Emails that Deeply Connect

Academic study in recent years into human behaviour provides us valuable insight into how to create email messages that connect at much deeper level, connecting with how the brain works.

In a recent conference presentation I covered the theory and practice, looking at behavioural principles and how they are applied in email marketing, using some examples emails to illustrate.

The following six different human behaviours are covered in the slides below.


How number anchors at the start of a conversation provide a reference point for further numbers. The anchor affects whether further values are seen as good or bad, big or small.


How choices are made by comparison. We find it hard to evaluate an option without an alternative to compare against. The example given shows having a bad option can improve the value of another option and make it more likely to be picked.


How too much choice can cause inaction. In the example whilst lots of choice gains initial engagement but it decreases conversion. Use choice in email to gain engagement but reduce choice when you are pushing to convert.


How we are more likely to do things that others and our peers do. Real world email examples show the different ways of using consensus and social proof in emails.

Rule of three

Three benefits are more believable then four or more. In email using three points, three bullets is often the optimum.


Items short in supply are more desirable. The email examples show different ways of using scarcity.

Take a look at the slides below from the presentation for more insight and the email examples that illustrate the principles

In the above presentation, slide 2, the brown envelope slide refers to a live conference experiment that illustrates the anchoring effect. Read the revealing results of the experiment.