How to Make People Want Something

The basics you should know to convince people to buy your products.

Rick Mess       |       May 15, 2020

Most techniques for attracting a target audience and increasing conversion are based on human psychology and physiological responses. Their essence can be summed up as follows: we know how to make people want something. This is something every one of us could use in our lives, and not just for successful sales!

Unlike conventional marketing, neuromarketing requires no research or analysis of data about the customers’ subjective preferences.

The neurobiology of “I want”

We all have needs and wants. Both are strong drivers of our behavior, and satisfying them feels good. But the need is much more intensive than want because our survival depends on it.

If a person feels a need for something, a part of their brain produces the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine tells the rest of the brain to focus on the objective, attain it by any means necessary, and get a reward.

You can’t sell a burger to a man who’s dying of thirst in the desert. But when there’s no emergency and our basic needs are satisfied, the brain makes no difference between needs and wants. The dopamine rush makes the object of our desire seem critical to our survival.

This instinctive system of motivation is behind today’s technologies of delivering instant gratification. This same primal system makes us develop various addictions, from the most innocent to the most damaging. We obsessively check our messages and emails, spend hours browsing our favorite websites, read and comment, click links, peruse social media, tally up likes and behave as if our gadgets are extensions of our bodies — and God forbid we get separated! In a way, it is true, since the gadgets reward us with dopamine. We search for the reward, and once we get it, we start searching for the next one.

What used to be wanting has turned into a need. While we can manage our wants, needs are instinctual and thus very hard to rein in. Neuromarketing utilizes this feature of the human mind by making us want something.

Anyone in sales and marketing knows the importance of researching the needs of the target audience. But there some basics of human psychosomatic and biological responses that are universal. In fact, they are the foundation of proper, science-based marketing.

What makes us want?

All people have fundamental, primal, instinctive needs hardwired in our DNA. These are the four pillars:

Physical wellbeing includes food and drink, wakefulness and sleep, healthcare, properly functioning internal organs and organs of perception, personal hygiene, and so on. This is our life and our enjoyment thereof.

Security is what guarantees survival at present and in the future. This is peace of mind.

The need to procreate is genetic in nature and defines our behavior depending on whether we want to have offspring or nor. This is the human hope of tomorrow and immortality.

Group affiliation is also hardwired in our genes is necessary for surviving in society. Humans are genetically programmed to be social and hierarchical. This is our role in society and our human purpose.

All these needs are not discrete but intricately interrelated. For instance, sex for pleasure has nothing to do with procreation and, although ultimately underpinned by this need, falls under life enjoyment.

We have described these four pillars in such detail because nothing else can produce such an intense response in the human brain. Only these basic things make people react. Humans are driven by desire and fear: the desire to have and the fear of losing. No matter how much you try to promote and market your product with selling templates and marketing tricks, all your efforts will be in vain unless you understand these basics and consciously appeal to human instincts. Your best chance of success would be using a marketing trick that someone else had come up with based on one of the pillars. But if you consciously use this knowledge, you will literally mesmerize your customers into buying your products.

How to engage the instincts

So how does knowledge of neural and physiological processes in the human body help marketing experts influence people? By engaging the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. This is the so-called “sensory marketing,” a way of affecting the customers’ senses and emotions to boost sales.

Many of us realize that it’s not an accident that there’s light music playing in supermarkets or that there’s a delicious smell of coffee or freshly baked bread greeting us at the entrance. Some departments are purposely sprayed with pleasant aromas. Wherever possible, samples and tasters are placed for us to see, feel, and examine. All this is specifically designed to make our brains produce dopamine, which turns shopping into a wish-fulfillment trip of grabbing everything we do and don’t need off the shelves.

But what about those of us who market products online, where they can’t be touched or smelled? What do we do if we can’t always show a product or a service?

How to evoke emotions

The answer is simple: use the four pillars! It doesn’t matter what exactly you use to appeal to your customers as long as it engages at least one basic instinct. Even if your only tool is text, let it rest on of the pillars. Text can be a powerful weapon.

To get through to a person you must affect their emotions and senses that trigger basic instincts. Your main task is to appeal to the fundamental needs and/or the fear of losing them.

Like many others, our company Outcrowd utilizes visual tools for affecting the audience. But it’s enough to appeal to the basic needs: life, security, future, and social existence.

Visual impact

Most people are visual learners, and seeing is what makes the biggest impact on us. Obviously, a good web design and a smart color palette for a company’s logo, packaging, or website are all essential for successful branding.

There are a lot of design technologies for capturing attention, but it’s not these that truly determine success. All these tricks are just a tool for evoking certain emotions in people. It’s a fishing rod with a lure made out of one of the four pillars.

Landing page by Outcrowd

This design telegraphs a sense of security. It engages the feelings of parents, their worry over their children’s safety and future, evoking a sense of peacefulness and appealing to their responsibility: creating a future for their children is a basic parental need. However, security concerns everyone, so this kind of design will work on anybody, including children and childless adults.

All web design tools are meant to evoke particular emotions. Green, for example, is associated with young plants, growth and development, life and hope. Blue represents peace and tranquility, yellow means sunshine and light. The animation utilizes gravity contrast: a child firmly standing on his feet is juxtaposed with toys floating in weightlessness. This also works to create a sense of stability. Taken together, it induces a calmly optimistic mood and makes people trustful of further information.

Landing page by Outcrowd

Even a service business can be presented emotionally. This landing page’s design is associated with pleasant and comforting things. As if the services on offer will be as enjoyable as cuddling a fluffy cat. Contrasting accents draw your attention, while purple is enough to make you interested and emotionally responsive. Hypnologists claim that purple induces pliability. The golden circle is associated not only with the sun and warmth but also with money and success. Many finance companies choose the golden color for their logos.

Word power

The only difference between text and conventional visualization is that text makes readers see mental images. A good marketing text entrances. The reader is completely focused on the text, and their imagination projects the relevant images on their mental screen. In a way, the text is better than imagery, because it makes people see whatever is closest to their personal experience. (This is why we’re often disappointed after seeing an adaptation of a book we’ve already read: the characters looked different in our head.)

How do you write a hypnotic text? Using the same principles evident in the above web designs. It is only by appealing to the basic needs through emotions that we can engage someone.

We all think in images. When someone tells us something, we immediately picture it. In turn, images invoke appropriate responses from our bodies. The same thing happens when we read. For example, reading about sex can turn you on. Of course, not all images trigger intense responses. Only those that are associated with our basic needs and wants can truly affect us.


By focusing on basic human needs you can create an attractive product even without thoroughly researching the target audience. What a web designer conveys through illustrations, a copywriter does through words. Only by invoking human instincts and using all the tools for increasing the emotional response to intensify the impact can you make someone want something.