inbox hacking logo

How to use behavioral science marketing in your 📩 campaigns

behavioral science marketing

New here? This is Inbox Hacking, a Free Newsletter for Awesome email marketers eager to level up. Email marketing insights, tools, & tactics sent twice per week. Someone forwarded you our Newsletter? Sign up for your Free subscription. Today’s edition gives you actionable ways to increase your open and click rates using behavioral science techniques.

It is Thursday, Inbox Hackers! And you know what that means. Let’s just say productivity had a nice 3-day run.

Now, I took on a monumental task for you this week. I ordered a real book made of trees or hemp, IDK, it’s paper. Also, I read this book. Lucky for you I took notes that I’m about to share and are sure to help increase your open and click rates, while adding effective tools to your email marketing. All based on behavioral science.

The Book’s Out on Human Beings

Yes, all humans are snowflakish anomalies overflowing with exquisite uniqueness, blah, blah, blah.

We’re also predictable, which is fantastic news for your email marketing. 

Nancy Harhut breaks it all down in Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive Customer Action and Loyalty by Prompting Instinctive Responses. (Shout-out to MailCon for recommending).

behavioral science marketing

Is reading books scary? Certainly. But grab a copy anyway. While you await its arrival, I’ll drop highlights you can start utilizing in your email campaigns right away.

Quick Way to Boost Open Rates

Before I get to predictable human behaviors you can leverage into higher click rates, it’s smart to work on getting more emails opened first. Chicken, egg, all that.

behavioral science marketing

What’s one thing keeping your open rates low?

Subject lines that don’t fire up your subscribers’ curiosity.

You likely know that questions make great subject lines. But not just any question.

Think harder about your subject lines so you can “trigger information gaps” in your reader. 

This behavioral science book promotes the idea that your readers may know a little or a lot about your topic. Search for bits they don’t know about but will benefit from, and let that shape your question. 


  • Why does the 80/20 rule fail to work in this one industry?
  • Which automated list segmentation works best?
  • How to improve your open rates (+ send 30% more campaigns).

How’ is for all intents and purposes a question. Despite the period. 

Please don’t question it, let’s keep moving.

Marketing and Storytelling 

Yep, storytelling has been buzzworded to death lately. 

And liars have dragged storytelling through the mud.

Forget those scoundrels and make use of REAL stories you should tell.


  • Stories are more memorable than stand-alone facts (22x more  ~Psychologist Jerome Bruner)
  • Key: people trust stories they can relate to
  • Making your customer / client the story’s hero doesn’t have to be a grandiose tale. Little wins are worth telling
behavioral science marketing

If you’re struggling to move your subscribers to click your calls-to-action then Harhut’s book digs into storytelling beyond surface-level. 

Stories have the power to move people because they become the reader’s own story. Lots of brain research on this, too lengthy to discuss here, and I’d risk sounding stupid😁.

Need Proof Stories are Woven into Human Behavior?

The book details a simple experiment on story power. 

Seems some journalists bought thrift shop items to sell on eBay to see if they would sell for more by adding one thing. A story about the items. 

Get this… the listings even noted the stories were made up and still… and still, the items sold for prices well above similar items that lacked a story!

Behavioral Science says Framing Packs a Punch

Words matter. Copywriting is a vital factor in getting better open rates and clicks. 

But ‘framing’ doesn’t get discussed enough. Because, while facts about your products / services may seem powerful and motivating to you, they may not be framed perfectly for your readers.

Harhut’s examples:

  • Changing one verb changed perceptions of a car crash by 28%
  • Promoting time-savings can outperform money-savings
  • ‘95% fat-free’ generates more sales than ‘5% fat’ 

The last one may be obvious but every single fact and stat about your offers should be scrutinized then optimized for max impact. (🎶Harhut says rhyming makes messages memorable too)

As for me? I love using the average open rate across industries (roughly 20%) in reverse. Saying ‘80% of emails NEVER get opened’ paints a better picture and grabs more attention.

Both numbers make the same statement but knowing 8 out of 10 of your emails are destined for deletion should prompt marketers to take action.

*Want one more great example of how framing boosted sales by 60% for one product? Hit reply and ask. 

**Want me to send Using Behavioral Science in Marketing to an email marketing friend? Send me their email address (1st Inbox Hacker to reply, U.S. only – Amazon rules😟).

Quick Recap: Behavioral Science Marketing

  1. Trigger higher open rates with information gap subject line questions
  2. Facts without stories are forgettable 
  3. The hero role in stories should be your reader
  4. Subscribers’ perceptions can be shaped by single-word tweaks (framing)

Read on for a cool story related to number 4 in our Marketing Musings section below.

Knowledge Base

⚡Knowledge is power but first, why do you persist?

Unique content does not have to be brilliant or even useful to be engaging.

🤖Watch out for ‘AI Washing’.

30 content marketing best practices (includes ‘content gaps’how to find gaps).

🆘Running out of seductive subject lines? Here’s help.

Together with Inbox Mailers…

There’s a new technology that’s enabling other Inbox Hackers to send perfectly-timed engagement triggers to their email list.

This creates a virtuous cycle that boosts your reputation, deliverability, sender scores, and IP health — all at once.

Brands leveraging this technology are seeing 3x open rates! Plus, Inbox Mailers is also the easiest solution for re-engaging your inactive subscribers (The Network Effect is the Key).

👉🏼Book Your Demo

Inbox Mailers Demo

Self Help 

If you’re like me then you love making money the old fashion way. Lazily.

Aka efficiently.

Money’s incredibly easy to spend, so the easier you earn it the better, I say.

That’s why GetResponse’s list of 12 AI affiliate programs caught my eye. 

Any one of them could be easy side-revenue without much effort on your part. 

Help yourself. Just pitch and earn a commish.

(This would’ve been a good place for my Semrush or Jasper affiliate link. Not being lazy, I’m just pressed for time producing Facts-n-Stats and Today’s Hack below.)

*Shout-out to Inbox Hacking Subscribers → 

📰Allison at Indiegraf (journalist tools)

🌎Landon at FHR (responsible power)

Facts and Stats

  • 80% to 90% of B2B customers typically have a list of vendors in mind before researching any solution (Bain & Google)
  • 72% of B2B respondents said vendors they ultimately chose outperform the rest in demos & trials (Bain & Google)
  • Generic subject lines outperformed personalized subjects in all aspects (opens, clicks, unsubscribes) for the first time ever in GetResponse’s 2022 Email Marketing Benchmarks report

Bonus: Emails triggered by a customer’s behavior have a 35.64% open rate and a 5.31% CTR— crushing the average email open rate of 19.66% and CTR of 2.02%

Marketing Musings

I made a bold move a few years ago and joined a Jiu-Jitsu academy.

Over time I became an expert. At tapping out.

Most fun I’ve ever had though. Met cool people, learned a ton, and witnessed a 74-year-old named Willie put Tony, a 29-year-old guy, to sleep. Tony didn’t possess my fast-tapping skills😀.

Well, to get me in the door, the academy had a low-priced 1st-month offer.

When the trial ended, here was their pitch… 

“Most Jiu-Jitsu practitioners choose the 12-month plan over the 6-month option.”

Me? A Jiu-Jitsu practitioner? I guess I am – where do I sign!

This label cemented me as part of the group. A unique group.

People love being part of a group and labeling them as such helps them feel like they already are. 

Use this technique to turn subscribers into clients and customers.  

Get Hacking

Inbox Mailers

Calls-to-action getting less action than a 68-year-old dude trying to navigate Bumble on a Jitterbug phone?

Then try getting a small yes leading up to the CTA. 

A bit of mental priming to get your reader agreeing with ya… 

You know what I mean, right? 😉

Good. Now try it in your next campaign.

Don’t forget though, you’ll need readers to open the email before your CTA can work. Inbox Mailers has you covered— discover how to get up to 70% open rates with a Free Demo. 

*Know another awesome email marketer? Please forward Inbox Hacking to them. We appreciate you reading.

📝Please take survey below. Takes 4 secs unless you’re on Windows 2000.

Results so far: