Exploiting Primal Human Needs in Your Copywriting

Copywriting is not about me and you. It’s all about HER. Or him, of course. Your target client.

Even if your target customer believes your company is the best thing since Apple and that you’re more trustworthy than Jesus himself, they’re still not going to buy from you unless you appeal to their most selfish of needs.

  • She doesn’t care if you’re starting your biggest sale today (unless she knows you have something she wants.)
  • Her eyes roll over with boredom as she glances over your Facebook ad (unless you can grab her attention by specifically showing her how your product will make her life better.)
  • And no one cares that you’ve got a work anniversary (unless you’re sending out a few private invitations for a killer celebration party.)

You might think that’s selfish, but it’s really not.

Let’s be honest — no matter how important you think your needs are, your customers disagree. They have their own needs, and it’s their own needs that are ranked number one. As they should be.

That’s why if you want to sell more, you have to learn what makes your customers crazy. Like the “omg-I-must-have-this-now” type of crazy.

Here’s my list of basic human needs that I always work up from when writing copy, as well as how to use them in practice.

The better deal. At the end of the day, everyone loves a bargain. Or better yet, everyone loves bragging about getting a bargain to their friends and neighbors. One of the most slam-dunk offers I ever stumbled upon was:

“Right now you can get X for half of what everyone else has to pay.”

Greed. How much is enough when it comes to money, health, fame, sexiness? We all want more, we want it now, and all the time. And make it double. With extra fries.

“Find out how this fitness coach tripled her client base in just 30 days… without working an extra hour!”

Health. Health is one of those things we don’t really care about when we have it, but when things go sour, we’ll empty our bank account and dig between our couch cushions to get treated and cured. And while it’s hard to sell a young woman on the idea of preserving her youth, you can crack records offering quick “solutions” for wrinkles.

“Amazon employee accidentally discovered amazing cure for back pain when he sat at his new chair at work.”

Sex and love. We’re all born sexual creatures, but we as a society have collectively decided to heavily repress that part of us and stomp on the fire until it’s extinguished. That’s why we all crave, fear, love, and hate sex all at the same time. And plus, I heard somewhere it’s the most fun you can have without laughing. We all want more sex. Or at least better sex. Bring it together and you have a craving so primal it’s up there with food and shelter.

“Try this scary-good verbal technique for getting her to open up and talk about sex for hours…”

Fear. And by fear, I don’t mean scaring people. In fact, everyone knows it’s not “preventing obesity” that sells fitness coaching, it’s the big biceps and sharp abs. Most of the time, you want to be painting a picture of the good life that your product lets them reach, not scaring them into buying. That being said, the fear of losing out is a very powerful drive and it’s one you should be using. Just make sure you attach it to a happy ending.

“Here’s how to stop losing so much money in taxes and keep more of your income for yourself… simply by taking advantage of a risk-free tax planning trick.

Recognition. Do you feel like you get the recognition you truly deserve? Probably not. We all want people to admire us for our qualities, abilities, or achievements, and make more of an effort to understand us. Matter of fact, we want them to tell us they do. Show people how to get more respect and recognition out of those them, and they’ll throw their money at you.

“Learn the simple 4-question test that makes millionaires instantly respect you.”

Fun and pleasure. There’s a child living in all of us, and it wants to have fun. It wants to explore, discover, laugh, or run in a circle just to get a little dizzy. While we as adults often lose the ability to let go into these moments of pure joy, the craving for these experiences never leaves us.

“Five fun and exciting places New York tourists must visit!”

Self-development. Personal development is the eighth wonder of the world. Everyone wants to be healthier, sexier, more famous, make more money, and so on. But everyone else also wants to want that. If you can show them how to be less tired, overwhelmed, and depressed and more motivated, driven, and fulfilled, they’re going to pay good money for it.

“I worked for 41 hours straight — learn the secrets of the most productive people in the world.”

Follow my journey of using the power of words to make millions.