Last updated on January 23rd, 2024

Understand the Psychology of Cold Emailing to get a Response

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar
Understand the Psychology of Cold Emailing to get a Response

Cold emails — the bane of marketing. Low open rates, even less click-throughs,
and agonisingly poor conversions. But, this doesn’t have to be the case. Susan
Su reveals the psychology of cold emailing, showing us what subject lines work
and get those responses.

This article is part of the Content

series by Upscope: “Click to see
their browser, click to take control.” Finally, the screen sharing that sales
and support wished for


A rapid summary of 8 key points from the video

1. Reciprocity

Compelling, clear offers in subject line. Giving a useful piece of content can
provide reciprocity, being shared on social network, word of mouth, via other

2. Commitment and consistency

Does making a commitment really work?

Commitment and consistency have to do with identity as much as it has to do
with specific individual actions.

Do publicly visible actions to stay committed, consistency and commitment can
be overt, or it can be subtle.

3. Social proof

Even with independence, we look to others on how to act and think.

“Subject: People get mad when you don’t fit in their ‘box’”

Name dropping, exclusivity. These things entice, they are familiar.

4. Liking

People we like are more believable, persuasive, and we are inclined to do
things for them. ‘Like Factor’ in email marketing: praise, association,
familiarity, and similarity.

“Subject: Go fucking bold in 2015 and work with me.”

“Subject: How regular looking guys attract good-looking women.”

5. Authority

Recognised celebrities, personal authority figures, societal authority,
wealth/ high-status authority. Titles, clothes, and trappings.

6. Scarcity

Most widely used of techniques: deadlines technique.

7. Fear

Fear is powerful, but how do you transfer this to business? People fear
wasting Time and wasting money.

“Subject: 7 Biggest Time wasters for social media marketers — is that you?”

8. Aspiration

“Subject: 7 Ways to save more time and be a superstar social media marketer”

Fear and Aspiration go hand in hand:

“Subject: Competition from other men — how to handle it”

Fear and Aspiration work together, however, opens and click-throughs are
higher with fear.


  • Subject Line, psychological trigger

  • Preview text, acts as another subject line

  • Mobile first, optimise for mobile viewing as most emails are opened through

  • CTA (one email, one CTA)

  • Test all aspects

Related: How to create the perfect guest post

See the full content distribution series here for best proven practical

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar

Pardeep overlooks growth at Upscope and loves writing about SaaS companies, customer success and customer experience.