The Zeigarnik Effect and What Neuroscience Means to Email Marketers

Nearly 100 years ago, Prussian psychologist Kurt Lewin had a revelation at a restaurant: Waiters seemed to have much better memories for orders that weren’t yet paid. His student, Bluma Zeigarnik, took this revelation and researched it, publishing a report concluding that people better remember incomplete or interrupted tasks rather than those checked off their to-do lists.

What does the Zeigarnik Effect have to do with email marketing? Plenty, according to our friends at Emma.

Your Brain on Email: The Science to Winning the Inbox is new research that explores how psychology helps email marketers. For one, the Zeigarnik Effect suggests that our brains are hard-wired to want to…

…finish reading sentences. See? Email marketers can play on that natural impulse, boosting open rates by including ellipses in their subject lines.

  • Saks Fifth Avenue: These Met Gala-inspired pieces are pink carpet-approved…
  • eBay: ????Wow! Items to make you smile…
  • Menlo Club: You’ll want to be a part of this…

Saks shoppers are especially fashion-conscious, while eBay customers love a good deal. Both of those subject lines play on people’s natural inclination to fill in the blanks, while keeping their respective audiences in mind. Menlo Park’s re-engagement campaign is another great example of the Zeigarnik Effect in action; what do we want to be a part of?!

The Zeigarnik Effect is just one topic Emma explores in Your Brain on Email. Download the guide to learn more about neuroscience in email marketing, including:

  • The importance of a compelling subject line, given our primitive lizard brains — or the amygdala — make snap decisions in three seconds or less
  • What makes nostalgia and user-generated content so powerful
  • Why we’re drawn to the “buy one, donate one” model used by brands like TOMS and Warby Parker
  • The Von Restorff Effect that explains why big, bold call-to-action buttons are so irresistible.

Sailthru's 2019 Holiday Marketing Playbook

There’s plenty of time before “the holidays,” right? Not exactly. Holiday sales are perpetually on the rise, while consumers are starting their shopping earlier and earlier. This means retailers must get a head start before the holidays, especially since the most wonderful time of the year is also the most lucrative.