Emotion is powerful than any reason. But how can you trigger these emotions to improve your email marketing results?
We have previously written on our blog about the friendly little helpers that are trigger words, also known as power words, and shared some helpful tips on how to increase email open rates by using them in email subject lines. In this blog, we’ll go deeper into what these words that evoke emotions actually are, what science says about their effectiveness. Moreover, how can you apply them to enjoy a boost in your email open rates? Read on to know the answers to all of these questions and more!
A trigger word (aka a power word) is an emotionally charged colored word or expression used to provoke a psychological reaction in a reader (email recipients) by involving their imagination.
These power words appeal to all types of human emotions. In email marketing, trigger words are utilized to urge a person to open up the email, read it at least once, click the link in the message and perform the solicited action – buy, share or subscribe to whatever is offered by the sender. The very first and most challenging task in this regard is to draw readers’ attention and spark their imagination and curiosity through emotional and intriguing subject lines.
The science behind emotional triggers in the decision-making process
We like to consider ourselves logical creatures. Therefore, we have to make thousands of both simple as well as complex decisions on a daily basis– and we try to apply our rational thinking to make the best choice.
Researchers at Cornell University have suggested that an average adult makes around 35,000 relatively conscious decisions each day. And, of course, each of these decisions brings specific outcomes, both good as well as bad.
Nonetheless, we can’t make decisions without taking into account various emotions, claims Antonio Damasio, Professor of Philosophy, Psychology, and Neurology, at the University of Southern California. In fact, in 1994, he conducted research that led him to formulate the hypothesis that “emotion and its underlying neural machinery participate in the decision-making process…”
Damasio continued his study and formulated a now considered revolutionary theory, which he described in his acclaimed bestseller, Descartes Error. This theory asserts that “..humans do not make any decisions by delegating such tasks to purely cognitive, or in other words, reason-oriented, parts of their brain. Rather, there is a complex interplay of the emotional governing center (primarily the amygdala) and the more evolved and developed area of contemplation (pre-frontal cortex)”.
So, Damasio declares that humans are not thinking machines, but rather feeling machines that think.
What is even more attractive to marketers, the survey of Jonah Berger, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, demonstrated that strong emotions nudge people to share content with others. He highlights the significance of high-arousal emotions: “Anger and anxiety can lead people to share because, like awe, for instance, they are very high-arousal emotions. They kindle or rekindle the fire, activate people, and drive them to take some action.”
Therefore which emotions can we engage? In 1980, Robert Plutchik, a professor, visualized a wheel of eight emotions. They are a beneficial starting point in order to connect with people’s emotions in your writing. They are joy, anger, surprise, disgust, fear, anticipation, sadness, and trust. This palette of human emotions can also be used to draw the attention of your audience and make them want to learn more about you.
Emotional mechanisms behind famous trigger words
Let’s now review several examples of emotion trigger phrases and their impact on human consciousness and subconsciousness and analyze what logical links can help capture human attention and make readers open your email. If you practice it on a regular basis, this exercise will certainly help you select the most suitable subject lines for your email drip campaigns
“Free” is the most effective of all trigger words. Everyone wants to get more and more benefits and also to save money, time, and efforts. People love free stuff – that is the reason why lead magnets are so prevalent in the marketing industry.
Including a “free” offer in your headlines will make your letter much more attractive and attention-worthy, boosting your email click-throughs and opens. The only drawback of this word, however, is that it is getting overused in today’s world and is now at risk of getting caught by the spam filters
Beware of the fact that some power words tend to gradually slide into the risk group and later get filtered and marked as spam.
As curious beings, humans tend to look for novelty. There is something in our nature that drives us to seek out the latest, brand-new, and most exceptional goods on the market. You can experiment with the trigger word “new” in your email subject lines and other types of marketing copies. Let the reader pause and pay attention to your email before they decide to open it or not.
Various evidence-based power expressions can also work remarkably well when you plan to build an image of a reliable and trustworthy business. When it is used in a headline or a call to action (CTA), the term “proven” implies the efficiency of your approach. Nevertheless, you have to be careful with this word. Apply it only when you can actually prove your thoughts and ideas with concrete evidence.
People can sacrifice a large chunk of their work and life to achieve something, but who doesn’t prefer an easy and simple solution? We select the easy path if it’s open. Using the word “easy” or its multiple variations like “easiest” in the subject lines can convert your readers into an engaged prospect.
Everyone loves secrets more than news due to our neverending curiosity. Secrets imply intrigue, profit, exclusivity, or valuable information, depending on the context of the message the word is used in. Of course, your content really has to satisfy the reader’s thirst for knowledge and information. In other words, if you are promoting a mystery, you’d better deliver on it.
This is a powerful word that bears a very strong positive connotation. It implies an explanation or a solution to a problem and always appeals to readers who try to find an answer to a rather hard question caused by their pain points.
The word “now” demands a very instant response. It lets your prospects understand what you’re sharing something of significance. Besides, it’s a very effective way to boost conversions on limited-time offers.
Like other rational creatures, people tend to flock in crowds. We usually don’t like to be the first to do something as we don’t know if it’s right or wrong. To put it in simpler words, most people don’t want to feel like lab-rats in an experiment. People are inclined to get profit if they know that other people have done it several times before them. That’s why social proof is so convincing. The idea that all the other people are doing something can evoke the FOMO emotion and boost your email open rates and conversions.
What do you think unites all the humankind? One of the answers is that we desire something. It can be services, wealth, prestige, knowledge, goods, or relationship; we all want to have something.
Apply trigger words like “want” to encourage readers in order to determine what they wish to have or to help them understand what they want. For instance, your prospects might not understand what they want to comprehend how to read more pages every day or learn to play the piano. You can give them a suggestion.
Who doesn’t like winning? This emotional trigger word is comparable to “free,” but in addition to that, it also implies scarcity.
It’s easier to get something if it’s given for free. To win, nevertheless, you have to be the most favored one or few. That’s an effective way to get people to open the email and interact with your brand or services.
Trigger words to use in subject lines in 2020
As we have mentioned before, the list of trigger words can never be a complete one – it’s continuously renewing, as some words get more popular, and others get out of fashion. And some trigger words are so abused that they start triggering various spam filters.
Below you can read an emotional trigger word list and words that invoke emotion to apply in your email subject lines (and body) to attract readers’ interest.
To conclude it can be said that emotions are, in fact, engaged in the purchase of almost any product in the market. Can we use emotions to make our clients click, buy, share or read more? Of course, but the first thing your prospect needs to do is to open your email copy. And in order to catch their attention, you can utilize various emotional triggers in your subject lines.
We encourage you to use this research and observations to create your secret list of emotional trigger words thatemot can skyrocket your campaigns’ open and conversion rates. Use dictionaries to discover even more trigger words and pick the ones that suit your product and the tone of your message.
Do you utilize words that evoke emotion in your writing? Share your experiences in the comments section down below.