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How psychology can help your emails make a better first impression

by Nora Landis-Shack

It takes about 100 milliseconds for you to form an impression of someone. Your customers are forming impressions of your emails just as quickly. In a split second, they’ll decide whether to open and read your message or send it to the trash. Luckily, psychology has a great deal to teach us about how first impressions work. Here are three ways to use what psychologists know to make your emails stand out from the rest.

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

Your first email to a customer may be your only chance to get your message through, so a good first impression is essential. Studies have even shown that once a first impression is made, people tend to blatantly ignore information that disproves it. Craft a stellar subject line and make sure you understand what your audience wants to see. A focused approach to your email design will help you impress your readers and leave them feeling positive about your message.

Use The Halo Effect To Your Advantage

You know how you immediately like someone more if they flash a big, sincere smile at you? That’s the halo effect at work: a phenomenon where we make a generalized judgment of character based on one or two immediately observable traits. Most famously, the halo effect is why we often consider attractive people to be kinder, smarter, or more pleasant than unattractive people. The same bias will hold true for your emails. Emails that are attractive, concise, direct, and intelligent will create a halo effect of their own. Someone may not know your brand, but if you send him a well-crafted message, he’ll prefer you to someone who took less care.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Emotional

Two of the brain areas involved in first impressions are the amygdala, which, among other things, affects our emotional memory and the PCC (posterior cingulate cortex), which is responsible for directing attention. First impressions are inextricably tied into our emotions, which may be why we sometimes feel such intense feelings of attraction, or dislike, when meeting someone. It should be obvious that emails with personality build engagement more successfully than cold, robotic ones. Understanding how to write personable lifecycle emails will help you build lasting relationships with your customers.

Adopting concepts from psychology can help you develop emails that people want to read and share with their community. Don’t forget that while these tips can help you make a great first impression, it’s up to you to maintain good relationships with your customers with all of your email campaigns. But that should be a breeze for you already, don’t you think?

Happy emailing!

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