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People justify decisions with reason.

Example: A woman sees a dress in a catalog and instantly


wants it. But she hesitates because it’s so expensive. However, the copy provides details on the
quality of the fabric, the close stitching, and how buying the dress is an investment. This
justification allows her to act on her emotional impulse.
The lesson? Give people reasons to help them justify a purchase.
Another example: I know a guy who bought a huge backhoe because he needed to dig one hole in
his back yard. He went on for an hour reciting his reasons for owning this mammoth machine
instead of just renting it. Pure justification.
People put off making decisions. Psychology and sales experience reveal two interesting facts: 1)
The longer a decision is postponed, the more likely a decision will never be made. 2) The sooner
you can provoke a decision, the more likely it is to be in your favor.
This is why you should simplify the decision-making process in every promotion and force a quick
response whenever possible. Specific deadlines are particularly powerful.
People are egocentric. Not “egotistic,” but “egocentric.” That means centered on the ego or self.
Anytime you ask someone to do something, you must answer that person’s unstated question,
“What’s in it for me?”
On a deeper level, the question might be, “How does this give me feelings of personal worth?” We
all see the world and everything in it in terms of how it relates to us personally. That’s why features
must be translated into benefits.
People are unpredictable. Even those of us who ponder consumer psychology can never predict
with any certainty how people will act in a real-world situation. The equation is just too complex.
You can formulate hypotheses about why people do what they do. You can ask people what they
think and like. But in the end, you never know how people will respond to your copy until they read
it.
As a copywriter, you must be willing to put preconceived notions aside and trust the results of
testing. You might think you know the right answer, but customers will always tell you what works
and what doesn’t through their actions. Listen to them.
People seek fulfillment. Love. Wealth. Glory. Comfort. Safety. People are naturally dissatisfied and
spend their lives searching for intangibles. At its simplest, copywriting is a matter of showing
people how a particular product or service fulfills one or more of their needs.
But remember that motivations always have deeper motivations. You seek wealth for security. You
seek security because you fear change. You fear change because … well, you get the idea.
People usually follow the crowd. We look to others for guidance, especially when we are uncertain
about something. We tacitly ask, “What do others think about this? What do others feel? What do
others do?” Then we act accordingly.
A related concept is what is called the “Bandwagon Effect.” When lots of people do something, that
thing becomes more than acceptable and, in fact, becomes desirable. This is one reason why
testimonials and case histories are so influential.