“What’s in it for me?”

If you can answer the “what’s in it for me?” question to your consumers, you are going to get their attention. 

The study of consumer behavior breaks down our desires into eight basic needs and wants. Those eight needs get in touch with our biological triggers and if you use one of those needs or a combination of a few, you will be able to answer that question.

  1. Survival
  2. Food and drink
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions 
  6. To be superior
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval

Source: Whitman, Drew Eric. Ca$hvertising


How to cater to these 8 needs?

Step 1: Identify which of those eight needs are addressed in your product or service.

Step 2: Write a copy that makes your consumers “visualize” your product. Paint a picture in their head, where you clearly highlight what your product will provide, and how it will address this need.

Here is a tip from the book Exactly what to sayby Phil M Jones.

Start your sentence with “Just imagine.” It will help your customers visualize the possibilities, ideally positive ones. 

Here is another fun tip to add some spice to your copy.

Express the risk of not using your product or service in negative tone.

“The way to maximize the impact of your marketing message is simple. Express the risk in negative terms, but present your solution using positive framing.” — Roger Dooley, How To Use Positive Framing to Persuade and Sell.

Step 3: Showcase your credibility. Demonstrate why they should trust you to fulfill that need. 

Thinking, “how?” Read: Clever consumer behavior tricks to build trust and close a sale

Step 4: Call them to action. Make it easy to act, then ask them to take action. 

If you are selling online, for example, make the actionable button clear. It could be to “buy now”, “download”, “get instant access”, “call”, “book”, or whatever the action you want them to take.


Whatever it is you are trying to sell, link it to one of those eight human needs. Remember the last time you were hungry? You couldn’t stop yourself but think on how to satisfy that need. Personally, I would usually be like, “where is my food?”


The steps mentioned in this article were shared in the book Ca$hvertising by Whitman, Drew Eric.

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