It’s not always possible to sit down and logically think about every decision we make, especially given that we make hundreds of them every day. So, we use shortcuts, we rely on how we feel or our emotions to make some choices.
For example, in your inbox, you read only those emails which grab your attention and you delete the rest. This was an emotional choice. This is why understanding the psychology and the behavior of a consumer is important for a marketer. You should know what could trigger them, what could put them off, and what could tempt them.
Here are some such psychological phenomena that affect a consumer’s decision:
1. Use FOMO
Most humans have an aversion to loss; their FOMO (Fear of missing out) often pushes them into action.
In fact, according to a study, Brits were 39% more likely to open an email, when it promises to relieve their fear of missing out.
For example, say in your email you mention a ‘special discount offer of 50% only for you’, now this might be enticing, but not enough to get an instant response. If instead, you had written, ‘Special discount of 50% only for you – expires in 1 hour’, there is a higher probability of getting an instant response.
This is a principle eCommerce retail sites use very well. If you have noticed, below a sale product, they often write ‘Only one piece in stock’. This triggers a sense of urgency in you and pushes you to act now.
So, scarcity and urgency are the keys to getting action. Scarcity is also an economic principle in that when the supply of a good product is low the demand is usually high and it looks more desirable.
You can use FOMO by including words like ‘Expires’ in the subject line to improve the open rates. Use the email content to further explain the scarcity or the urgency to boost the click-through rates.
2. Choose the right colors to elicit the right response
Business psychologists estimate that colour can account for up to 60% of the reason for the acceptance or the rejection of a product or a service.
Color elicits emotional responses from the readers and so, choose the color scheme depending on what emotional response you want to trigger in your audience when reading the email.
For instance, Red is known to infuse a sense of danger or urgency and may increase heart rate, while Orange is associated with aggressiveness and may push the readers to click on the CTA. Also, blue represents trustworthiness and hence, serves you well when you are talking about ‘security’.
Although each color is known to trigger a very specific emotion, keep in mind that the best way to figure out the color that elicits the best response is through trial and error.
Also, when choosing colors, it’s not enough to pick one theme color and chose randomly for the other components of the email. According to Three Deep, the CTA’s color, for example, must be complementary to the email to get the best results.
3. Guide using an image
Just like colors, images also elicit an emotional response from the reader and that’s why the saying, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’.
The truth is most of your audience won’t stop to read every single word of your email; they most likely will give it a scan to see if there is anything interesting and move on otherwise. This is where powerful pictures can stop their auto scan and grab their attention.
When choosing pictures for your email instead of picking impersonal images, use pictures of people, especially happy people. Such pictures will successfully catch their attention.
You can also use an image to direct the customer to a particular space in your email, for example, the spot where the CTA is. Using a picture of a smiling person pointing towards the sign-up button can be quite effective.
4. Use the content to build a deep relationship with the customer
For most companies, their scope of personalization doesn’t go beyond adding the recipient’s name at the top of the email. You need to understand that the reason behind personalization is a very psychological one.
According to a study done by the University of Texas, our craving for personalized experiences is for two reasons – our desire for control and information overload.
Even though the customer has no literal control over the email, when they realize that email has been personally tailored for them and is unique to them, they get an illusion of control. Additionally, in this age of too much information, the only way to grab your reader’s attention is to speak to them about them and not speak at them!
Personalization is a way for you to establish a bond with your customer by understanding what they want and who they are and using this data to compose your email.
You can infuse personalization in your email campaigns in a number of ways. For example, say you are a grocery delivery startup, you know that it is raining heavily in your customer’s location, you can send a personalized email to take advantage of this situation by saying, ‘Hey, stuck in rain? Let us do the work for you!’
Using simple factors to segment, such as the age, location, sex of the prospect can help you personalize effectively. If you are small/growing business, you don’t have to invest in high-end tools to do this; using tools such as shared labels and rules/filters to segment your customer base is a smart and cost-effective alternative as well.
5. Persuade better using social proof
Social influence is another important psychological phenomenon that affects the consumer behavior in that they look to other consumer’s actions to make their decision about a product/service.
In fact, according to a study, 63% of consumers have indicated that they are more likely to purchase when a site has product reviews and ratings displayed.
We can infer from this data that an email which contains some social proof, will be more effective than one which doesn’t. You don’t have to include pages of testimonials to impress your audience; sometimes a quote or a one-liner from a customer about your product will be more than enough. Another idea is to include a link for your testimonials and reviews section.
In fact, you can get really creative here and find smart ways to present social proof, without being too explicit such as sharing the number of views for your Youtube video or the number of happy customers you serve etc.
Data is certainly important when making your email marketing decisions, but remember that marketing is both a science and an art. You have to understand the minds of consumers to come up with really effective campaigns and sometimes the best way to do that is to experiment a little and figure out what’s working; the above list is a great place to start.