Psychology in Email Marketing: Tapping Into Consumer Minds

Jordan and Sophie

Jordan Stachini

11 minutes


Ever wondered how marketers manage to get into our heads and make us buy things we didn't even know we wanted? Once you get the lowdown on how to mess with people's minds in email marketing, you'll be the boss at crafting emails. In this article, we're diving deep into the power of urgency in Call To Actions (CTAs) and why you should use them.

So, when you’re creating your emails, do you ever think about the use of colour? In this blog, we’ll expose why colour matters and we will provide a clear guide on what to keep in mind for making your marketing emails slap.

Who hasb't had a  case of FOMO (Fear-Of-Missing-Out)before? We'll show you how to harness FOMO in your email marketing game to hit those goals. It's way easier than you'd imagine.

Every day, a mind-blowing 347.3 billion emails are sent and received daily. It's digital chaos. We’re here to give you the right tips to help you break through that digital clutter. 

The Power of Urgency in CTAs

Urgency is a secret tool that delves into the psychological aspect of human behaviour and makes us jump into action right away. 

If you see an email that says “Last chance to get 50% off”, you are probably going to click on it, right? That’s the power of urgency. Hook your subscribers by providing valuable content or exclusive discounts. When people feel they're getting something mega, they're more likely to open, engage, and do something about your emails. Now, let's dive into why it works:

Effect of urgent CTAs

Why does it have that effect?

Lights a fire under our butts:

Urgent CTAs make people feel as though time is running out which motivates immediate action rather than at a later date since there’s a time-sensitive benefit to do so.

Boost conversion rates:

Emails with urgent CTAs tend to have higher conversion rates because subscribers are encouraged to move from simply reading the email to taking action. Urgency prompts them to act now so it is important to keep this in mind when crafting marketing emails.

Enhances click-through rates (CTR):

Urgent CTAs spark curiosity and anticipation – recipients are more intrigued to look at the content. Urgent language forces consumers to click and find out what they might be missing out on.

Encourages engagement:

Consumers are more likely to engage if there’s a sense of urgency as it initiates excitement and action. Think about the gain – increased sales, conversions, and customer loyalty.

Establishes credibility:

If you constantly deliver on your urgent CTAs, you will build consumer trust which will give power to those ‘limited time’ offers,  boosting your brand's street cred.

Colour Theories In Email Design

What springs to mind when you think of the colour yellow? Do you instantly feel happy and optimistic, ready for the day? Well it turns out, research on colour-emotion associations found that people associate yellow with joy.

Think about if you crack open an email, and it's all white and bland with hardly any colour. Would that make you go, "Yeah, let's see what's in here!"? This is something you have to think about when you're putting together your emails. You want people to be excited to dive into your emails, and colour can be this secret tool for getting them engaged.

Spectrum of different colours shown in stripes

Who would've thought that the colours you pick for your marketing emails could mess with people's moods, opinions, and feelings?

One study on the impact of colour on marketing found that a whopping 62-90% of what we think about products is because of the colours they use. The next time you're about to hit that "send" button on your email, maybe give a quick peek at what vibes those colours are throwing out there.

Turns out, people have looked into all sorts of colour theories, and they say different colours can make people feel all kinds of emotions. Keep that in your back pocket for when you're crafting emails, and it might just help you hit your marketing goals more effectively.

Colour Psychology

Let's talk about how we can help you in your email game when it comes to using colour. This guide's here to help you work those colours like a pro and get those marketing goals nailed down.

Red: The emotions associated with red are passion, excitement and urgency. If you want to motivate immediate action, slap some red on those CTAs. Red works well with limited-time offers, clearance sales, or any promotional emails. Also, Christmas vibes? Red it up to keep things seasonal and relevant.

Blue: Blue is all about trust, calmness and reliability. The use of this colour is suitable for brands focusing on professionalism and credibility since trust and reliability are important for consumers. Think more: financial institutions, healthcare providers, and tech companies.

If you want consumers to act fast on your email marketing campaigns, avoid using blue – choose red instead. Blue is a good colour to use if you want consumers to relax and read the contents of your email.

Green: The emotions associated with green are peace, rest and security. What springs to mind when you think of this colour? Nature, right? Green is reflective of nature, growth, health and wealth, which makes it a suitable design choice for email marketing related to organic, eco-friendly, or financial products.

Hosting a sports event with a pitch? Go green, and people will connect the dots. Recipients will naturally draw connections between colour and external meanings. Green is a seasonal colour for the Christmas period which will make your emails appear relevant and within the theme of the season.

If you are trying to position your brand as eco-friendly and sustainable, use green so that it can be a visual reminder of your brand values. Use colour to your advantage.

Yellow: The emotions associated with yellow are feeling happy, optimistic and positive – send some good vibes to your consumers. This colour evokes a sense of happiness and positivity in the consumer’s mind. It is an attention-grabbing colour and is effective in communicating an optimistic and inviting tone of voice.

Think about when the sun comes out – your day becomes brighter doesn’t it? Its captivating glow makes it a perfect colour for initiating consumer engagement in your email marketing.

Orange: Emotions associated with orange are enthusiasm, creativity and energy, making it an effective choice for email marketing that aims to promote products or services that are innovative. Plus, it's all over the place in October for Autumn and Halloween vibes. Utilise this to make your email marketing campaigns appear timely and relevant in those seasons.

Purple: This colour is said to reflect luxury and royalty due to its association with kings and queens. If you intend to position your brand as premium, purple is a fitting choice of colour for your email designs. It screams high-end.

White: Think about if you opened up an email with little colour and a lot of white space – would this appeal to you?

White is said to reflect purity, cleanliness and simplicity, and is often used in minimalist designs. This is suitable for brands emphasising purity or hygiene. But remember, you still want people to dive into your emails, so don't go too plain.

Pink: The emotions associated with pink are romance and love. You’ve all heard the phrase ‘pink to make the boys wink’? This colour has always been regarded as a more feminine colour. This colour is effective for products or services targeting young consumers or a romantic audience. It can be a seasonal colour for Valentine’s Day so utilise this and use it to your advantage.

Another thing to keep in mind – Think about how your email designs look on smartphones and in dark mode. You want people to have a smooth experience, no matter when they open your emails.

Colour Harmony

Alright, so you need to know that picking the right colours is like a secret weapon for making your emails look mega. There are a couple of tricks to play with here: Contemporary colours (colours opposite each other on the colour wheel) can create a striking contrast whilst analogous colours (colours adjacent to each other) can create a harmonious, soothing effect. Email marketing can benefit from the use of both approaches, depending on the message and desired impact. Not only this but you need to focus on brand identity – a lot of how consumers visualise your brand is based on colour

A/B Testing

Not sure what colours will get you those goals? A/B testing in email marketing is effective for testing what approach is right for you. Try sending two versions of an email with different colour schemes. This way you can review which one performs better in terms of open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.

Cultural Significance

Be mindful that colours can be reflective of different cultural meanings and interpretations. Keep this in mind when conducting international email marketing campaigns as it is essential to be aware of this symbolism to avoid conveying unintended messages. You don't want to send the wrong message across.

Branding Consistency

What comes to mind when you think of McDonald’s? You can visualise the colours red and yellow instantly. Colour is a major tool for brand recognition and brand identity. Keep your colour game consistent across all your marketing, especially emails. It builds trust and makes you look more credible.  

Call to Action (CTA)

Use contrasting colours to signpost to consumers any CTAs. Make them know where to click. 

Seasonal and Holiday Colours

Incorporating seasonal colours can make your emails feel timely and relevant to consumers. For instance, utilise the colours red and green at Christmas in your seasonal email campaigns to grab consumer attention.

There are many techniques to get into the consumer's mind. One being personalisation in email marketing. Addressing your recipient by their first name can create a psychological relationship between you and your recipient. Combining this with colour will be a game-changer. Get creative with those colours, and watch your email game change for the better.

Harnessing FOMO

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a psychological phenomenon where individuals experience anxiety or unease about potentially missing out on something exciting or enjoyable that others are experiencing. We’ve all been there before.

Think about the time you had work commitments whilst your friends were out celebrating a birthday or the time you cancelled dinner plans because you were ill but everyone else still went anyway.

Marketers leverage FOMO for personal gain. They use urgent CTAs to mess with our heads and make us jump into action. They craft emails that make you feel like you're missing out big time if you don't check out their offers. Phrases like “Limited-time offer” or “Last chance to buy” have a psychological impact and recipients are more inclined to act quickly to avoid missing out on something valuable. 

Think of it as a ‘bandwagon effect’ – this is when you see everyone doing something, and you just know you have to join it. Well, marketers use this trick too. It's like a mind game that gets you hooked and moving towards their email goals.

Close up of red email notification icon

Ways to Leverage FOMO In Your Email Marketing Campaigns:

Limited-time offers: Get people moving. Create a sense of urgency by promoting limited-time offers, discounts or promotions in your emails. Pair this with countdown timers to reinforce that time is running out. This will trigger FOMO and can be the driving force that pushes consumers into action.

Exclusive access: Make your subscribers feel like the popular kids in school. Tease your consumers by providing VIP treatment with sneak peeks of upcoming products, events or content. 

Social proof: Toss in your customer reviews, testimonials, or user-generated content can be a smart way to trigger FOMO among consumers. If they can visually see social proof in your email campaigns that other people are benefiting from your product or service, a FOMO alarm will go off in their heads. 

Scarcity messaging: Make it sound like there's not much of your product or service left. By highlighting the limited or low availability of a product or service, using phrases like ‘Last 3 remaining’ or ‘Once it’s gone, it's gone’, will mess with their heads, and make them act pronto.

Countdowns and deadlines: These can fuel FOMO in email marketing as there’s a looming deadline present, which kicks a sense of urgency into consumers. This creates a psychological rush to push consumers into making a decision.

So, there's the lowdown on psychology in email marketing. It's not just about sending messages; it's about diving into the human brain and crafting emails that really hit home. In this digital age, where inboxes are bursting at the seams, it's the emails that stir up emotions, tell compelling stories, and speak to personal needs that truly make a difference. Get that psychology game on point, and watch your emails build strong relationships between brands and fans.

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