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Joe Sugarman Triggers (A Useful List of "Psychological Triggers" That Convince People To Buy Stuff)


Neville
 

A few years ago one of the best copywriters in the world Joe Sugarman made a book called "Advertising Secrets of the Written Word" (re-named to "The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook").

In section 2 of the book he outlines 24 different "psychological triggers" that get people to buy things.

This section of the book was pure gold, and is something I constantly refer to. As a tribute to the awesome Joe Sugarman (whom I've been lucky enough to hang out with many times)....

Joe Sugarmn Triggers and Neville Medhora

Here is the full list of Joe Sugarman's Psychological Triggers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nev-signature-sans-kk.png

 

P.S. Do YOU have any addition psychological triggers, or examples of when you've used any of these? Please share!

 


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Guest Barney Davey

Posted

Thanks for the tips. All are spot on. And thanks to the folks at Buffer for promoting this most useful post.
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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

Thank you Barney, appreciate the kind words. These tips really are great, and I hope this exposes Sugarman's work to even more people!
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Guest Some Guy

Posted

Great stuff, thank you. Nev, on average how many of these do you use in your sales letters? 5 or 6 at a time? Are there some you repeatedly return to? One of your sales letters annotated (showing the triggers) would make a great sequel post.
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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

Hey there, I think there's certain elements I use quite often such as:

#4.) Credibility

#5.) Value and Proof of Value

#6.) Justify the Purchase

#8.) Establish Authority

#9.) Satisfaction Conviction

#13.) Desire to Belong

#15.) Curiosity

#16.) Sense of Urgency

#19.) Simplicity

#22.) Specificity

#23.) Familiarity

 

I don't go into it thinking, "I'm going to use these specific triggers" but rather they happen to just be common elements in most sales pages.

 

I think these triggers are useful in that you can scroll through them when marketing a product, and come up with some interesting angles to sell.

 

Hope you use these!

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Guest Filip - The Beginner Copywriter

Posted

I've been reading The Adweek Copywriting Handbook for a few weeks now.

 

The example with the gorgeous blonde is hilarious.

 

Did ever something similar happen to you? :D

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Guest pj white

Posted

Good list. Strangely positive. What happened to the negatives? Do fear, uncertainty, and doubt no longer rule?
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Guest David Kwagwazim

Posted

Thanks for the insightful information, it came in very timely.
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Guest Tyronne Ratcliff

Posted

Epic post!

Status is a great buying trigger.

People will buy things if it elevates their status and makes them feel part of a certain group.

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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

Very welcome David, glad ya liked this, and hopefully you reference it when writing copy next!
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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

Hey PJ good point. I think advertising has become a lot "nicer" and "positive" because those old-school aggressive methods of getting people to buy are not as effective as consumers get smarter.

 

For example, 80 years ago you could sell whatever horse shit you wanted to consumers, and without access to information, there was no way they could figure out if it worked or not:

20s-scam-ads.jpg

 

But nowadays people can go online, read honest reviews, watch videos about the product, get other people's opinions etc....so while fear and doubt can still be used in your marketing, the average consumer now has many methods of sniffing bullshit.

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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

I feel like he's mentioned gorgeous blonde women multiple times (keep in mind much of his writing was from 20 to 40 years ago), which specific example are you talking about?

 

I know he's mentioned similar things about selling cars, and one time where he gave an example of someone trying to get free copy out of him!

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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

Thanks Tyronne, status DEFINITELY works, but you also have to have a product that gives people high status, and that seems to be the harder part!
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Guest pj white

Posted

Good response, Kneville, thank you. That's really interesting analysis—and comforting too. That's a terrific ad you've got there. Terrific, as in terrifying.
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Hi Nev, I really like your book recommendations. And I'm almost done reading all the books you've recommended. Could you do a regular recommendations for books on copywriting / what ever you're reading and find interesting at the time. Also, would love it if you'd start a podcast!!! I absolutely love all of your content. Best wishes.
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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

Thank you Jana! I actually have a list of my favorite copywriting books here:

https://copywritingcourse.com/copywriting-courses-books-review/

 

...as for books outside of copywriting I read a pretty good amount, as I live about a block away from a $125million awesome library in Austin!

 

Currently I spent like 5 hours reading American Kingpin today, a story about the Silk Road founders arrest. I'm also concurrently reading "Skin In The Game" by Nassim Talleb.

 

I also pickup SUPER RANDOM books all the time (I mean, everything is FREE at the library so it's not a problem): I read a book about proper web design using grids, and also a book about giving a good toast.

 

I generally quickly skim these kinds of books, extract a few new things, and return them. I generally don't write about all these since they're so random 😂

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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

Bahahahaha, just take a little RADIUM and that uric acid will clear right up 😂😂😂
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Guest Liban Yousuf

Posted

Hey Neville,

 

Amazing piece, as expected.

 

I was watching your youtube videos, when I stumbled by a video you made in 2012 telling all newbiews to print out and read "The Boron Letters".

 

Would you still recommenced that today? And how would you go about reading it? What exactly would you be looking for.

 

Thank you, for helping me become a better Kopywriter every day.

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Guest Emmanuel Uzoezie

Posted

Advertising secrets of the written word was a nice book. I remembered reading this books multiple numbers of time while I was on vacation. That was the first time I came across the works of Joe Sugerman.

 

He talked about these triggers in part 2. of the book after he talked about elements of a good copy or the format of writing a good copy in part one of the book.

 

His work is quite impressive and I love this guy. These triggers/principles are actually timeless. I love his way of writing.

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Guest Filip Stanojevic - The Beginner Copywriter

Posted

Sorry for such a late reply, I didn't see that you answered my question.

 

I'm talking about the gorgeous blonde Joe referred to as Ginger in Chapter 10 of the AdWeek Copywriting Handbook. He then continued the story in the Appendix B, because he wanted people to see the curiosity trigger at work.

 

I don't know about you but I certainly didn't start the next chapter until I read the whole story in the appendix B.

 

P. S. Thanks for recommending "How to make maximum money in minimum time" by Gary Halbert (I already read the Boron letters)

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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

Ohhhh yeah, that was pretty hilarious 😂

 

And yes, that Halbert book is great....such an unknown yet awesome book!

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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

Hey Emmanuel I totally agree, that book is amazing! I love that Sugarman was one of the few non-scammy direct mailers out there. I feel like a lot of people from that era were far less ethical.

 

I refer to his "Triggers" often. In fact I made this post kind of selfishly because I just didn't want to have to hunt down the book each time to remember them!

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Guest Neville Medhora

Posted

HELLS YEA!! I wrote about it here:

https://copywritingcourse.com/copywriting-courses-books-review/

 

 

1.) The Boron Letters – by Gary Halbert:

The boron letters  by Gary Halbert Printed

Price: Free online or $22 on Amazon

What I love about it:

This was originally a set of free letters published by the famous copywriter Gary Halbert. I stayed up till 6am every night going through these letters.  Unbelievable beginners guide to copywriting and business.

What skills you’ll learn:

Writing. Keeping someone’s attention. Creative ways to make money. First 3 chapters are about “Life” in general. Direct mail. I would HIGHLY suggest you physically print these out on a printer to read.

Tone of voice:

Super hilarious and a bit vulgar.  You may wake your spouse up with laughter whilst reading.

Good for: Total copywriting beginners.

All chapters linked: 12345678910111213141516171819202122232425

 

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Guest Coulisses de Janvier 2020 - LinkedIn sort du bois

Posted

[…] Joe Sugarman Triggers […]
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Guest 7 Reasons to Hire A Freelance Copywriter »

Posted

[…] a psychology major so my copy heavily relies on Sugarman’s triggers. Learning what makes people tick and addressing their needs, solving their problems, and being […]
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