22 Reasons Why Consumers Purchase Things (And How To Sell To Them)

What makes you want to spend your hard-earned money? 

Well, if you're like the majority of people you're probably pretty picky about what you buy. And that means that you, as a business owner, have to be on top of your game. More specifically you have to know what makes people tick.

And that depends on whether you're appealing to a want or a need. Because of that, their desires can vary widely. Because it's arguably easier to sell something that people need since they can't really go without it.

  • On the other hand, commodities have to be sold in a certain way.
  • A product or service that consumers don't necessarily need has to stand out and be unique.
  • It has to provide something that your competition doesn't.

So let's find out how to use that to your advantage.


Formulas That Explain Why Consumers Purchase

22 reasons why consumers purchase things (and how to sell to them)

It doesn't matter how well you understand the specific reasons people buy things if you don't have some solid methods to entice them.

You have to understand the idea that a feature needs to be turned into a benefit.

Luckily, there are a number of effective formulas that can elevate your copy and help you see more conversions.

Learn the 26 proven copywriting formulas here.



The best known of these formulas, AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. The process of this method goes something like this:

  • Attention - The first step, of course, is to grab your prospect's attention. There are plenty of ways to do this, including the use of surprising facts, engaging questions, or even visual design.
    • The idea is that the reader should want to keep reading and learn more about what you can do for them. But you have to keep in mind whose attention you're trying to get and who's likely to pull the trigger.
  • Interest - People have small attention spans in general, so grabbing their attention is just the beginning. To get them really interested, it's important to relate your offer to them.
    • Start to explain the features of the product and why it's good for them.
  • Desire - Once they're interested it's time to make them want the product. And even if they like the idea of it, they may take some persuading to actually consider purchasing.
    • In this step, you want to really drive home the point that your offer can help them and solve a problem they have.
  • Action - If all goes well your prospect will end up here in no time. Timing is crucial and you want them to take action as immediately as possible.
    • Your chances at a sale can be boosted by a limited-time offer, implied scarcity, or bonuses included with the purchase. It also comes down to ease of purchase, so a clear CTA button should be utilized in tandem with a clean page design.


The ACCA method, sometimes known as DAGMAR (Defining Advertising Goals To Measure Advertising Results) stands for Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, and Action. As you'll see, it's fairly similar to the AIDA method:

  • Awareness - In this method, we start with making the prospect aware of a problem or potential problem they might eventually face. This can then translate to awareness of your brand or business.
  • Comprehension - Here you want to provide factual information about your product. You want to keep your target audience in mind and consider what kind of information might interest them because of potential benefits.
  • Conviction - At this point you want your prospect to feel like your offer was tailored just for them. Get specific and personal. What about your offer sets you apart from the competition? 
  • Action - Like AIDA, your final goal is to get your prospect to take action and make that purchase. And the methods are the same here. Light a fire under them in any way you can to push them to convert.

22 reasons why consumers purchase things (and how to sell to them)

The Four P's

Arguably a more fleshed-out option than AIDA or ACCA, The Four P's consist of Promise, Picture, Proof, and Push. What sets this method apart is that it tells how, not just what.

Instead of "create awareness" it gives you a perfect way of doing so. And so on for the other steps. It goes something like this:

  • Promise - A great way to both grab attention and create awareness. Of course, it needs to be interesting, but it can't be outlandish.
    • Your promise should be focused on what you can do for your prospect. What they stand to gain from your offer.
  • Picture - Again, this is a great way to generate interest. Visual and descriptive language works amazingly in copy, so make use of it.
    • Try telling a story that can make your prospect imagine how it would be to solve their problem. Then assure them just how possible that is with your product.
  • Proof - Naturally people want proof, no matter how good the offer sounds. This is where you provide facts, reviews, statistics, anything that proves without a doubt that your offer does what it claims to do.
    • There's no need for embellishment, just be totally honest and let your product speak for itself. Remember, you already appealed to their emotion.
  • Push - It might sound better if we look at this step as "encourage." Your offer isn't just a call to action, it's a way to showcase just how great your offer is and why it's desirable. Reiterate the best points and really drive it home.


Motivation Formula

The final formula consists of four steps, boiled down to get attention, show a need, satisfy the need, prove your product, and CTA. I'll expand on that but that's the basic idea. The motivation formula goes like this:

  • Get attention - Again, you always want to start by getting their attention. Any of the ways I've gone over will work. But it's always important to remember who you're trying to sell to.
  • Show a need - And much like the other formulas, the next step is to give a reason that your prospect needs your product. The best way is to propose a problem they have or could have in the future.
  • Satisfy the need and position your product as a solution to the problem - Lucky for them, you have the answer to their problems. Explain how your product fulfills that need and will benefit your prospect.
  • Prove your product can do what you say it can do - Claims are nothing without proof.
    • Now you want to demonstrate the benefits through testimonials, reviews, facts, comparing with competition, etc. But don't go overboard, it needs to be believable.
  • Ask for action - Finally, you have to push them along to actually make a purchase. If you nailed the other steps this should be easy, as they should already want your offer.

Why Consumers Purchase Due To False Logic And Emotion

22 reasons why consumers purchase things (and how to sell to them)

Copy is manipulative. I know, that's a strong word but it's true. Just drop the negative connotation and think about it. The true goal of any copy is to make prospects take action.

And that can only be done by presenting facts in a certain way to bring them to certain conclusions. Your reader already wants to do something, they just need a little help from you to make that decision.

But remember, you're not lying or being dishonest. You're just writing in a way that moves people to perform an action.

People also make their decisions based on strong emotions and their long-held beliefs. That's why it's important to consider what they want to do and how you can encourage and support that decision.

It comes down to using logic and credibility to get through to them. You absolutely never want to have an offer that sounds too good to be true.

But there are some good methods to make your offer sound better without sounding farfetched. 

The first of which is some yes-bait, which basically poses a question that nobody would answer no to.

A CTA could look something like "Do you want to maximize your conversions and grow your business? Click here to find out how."

In addition, you can switch it up to "Yes, I want to maximize my conversions and grow my business."

The use of certain words plays into how your copy is received as well. "When" is particularly effective because it implies that something will happen, not just hypothetically.

"You" is essential in copywriting but it's also important to remember why. You're writing for one person only, or at least that's what you want your readers to feel.

"Get" is also a great choice as it implies that you're providing something and they're getting something. And everyone likes getting stuff.

Here are the 23 copywriting psychological triggers that convince people to buy stuff.


Why Consumers Purchase Unique Products

22 reasons why consumers purchase things (and how to sell to them)

In any market, any industry, and with any product or service, it's hard to have a totally unique offer. That's why the way you present your offer is so important in your success.

And as I touched on before one of the most effective ways to spin it is to state the benefit of your offer. After all, the most important thing to your prospects is what you can do for them.

But it's not quite as simple as just doing something. Your competition is surely offering something similar, so you have to focus on a benefit that they aren't.

Because really there's no specific reason a prospect would choose you over someone else offering the same thing. At that point, it's just a game of chance.

So when you're illustrating that benefit make sure it's something that's important to your target audience. Something that will provide actual value for them.

As an example, a unique feature definitely helps set you apart but you won't always have that unique feature. So in a situation where you don't, you have to rely on a few other things:

  • Little-known benefit - This could be anything that your competition just isn't mentioning.
    • For example, maybe a TV manufacturer would mention how easily their sets are mounted on a wall. It's something that people don't think about until they're in the process and most manufacturers just focus on technical specs.
  • Dramatize a known benefit - Let's use a car for example. Many people take MPG into consideration nowadays. But it's just a number, no matter how desirable.
    • A good way to dramatize the benefit would be to illustrate just what that can do for a buyer. "LA to San Francisco... and back... on one tank." 
  • Dramatize the product itself (appearance) - This is extremely effective when done well.
    • Look at clothing. T-shirts do the same thing, no matter the quality or construction. But tie-dye shirts always stand out, and considering how they're still very popular it seems like a good tactic.
  • Build a strong brand personality - This is important regardless of your selling proposition. But it can help you shine when offering something.
    • You have to be aware of your audience and tailor your voice to them and consistently deliver. This helps to give your credibility and makes you trustworthy.
  • A secondary promise to help seal the deal - Maybe your prospects aren't sold on your initial promise. No problem. A secondary promise takes care of any doubt they have about your offer by providing another, smaller, but still desirable benefit.
    • Consider an office chair that offers the best ergonomics possible. Well, for some that might not be enough at the price point. Adding something like a 10-year warranty really sweetens the deal and adds even more value.

Audience Specific Copy Explains Why Consumers Purchase

22 reasons why consumers purchase things (and how to sell to them)

As always your audience is important when selling something. But it's even more important when you're figuring out why your audience buys things.

The key is empathy. You have to get an idea of their needs, wants, personality, demographics, and so on.

This can be done in a number of ways including through reviews, feedback, analytical data, and creating customer profiles. There are other methods but that should give you a good starting point.

Once you have an idea of who your audience is it's important to apply that knowledge to your copy. You have to appeal to them and establish trust and credibility.

They need to know that you understand them and their desires, that you're more than just a salesman. 

That's important when you're writing so you can highlight benefits that are actually relevant to them. Because if you write from your mindset you'll probably end up missing what appeals to your readers.

And if you do that, there's no connection. So always keep them in mind and write from their perspective.

But it's worth noting that you should be as specific as possible when figuring out your target audience and the different segments represented.

You're not going to sell to everyone unfortunately, so you really have to get down to the nitty-gritty when identifying them. 

The process will take time, and you may have some failures when you're starting out. Just make sure to do as much research as possible and take your time.

Ask as many questions as possible and figure out what your segments have in common and where they differ. You'll get it one way or another, and you'll reap the benefits of your hard work.

Learn how to use market segmentation in your copy here.


Your Copy Should Reflect Why Consumers Purchase

22 reasons why consumers purchase things (and how to sell to them)

Even if you understand your audience and know what they want, you have to appeal to them in certain ways. The three you need to worry about are:

  • Intellectual - This is based on logic and uses facts and real information to illustrate the value of your offer.
  • Emotional - You also want to appeal to your audience's feelings. Emotion is a very powerful tool and is a key element in any copy.
  • Personal - This refers to personal experience. Consider who your audience is and what they know based on their lives.

Once you consider these three aspects of your audience your next step is to use another formula. The BFD formula consists of three things:

  • Beliefs - Ask questions like what does your audience believe? How might that affect how they see your product and the benefit it provides?
  • Feelings - Consider their feelings. Are they confident? Wary? How do they feel about the issues in their lives?
  • Desires - What does your audience want? Where do they want to see themselves? How do they plan on getting there and how can you help?

After answering questions try writing out a narrative based on the formula. Get a better idea of just who it is that you're selling to and write your copy based on that. It's sure to be a lot more effective once you have such a clear idea.



This is a bit of a side note but it's important to consider when you're figuring out how you need to write for your audience. The length of your copy is going to depend on your product, the audience, and the purpose of the copy.

You see, there isn't much to write about some products, and that's ok. And some prospects don't want to read a lot either. That's fine, too. It's always going to vary.

Something like a sales lead doesn't require a huge amount of information. But on the other hand, something like a mail-order offer requires the reader to make a decision on the spot.

And that requires a solid amount of information so the reader knows everything about your offer.

In addition, products that people need don't require long copy. That's because people are going to buy those items regardless. So something like a freezer or other home appliances doesn't need much in terms of length.

Whereas commodities need to be given value because they're not exactly essential. With all this in mind, it's also crucial to remember that quality is always more important than quantity with any copy.


Reasons Why Consumers Purchase In The First Place

22 reasons why consumers purchase things (and how to sell to them)

Finally, the reason you're still reading: why people actually buy things. And there are plenty of reasons, so you've got a lot to work with. Essentially, people always buy things to solve problems as you'll see.

But there are some categories they all fall into, so make note of them and reference them if you're ever scratching your head. These categories are:

  • Trust
  • Value
  • Instant gratification
  • Time
  • Fear
  • Competition
  • Guilt
  • Belonging
  • Leadership

If you can appeal to one of these, you have a good chance of seeing more conversions. But you'll probably need to get specific if you really want to see results.

22 reasons why consumers purchase things (and how to sell to them)

Luckily the reasons are numerous and give you a lot of flexibility in how you market to your audience. Just in case you need some examples, I've got you covered here:

  • To be liked
  • To be appreciated
  • To be right
  • To feel important
  • To make money
  • To save money
  • To save time
  • To make work easier
  • To be secure
  • To be attractive
  • To be sexy
  • To be comfortable
  • To be distinctive
  • To be happy
  • To have fun
  • To gain knowledge
  • To be healthy
  • To gratify curiosity
  • For convenience
  • Out of fear
  • Out of greed
  • Out of guilt

As you can see, all of these appeal to the psychology of your prospects. Whether it's to eliminate a pain point or just improve a part of their life, it's something that deals with their emotion.

And looking at the list, all of these things are desirable to just about anyone. So the main thing you want to remember is how your offer can provide one of these benefits to your reader.

Is a banana stand going to help a buyer alleviate fear or guilt? Well, a really good one might but it's a lot more likely that their service is going to help a buyer feel healthy, and maybe it's convenient and helps them save money.

That's why it's important to spin your offer the right way and to the right audience.


Learn More To Sell More

22 reasons why consumers purchase things (and how to sell to them)

You and I both know selling anything isn't exactly easy. If it was, everyone would be a millionaire by now. But things don't just sell themselves and you have to put in plenty of time, research, and plain old hard work.

And hopefully, this lesson helps you have the best chance possible at success. Because knowing why your audience makes purchases is essential to selling to them.

In turn, pairing that with your knowledge of how to run a business, in general, gives you a serious edge.

And maybe that edge is all you need to get a leg up on the competition and really elevate your business. But if it's just not clicking or you're short on time, it's never a bad idea to hire a marketing consultant.

They can take care of the work you either can't or don't want to do and you'd be surprised at all the other things they can do for your business.


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About Daniel Doan

Daniel is a proven Neuro-Response copywriter with over a decade of expertise bridging the gap between what your company wants to say and what your customers actually want to read.

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