Have you ever wondered why some of the emails you send out receive a great response and from others you hear nothing? The answer may not be quite what you expect.

It’s psychological.

Psychology plays a part in everything we humans do, from deciding what we wear to work each day to how we interact with the people around us. How we respond to email is no different – there are psychological factors at play in that too, and you can use them to your advantage.

The following are some psychological strategies you can use to help fill your inbox with email replies.

#1 – Pique Curiosity

The first step to getting a return email is getting your recipient to open yours. The subject line is often what determines whether or not your email ends up in the trash without being read. When it comes to emails, people are drawn to subject lines that cause them to have uncertainty about the contents. This is a great tip you can use and become a great sales manager. In a study done at Carnegie Mellon University, researchers found that people are more likely to open email when the subject line causes them to wonder about what is in the email. So, being creative is important. “You [or name their company] interest me,” “Did you hear about [fill-in-the-blank]?” and “You are not alone,” are some examples of subject lines that arouse curiosity.

#2 – Personalize

People love the sound (or sight, as the case may be) of their own name. So use it – more than once – to personalize your email. But, don’t limit yourself to just using the recipient’s name to personalize the email. You can do so by integrating personalized information within the email, as well. Things like your recipients’ demographics, past purchases, locations, and even their weather, are more likely to create a feeling of engagement and encourage a response. In a study by Experian Marketing Services, it was concluded that personalized emails deliver 6 times higher transaction rates.

#3 – Give Social Proof

Informational social influence, or social proof, is when someone looks to other people’s responses or reaction to decide what they should do. Essentially, we’re talking about peer-pressure here, and we know it works or our parents wouldn’t have warned us about it. In a 2013 study, it was found that 79% of consumers trust online ratings and reviews as much as personal recommendations. What does that mean for emails? It means that when you send an email using ratings or responses works, as does sending it to multiple recipients. Those who see positive responses from their colleagues are more likely to jump on the bandwagon and respond as well.

#4 – Be Specific, But Brief

According to a study by Boomerang, emails that are between 50-125 words are the most likely to elicit a response. That means you don’t have very long to get to your point, so you have to be specific about the purpose of your email, and you have to do it fast. Offer choices and a well-defined call-to-action, rather than open ended questions.

#5 – Make Them Smile (or Laugh)

To joke, or not to joke in your emails? According to a study done by HubSpot, using humor in your emails isn’t something that is going to cause your reader to hit “delete.” Sixty percent of women and fifty percent of men say that having a sense of humor in emails is acceptable, as long as it’s not offensive.

The next time you’re sending out a sales email, especially when you are not personally acquainted with the recipients, use some of the strategies above and see what happens. Like anything else customer-related, doing some A/B testing with your emails will help you figure out what works best for you and your customers.

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Jami Deloe