Why People Buy

Before you write a word of copy, it’s important to consider why your prospective customers would buy your products or services.

This will make it easier for you to draft copy that will resonate with your prospects and inspire them to buy.  

Learning Objectives

To understand the common factors that motivate people to buy.

To learn the difference between want and need.

To understand that you need to target what your prospect wants.

Individual Motivators

Individual motivators vary from person to person, but there are three common factors:


Three Common Factors

1. Need. It’s a necessity. For example, you need car insurance if you drive a car, you need a new washing machine when yours breaks down, you need to buy food and clothes for you and your family.

There are less-tangible needs as well. For example, you need to learn a skill to get a promotion and advance in life, or you need the advice and support of a development coach to improve your business.

2. Want. You want something because you feel it will make your life better even though it isn’t a necessity, such as a space-saving appliance because you have a smaller kitchen or a time-saving app on your laptop.

You may be influenced by brand loyalty to buy something that isn’t necessary for life but is important to you, like the latest model of your smartphone or a bigger TV.

You may want to buy something because it will help you realize a dream. For example, you’ve always dreamed of flying first class so you can enjoy the comfort and luxury away from the sardine experience of economy class.

People’s wants generally feed into a desire to raise their self-esteem and feel better about themselves.

3. Peer Pressure. You’re influenced by others. For example, you buy a new car because your neighbor has a new car, or you buy designer shoes because your peer group has them.

There are many reasons behind this which also feed into your self-esteem, for example:


Self-Esteem Factors

  • You want to fit in and be the same as others
  • You don’t want to miss out on a trend and end up feeling out of touch
  • You aspire to something new to raise your social status
  • You believe a purchase will make you like someone else (e.g., “I’ll be like Madonna if I buy that purse”)

Good marketing taps into all these elements. Celebrity and influencer endorsements are worth millions because of it.

Why Do You Buy?

The motivators for buying are complicated. Think about the last time you made a purchase. There’s a fine line between need and want. Depending on your lifestyle and values, you may feel that for you, some items are necessary whereas for other people these are not. You may even feel that some articles under the ‘peer pressure’ category fall under the ’need’ category for you.

Most small businesses are marketing products and services to people who don’t absolutely need them to survive. Whatever you’re offering will help those who want to improve their lives and feel better about themselves.

Action Steps

Write down your prospect's wants that are satisfied by your product.

Divide them into pleasure, pain relief and peer-group pressure.

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