Xune Business Growth Insights

10 Principles of Psychology You Can Use to Improve Your Email Automation

open laptop with 3D puzzle globe

Psychology has been used in marketing for years, why? The simple answer – it works. Whilst every customer is unique, there are some general principles that the majority of people will respond to in the same, predictable way. As this is the case, you can use this to your advantage to enhance your email automation. 

Creating email marketing plans and email automations have remained one of the most effective ways of nurturing customers, combine this with the benefits of psychological marketing and you get one of the most effective ways to successfully market your business. 

Benefits of Having a Good Email Automation

There are multiple benefits to having a good email automation in place for your business.

Email Automations Allow for Targeted and Personalised Content

Having an email list allows you to segment customers into relevant groups in order to provide more personalised, relevant and useful content based on their preferences, age, location etc. You can focus more on including words, phrases and images that resonate even more with the specific types of customers in order to help them see how you can be useful to them.  

Tailoring content to people with their preferences and their way of communicating in mind creates a better brand to customer relationship. It convinces people that you have their best interest at heart, that they can trust you and you can help solve their problem.

Builds Stronger Customer Relationships

Emailing is a form of interacting with customers and communication is essential to any good relationship, otherwise, they’ll easily put you to the back of your mind. By consistently staying in contact with your customers you can help nurture them and keep them coming back. 

Emails are personalisable and therefore, it can feel more like 1 on 1 communication rather than just receiving updates and offers from a company. This creates a stronger relationship with your ideal buyer. 

Email Automation Increases Traffic

With emails, it’s easy to include relevant links to your website that get people visiting your site. Whether it’s to persuade them to view relevant content on your website, check out a flash sale or new discount or discovering a range of new products you have to offer.

The Principles of Psychology that Improve Email Automation

Social Proof

Social proof is the concept that if one consumer sees another consumer’s behaviour, they will follow and complete the same action. For example, seeing a line of people outside of a cafe is proof to you that it sells good coffee because you can see other people queuing to buy their products. 

To utilise social proof in your email automation, you could:

  • Include images of happy customers with your products.
  • Show the positive reviews of your product(s).
  • Share company milestones (such as reaching 1 million followers on Instagram)
  • Display what products other customers are commonly buying.
customer reviews

Fear of Missing Out

Fear of missing out (or FOMO as kids these days say it) is a real thing. People don’t want to miss out on things or experiences, especially if they have the option not to. By inducing the fear that they might miss out on a great product or excellent deal, you can get customers to believe that they need that product. Sending an email highlighting that there is a limited amount left of a certain product, will create a sense of urgency (another great tactic) and make them feel that if they don’t get it now they’ll miss out completely. 


Being sent generic emails does get boring and they’re tedious to open and read but having that bit of personalisation can set you apart from other companies, making people more likely to open your emails. Having an email that starts with “Hey, John…” feels more personal and directed to the customer, increasing the chance they will click and open your email, boosting engagement and increasing traffic to your website.

Persuasive Language

This is probably the most obvious of the principles and you’re most likely using this regularly throughout your email automations anyway. Persuasive language does exactly what it says on the tin, it persuades people to perform the action you are coaxing them to do. 

Visual Salience

This sounds complex but in a nutshell, it’s the fact that humans are attracted to visually salient stimuli, meaning something distinct will grab people’s attention more. For example, if you put a word in bold in the middle of a sentence, you notice the word in bold more. This can work for highlighting how your product can help a customer, the great price you’re selling it for or a special discount. Having a stand out feature, such as a colourful banner, will draw people’s attention to it. You can use this to get people to focus on the most important bits of information you’re trying to get across.  


This is the idea that humans tend to give back what they’ve been gifted. If someone does you a favour, you’ll feel the need to return that favour at some point. So if you offer someone a discount or deal, people see that as a gift and will likely ‘return the favour’ by purchasing from you. Sending an email along the lines of “We’ve got a special treat for you! Here’s 25% off…” makes the customer feel like you are doing them a favour.

Rule of Three

There’s something appealing to people about the number three. Three Musketeers, Three Little Pigs, “live, laugh, love”. They’re all examples of the rule of three. Having a trio of characters, words or events is far more satisfying and engaging as two can seem like too little and four can be too much, so three is the happy medium. It’s also much easier to remember things that come in three’s, so if you want something to stick in someone’s mind, using the rule of three is an excellent tactic. 

Anchoring Effect

The anchoring effect is the idea that people, subconsciously, tend to rely on the first option/fact presented to them when making a decision. An example would be when haggling a price, the negotiations revolve around the initial price brought up. This can work well when showing pricing and discounts. For example, informing the reader a product was initially priced at £14.99 and then telling them it is now £9.99, they’ll have used the initial price to judge that this new price makes it a bargain. 

Including the newest discounts with product images and it’s before and now prices in your email is a good way to use the anchoring effect successfully in your email automation.

customer incentives


Sometimes images speak much louder than words. An eye-catching, optimised image is an easy attention grabber and a good way to give a lot of information without having to say much. This helps keep people’s attention and communicate a lot of information without them having to read too much content. 


Consistency is key in most aspects of marketing and email automation is no different. Using your brand assets and staying consistent with your brand tone of voice, colours, visuals, images and words will help customers remember your message and associate that with your company, in turn creating strong brand loyalty.

It’s Time to Improve Your Email Automations

basics of A/B testing

Email automations are excellent for nurturing existing customers, helping new customers form long term relationships with your brand and advertising offers, deals and events for your company. As we’ve discussed above, there are many ways to enhance the positive results of email automation, such as following some simple principles of psychology that people naturally respond to in the same way.

By using psychology in your emails, you can massively improve your automation to receive even better results. Utilise the fact that people want social proof and give them that. Make them fear missing out on your brand and it’s products, reel them in with bold visuals that catch the eye and ensure they know who you are and what you’re about. 

They’re small changes but they can make massive differences. Consider planning your next set of emails with all these things in mind to create an automation with undeniable results. Of course, some of these principles will work better on some audiences over others, so it might be a good idea to A/B test your email automation to see what works with your customers and what doesn’t. If you’re still a little unsure how to create the most effective email automation, get in touch with us today, as experts, we can help you make the most out of your marketing. 

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