When it comes to email marketing, cultural stereotypes are very much alive, according to new research.
The analysis from Persado examined more than 3,500 email subject lines, showing the secret of marketing success: make British feel anxious, give Americans a sense of achievement and gratify Europeans.
UK consumers are more likely to react to messages that evoke anxiety or guilt; Americans respond best to achievement and anxiety, and Europeans engage with language that offers gratification and gratitude.
The leading provider of AI-generated marketing language for top global brands analysed the subject lines of more than 3,500 emails sent by the likes of British Airways, Dell and Gap across the UK, USA and Europe to understand which emotions most corresponded with consumers engaging with the email subject line and opening it.
“These data points lay bare the fact that there is more than an element of truth in some of the broader stereotypes associated with consumers across the UK, USA and Europe,” said Assaf Baciu, Co-Founder and SVP Product & Engineering, Persado. “Of course, while this should prove useful at a top level, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Marketers should look to put themselves in a position to share a message that resonates not just by country, region or town, but on an individual basis. Ultimately, the better marketers can engage with every customer, the more successful they will be.”
It isn’t yet clear how these emotions are influenced by ongoing events in each nation – for instance, whether Brexit has made the British more receptive to anxiety; whether the Trump presidency makes Americans want to feel a sense of achievement; and whether events elsewhere make Europeans feel happier with their lot. Here’s a run-down of language and emotions that are on average more likely to inspire customers, and how marketers can set about invoking them:
UK – Anxiety and Guilt
- Anxiety. UK consumers respond well to being alerted to the importance of a message, with phrases such as ‘don’t forget’ and ‘important update’ giving them a wake-up call.
- Guilt. They are also likely to interact with a message that advises or implies they will feel regret if they don’t take action; this emotion can be prompted by emails including lines such as ‘don’t miss out’, ‘it’s too good to miss’ and ‘don’t ignore this’.
USA – Achievement and Anxiety
- Achievement. American consumers love being praised or rewarded for an implied accomplishment, with phrases such as ‘you’ve earned it’ and ‘you are being rewarded’.
- Anxiety. They also respond well to being given a wake-up call, prompted by lines such as ‘did you forget?’ and ‘read this very carefully’
Europe – Gratification and Gratitude
- Gratification. European consumers feel excitement and interest related specifically to value and financial gain, with lines such as ‘we are treating you’ and 'get a gift on us' proving effective.
- Gratitude. This emotion can be invoked by expressing acknowledgement, appreciation or affection in a personal way, using phrases such as ‘we appreciate your loyalty’ and ‘thank you’.
This research was carried out by running real life email subject lines through Persado’s AI platform to analyse which emotions they contained, and then comparing the open rate of each. In total, this analysis ran across 3,527 email subject lines that were sent by 142 brands to, on average, 1,544,594 people each time between June and November 2017.