Emailing With Empathy

Jon Moore on November 9, 2021

We’ve all been the one on the other end of the screen, scrolling from email to promotional email. One is advertising for a product that isn’t relevant to us, the next is offering a subscription to something we are already a part of; and when this happens the common next move is to mass select then delete. 

Unfortunately, from a company perspective, this results in minimal email engagement where our content is either being briefly skimmed, or ignored altogether. It is easy to fall into a rut where we are simply firing off email campaigns day in and day out to our entire subscriber list and seeing little interest. After a while, it starts to feel like we are casting a net into an empty pond. So, what happened to the fish? 

Well, they are still there, I promise you! You have not lost your clients or customers, and they are still interested in what you have to offer, you simply need to recapture their attention. 

According to Ivy Cohen, consumers don’t make decisions based on logic, but rather on feelings (Ivy Cohen, 2017); and this is the key to re-ensnaring your clients. Emotions greatly impact engagement rates: emails need to invoke a sense of feeling and satisfy a specific need in order for them to gain the attention of their audience. Here are three easy-to-implement tips to boost engagement levels: 

1. Targeted Content

One of the main desires for subscribers is to receive relevant content that fits their current situation. Clients have a diverse range of needs that are often not addressed in email campaigns. Instead of receiving promotional content, an alternative could be to send educative emails to those who are new to your company, or who recently purchased a new product. Using online and email metrics is a great way to determine the different categories your customers may fall into and help you better understand their potential needs and interests. Another option is to simply ask. Provide subscribers the opportunity to tell you what they want to hear about and remember to listen. Sending them what they ask for is a sure-fire way to increase engagement. 

2. Celebrate Their Milestones

This form of marketing truly appeals to your client's emotions. Whether it was their birthday or their one-year anniversary of being with your company, people love feeling acknowledged. Let your subscribers know that they are an actual person and not just another email in a long list. Simple things like this have the power to elevate the customer experience and is an easy way to reach out to your unengaged contacts, recapturing their attention. Furthermore, this can also act as a means for initiating conversation and offering exclusive discounts in a way that avoids the stereotypical approach. All while building the customer relationship and enhancing customer loyalty.  

3. Social Proof

Promoting user-generated content is an excellent alternative way to engage with your subscribers. The adage, 'the proof is in the pudding', is a relevant saying that still holds merit. Before buying something online, how often do you look at the reviews and comments of other people who purchased it first? Sharing current customer reviews on products can be helpful to those who are indecisive and in need of advice from those who have first-hand experience. Additionally, this can also help you further build your brand image by supplying evidence that your products do work and have made an impact. This is a refreshing way for clients to receive emails from companies that are both engaging and informative. 

Email marketing campaigns are an efficient way of communicating with clients, but if you are not seeing the results you want, think about it from an alternate perspective. Would this email evoke enough emotion for you to engage with it? It is important for us as senders to empathize with our email subscribers and understand that the information they receive might not be the information they are looking for. By implementing these tips, you can reach them in a new manner, pique their attention, and recapture that engagement.  

Want to learn more about setting up a empathetic email program?

Check out our email page ->

Want to learn more about how to make your messaging empathetic?

Check out our blog on Brand Personality: The Human Approach to Marketing ->


Cohen, I. (2017, July 21). 5 ways to get to the heart of emotional marketing. Entrepreneur. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from