Emotions are powerful in incitement: if you use the right techniques you can get a predictable emotional response from a specifically targeted audience (this is another reason why segmentation is important).
There are multiple tools for you to do that.
Use just the right words
Sometimes you only have to include some words in your copy that resonate well with the audience. Most popular words are pleased, hate, furious, wonderful and so on.
This way you are literally using emotions, describing them, telling your audience in a way what you feel or what they should.
One thing you have to pay attention to is not to be (too) negative: negativity always brings weaker results. If you have to be negative, because you want to describe a problem for example, choose your words so that your audience won’t feel bad about their past decisions: rather motivate them to change their current situation and make life better for themselves.
Use colors wisely
The design and especially the color of your email templates play a big role in how you can elicit emotions.
Color theory gives you a pretty good breakdown on what emotions belong to what colors: for example red incites action – that is why so many CTAs are red or orange. They make you feel that action is urgent, that you have to do something.
If you are trying to sell a product which requires recipients to trust you than you should use blue – many banks, insurance companies and others in the financial sector do, and not just because they particularly like that color.
Certain graphics can also help you with emotions: be very careful about how you use pictures of people, because they are mostly distracting for the reader, but if you want a strong emotional response that may just be what you need.
Or if you want respondents to feel urgency, you can include a live counter in the mail which indicates how long the offer is valid for.
The best advice we can give you is to always aim for a (positive) emotion, but never for go for it with everything you have. The techniques will only work if you are subtle: if your recipients sense that they are being manipulated, you will lose their trust.
Always test these messages at least with some fellow coworkers, and never include misleading information just to influence their emotions. You don’t want to fool anybody, right?