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The Psychology lesson every copywriter needs

copywriting psychology

The Psychology lesson every copywriter needs

learn how humans tick to boost the efficiency of your copy!

Following on from our last training blog, 5 Rules When Writing To Your User Persona, we’re about to dive even deeper into the world of copywriting. How deep? REAL deep!

We’ll be looking at the eight basic human instincts hardwired into each and every one of us. This will help us gain an understanding of the psychological forces going on when a customer decides to buy your product or service.

why do we need to understand human psychology?

  • So we can know what our target market wants – deep down
  • And know how they feel about what they want
  • To give us an understanding of WHY they act as they do
  • Which equips us with the insight required to write copy that actually does its job. That is – copy that converts readers into buyers.

And frankly – when you try to write copy without understanding the basics of human psychology, it’s a bit like asking your crush to marry you before you’ve even asked them on a first date! How so? Keep reading…
copywriting psychology

boosting the efficiency of your copy with instinct!

The Life Force 8 – these are the eight basic human instincts hardwired into every person. Although they’re basic, these desires run very deep, and have been inherited through human evolution over many millennia.
They are:

  1. Survival, enjoying life and prolonging life
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, or ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval

I want to outsource my copy needs!
When it comes to writing your copy, it’s helpful to realise that humans are instinctively much more committed to avoiding the loss of any of the Life Force 8, than they are about making any further gains.

Also notice that any purchasing decision a person can make, regardless of whether it’s lavishly extravagant or quite practical – can always be linked back to one of the Life Force 8. For example, if you’re selling new cars – what you’re really selling might be social approval, or the care and protection of loved ones… or you may even be creating opportunities for sexual companionship!

copywriting psychology

techniques for interest, desire and action

lead with pain points – hit that nerve.

When one or more of the Life Force 8 is at risk or already lost – your potential customer has a very real pain point. Let them know that you relate to and understand this pain point – show them empathy very early on in your copy.

You wouldn’t expect to hear ‘YES!’ when you propose to a stranger in the street,  so why would you hit your readers with all the features and benefits before letting them know you care?  There is a right way and a wrong way to start a relationship…

bullets for benefits.

The next step is to clearly demonstrate that your business has the skills, knowledge or technology to resolve their pain points. If you aren’t already using bullet points in your copy – now is the time to start.

Use bullets to communicate the benefits your potential customer will experience if they do business with you. People don’t have time to read paragraph after paragraph of copy and everyone is guilty of skim reading!

  • Bullets keep your copy short and very clear
  • They make your copy more visually appealing
  • Readers can consume content quickly and easily
  • Your message becomes more digestible
  • Clarity is persuasive!

obsess over headlines

The first 50 words can make or break your copy – and this includes your headlines! Write your headline last, and spend half of the entire time it takes to write a piece of content on the headline. It might seem crazy to spend so much time and effort on a few words, but this is your first impression on a prospective customer. And if you don’t get it right – it’ll be your only impression!

Understand this – if your title, headline or subject line is weak, the rest of your copy may as well not event exist! Your great content will go largely unread if your headline doesn’t do its job – and it takes time to figure it out.


  • Get attention & turn browsers into readers. How? Try poking a pain point.
  • Clarity. Tell them what it is.
  • Communicate a benefit or a reward for the reader. What it can do for them? Is it worth the exchange of their valuable time?

A great headline can communicate a full message to your audience. Here are 8 different types of headlines that can help you spark interest, desire and action – all within one line of text.

subheadings can sell too!

Once you’ve nailed your headline, you get to back it up with another short sentence! Make sure that the font size is smaller than the headline and that it’s purely an extension of the headline. A great sub-heading draws the reader’s eyes down to towards the compelling content below. Never underestimate the power of a strong visual hierarchy!

Whether it’s hilarious, sad, scary or otherwise – your sub-heading must both support your headline, and summarise the copy below. We just can’t guarantee that a potential customer will read any further – so give them what they need here.
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copywriting psychology
It’s part of human nature to make purchasing decisions based on emotional impulses, and not just through logic and facts alone. Consider romance as an example… How much time do we really spend logically thinking through the facts before we embark on a new relationship? Very little to none at all!

As copywriters, it’s important to understand that, as complex as the human brain may be, the factors at play in purchasing decision are really not so different from saying yes to a marriage proposal!

Like what we say and think someone else needs to hear it?

Feel free to share our training blogs on social media, or email the link! If you’d like to learn about Email Marketing, List Building and Lead Magnets – Stay tuned for next month’s training blog!