The 8 Amazing Cognitive Biases You must not Neglect If you are going to write good emails.

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The beauty of email copywriting is that, it has little to do with your creativity as a writer. I mean, you will flex your creativity muscle. . .

. . . But not so much. Because email copywriting is a science.

When you sit down to write an email to anyone. There are rules you mustn’t break and devices you should employ; some of the best devices are categorized as cognitive biases. . .

. . . a direct route to the human subconscious.

If you haven’t heard of them before; sit back, relax, grab a big bowl of pop-corn and get ready to be intrigued. Because you are going to be intrigued. . .

. . .and of course get better at writing email copy.

So what are the 8 cognitive biases?

To be very clear, this isn’t magic. It is science; and for science to work in your favor, you must honor the application.

Do you think you can handle it?

. . .

Lol, I know you can, let’s dive into it.                              

The 8 Cognitive Biases, That You can Apply Today to 10X your Email Copy.

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Scarcity means not enough for everyone.

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This bias — I have to say — works like a charm. The moment you realize you might not get something you want because they are a lot of other people — who have not been taken into account — who also want that same thing. . .

. . . Your brain sparks up. And propels you to take action. Immediately.

The reaction to scarcity is primal.

A long time ago when our ancestors lived in the savannah, hunting and gathering each day to get by; this shortcut in our psyche began to form.

Millions of years have only reinforced it.

Reward/ Punishment

Embracing reward, and avoiding punishment.

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Consider this. . .

Two people. One has a terminal illness, the other doesn’t.

And some crafty copywriter somewhere has been tasked to write two sets of copy to sell them on the same product. How do you think his headlines would look?

Definitely one would focus on cure, and the other prevention;


  • 5 Remedies for [Terminal Disease]: This will save your life. ==è(Reward)
  • Stop these 5 things today: Your life is at risk. ==è (Punishment)

. . .

Is that a little too harsh? — LOL

But you grab the idea.

Right . . .?

People gravitate towards reward, and avoidance of punishment. Preventions and Cures.

Liking/Loving Tendency

We ignore the faults of other people, products or companies we admire.

Toaster and funny toasted bread. Vector cartoon. Love forever. Cute kawaii comic characters.

What does this mean? And how can you apply it?

There’s a tendency for you and I to feel attraction to people who have shown interest in us.

If I go the extra mile to find out a stranger’s name, and use it to refer to him/her. It makes them feel a certain kind of affinity towards me. . .

. . . And will be more open to my opinions and ideas.

They are many ways to use this bias. For strangers (People whom you have no prior relationship with), finding out and using their names when referring to them is a huge point.

For friends, or acquaintances (People whom you have had a previous encounter with . . . preferably a good encounter) gifts, compliments would do the trick.

In marketing, this is a very important bias to leverage.


We ignore the faults of other people, products or companies we admire. And we do business with people we like, know and trust.

Over Optimism

Over-optimism simply is saying positive things that are not realistic.

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For example: Ultimate trick to lose 30 pounds in a Week.

LOL . . .

That’s a classic.

Over optimism is what most writers fall back on when all else fails.

Another example: How to increase your ROI by 1000% this fall.

Sounds ridiculous right?

Yeah. . .  Turns out Ridiculousness works today.

But the key is to purposely seem un-realistic, it doesn’t strictly mean you should tell a lie.

You should have the truth first . . . then blow it out of proportion. Capisce?

Social Proof

Do I really need to say much here?

Social proof. . .

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It’s clear. You will believe more in what I have to say if I have a tribe backing my claims.

It works on you, it works on me, and it works on everyone who has a mind and a subconscious.

Social proof is the reason for trends. And the reason why silly ideas catch on even though individually we know they are silly.

So, you most definitely would like to leverage this whenever you can.

I promise you results!

If you don’t get any . . . well;

You must have something else working against you in your copy.


The deadly virus that killed the cat.

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Old man Curiosity!

The need for closure.

In an older post *Steal this 4 tips to boost your open and click through rates* I mentioned intrigue. Intrigue is a combination of mystery and importance. It gets the blood pumping to all the sweet spots in the brain.

That (Intrigue) means you take advantage of this bias. The human need for closure.

Most appropriate in your headline because in your body copy, you want to be as concise as humanly possible.

Exciting headlines are Curios headlines . . . and they are most engaging.


This bias sticks.

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If you have authority, you have power.

As long as you keep it, you have with you the ability to instruct, persuade, convince, suggest. Facts and figures carry a lot of weight when you say them.

It started long ago. . .

Under the care of mum and dad. “You can do this!”, “You can’t do this!”. “Try it this way!”, “Stay away from there!”. “My way or the highway!”.

. . . You get the point?

I know you do—-you brainy you!

Authority is a very strong cognitive bias. When used in combination with any of the other biases, you can influence people a lot easier.

Try getting your hands on it.

Reason Respecting Tendency

You are more likely to do something for someone when you are given a reason.

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Watch yourself when next you give out favors.

Ask why you are doing it.

You and I crave reasons for everything, and it is almost entirely subconscious.

The brain is a reason generating machine, as well as a reason finding one. It’s almost like fuel for the conscience and the ego.

We respects reasons. And expect them.

So give reasons;

There’s this email newsletter I am subscribed to, and whenever the writer wants to give out free stuff, he says:

“It’s free today because I am awesome.”

Pretty sleek. I click 60% of the time.


To write good emails, besides these, you need something else. . .

-Je ne Sais Quoi


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P.S: Finding it hard to write quality emails? Feel free to reach out to me.

Good luck!

Author: Uchenna Bede

I write email copy for startups. In order to boost sales.

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