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email marketing triggers

Increase Email Conversions with these 4 Emotional Triggers

You’ve gone above and beyond, creating content that engages viewers, causing a tidal wave of traffic to hit your incredibly optimized website.

You’ve done all the work of creating an offer so enticing that it causes members of your target audience to salivate at the thought of having the opportunity to opt in to your email list.

Now what?

This is the common conundrum that countless internet marketers across every niche imaginable face. The wily veterans in the game are always telling you that the money is in the list. But now that you’ve built your list, how the heck do you convert them to paying customers?

Should you simply tell them how awesome your product is and pray that they’ll have the decency to throw you a few dollars for your hard work? Should you send them emails that nonchalantly tell them about your product in hopes that you got your message across? Wow, email marketing can be tough!

The secret is to play on 4 key emotional triggers throughout the course of your email marketing campaign.





Each emotion is powerful in its own right, but when used together, they can create a formidable email marketing campaign.

You and I both know that internet marketers love to sign up for offers. If I were to open my email right now I’d have countless offers from dozens of different sites that I’ve subscribed to. I dare you to open your inbox and read the first 3 emails you’ve received from other site owners.

It’s almost guaranteed that each email you’ve opened will at least contain text that illicit ONE of these 4 emotional triggers, if not more.

These are the reasons emails convert so well. These 4 emotions drive an entire industry and allow internet marketers from across the world to do what we do.

Let’s take a look at each one of these emotional triggers individually shall we?


Fear has been used by people to motivate others since the dawn of man. When used correctly, it can be quite the impressive ally.

I was perusing my Facebook page and came across an interesting promotional post. Below is a paid post that popped up into my newsfeed.

emotional triggers


The owners of this site use fear to push their product. If you were to click on the add you would be taken to a sales page that tells a story of how these three men were living the “high life”, staying in fancy hotels, paying outlandish amounts of money for lobster dinners, when suddenly they received a phone call that the feds had raided their office and froze all of their accounts.

Of course this plays on the fears of the readers;

“What if that happened to me?”

“Am I at risk for being raided?”

“Have I made the same mistakes they did?”

This is only one extreme example of how using fear can help sell. It’s up to you to find what your audience fears and assure them that your product is the solution.


Out of all 4 of the emotional triggers, gain is quite possibly the most utilized one. Unfortunately, many simply don’t use it as effectively as they could.

Even before you began your marketing campaign you should have created an outline of your ideal consumer. Some marketers go as far as to even draw a sketch to create the persona of the “perfect” customer. This is the person that all of your marketing efforts should be targeted to reach.

Once you’ve realized who this ideal consumer is, you need to put yourself in their shoes. What problems do they face on a daily basis? How can your product benefit them?

In order to use this emotional trigger effectively in your email marketing campaign, you need to go above and beyond the basics.

If I am selling a product that shows men how to pick up women, I wouldn’t simply tell them “This product is awesome. It will help you pick up women.” NO!

It has to go deeper than that. What do these men have to gain from picking up a woman?

Maybe they’re lonely? Perhaps they want the comfort of knowing someone is there for them? Maybe it’s purely sexual? Maybe they’re just tired of sitting at home on the weekends watching old Star Trek re-runs while their friends are out living life with their significant others.

Whatever it is, you have to dig deep and find the underlying benefit that makes them want to buy.


Your subscribers need to understand that there are negative consequences if they don’t act quickly. Oddly enough, when people feel a sense of urgency, they will act if you tell them to.

Here’s an example:

Everyone loves pandas. They are cute, cuddly, and look really cool. How many people do you know that went to the zoo this week? Probably not many.

What if a news report came on the air and said, “Come to the zoo and see our pandas. These are the last 2 pandas on earth and will be gone. After this week, there will be no more pandas on earth FOREVER. So, this is your last chance to ever see a panda in your lifetime.”

How many people do you think would flock to the zoo to see the last panda on the last few days that pandas existed?

I know that this is a pretty crazy scenario, but BEAR with me (pun intended).

No one you know has gone to the zoo this week because there is no urgency. They feel safe that if they wanted to see a panda, there will be one at the zoo whenever they get the urge to go. Suddenly, if you introduce a bit of scarcity, it creates that sense of urgency and people would likely stand in line for hours to catch a glimpse of the last panda.

Enough about pandas, here’s how scarcity works in action. Below is an email that I received recently.

email marketing emotional triggers

You’ll notice, the entire email is meant to induce a sense of urgency by telling the recipients that they need to act now or else they won’t benefit. Obviously, the giant red “Expired” stamp is to emphasize that time is running out, but look at the wording;

“Get in 15 minutes early because only 1,000 can attend”

“Grab a last minute seat”

“While you still can”


Most people ARE emotional shoppers, but there has to be some sort of logic in order to justify their purchase. Believe it or not, logic may be the most powerful emotional trigger of them all (I’ll show you why in a moment).

Logic can be used as a reinforcement tool to drive home the benefits of your product or service. Once you’ve gained the trust of your audience and have reached them with one of the other 3 emotions, you can use logic to ensure them that they are making the right decision in purchasing from you.

This is why the use of statistics, comparisons, and other facts work so well in engaging viewers. It is tangible data that can be observed by the audience.

Here is an example of how logic is used;

“Kathy followed my program and lost an astounding 20 pounds in 6 weeks.”

Ok, now the reader has an observable number that gives them an idea of how effective the product is. Losing 20 pounds in 6 weeks is quite an impressive feat, especially for someone that may have battled with weight loss in the past. They know that losing an abundance of weight is relatively difficult, especially the given amount in that specific time-frame.

This is logic kicking in. Of course, a good email marketer would use logic to reinforce the other 3 emotional triggers, often using them together. For instance;

“Kathy followed my program and lost an astounding 20 pounds in 6 weeks and says that she is happier than she’s ever been in her entire life. In fact, her and her new boyfriend (a man she recently met) are taking a trip to Costa Rica, where she plans to lay beach-side in her brand new swimsuit without fear of being judged for her weight for the very first time.”

Did you see what happened there? I used LOGIC to show the initial benefit of the using the program, followed by GAIN to show all of the additional benefits (new boyfriend, trip to Costa Rica, confidence to lay on the beach in a bathing suit).

Logic is quantifiable using numbers and benefits that can be measured, while the other 3 emotional triggers are not. When used in tandem with the other emotional triggers, it is unstoppable.


Email marketing can be tough. Even the most seasoned veterans often sit and scratch their head wondering how they are going to engage their subscribers.

Use these emotional triggers to your advantage. You have the ability to effectively mix and match them as you see fit in order to create an incredibly powerful message that will undoubtedly convince your target consumer to buy.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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