Marketing tech firm Persado used its artificial intelligence platform to analyse email campaigns run by 50 UK retailers and travel companies across the 2016 Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion period, with a total of 171 subject lines gauging the reactions from 65 million email contacts.

Interestingly, despite being the most-used emotion around Black Friday, comprising over 20 percent of emails sent, urgency language (including “hurry” or “time’s running out”) did not engage consumers the most.

While a natural emotion to invoke during such a peak shopping period, using others might help some marketers stand out from the crowd.

Instead, of the 15 emotions Persado has identified for marketing, these five had the best response rates from UK consumers.

1. Challenge

Challenge resonated the most with consumers, with more than 20 percent engaging with challenge-focused emails. Marketers can trigger this emotion by two means, either daring somebody to do something, or asking them a question. Using phrases such as ‘are you ready?’ and ‘prepare yourself…’ are likely to invoke this sense of a challenge that is so successful with UK consumers. An example email subject line could be: Ready…steady… GO: Black Friday is live.”

2. Intimacy

The key to invoking this emotion is informality – implying an existing relationship between the brand and the customer, which will make them more likely to respond. Figures of speech such as ‘hey there’, ‘how you been?’ and ‘we wish you the best’ play a part in positioning the brand as a friend consumers are keen to hear from, and will respond to. It could look like: Because we appreciate you, enjoy Black Friday savings!”

3. Encouragement

This approach sees brands motivating and inspiring consumers to take action by explicitly prompting them to do something. In the UK, using phrases such as ‘go for it’, ‘treat yourself’, and ‘almost there’ can prove an effective way to inspire people to take action. In an email subject line, this emotion could follow the lines of: Psst! Sneak into Black Friday offers before everyone else!”

4. Guilt

Fear of missing out can be a powerful motivator for consumers. Implying that customers will regret not taking action can galvanise them to instead engage with your communications – helped by language such as ‘you’re missing out’. For instance, an email could go: “A Great offer inside – don’t let it slip away.”

5. Fascination

UK consumers are engaged by the promise of new experiences or possessions. During the Black Friday period, they can be especially engaged by the chance to try or buy something new. Marketers looking to tap into this can use phrases such as ‘we’re introducing…’ or ‘you have to try this’. For instance, an email subject aiming to fascinate customers could read: “Make it yours: Brand new Black Friday offers inside.”

Persado co-founder Assaf Baciu noted:

Across our campaigns, we’ve determined that emotional language on average accounts for as much as 60 percent of audience response. When it comes to situations such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers are primed to scan for deals, but emotional language might give your brand a breakthrough moment in the inbox.

By applying emotional language to their marketing, retailers can get personal with customers and demonstrate that they are helpful, handy and human.”

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