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Episode 013 - Why People Really Buy

Published by: David Garfinkel on 07-17-2017

This episode covers eight reasons people buy. You’ll get an example with the same product so you can see how to apply any one of these reasons in your own copy.

When I first started writing copy, I was overwhelmed with all the differences from what I had known and done before. As a journalist, there was a certain set of rules and a format to follow. Copy seemed to turn everything on its head.

I was trained as an old-school journalist. Back in the day, journalists were supposed to be objective, keep themselves out of what they wrote, and give equal weight to “both sides of the story.” Of course that was a goal more than a reality. After all, some stories have more than two sides to them.

But most of us really strived to be objective, impartial, and fair. I know I did. I wasn’t entirely happy with that model, because I liked to get behind things I believed in, and writing copy gave me a way to do that.

One of my biggest questions when I got started was, “How to you get people to buy things?” It took me many years, but I have finally boiled it down to eight reasons. It started out as seven, so now I call it “The seven reasons people buy, plus one more.”

Knowing this made writing copy a whole lot easier for me. I’m going to share my seven plus one reasons today and I hope it make things a lot easier for you, too.

Now, Nathan: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it right now:

Copy is powerful. You’re responsible for how you use what you hear on this podcast. Most of the time, common sense is all you need. But if you make extreme claims… and/or if you’re writing copy for offers in highly regulated industries like health, finance, and business opportunity… you may want to get a legal review after you write and before you start using your copy. My larger clients do this all the time.

OK, so, to the topic at hand.

First of all, let me give you the big picture, and then we’ll drill down to each reason.

I’m also going to invent an imaginary product to sell, and show how to use each of these reasons to sell it. And, I’ll give you a little commentary on each one.

The seven reasons people buy are:

1. Make money

2. Save money

3. Save time

4. Save effort

5. Reduce pain

6. Increase pleasure

7. Improve health

And number eight is: Increase prestige.

Now, for the imaginary product: It’s a magic pen. This pen is magical because it allows you to write the best copy faster and more easily than anything you’ve ever experienced before. We’ll just call it “the magic pen” in this episode.

Wow… I can hear the orders coming in already and we haven’t even finished our prototype of the product yet!

Of course you can build you own magic pen by learning to write copy… and this episode is about a major part of that, learning the reasons people buy about 95% of the time… so let’s get into them.

1. The first reason – make money

You can make more money with this pen than you can with any other writing implement. And you’ll make more money per word writing direct response advertising copy than you can writing anything else – except ransom notes.


- specific

- you’ll need to prove the claim; people are VERY skeptical about money-making claims, and reasonably so.

- more for b2b offers than b2c. But really just about the only primary driver in bizop and financial copywriting

2. The second reason – save money

With the magic pen, you’ll never have to spend $5000 - $10,000 – even $50,000 – on an expensive copywriter again. With this pen, you can create all the high-performing copy yourself.


- show how

- don’t expect them to figure out the savings, walk them through ’em

- people love to save money. Rich people seem to love it even more than people without a lot of money to begin with.

3. The third reason – save time

Copy takes far too long to write. Now, with the magic pen, you can write great, profitable copy in practically no time flat!

- nobody seems to have enough time in their life. Saving time is an increasingly powerful appeal

- when you make this claim, people will be skeptical until you prove it

- if you can prove it, this is a very powerful appeal

4. The fourth reason – save effort

Do you struggle writing copy? Say goodbye to struggle with the magic pen. This is the easiest way to write copy you’ve ever seen!

- ref: laziness headlines. Even hardworking people like easier solutions

- show how your product, or service, makes it easier for someone

- testimonials, time measurements, before/after comparisons

5. The fifth reason - reduce pain

Does the prospect of writing copy make you anxious or give you a headache? Does writing copy with an ordinary pen give you hand cramps? Forget about those problems with the magic pen. It’s the most painless way known to humankind to
write copy. Everyone who has tried it says it doesn’t hurt at all!

- you need to know what their pains are

- the appeal promises to eliminate those specific pains

- as with all of these appeals, you need to show how and to prove it

6. The sixth reason - increase pleasure

What if writing copy was actually fun? Most people can’t imagine this possibility, but with the magic pen, writing copy might end up being the highlight of your day!

- as you can see from this example, it’s pretty hard to sell something as increasing pleasure if the initial activity or experience isn’t pleasurable to start with

- but there’s a difference between hard and impossible

- if you use this with something that’s not pleasurable to begin with, be sure to acknowledge that the prospect (probably) didn’t think this could even be pleasurable

7. The seventh reason - improve health

Research is increasingly showing that stress is seriously dangerous for your health. And writing copy causes most people stress. But now, with the magic pen, you’ll not only get rid of stress hormones when you write. You’ll also
increase the flow of hormones that make you feel healthier.

- this one was a pretty big stretch

- if it’s not a health-related product, you need to come up with a pretty good argument

- I’m not sure I’d use this as my main appeal, but it could “add fuel to the fire” in an actual promo for the magic pen

Now let’s get to the eighth one, which, candidly, I developed later after I had my list of seven.

It answers the question: Why do people spend $100,000 on a Rolex? Why do people buy a car for $250,000 when you can even get a very nice luxury car for $50,000 or $60,000, and a good, safe, serviceable car for a lot less than that?

The answer is: Prestige. It gives you status. Used correctly, something like this can get others to admire and respect you.


8. The eight reason: Increase prestige

When people find out you’re a writer AND they see how well you’re doing in business, they will respect you as one of the very rare and successful. You can have all that and more with the magic pen.

- here, you need to get into the prospect’s world

- prestige is usually/almost always about what others think

- you need to figure out what your product or service will do to make a good impression on others


1. Make money

2. Save money

3. Save time

4. Save effort

5. Reduce pain

6. Increase pleasure

7. Improve health

8. Increase prestige

Keywords: hidden motivators for purchasing

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