Psychological Triggers in Email Marketing for Social Media

Print Friendly


It has been said that email marketing is one of the best strategies, if not the only one, you should be using. In fact, Jeff Walker penned a book called Launch which talks about the importance of email marketing and social media, and the advantages one has when they combine the two.

Let’s look at how to use social media triggers to invoke action by both your subscribers and potential subscribers following you on social media.

The Power of The Combination

As a Star Wars fan, I’m always impressed by the power that the Jedi Master has. He is powerful because he uses the force to do practically everything. He is powerful by himself because of the Force. However, pair the Force with a lightsaber and you truly have a powerful person. An extension of something so powerful.

Social media is a powerful platform on which to build your marketing business. Couple that with email marketing and you have made an already powerful concept even more powerful.

Marrying these two concepts together is a tricky thing, though. Used in the right way, it can help you gain subscribers that engage with you socially, therefore creating a more personal approach to an already social environment. Do it wrong, and you can totally alienate yourself from the people that follow you, and that is something you want to avoid.

Triggers That Capture Leads

Psychological triggers are used every day for social media, and while you may not recognize some of the things you’re doing, you are affecting people on an emotional level of some kind, even if it’s boredom, they’re reacting.

Using this strategy, you can build a great email marketing around your favorite social media platforms and grab subscribers. In fact, GetResponse has been known to also include triggers inside of their autoresponder service to ensure the best subscriber experience and action. So if a large company understands that they need to use it, you should start paying attention to it as well.

Triggers are being used every day. It’s important to realize what those triggers are and how you can perform them correctly on anything you do online. Even in writing your blog post. People are responding to you, now you have the opportunity to control how they respond.

You want to use social media to sign more people up to your email list. These are the best triggers that you can use to get people to opt in.

The Ease of Subscribing

Your followers on social media want to get from point A to point Z as quickly as possible. By going on this journey, you are ensuring that they enjoy the ride just as much as the opt in.

In other words, a lead page from social that says something about your product that tells them positive things like no credit card is required, yet it will help them attain a certain goal in business, will bring them where you want them to be (buyers on your email list).

People like easy. In order to take the follower on the journey to the opt in list you have to show them how easy their journey will be.

Let’s face it. People like free; they always will. If you can show them that whatever it is you’re giving away for free will help them achieve some sort of business goals, all you have to do is place the trigger out there and they will respond. (See below why you need to have correct visuals and writing too).


There is always something that poses a problem for your subscribers. Instead of taking the easy route to the solution, sometimes people respond when you share their problem. Showing the problem makes people confront and acknowledge the problem that they have with their business.

Having a landing page from social that displays either how easy something is, or how they have to get around something that is hard, are always two great ideas when you’re talking about triggers for social media.

In most cases, people don’t want to confront the hard hurdles when it comes to business. People are more about the positive’s in both life and business, however, showing them where there faults are will not only make them have to confront the problem, but it will also show them how you can help them correct the problem head on.

So the problem that you are presenting could be a generic one that fits across the whole board of social media, or it could be a specific problem where you target a certain group of people. This is also known as targeting, and it’s a strong tactic to employ in both your email marketing and social media.

Either way, this will require some research on your part, and while research isn’t the most glamorous part of this job, its going to help you fine tune that response that you will get later from it.

Abraham Lincoln said Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe. Readiness is the key to bringing the hard things to the forefront. Not only that, but showing them how you’re going to help them. This is the way you need to conduct your email list on social media. Targeted. It’s strong, its viable, and it will create buyers in the future.

Visual Content

A strong psychological trigger in both social media and email marketing is imagery. You’ve heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s true. A great image will convey what kind of action you want your followers on social media to perform way better than anything you could write.

We are in the middle of a visual marketing world, and not only does your image need to have these triggers so they can perform the right action on your followers, it also has to stand out from the crowd of other great images on social media as well.

Some of the best images that you can create doesn’t have to come from a professional designer anymore on PhotoShop. A novice can create a great image themselves using sites like Canva these days.

Emotional Content

Your brain is split into two sections. New and old. Your new brain controls all of the everyday things in life like where you put your keys that day. When you talk about the “New” brain, you’re talking about long term memory, facts and figures, what you learned last week, etc.

Your “Old” brain controls your behavior. This is what makes all of the decisions and is also in control of the emotional side of your psyche.

The old brain responds well to visuals and emotional content and the things that makes the old brain respond to both visual and emotional content has to do with things they can relate to.

One great thing to remember is that this section of the brain responds well to faces. There’s nothing more powerful than attaching an image that has a face that portrays the emotion that you want it to portray that has to do with the reaction you’re wanting from the follower at that time.

Another great thing to remember is when you tell the story on social, you can play to the emotional side of the brain by describing things that people feel. In one example, I have always had a weird feeling come over me when I remembered that story I read so long ago about the man that fell off the Empire State Building and on the way down, he snagged his eyelid on a nail.


That’s an emotional response because I can understand how that would really hurt. I’m not worried too much about the fall (or the sudden stop he will soon be meeting), but I’m more worried about that painful experience he meets while on the way down.

The Final Thought

Social media is a powerful Force, and email marketing is a dangerous, yet powerful lightsaber. By themselves, they are both effective. I also understand that a lot of people make mistakes with their email marketing, however, put them together and you truly have a powerful entity. The people that get this right are the people that understand how to build triggers around their social followers.

They learn about their followers and determine what they need to do to meet their needs, then they present with some of the triggers above. Start taking advantage of the platform that social media has given you with your email marketing and let them join forces together!

Wade Harman
This monthly Social Media Psychology column is contributed by Wade Harman. Wade is a full time blogger and social media psychology expert. He earned a Cognitive Psychotherapy graduate degree in 2000, and he now uses that knowledge to research and develop social media strategies and methods that create action and emotion in the reader. Wade can show you how to spark an emotional reaction, get the reader's attention, and create action that drives traffic to your site through social media.
Wade Harman


Former Coal Miner Now Making A Go At #SocialMedia & #Blogging. Proud Dad of 2 Boys! Never A Dull Moment!
Join Me & @madlemmingz To Talk #BloggingTips Sept 3 at 11am on #Blab! - 42 mins ago
Wade Harman


  1. says

    Interesting post Wade. Can you direct me to any resources regarding Old/New brain? I love neuro science and I was wondering if this terminology comes out of that discipline. thanks

Please Leave a Comment!