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Marketing and the Mind: How to Use Psychology to Make Sales

Get more from your audience by understanding the psychology behind successful email marketing campaigns and learn how you can use their success to increase the ROI for your own campaigns. This guide will steer clear from pseudo-science and show you proven methods of achieving results!

Why is Email Marketing so Effective?

First things first, let’s get one thing clear: is email marketing still the way to go? With tech changing so rapidly, almost suddenly, and the ways that we communicate with one another changing too? Well… Yes! Yes it is!

Of course, email marketing isn’t the only path for your business to take. But it’s still one of the most effective, and that’s backed up by the stats. So, for example, did you know that email is the number one most popular activity on smartphones? 78% of people use their smartphone for email, compared to a measly 70% who use Facebook and a positively puny 53% who post and share photos. Now, we are of course only joking- that’s plenty of people- but we think it’s surprising that more people use email on their smartphones than use Facebook!

Email is one platform that really is universal. The numbers are subject to change depending on your target audience (naturally) but according to Adestra, 61% of email opens occurred on mobile, 15% on desktop and 24% in a webmail client. Figures from Litmus were similar: desktop represents 17% of all email opens, webmail 36% and mobile 47%. So in terms of numbers, there really is no shortage of people!

The Path of Least Resistance

The first key factor to consider when it comes to combining psychology and email marketing is the fact that as people we often use ‘shortcuts’ to make our decisions. It all comes back to the path of least resistance; what’s the best return on the most reasonable amount of effort? We all in our day to day lives follow this same path. More often than not, it involves relying on our feeling and emotions to make the decision for us. It isn’t feasible for us to sit and logically contemplate every small choice we make in a day. Instead, we trust our gut, or make snap decisions based on what feels right. Your job in marketing is to position yourself right in that path.

A prime example of this would be to consider how your audience will go through their inbox, only reading emails of specific interest to them. A quick glance at the sender and subject line (potentially a preview pane) will determine whether or not your email is sent to the trash, not a logical chain of thought. This decision which emails to open and which to discard is an emotional choice for your subscriber. This is why understanding human psychology and the typical behaviour of a consumer is so important to email marketing professionals. The point is that the mobile platform allows you to take these ‘quick glances’ far more so than any other.

The ‘Big Gun’: Fear of Missing Out

The power of your audience’s FOMO or fear of missing out should never be underestimated. Humans have a very strong aversion to loss or missing out on something that others benefited from, an emotional pull which is, strangely, even stronger than the one you feel when you gain something! You can utilise FOMO to trigger your customers to take action. A UK based study suggested that 39% of email readers were more likely to open an email when it aimed to generate the fear of missing out, which is a hefty enough number to make a real change to how much you convert.

A great way to create the ‘fear’ is by applying time or availability limitations to the offers in your emails. For example, if you draft an email with a headline ‘25% discount just for you’, this may seem attractive, but adding a time limit such as ‘Flash discount – expires in one hour’ will increase the chances of an immediate response. This concept isn’t new, and it is used by many E-Commerce retail giants. Indicating that there are only a few more products left is also a super-simple way to create a sense of urgency. You’ll often see this written next to sales items on websites. Whether it’s the case or not, it can still yield impressive results.

Utilise Social Proof

Studies have proven that vast amounts of consumers are more likely to purchase a product when companies display product ratings and reviews on their website. Your social proof doesn’t have to be a long disclaimer, sometimes just a one-line quite will do the trick. You can also add a link to the testimonials on your website in your email.

Of course, these are just a few ways that psychology intersects with marketing. The truth is that as time has gone by, marketing- whether we’re talking about email campaigns or ads on TV- has become more and more reliant on an understanding of psychology. That applies both to how an ad grabs the attention of an individual, and influences a target market as a whole. So the next time someone asks you what you do… Tell them you’re a psychologist!