email copy writing

7 Psychological Tricks for Copywriting for Email Marketing

While communication channels such as social media and personal messaging apps are trending due to increased smartphone and internet availability, email marketing remains an essential part of ecommerce digital marketing. Whether you are in the process of establishing your ecommerce business on the market or are already invested in a specific industry and territory, relying on email marketing can indeed help attract new customers and followers to your products. 

According to Medium, 46% of small businesses rely heavily on email marketing, with 47% of marketers claiming that it is the most efficient lead nurturing tactic currently available. In addition, data published by Business 2 Community indicates that 67% of email marketers treat increased engagement as their top marketing objective, while 68% of millennials have stated that promotional emails have influenced their purchase decisions. 

In order to take full advantage of email marketing in ecommerce however, your writing and sales pitches should be subtle, attractive and professional enough for the recipient to follow through on and make a purchase decision sooner rather than later. With that said, let’s take a look at several practical psychological tricks that can be utilized in email marketing copywriting for ecommerce promotion with the goals of raising your business’ engagement and retention rates going forward.

Why Rely on Psychological Tricks when Writing Email Copy

Before we dive into email copywriting, let’s discuss the “why” behind such a process to better understand its influence on the end-users. While psychological “tricks” may sound derogatory at first glance, their nomenclature makes sense in the context of online sales. 

As humans, we are prone to certain emotional triggers and subsequently produce responses which direct our behavior toward a specific action (feeling happy about nature, unhappy about pollution, for example). 

Nathan Brook, Head of HR at Subjecto spoke on the topic briefly: “Psychology and customer journey mapping are intricately connected, whether we are aware of it or not as the party pushing its products to the open market. Given the nature of ecommerce, we as store owners have direct control of how our brand, products and website as a whole will be perceived by would-be customers and competition.” 

That being said, implementing psychological tricks and approaching email copywriting with the intent to engage, animate and encourage users toward your platform can prove to be significant and beneficial in a number of ways:

  • Direct control over your brand’s public reputation and awareness
  • Ability to segment and target different demographics within your email list
  • Customer loyalty, retention and referral reward opportunities (brand advocacy)
  • Higher engagement, website traffic, conversion and subsequent revenue generation

Successful Email Copywriting Techniques

1) Open with a Statement or Question

One of the easiest ways for your ecommerce email marketing content to end up in the Spam or Trash folders of potential customers is by relying on cheap trigger words. According to 99 Firms, personalized subject lines increase email open rates by up to 26%, with words such as “free”, “money” and lines written in capital letters with exclamation points often automatically get ignored. 

Given that email users are used to differentiating spam from non-spam content in their inboxes by reflex, your email copywriting should start with a carefully written email subject line

Tease your potential customer with a statement about your brand, a fact about your products or a simple question directed at their everyday life. Match your tone of voice and question with the lifestyle of your target audience (millennials, elderly, employed parents, etc.) and your email campaigns will perform better as a result of successful psychological engagement.

Nothing stops a subscriber from opening an email faster than a dull, impersonal email subject line.

2) Rely on Personal Pronouns

Most email users will remain cold and uninterested if your copywriting relies on distanced, robotic wording and phrases. Helping your recipients to identify with your ecommerce brand and products through personal pronouns in a great way to encourage increased engagement. 

By introducing personalized pronouns such as “you”, “us” and “we”, you will effectively lower the barrier for entry for most email marketing recipients in your campaign efforts. After all, asking people you don’t (personally) know to trust you with their time, money and information without at least personalizing your pitch is bound to negatively affect your engagement.

3) Benefits over Features

Email marketing content, similar to social media content, will often receive only marginal attention from your recipients before their final decision is made. With that said, it’s important not to waste their time once the email is open and ensure that they are presented with the benefits of purchasing your products rather than their features. 

For example, if your ecommerce platform specializes in home and kitchen appliance sales, basing your email copywriting on practical use benefits of said items rather than their technical specifications will work wonders for your engagement. Psychologically, recipients will quickly imagine themselves using said products in practical ways around the living area, ensuring that they at least open your ecommerce storefront and inquire about further details surrounding the sales pitch.

4) Facilitate Email Skimming

While you should strive to capture your recipients’ attention with smart email copywriting, chances are that cold emails won’t receive as much attention as you’ve hoped for. Thus, content skimming can help you get your sales pitch across even if the recipient decides to quickly scan through the email. 

Content skimming can be facilitated by carefully formatting your email into bullet points, short sentences, different font sizes as well as added visuals in the email’s body. Alternatively, you can opt for minimalistic email copywriting and only include several short but informative sentences of data before presenting the recipient with hyperlinks, visuals or attached PDFs in regards to your ecommerce platform’s products.

5) Social Proof Matters

Psychologically, we as humans are prone to seek out groups of like-minded individuals who share our thoughts and beliefs about the world. As such, social proof in the form of customer testimonials, influencer reviews and demonstrations of successful and satisfied product uses can work wonders for your bottom line. 

You can reach out to existing customers, industry experts or even social media influencers for input about your products which can then be quoted and formulated into email copywriting. Presenting such data to your potential customers via email will trigger the desired psychological response and help nudge the recipient toward your platform and their final purchase decision.

6) FOMO-Backed Deals

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a typical psychological trick found in ecommerce platforms across the web. It revolves around limited-time offers, exclusive deals and one-time purchase opportunities which can help encourage momentary responses to your email copywriting. 

By introducing a rotating lineup of products with discounts or bundle offers which will expire in only a few days from the moment of receiving the email, you will effectively trigger FOMO with your recipients and have a much better time encouraging conversion and revenue generation. 

7) Encourage Reader to Take Action through CTAs

Lastly, engaging your email marketing’s recipient with calls to action (CTA) is a great way to trigger a psychological response to your writing at the time of reading. Calls to action which address the reader directly and invite them to perform a certain action in regards to what they’ve just read are extremely useful in ecommerce email copywriting. 

Simple CTAs such as “check out our deals now” or “share with your friends now and receive a discount” are highly effective since they are direct, informative and easily performed, respecting the reader’s time and effort in doing so. 

Failing to add any form of CTA to your email copywriting is a poor sales decision since it will leave the readers indifferent about your email which will lead to very poor engagement and sales generation for your platform.

Your Overall Email Copywriting Strategy

Relying on psychological tricks and human emotion in email copywriting shouldn’t be seen as derogatory or unethical – rather, it has become a necessity to address your recipients as individuals with thoughts and feelings. Combined with a reliable email marketing platform, psychological triggers and careful copywriting can lead to far better email marketing performance for your platform regardless of your current industry standing.


Bio: Dorian Martin is a writer and a content marketing specialist at Subjecto. He knows how to craft the best essays and the most engaging social media posts. He is passionate about emerging technologies, psychology, and blogging.

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