigger for purchase. Letting people know of a product’s limited availability can boost sales. In fact, according to an OptinMonster study, 60% of millennials make purchases based on FOMO.

You can trigger scarcity in email marketing by including a countdown timer in your emails. The limited-time offer can work magic and persuade the readers to buy now. The best offers are highly desirable, unique, rare, or limited.


You can easily add scarcity to your email campaign. In a cart abandonment sequence, you can offer a limited-time discount. On a special event like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you can share the best deals available, etc., or add it in your HTML email signature when sending a newsletter or simple email.

Sending a series of emails for promotion is a great way to boost sales. For example, you can send an email at the start of the promotion highlighting scarcity. Then, you send a final email at the end of the campaign saying either time or stock is running out.

2. Mutual reciprocity

Reciprocity is a general psychological characteristic that describes the way people act when they get a gift. Usually, they feel that they should give something in return. The concept of “you help me, I’ll help you,” is a very effective marketing strategy.

If you give your subscribers something for free, they are more likely to purchase from you, as they will want to return the favor.

A few ideas of what you can give away for free are:

  • tutorials
  • free shipping offers
  • discounts
  • product combination offers

The most crucial factor in using the reciprocity principle in email marketing is keeping the gesture genuine. Don’t be tempted to demand anything from the readers.

In the email from Rebecca Page, a sewing enthusiast, she offered free tickets to a holiday craft summit to her subscribers. These were free. Her subscribers just needed to claim them.


Remember that If you give something away for free, you generate goodwill. That increases the chance of your audience purchasing things from your company.

People love freebies. Make sure you use the word “free” in a logical, noticeable place in your email. The email body or on a call-to-action button. You can design your email or use templates for email marketing campaigns

Testing a few variations of the subject line is also a good idea. Try showing the word “free” first, last, or parentheses.

3. The use of social proof

Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon where people look to others to validate a decision. For example, reading reviews on Amazon can give you confidence in the quality of a product before you make a purchase.

There are many ways that you can efficiently work social proof into your email campaign:

  • show media mentions in your emails
  • add customer reviews and testimonials into emails
  • take advantage of influencer endorsements
  • Share user-generated content
  • display authority using numbers
  • show off your awards and nominations

Reed Courses learning platform includes customer reviews in their emails:


Visual cues play an important role in getting readers to see social proof. Reed Courses strategically placed the customer star ratings below the first CTA and directly above the “Buy now” button in the email above. Always choose to place social proof near CTAs when crafting your emails. This way, the CTAs will be easy to spot, while the social proof will help convince visitors to convert. 

4. Affordability anchoring

Price anchoring refers to the behavior of people to strongly weigh the first piece of information offered when making decisions. In price anchoring, you set the anchor price first so that your customers can compare other things to that price. The first price will then act as a reference against which you measure the other goods.

There are a few ways to use affordability anchoring in email campaigns.

One way is to show an expensive product first and then follow it up with a less expensive one. The second product will seem more within reach and be seen as better value for money.

For example, if a customer wants to buy a pair of sneakers, they will think the first pair is affordable if they see a $50 pair next to a $250 one. Another way is to show two prices of an item: an original price as a reference point and a new one as the second price. If the second price is lower than the first one, your readers will think it’s a great price cut.


People will be more likely to buy the product in the given period because it is lower than the anchor point. Use price anchoring when running a special offer or sale. You can also use price anchoring to reveal how you compare against the competition.

5. Maintaining Consistency

It’s essential to be consistent when communicating with your audience. You want to use a consistent brand voice, use your brand colors, and send emails as frequently as you promised.

Being inconsistent will confuse your audience. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a writing style and stick to it in every email. The AP style guide is popular with writers and bloggers. It promotes clarity, accuracy, and brevity in addition to consistency.

Many businesses use the foot-in-the-door technique in their email marketing, which is based on a human need to be consistent with their commitment. People can be encouraged to be loyal by getting them to commit to something consistently.

Under the foot-in-the-door technique, you ask users to first agree to minor requests. If they agree to the small ones, they are more likely to agree to the larger ones that will follow after.

This strategy is a very effective part of the psychology of email marketing. You can include plenty of little asks in your emails, like asking to subscribe, like, or click to continue reading on your blog.

Like in the email below from O bag, an Italian handbags retailer. The reader is asked to either watch the video or check out the collection. 


Buying the products will come later as a big ask.

Your requests can come in any form, as long as the subscriber voluntarily takes action on your request.

Using a double opt-in process for new subscribers is one way of making an ask of your audience, for example. The users should first fill in the form on the website with email information. Next, they should receive an email confirmation that asks them to click on a link to confirm the process.

This double opt-in asks the user of two small things. They first agree to sign up and then click the confirmation link.

Bottom Line

Now you got to know the principles of psychology a little better. Predicting your target audience’s emotional and psychological responses will help you create successful email campaigns.

Understanding the psychological triggers behind purchase decisions will help you develop the right email marketing strategy for your brand. So, go ahead and use customer psychology to your advantage in email marketing.

You’ll see how your emails will end up generating the results you were looking for.

Discover how Spiralytics, an email marketing agency, can help you with you business!

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