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7 Desire Drivers

aka the reasons why we want what we want

I’ve taken what I know about human motivation theories, the psychology of persuasion, and effective copywriting, and smooshed it all together into an easy-to-remember, and simple-to-implement list of 7 Desire Drivers.

When humans want something, it’s usually because of at least one of these drivers.

Every piece of content you create, or online offer you promote should appeal to at least one Desire Driver, otherwise it’s not going to get read, bought, remembered, or make any kind of impact.

My course, Persuasion Power-Ups, is about the persuasion triggers you can include on your sales page or in your marketing content to drive a particular behaviour (click, opt-in, download, buy).

Desire is one of the Persuasion Power-Ups - because people are only gonna read, click or buy if you’ve presented them with something they want.


How to use this list

You can use this list in two ways:

1. To generate ideas for what your audience wants
Use the 7 Desire Drivers as a framework to help you turn what you know about your audience into a list of things they want. And then you can use that list to help you create offers, write sales pages, create marketing content.

2. To check if your offer, content, email subject line - anything really - is appealing
This is especially useful to analyze why something isn’t selling as well as you’d hoped. Maybe you’re telling people what they want instead of tapping into what they need.

Here’s the 7 - in no particular order.

#1 The Chance To Win

We ‘win’ any time we get an outcome that is disproportionately positive when compared to the time, money and energy we have invested.

Bingo, competitions, Lotto, gambling, Buy One Get One Free, 50% off, 100% extra free


#2 Protection From Loss

We value products / information /services that help us maintain, sustain, or protect something we already have and value.

Exercises to maintain our strength and flexibility, skin cream to maintain a youthful appearance, vitamins to protect our children’s health.

FOMO taps into this because if we fear we’re missing out on something, we’re trying to protect ourselves from lost potential.

‘Don’t miss this special offer‘ - we fear losing that better future we may have had if only we’d opened that email and bought that deal.


#3 Self Expression

We value opportunities to express our own identity - to align with something that supports our values or our self-image.

We share social media posts, leave comments, buy products as a way of self-expression.

Apple products are for Rebels. Maybelline products are for people with charisma.

These products make us feel heard and seen.


#4 Belonging & Community

Similar to ‘Self Expression’ we value content and products that allow us to feel a sense of belonging, to feel like a valued member of a community or inner circle.

If you drink Haig Club whiskey or use Lynx body spray, or share posts from Hurrah for Gin, you are part of a particular club.


#5 Time

We want to complete our tasks minimal time and effort and/or to a higher-than-expected standard.

Cleaning products are marketed by promising the brightest shine with the least amount of time and effort possible. Ready Meals feed us quickly. Dishwasher tablets give you cleaner dishes.

You get the idea.

We want more efficiency so we have more time.

We want better results more quickly.


#6 Resources

Food, sex, water - the basics of life.

This is quite a bit like #7 but I thought there’s no harm in listing them both. Plus ‘seven’ is a lovely number of items to have on a list.


#7 Well-Being

Physical and mental well-being.

Of ourselves and our loved ones.

We’ll pay for things that will help us feel better, so we can enjoy life more.

And often our improved well-being will help us access the other things on this list.


A word about money

Yes, we want money.

But we don’t really want pretty numbers in our bank account or pieces of paper in our wallet.

We want the things that money can buy us - the 7 things on the list.

So, yes, promise more money, if that’s what you can deliver. But your marketing can be more compelling if you dig into what your prospects want to use that money for.


Found this helpful?

Your pin helps me grow my business, and help more small business owners. If you found this article helpful, please share it using the images below.

Persuasion Power-Ups

Stop replicating the sales tactics you see other high profile entrepreneurs use and start developing your own unique, more effective, persuasion style instead.

Irresistible Offers

Self-study course to help you craft offers (the things that you sell) that are so compelling they almost sell themselves.

Smooth Sale-ing

Self-study course to help you quickly and confidently write sales pages to pitch your service, package, programme, course or membership.



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