9 Ways to Make Your Email Marketing More Effective

December 14, 2018 Carol Forden

9 Ways to Make Your Email Marketing More EffectiveAre you tired of your email marketing not getting exceptional results?

You read and hear daily how email is one of the best marketing channels available, and its effectiveness and you’re not getting the outcomes you keep reading about?

Are you tired of tearing your hair out every-time you look at your disappointing click-through and conversion rates?

How about some good news?

The problem is relatively easy to fix, and in this article, we’re going to show you how to create triggers that get readers wanting to read your emails.

Implementing techniques and strategies that are used by experienced marketers, we’ll teach you how to turn around your campaign and get the email click-through rates and results you want.

To be honest what you are about to learn is not a secret, in fact, they’re part of almost every successful email and marketing campaign.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, leading blogs, and newspapers use the same strategies daily; you just don’t realize it.

Today, the market is more competitive than ever, and in a competitive market, the most addictive products win.

Consumers avoid pain and seek pleasure

There is one core  fundamental understanding that you must have as a marketer:

“all humans are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to seek hope and avoid fear, and finally, to seek social acceptance and avoid rejection.”

— Nir Eyal in his best-selling book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.

It’s human nature to want good and avoid evil. After all, all of our actions are in one way or another to seek pleasure or avoid pain.

Even when we willingly accept suffering, it’s to avoid pain. Possibly because that suffering can take us, in the long term, to a place with less hardship and more fulfillment.

So, your wondering why and how does this relate to email marketing?

If your email campaign is not getting the results you want, review the quote above and reevaluate your campaign. Odds are you’re not meeting your reader’s deepest needs.

People seek both short term and long term fulfillment.

Successful marketing efforts provide at least one type, and often both.

Once you understand that, the rest is simple, it may not be easy but it is simple.

As a marketer your job is to:

    • Find the most effective ways to trigger short-term fulfillment meaning instant gratification for your readers: You need to make your readers feel good at the moment when they’re relating to your brand.
  • Convince readers that you’re a long-term solution to their problems: Let your audience know that you’re a logical long-term solution to their problems. That you’re here to improve their lives in the long run.

So how do you do this?

Trigger Short Term Fulfillment which is Instant Gratification

Instant gratification is the secret behind Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram’s and Twitter’s success.

This is why we spend 30 minutes reading the feed on Facebook when we were supposed to be sending a quick message or responding to a comment on a post.

Social media platforms don’t appeal to reader’s long-term goals but do an excellent job at triggering instant gratification.

Our bodies are wired to feel pleasure when certain events in our environment take place.

Pleasure chemicals like dopamine are released in our brains when we eat, have sex, and, to a lesser extent, when we see new things and ideas.

With the arrival of modern technology, we met an infinite source of novelty and entertainment. New videos, posts, memes, and apps come out every day. And spiking your pleasure chemicals became a matter of grabbing the iPad by the table.

source: Futurist Gerd

That’s great for us marketers.


Because as long as we spike costumer’s pleasure centers, they’ll keep coming back. Dopamine has been triggered in the brain and the need to experience that pleasure returns to reinforce the desire.

To get you more familiarized with the instant gratification concept, here’s one example of how to trigger short-term fulfillment in your email campaign:

Funny GIF or image embedded right into the email so that’s seen after opening the email

An easy way to generate an instant dopamine response in your email campaign is to put a funny GIF or image right at the beginning of every email.

Doing this will help you increase email open rates because your audience will start to learn that opening your email = a nice dopamine spike.

When they see your new email in their inbox, their emotional brain will be curious to see what’s inside. And they’re likely to check the dopamine present that awaits since it’s just a click away.

Be aware that these are images that are interesting, surprising, and grab the reader’s attention.

If your visual content is boring, non-stimulating, and doesn’t spike dopamine, it won’t do the trick.

A type of image that consistently accomplishes what I mentioned above is a meme. It might not be the most appropriate type of visual content to use for more formal businesses but provides excellent results.

Everyone knows memes are addictive. We all know that dude who spends 6 hours a day browsing Reddit or Tumblr.

That’s because memes are incredibly effective at raising our dopamine levels.

They’re so compelling that I just wasted 10 minutes looking at them because I stumbled across a meme post when doing the research for this article.

Damn. After experiencing that short buzz of instant gratification, I can tell you with even more confidence that they work.

Memes and other types of visual content are very attractive to stimulate our brains. They turn boring walls of text into something more digestible that garners our attention.

What’s more, the tests and studies were done on animated GIFs for email marketing are positive so far.

    • Email Institute found that emails with animated GIFs increased click-through rates up to 26%
    • Emails with an animated GIF saw a 12% increase in revenue according to BlueFly
  • Marketing Sherpa showed a 6% increase in open rate, 42% increase in click rate, a 103% increase in conversion rate, and a 109% increase in revenue when analyzing Dell’s email campaign.

As you can see, GIFs have a considerable potential to increase the results of your marketing efforts. Visual content, after all, is engaging and transmits information faster.

9 Ways to Make Your Email Marketing More Effective

If that’s enough to convince you to give Animated GIFs a trial, take a look at this post for more details on how to properly use them in your emails.

Emotional marketing

Humans are emotional creatures.

Our decisions and actions are primarily based on the emotional states we experience.

As a marketer, you can leverage the power of emotions to instill interest in your audience and encourage them to purchase.

You just have to learn how to create the right psychological triggers in your content, and customers will kneel for your products.

Some of the most common emotions you can provoke with these psychological triggers include curiosity, anticipation, and belonging. There are also darker emotions in the marketing arsenal; like fear and guilt.

In your campaign, every email should provoke at least one of these emotions. Emotionless emails are bad marketing because it’s through emotions that customers connect to your brand.

In the “Funny GIF or image appears right after opening email” example, I showed you how to trigger anticipation, curiosity, and uncertainty. This is an addictive combo of emotions that are very hard to resist, especially when combined.

There are a gazillion ways to trigger each emotion, and there are way too many emotions to talk about, so I’ll keep it short and tell you about what I consider to be some of the most effective ones for marketing.


The reason why trust is on top of the list is that I consider it to be one of the most important emotions to establish in customers.

Without it, customers have a much harder time deciding to purchase.

Money is a valuable and limited resource many of us would rather not risk spending to get a crappy product. But once we trust the seller, it’s different.

9 Ways to Make Your Email Marketing More Effective

If we know that they care about customer experience and that they have a reputation for it, it’s easier to pull out the wallet.

And it’s certainly easier to go through their newsletter emails. After all, we trust what they have to say.

Here are a few tips, so you do it yourself:

    • Social proof: It’s important to display social proof and show clients that you’re not joking around. People care about reputation and social proof is the way to show them you’ve got it. Now and then, include testimonials, success stories, and other forms of social proof in your emails.
    • Humanize: Let your followers know that you’re a human just like them. Show face pictures on emails, have a team page on your website, introduce employees or representatives, and whatever else lets them know they’re dealing with real people.
  • Reduce perceived risk: Social proof and money back guarantees make clients perceive less risk from purchasing. Let them know that if they’re not satisfied they can get their money back.

Want to go deeper? Here’s a great post on how to strengthen this emotion with email marketing


A great marketing emotion that can turn prospects to clients to raving fans is belonging.

Everybody wants to feel like they’re part of something! Whether it’s a club, a clan, a family, or a group.

To get the best type of customer there is; the raving fan who buys almost every new product in the brink of an eye and has clothing apparel with your brand logo, you gotta create a sense of community and belonging in your clients.

If you’re thinking about provoking belonging in your next email, here are a few tips to help you out:

    • Use storytelling: Stories are excellent at communicating messages and making them stick in reader’s minds. They can help you provoke powerful emotions (including belonging) that’ll make your readers click the call to action at the bottom of the email.
    • Have a purpose: What’s your brand’s purpose? Do you think your customers would like to join you?
  • Create a community: Are you Mac or PC? Real Madrid or Barcelona? Make it so that your customers build a cult and a community around your brand as if they were apple fanboys or believers. I won’t go into how to create a community, but here’s a resource in case you’re interested.


Your brand is doing well if it can create hope and turn that hope into purchases.

We all want something. Don’t you?

We seek businesses in the hope that they’ll get us what we want. When choosing a product, we choose the one we hope will fulfill our needs the most.

It’s only natural that you should let customers know that there’s hope to solve their problems.

In your email campaign, have success stories that showcase the benefits people have seen in their lives after acquiring your products.

Use copywriting to convince them that there is hope for their problems. And that the solution lies in your brand and products.


Curiosity is an emotion that stems from our need to retrieve information and learn about the world.

This is one of the most abused emotions for marketing purposes. All thanks to its action driving qualities.

9 Ways to Make Your Email Marketing More Effective

Curiosity drives us to get information, exactly what every marketer offers in an email campaign.

To trigger it, you have to surprise readers with unexpected information.

We’re pattern seeking creatures, and when we see something that breaks the patterns we expect, it attracts our attention.

When writing blog post headlines and email titles, triggering curiosity is a necessary skill.

This is an example of a curiosity triggering email title:

Discipline is easy when you stop making these 3 terrible mistakes

The reason why this title is excellent at triggering curiosity is that it’s unexpected and at the same time gives the reader the impression that incredible benefits could come from attaining that information.

Since when is discipline easy? I would never expect that.

And could I be making those 3 terrible mistakes? I want to know what they are! Could my life turn around if I avoid them?

Once those questions are generated in reader’s minds, it’s almost inevitable that they’ll be curious enough to click.

Here’s a long post about using the curiosity gap in your marketing campaigns.

Appeal to long-term goals

Another way to get customers that stick is by appealing to long-term goals. This means appealing to the rational part of our brains.

I know chimpanzees aren’t rational, but we gotta admit this one looks like it is.

In your emails, this could mean telling customers about the benefits they will see in the long run while providing data to reinforce the belief that you’re the most logical solution.

This means that your customers have to think one thing:

This business is an obvious solution to my problems and will improve my life in the long run.

In your email campaign, show statistics, facts, and any type of data that shows they’re making a great investment by getting involved with your brand. Appeal to the rational thinking brain that worries about the future.

But even when appealing to logic, emotions are important.

Customers must trust you before they’re convinced by your promises. So it doesn’t matter what you say if you don’t have their trust in the first place.

And even if they are aware that you are the most practical solution, they might not purchase if you don’t get them excited enough.

That’s why appealing to logic is better when you appeal to emotions as well. Because if you convince both their emotional and rational self, they’ve got more than plenty of reasons to come back.

What’s the psychological trigger you’ll use in your next campaign?

Did I miss anything or is there anything you’d add?