7 Shocking Psychological Triggers To Use In Copywriting

Psychological devices are an absolute necessity if you want to make the consumers buy what you are selling.

But don’t get me wrong. Psychological devices are not pushing the consumers to do something against their will. That is unmoral and impossible.

Psychological devices just make the purchase the sweet decision they want to make.

And today I’m going to show you seven psychological devices that will make your prospect buy. So, let’s dive in.

1. Fear

Fear is one of the most powerful motivators that will cause us to take action.

Give a person a reason why they should be extremely afraid if they won’t buy your product, they will usually end up buying it.

Fear is a fundamental human instinct, and manipulating it is a fundamental marketing tactic.

Fear is a negative emotion that a prospect wants to alleviate as quickly as possible. This makes fear a valuable part of your online marketing campaign.

Make a prospect afraid and then show them how you can take away the fear and you’ll generate an immediate response and a windfall of sales.

There are many kinds of fears and each audience is afraid of something different.

You want to write to their fears to make them as afraid as possible. Here is an example of fear creation on a sales page:

He just lost his chance to make a choice. His induction notice caught him with his decisions down.

He waited too long to choose the army. If he had acted sooner, he would have had to pick up more than 300 jobs.

And his choice would have been guaranteed in writing before he joined up. So don’t wait.”

Also, People are much more likely to buy if they think they’ll lose out on an opportunity if they don’t.

If your product is perceived as scarce… with a limited supply…that perception will generate a powerful fear of loss.

In a niche where many websites are selling a product or service that is virtually identical, using fear and risk is an unsurpassed way to distinguish yourself from the competition. (It’s also a way to justify higher prices!)

2. Curiosity

All creatures are curious…especially humans.

We explore our world rather than just respond to it, looking under rocks, pulling back curtains, and poking sticks into things.

The desire to discover things and know is a killer motivational factor that is based on our biology.

Curiosity creates marketing and copywriting language like this:

• Secrets of peeling apples in 10 seconds uncovered!

• Who spilled the beans…

• Hidden money-making secrets entrepreneurs don’t want you to know…

Curiosity is a difficult appeal to use because of two basic problems: arousing curiosity in the first place, and not having the consumer come up with their own answer in the second.

But, it’s the most powerful one.

Talk too much when writing your sales message and you’ll destroy curiosity.

So use curiosity words like secret, discovered, hidden, little-known, they don’t want you to know, etc. and you’ll create a strong curiosity appeal.

But to master this, you really have to practice a lot. But it’s worth it.

3. Desire To Belong

The desire to belong is a strong motivational factor in marketing but it is often not appreciated.

Think about it.

Why do people own a Mercedes? Why do they smoke Marlboro cigarettes? Why do certain fads catch on?

It could be that these people buy a specific product because they subconsciously want to belong to the group that already owns or uses that specific product.

In the case of Marlboros, the smokers subconsciously want to join that group of smokers who have responded to the rugged western image the cigarette ad agency has created.

The people who buy a Mercedes often want to belong to that special group of Mercedes owners.

Do you think it’s because of the special braking or suspension system? Forget it. They’re going out and spending megabucks to buy something that’s maybe slightly better than many of the other automobiles.

The other cars can take you to the same places at the same speed and yet these people—all very intelligent—will go out and spend plenty more to buy a Mercedes.

And the list goes on. You name a product that has an established image and I’ll show you a consumer who, somewhere in his or her subconscious value system, wants to belong to the group of people who own that product. Fashion, automobiles, cigarettes, gadgets, whatever the category—the consumer who buys a specific brand has been motivated to buy that brand by the desire to belong to the group of people who already own that brand.

The desire to belong to and identify with a group of people who own a specific product is one of the most powerful psychological motivators to be aware of in marketing and copywriting.

– From Joseph Sugarman’s Book Titled: “The Adweek Copywriting Handbook”

4. Embedded Commands

This one is like an army. You command and they will execute. How do embedded commands work?

Using embedded commands entails crafting the action you want your reader to take and wrapping it in the cushion of a casual, innocent-looking sentence.

Consider the following one:

As you read every word of this message, you’ll discover super-powerful secrets about making money you never dreamed of.”

It looks innocent, but it’s not. Your reader might consciously take it as a hypothetical comment. But notice the embedded command, which causes quite a hypnotic effect: read every word of this message.

Embedded commands are copywriters army of resistance fighters. They are designed to create positive reader expectancies while reducing the natural resistance a reader has to your sales message.

They allow you to speak directly to your prospect’s unconscious mind, overcoming objections and breaking down sales barriers in a completely covert way.

When writing them you want to emphasize them with things like:

Bold typeDifferent color

Underlining • Italics


Here’s how to craft embedded commands:

First choose the command you want (there are unlimited options, but here are some of them.):

Act on my advice

Click on the button

Read every word of this message

Agree with me

Next, simply embed the command into some sentence. Your sentence could go like this:

If you want to change your life forever, I urge you to act on my advice.”

5. Reason “Why”

A four-year-old that follows you around the house asking you “Why?” after anything and everything you say is – albeit annoying – a reflection of a fundamental human desire to need to understand the rationale behind a person’s actions or opinions to BELIEVE IT.

Yes, that’s right, our brains are far more likely to believe something is true, real, or legit when a reason or justification is given.

In fact, Ellen Langer, a psychology professor at Harvard, conducted a study on whether or not giving a “reason why” influenced people’s decision to allow strangers to cut in line while waiting for the Xerox machine in a busy library.

Her finding was incredible. When a stranger went up and asked the first person in line…

Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine?”: 60% of them said yes. Not bad.

She then tested the same question, but using a Reason Why…. “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”:

A staggering 94% of people said yes!!

But here’s where it gets REALLY juicy. She then changed the “Reason” from something legit – being in a rush – to no real reason at all…

“Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”: Still, a massive 93% said yes.

Simply using the word “because” – no matter the reason –resulted in significantly more commitments.

So in your sales copy, it’s always wise to include a reason for why you’re selling a product, why you’re giving a discount, and why you’re limiting the sale or using any sort of scarcity…

6. Linguistic Binds

A linguistic bind is a form of the syntax that makes your reader say, “Why, of course, what you’re saying is true!” and is another powerful tool in the art of persuasion.

Let’s analyze this linguistic bind:

“While you’re sitting there reading this letter, you begin to understand why you can’t afford to waste any more time getting less than everything that life has to offer.”

It consists of two parts.

Part 1 states something obvious (“you’re sitting there reading this letter”), and part 2 states what you want your reader to think, say, or do.

It is the command.

Curiously, this pattern makes your reader believe that what you are saying is logical, when in fact, parts 1 and 2 of your sentence are not linked by logic at all.

Nevertheless, this device can make people agree with practically anything you say.

7. Specificity

Being specific in your explanations is very critical and can establish your credibility. Let me first give you an example. If I were to say, “New dentists everywhere use and recommend CapSnap Toothpaste,” it sounds like typical advertising lingo— puffery designed to sell a product.

It’s so general that it will probably cause a viewer to discount the statement I have just made and maybe everything else I say.

But if I said, “Ninety-two percent of new dentists use and recommend CapSnap Toothpaste,” it sounds much more believable.

The consumer is likely to think that we did a scientific survey and that 92 percent was the result.

When people perceive certain general statements as puffery or typical advertising babble, those statements are at best discounted or accepted with some doubts.

By contrast, statements with specific facts can generate strong believability.

If you’re describing a product that is designed for the circulatory functions of the body, you can talk about “242 miles of blood vessels” instead of “miles of blood vessels.”

When you talk about the bottom of your feet, instead of saying, “There are a lot of nerve endings at the bottom of your feet,” you can say, “There are 72,000 nerve endings at the bottom of your feet.”

You are stating a fact as opposed to a general or vague statement. You are more believable.

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