13 motivational emotions that convince people to buy

In my last blog post, I told you that people don’t buy products or services based on rational facts or stats. Instead, they make buying decisions based on emotion and then use reason to justify their decisions.

That’s why it’s essential to weave emotion into the copy on your sales page, website, marketing emails, and ads.

But which emotions should you target?

Will just any emotions work? Or are there specific emotions you should focus on if you want to hook your audience and convince them to buy from you instead of from your competitors?

Keep reading below to learn the 13 motivational emotions that convince people to click “buy.”


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1. Fear

Your audience experiences fear when they think that something bad could happen to them. This bad thing could be something physical (for example, someone breaking into their home and harming them). Or it could be psychological (for example, being abandoned by a friend).

It can even be as simple as worrying that they’ll miss out on an important sale or opportunity. Yup—that’s FOMO (fear of missing out).

When you target this motivational emotion in your copy, it makes people act urgently to protect themselves against the thing or outcome they fear. (As long as your product or service seems like an effective defense against the threat.)

Related: 13 simple phrases that make people actually read your sales copy + free list of 100 compelling copy phrases

Example: This landing page from Crazy Egg works because it positions the product as a solution to the fear of losing potential customers.


landing page copy


2. Guilt

People feel guilty when think they’ve failed to live up to an expectation or moral standard. This might be a standard or expectation that they hold themselves to. Or it can be an expectation that they think other people have for them.

People don’t like feeling guilty. So you can motivate people to buy if purchasing your product or service would reduce guilt or if not purchasing it would produce guilt.

Example: World Vision knows that people want to think of themselves as good people. So they appeal to this moral standard on the charitable gifts section of their website.


World Vision health and nutrition donations


3. Pride

You can get potential customers to feel pride if you make them feel or anticipate a sense of personal accomplishment. People may experience pride when thinking about something they’ve already achieved. But you can also trigger pride by getting them to think about something they could achieve in the future with the help of your product or service.

Example: On this sales page, Melyssa Griffin encourages her audience to buy her course by getting them to imagine how great they’d feel if they achieved the results her course promises.


persuasive website copy


4. Greed

Your audience experiences greed when they want something, like wealth, power, or fame. If you sell something that can help them get something they want (e.g., 1:1 coaching on how to build a 7-figure business), greed can be a strategic motivational emotion to target.

Related: How to use power words to instantly write stronger copy

Example: Amy Porterfield knows that her audience wants to build successful businesses, and she crafts this email around that desire.


Amy Porterfield email


5. Love

People feel love when they feel affection or a strong attraction toward someone or something. This can be the feeling people have for a romantic partner. But it can also describe the emotion they feel toward a friend, place, object, or brand.

When weaving this motivational emotion into your copy, you can target the love that people feel toward something or someone in their life. Or you can cultivate love toward your product, service, or business.

Example: DavidsTea promotes this returning bestselling tea by emphasizing how much their customers love it.


DavidsTea email



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6. Trust

Trust is an important motivational emotion when it comes to selling. That’s because your audience needs to know that they can rely on you to fulfil your end of the deal.

This doesn’t just mean shipping the product they bought or completing the service they hired you for. It means delivering on ALL the value you promised when you sold them the product or service in the first place.

A common way to incorporate trust into your copy is to include product reviews, testimonials, credibility stamps, or money-back guarantees.

Related: 8 tips and examples for writing a high-converting services page + free template

Example: In this marketing email, Crystal Cruises uses credibility stamps and references to industry awards to establish trust.


Crystal Cruises email


7. Value

You can also encourage your audience to buy your product or service by tapping into their motivation to seek value. People like knowing that they’re getting the best offer or experience when they fork over their hard-earned cash. So when you’re writing copy, emphasize the incredible value your audience will get if they become customers.

Example: Royal Caribbean International highlights the discount passengers can receive and the bonuses they’ll get if they book a cruise during this promotion.


Royal Caribbean email


8. Belonging

Even if you sell products for animals or plants, the people who buy them are humans. And all humans have a need to belong or feel connected to other people. That’s why it can be incredibly powerful to tap into this motivational emotion in your copy.

Example: Basecamp emphasizes that its audience can become part of a group of over 2.5 million customers by signing up for the product.


landing page copy


9. Competition

People are always comparing themselves to others, and your audience is no different. Target this motivation to outperform other businesses, friends, and even neighbours by referencing competition in your copy.

Related: 9 copywriting secrets to write better sales pages + free list of 100 copy phrases

Example: In this email, Neil Patel taps into his audience’s desire to outperform competitors and outsmart Facebook’s algorithm.


marketing emails


Need help finding the right words to make your copy persuasive and compelling?
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10. Instant gratification

Why are brands trying to gain an edge by offering 1-day or even same-day shipping? Because people don’t just want things. They want them ASAP.

That’s why it pays to emphasize instant gratification in your copy (if it makes sense to). If you’re able to deliver a product rapidly, complete service work quickly, or get someone set up with a free trial right away, they’ll be more likely to convert.

Example: Sprout Social makes their social media software seem particularly appealing because users can start a free trial right away without having to enter credit card info or install software.


landing page copy


11. Trendsetting

There’s a reason why they say that celebrities have “star power”—a lot of people want to be like them. They may want to look like them, dress like them, or be as successful as them. And that’s why tapping into this love for celebrity in your copy can be highly profitable.

Example: For her KKW Beauty brand, Kim Kardashian sells products by framing them as tools that people can use to replicate some of her most popular beauty looks.


KKW beauty page


12. Leadership

This motivational emotion is all about being the first person in a social group to have something or experience something. It’s why people sign up to buy the next iPhone as soon as it’s released.

If you’re selling something exciting or offering an exclusive experience, you can use references to leadership in your copy to help seal the deal.

Related: 11 tips for writing landing page copy that converts + free template

Example: The city of Port Coquitlam leveraged leadership to encourage residents to sign up to participate in the grand opening of a new local rink.

Port Coquitlam press release

13. Time

I’m willing to bet that if there was one thing people could have more of the #1 answer wouldn’t be “money.” It would be “time.” After all, no matter how much or how little money you have, there never seems to be enough time in a day.

Appeal to your audience’s desire to save time by targeting this motivational emotion in your copy.

Example: Hootsuite does this by emphasizing how customers can get more done on social media in less time with its product.


Website copy mistake


Use motivational emotions to give your audience #allthefeels

Motivational emotions help you tug at the heartstrings of your audience so you can appeal to their most basic (and important) reasons to click “buy.”

Of course, not every motivational emotion will be right for every product, service, or brand. But by understanding your audience, their pain points, and what they’re looking for in a solution, you can identify the emotions that will transform them into loyal customers.

What kind of strategies can you use to write compelling copy by integrating emotions into it? Stay tuned for my next blog post.



Need help finding the right words to make your copy persuasive and compelling?
Download my FREE list of 476 power words.

Send me the list




13 motivational emotions that convince people to click “buy”

13 motivational emotions that convince people to click “buy” + free list of 476 power words

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