Does the Halo Effect Have an Impact on Email Marketing?

The more the world studies marketing in general, the more the lines between this discipline and the realm of psychology tend to blur together. It’s no big secret that the great advertising campaigns of any era play to the mental constructs of that time’s society. A quick look at this concept from Margarita Tartakovsky of PsychCentral shows that plenty of brands have had great success portraying consumers that purchase specific products as happier, healthier, and more attractive.

However, with the added digital barrier found within marketing across the web, do these concepts still hold the same weight? One such ideal in particular, the “halo effect,” is starting to gain major ground in the email marketing discussion. To help bring you up to speed on this concept, and what it might mean for your branded messages in the future, let’s spend some time breaking down the halo effect and its potential role in the world of email marketing.

What Is the Halo Effect?

At this point, if you didn’t spend your undergrad years majoring in marketing or psychology, you’re probably wondering just what the heck the halo effect is and why it has any bearing on your email content. To make it a little easier to understand, Yaro Stark of Entrepreneurs-Journey explains that this cognitive bias comes from a shopper’s perceived image or impression of a brand, person, good, or service. Essentially, it’s the ripple effect a person, or in this case your content, makes as it works through the general populace and builds a reputation.

In some cases, psychologists label this heuristic as a cognitive error. That’s not to say that it is wrong, just that individuals could create an impression based on this process that isn’t in accordance with the actual substance of a person, brand, or product. Fortunately, we can leave the philosophical side of this debate to the academics. Instead, we’ll just focus on maximizing your email marketing returns based on the known power of the halo effect and how it affects shoppers who connect directly, or indirectly in this case, with your brand via the inbox.

Understanding Its Role In the World of Email Marketing

To understand the halo effect and its role in your email advertising initiative, Dela Quist of MarketingProfs lays out the process in a series of steps that illuminate the power of this cognitive construct. To start, the halo effect plays an important role in helping provide an accurate scope of the reach of your messages. As Quist points out, plenty of companies struggle with gauging the impact of email marketing, primarily because the usefulness of this digital tool goes beyond simply measuring clicks and opens.

To bridge this gap, the halo effect seeks to quantify the true benefits of your strategy by connecting the marketing and sales process into a big picture approach. Essentially, instead of just relying on clicks and open rates, your brand will look beyond these metrics and find trends related to the actual transmission of these messages.

For instance, Quist notes that virtually all brands receive page visits and conversions that originate from “another route” or basic awareness factors that come with having name recognition. When an email campaign kicks into full gear, these numbers often rise in a disproportionate manner when compared to click and open rates. To put it in far simpler terms, this rise in activity comes from the power of emails that viewers might only see in passing as they surf through the inbox – a prime example of the reach of the halo effect.

Building Around this Effect

So if the halo effect is simply the added reach that your emails generate online, as well as in the traditional marketplace, how to do you build around and maximize the utility of this concept? Considering the deep psychological undertone of this discussion, the answer to this question is surprisingly straightforward – be active and stay connected. Basically, you can’t take advantage of the halo effect if you’re not constantly reaching out and expanding your email audience, so it’s exceedingly important to stay in touch whenever possible.

This doesn’t mean you need to spam your readers with flashy messages at all hours of the day to reap the reward of the effect. Instead, build a consistent, regular campaign that relies on attributes like strong subject lines to keep your brand message in the back of consumers’ minds. This way, even if these shoppers don’t open your email, you can still lay the seeds for a future relationship thanks to the expanded reach of the halo effect.

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