Grabbing Your Email Subscribers Attention

What Are You Selling?

Before you can write effective email copy you need to be sure that you understand what it is you are really selling. I emphasized the word really for a reason.

Let’s take a short quiz.

Answer this question:

“What am I selling?”

If you answered that question with a product name or a service description, you’re only half right. Yes, you are selling a product or description ultimately, but that’s not what the email should be promoting.

It’s not likely that you’re going to make a sale directly from your email. Most marketers know this and that’s why they craft their email messages to strike directly at the heart of what email is supposed to do.

Email is supposed to hit one of the psychological triggers that will cause the reader to be interested enough in your offer to click on over to your landing or sales page where the real selling is taking place.

So, the right answer to the quiz question above is: “I’m selling emotion.”

Here’s why I say that:

There are certain psychological triggers or “pain triggers” that make people want to open their wallets and buy.

It is important for you to know which of these “pains” your product or service targets in order for your email to be effective.

Now, unless you are selling a healthcare product, the word “pain” doesn’t refer to physical pain. It refers to one of the over 50 psychological “pains” that people feel.

Although there are 50 of these triggers, they are all some variation of these six fundamental ones:

  • Greed or Desire For Personal Gain
  • Love or Affection
  • Self-Indulgence
  • Self-Preservation or Survival
  • Pride
  • Sense of Duty or Honor

No matter what it is you are offering you can bet that it is covered by one or more if these basic psychological triggers.

Let’s look at each one more closely:

Greed or Desire For Personal Gain

This category covers products or services that are designed to help the reader make more money, save more money, plan for retirement security, etc.

Love Or Affection

 This category is perfect for products or services that enhance the reader’s sex life or love life, or that will make someone they love feel happier and/or more fulfilled.


This is the trigger to use when selling high-end luxury items, vacations, comfort foods, etc.

Self-Preservation or Survival

Along with the obvious choices such as self-defense products and services, guns and ammo, etc., this trigger also works well with health products, senior citizen-focused products and services, and family protection devices and services.


Pride is a very strong trigger that can also be combined with the Greed trigger for a double-whammy.

The pride trigger works well with high-end luxury items when “exclusivity” is featured.

It’s also a good choice for any product or service that you can use any variation of the “Be the first one in your group to own…” or “Everyone will be impressed when they see…” statements.

Sense of Duty or Honor

This trigger is all about guiding the reader to “do the right thing” simply because it IS the right thing.

This trigger works well when soliciting donations for charitable causes, but it can also be worked into almost any self-improvement product or service, investment product, or anything else where you can demonstrate that NOT doing this is harmful to self, loved ones or society in general.

“Don’t your children deserve to live in a smoke-free home?”

Once you have selected the correct trigger or triggers, you can move on to writing the actual email (next post).