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mental triggers in email marketing

The mental triggers in email marketing and other strategies aim to stimulate action by the lead.

Mental triggers use reason and emotion to stimulate a purchase, registration for a webinar, ebook download…

While reason valid a sales pitch, the emotion hits the buy button.

Nowadays, consumers are much more aware of a purchase. Therefore, knowing how to dose the use of mental triggers in email marketing may be what you needed to increase your open rates, clicks and conversions.

How to use mental triggers in email marketing?

Mental triggers are elements that, when used, have the objective of “moving” with the human being’s instinct and helping him to make decisions.

Among the examples of mental triggers most used in digital marketing we can mention:

  • belonging;
  • reciprocity;
  • scarcity (or urgency);
  • social proof;
  • authority.

Each of them is used in order to persuade the lead to perform the action proposed by the email sent.

Homes of the Future

How to convince the lead to open their email and click on the CTA? 

Using mental triggers in email marketing is one way to answer the above question.

Next, we will understand, through concepts and examples, how to use mental triggers in email marketing. Check out!


Making the lead feel part of something is one way to get them to act.

Your contact shouldn’t feel like they’re just another email in their database, receiving a standard communication.

Look for ways to make him feel that message was made with him in mind, and you’ll have a much better chance of making him “hear” you.

One way to do this is to personalize the email with the contact’s name.

Also, creating targeted email marketing is critical to increasing your chances of converting a lead.

We separate an example of email marketing with a clear sales objective, which works the belonging trigger, even without using the lead name, from the subject. Membership, in this model, is more associated with needs than with the contact’s name. 

An email like this will likely have good open and click-through rates. After all, it treats the lead pain right in the title. It is an email resulting from an automation flow, which nourishes a user who visited the online store in search of a certain tool (represented in the email) but did not make the purchase.

scarcity and urgency

Certainly, the scarcity and urgency trigger is one of the most used in digital marketing strategies.

This trigger stirs the emotion of “fear” of losing something important. Fear of missing a good opportunity, for example.

It is a great option for email marketing to launch products and services, as well as promotional campaigns.

The email below is an example of using this trigger. The subject was “Last hours! Secure yours now?”.

In the previous 48 hours, an email had been sent informing us about the beginning of the campaign and also the period it would last. The subject was: “ It’s started! For 48 hours, come?”. 

The tactic of remembering your campaign more than once is important in reinforcing your value proposition and reminding you of what you have to lose.

For leads that are part of the brand persona and that are at the bottom of the sales funnel, campaigns like this one serve as a “push”. Fear of missing out on a good opportunity leads qualified leads to decide on the purchase right then and there.

Among the types of scarcity that can be used you have:

  • shortage of time;
  • scarcity of extra earnings;
  • shortage of vacancies; between others.


In this trigger, you use your company’s authority to “override” the quality of your offer.

The power of using the argument from authority has been recognized since the time of radio and TV marketing campaigns that used celebrities to promote a product or service.

This model is still in effect. Authority is what we look for when we invest in actions with digital influencers, for example. This only proves the importance of this mental trigger, regardless of the channel in which it will be used.

However, it is not necessary to use someone else’s name and image to show your company’s authority.

Among the examples of using mental triggers for authority-related email marketing, we can cite the inclusion of:

  • numbers;
  • Dice;
  • relevant content that your company produces and shares;
  • success cases;
  • customer testimonials;
  • expert presentation and more.

Multi-brand e-commerce can even use as an authority trigger the name of a brand that sells to generate email openings, with a subject line like: “Nike and New Balance selection for 179.99! FOR A LIMITED TIME”. 

It is also possible to identify within your company some arguments that will help the lead to trust you more, such as “We have already delivered more than 5 million orders”. 


Everyone likes something new! Gossip – and the success it makes – arises from that interest.

Different researches have already shown that, when faced with new developments, our brain emits feelings of reward.

In email marketing, you can use this trigger in campaigns to launch services and products, but also in other occasions such as:

  • promoting exclusive content;
  • announcing a new survey;
  • promoting a new version of your product or service;
  • featuring a premium version of your solution;
  • announcing a new partnership and more.

For those who work with technology, working this trigger in email marketing is simple.

But beware! Use this format to create campaigns and don’t waste the full potential on a single email.

Sale of a multi-exclusive property: myths and realities – Health Guild News


According to Wikipedia, “reciprocity refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, and to responding to a negative action with a negative one.”

Let’s focus on the first part of the definition, namely, “reciprocity refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action”.

This means that when you do something “good” for your lead, it is possible that he will reward you with “something good” for your company. 

That’s what you, as a marketing manager, can expect when you offer a free ebook, a “life-saving worksheet”, a free course …

By offering something of value to your customer, you have a high chance of paying back.

So use this mental trigger in email marketing in a way that encourages the lead to reciprocate through incentives.

Do this CAREFULLY! Don’t charge your customer for anything! He must act naturally in response to the good relationship you have built.

After a period of solidification of a relationship, use the trigger to encourage immediate action, in a very natural way, for example, “try our premium version for R$1.99 per month for the first 3 months”.

Spotify used this campaign model to gain subscribers. Some of them continued and others left, but this is a natural movement of this business model.

social proof

The last on that list of mental triggers for email marketing is social proof.

This trigger deals with the need for human approval and the influence that our decisions suffer from the external environment.

Yes, we – all of us – tend to like something because someone else does.

Therefore, as the popularity of your service or product grows, the greater the chance that you will convince other people to buy from you, too.

To use this to your advantage in an email marketing campaign, use:

  • customer testimonials;
  • sales volume numbers;
  • data on your customer satisfaction and more.

We hope this guide has helped you understand how to use mental triggers in email marketing. To continue your search for best practices in email campaigns, we suggest you go to the “ Checklist: how to create your ZERO email marketing campaign without forgetting any details”. It will help you take important steps towards relevant results in your campaigns.

Looking for a platform for email marketing, lead management, nutrition flow and more? A lahar is a complete digital marketing automation platform, perfect for working your marketing and sales and can help you and your team to develop strategies to increase the conversion of their shares and narrow your relationship with your prospects. Get in touch with our team.