How to Use the Psychology of First Impressions to Get More Email Subscribers

8 min read 9 Responses
Mustafa Khundmiri 4 years ago

Let’s face it, who doesn’t want more email subscribers?

Ask any blogger, and you’d get the same answer. There’s nothing like building a big, juicy list of targeted subscribers who’re waiting to receive emails from you.

However, there’s a catch…

Most people leave a website in the first 10-20 seconds if they don’t see what they’re looking for. And it doesn’t take genius to understand that the less number of people stay on your site, the less number of them convert into email subscribers.

The solution?

Make a strong first impression that not only gets your visitors to spend more time on your site, but also gives them a reason to subscribe to your mailing list. How long does it take to form a first impression?

According to an eye-tracking research conducted at Missouri University of Science and Technology, it takes website visitors less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression. However, it takes about 2.6 seconds for the visitor’s eyes to land on that area of your site that influences his first impression the most.

There are a number of things that you can do to ensure that your website impresses your first time visitors, such as having a great visual design. But you need to do more in order to convert them into subscribers. You need to make your first impression count and win their trust so that they’re ready to part with their email address.

Let’s see how you can use the psychology of first impressions to grab more email addresses. Ready? Here we go!

1. Let Your Visitors Hear You Talk

According to a report published in PLOS ONE, psychologists have discovered that even a simple “hello” is enough for listeners to judge how trustworthy you are.

The researchers found that people formed their impression based on a person’s tone of voice, and men who raised the tone of their voices were seen as more trustworthy. Whereas women who alternated the pitch of their voices gained higher trust ratings.

This just goes on to show that people tend to make “snap judgments” when they hear someone’s voice. Can you use this for your advantage when impressing your first time visitors? Of course you can.


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If you want to convert more of your visitors into email subscribers, you may want to place a nifty audio recording besides your opt-in form. Something that your visitors can play and listen to you.

Your audio doesn’t have to be too long. Keep it short and to the point. Use it to talk to your visitors in the right tone, minus any fluff. Your aim is to get them to take action, and nothing more.

Also, one of the concerns that people have when it comes to giving their email is whether they can trust you. By letting them hear you talk, you prove that you’re real — and ready to go that extra mile to connect with them.

Asking for your visitors’ email address is common. But letting them actually hear you ask for it? Not so common. Which means you’ll automatically stand out from the rest of the competition.

2. Even Better, Let them See You Talk

Study after study has proven that video is great for maintaining trust levels similar to a face-to-face conversation.  So when it comes to persuading your visitors to join your email list, creating a short video can help you get more conversions.

A video gives your visitors another reason to trust you and see you as someone genuine. It sends out a signal to your potential subscribers that you are serious about giving them value. And since video has a higher perceived value, it increases your chance of making a good impression on people visiting your site for the first time.

Now, we all know shooting a video of yourself is no big deal. However, get it wrong, and you may end up doing the opposite of impressing your visitors. In order to make that lasting first impression, you have to come out as a professional. Somebody your prospects will find easy to trust.


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A research published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin says that people tend to judge personalities based on physical appearance. As noted by Science Daily, the research experiment went like this:

“Researchers asked participants to assess the personalities of strangers based first on a photograph posed to the researchers’ specifications and then on a photograph posed the way the subject chose. Those judgments were then compared with how the person and acquaintances rated that individual’s personality. They found that while both poses provided participants with accurate cues about personality, the spontaneous pose showed more insight, including about the subject’s agreeableness, emotional stability, openness, likability, and loneliness.”

This study measured how first impression was formed based on these ten physical attributes:

When you create a video to persuade your prospects to subscribe to your list, it’s important that your personality is pleasing to them. So judging from the results of the above study, you may want to smile while you talk in an energetic way during the video. Also, don’t forget to dress stylishly/neatly and put on some good shoes.

Making a first impression is not about wearing an expensive watch. It can be as simple as being your relaxed self and wearing a real smile.

Remember, people no longer want to join a mailing list run by a faceless blogger or webmaster. When you communicate your ideas to your visitors through your video, you increase the chances of them trusting you, which in turn leads to a stronger first impression.

3. Give Value, Impress, Grab Email

A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience claims that first impressions are all about value. It identified two areas of the brain that display a significant amount of activity during the coding of impression-relevant information:

The amygdala: This area of the brain has previously been linked to social evaluations of trust and emotional learning about inanimate objects.

The posterior cingulate cortex: This second area of the brain has been linked to valuation of rewards and economic decision-making.

The study clearly implies that human beings are big on “value” when it comes to forming an impression. In other words, in order to impress your visitors and grab their email, you will have to show them what’s in it for them.

When a potential subscriber lands on your site, you should be able to establish expectations. By setting expectations from the beginning, you make it obvious that you will be delivering value.

In a MarketingSherpa interview, W. Jeffrey Rice, Senior Research Analyst, MECLABS, says that your opt-in page should be able to answer the following four questions to increase conversions:


People will only subscribe to your email list if they feel that they will be getting something out of it. When you clearly state how you will be giving them value, it not only removes their mental barrier, but also tells them that you respect them.

4. Tap Into Emotions — It Works

When your visitor is listening to your audio or watching you talk on your website, his brain is busy processing information about you. Information that will help him determine whether your opt-in offer or newsletter is worth subscribing to. This internal calculation happens to be rooted in “emotion”.


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By tapping into emotions, you inspire your potential subscribers to join your list. They see you as someone who is transparent and is ready to “give away” the good stuff. This creates a strong first impression and makes it easier for your visitors to convert.

The question is, how? How do you tap into emotions and impress your prospects? The answer can be found in Simon Sinek’s popular TED talk about how great leaders inspire action.

In his talk, Simon asserts that stating why you do what you do is much more inspiring and interesting than what you do or how you do it. Which means using statements that complete the phrases like “I believe…” will help the brain’s internal calculation work in your favor.

5. Be Nice and Show Some Warmth

Everybody knows that people who have good intentions and act upon them are nice. But can that help you create a great first impression? Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School, who has studied the science of first impression, believes so.

According to Amy, people from different types of cultures tend to form impressions by evaluating important factors like warmth and competence. If you have good intentions that are likely to enact them, then you’re in a better position to gain trust and make a positive first impression.


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When you ask your potential subscribers if they want to join your list, you tell them that your intention is to send the best content with zero spam. However, in order to exude warmth, you need to go a step further than that.

In the real world this may be done by giving a genuine smile or with a kind gesture. But in the online world, you have to choose the right words and appear warm in your approach. Instead of pitching, think of helping.

The best way to show that you’re someone your visitors can count on is to be accessible. The moment somebody lands on your blog, they will naturally look around. When they see that you’re not hard to connect with, they feel comfortable. They see you as a nice person who cares about his readers/followers. Which may impress them enough to jump on your email list to learn more from you.

Neil Patel is a popular blogger, and is known for founding two profitable SaaS companies, KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg. In spite of his success, he makes sure he is accessible to his readers. He always finds time to respond to each and every comment on his blog, Quick Sprout.


As you can see, Neil’s comment is not only nice, it’s also quick. There are many factors that have contributed to his growth as a blogger, and being accessible to his readers is one of them.

So if you want to convert more visitors into subscribers, be nice to them in whatever way you can. Always answer emails and respond to comments on your blog/social media. Help your readers, answer their questions and give them assurance that you’re there for them. You’ll be surprised how simple common courtesy and warmth can work in your favor.


A targeted email list can be a huge asset for your business. But building one requires you to consistently deliver and do everything you can to gain your reader’s trust.

Creating a strong first impression on your new visitors should be a priority in order to get more email subscribers. For which you need to get innovative in your approach. But until you’re able to use “sound perfume” to impress them, you’ll have to depend on things like using a smiling picture of you or telling your potential subscribers that you’re never late in sending your newsletter.

If you read this far, you should get more similar articles by email.

About Mustafa Khundmiri

Mustafa Khundmiri is the co-founder of Foundora and He's also a content marketing consultant at Plugmatter. Follow him on Twitter @MKhundmiri.

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  • Reinhardt

    Loved the article. It’s worth testing the audio or video tip you mentioned.

    • Mustafa Khundmiri

      Thanks Reinhardt, I’m glad you liked the article.

      • Malik Khodjaev

        Lol, your article was liked by Guy Kawasaki 😀

  • Brenda Stokes Barron

    Solid tips here I need to try out on my own site. Thanks! Oh, and thanks for linking to my article, too!

    • Mustafa Khundmiri

      No problem Brenda! Yes, you definitely should.

  • Excelanto

    Thanks for your valuable posting.I have collect more than information from your website. It’s really wonderful blog. please added more than tips. i’m working in a top cms company in chennai.Here providing very low price CMS , responsive webdesign and ERP. you have any more than information kindly make me call this number 044-42127512 or send your mail [email protected].

  • Excelanto

    Thanks for your valuable posting.I have collect more than information from your website. It’s really wonderful blog. please added more than tips. i’m working in at cms company in india.Here providing very low price CMS , responsive webdesign and ERP. you have any more than information kindly make me call this number 044-42127512 or send your mail [email protected].

  • Excelanto

    Thanks for your valuable posting.I have collect more than information from your website. It is really wonderful blog. please added more than tips. i’m working in ERP In India.Here providing very low price and Quality ERP,Cloud ERP, CMS , responsive webdesign and ERP. you have any more than information kindly make me call this number 044-42127512 or send your mail [email protected]

  • Lorraine Reguly

    The Facebook link in the author bio does not work…

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