Take a moment to watch the Apple advertisement featured above…

Fear is a powerful catalyst for action in almost any situation, and sales is no exception. No one wants to let problems they're afraid of go unaddressed. That's why so many companies lean on scare tactics — subtle or overt — to create urgency behind their messaging and sales efforts.

We all are susceptible to fear. Fear is what keeps us encasing our strong, probably won’t break, but we don’t want to risk it phones in a bulky case that hides the sleek look that Apple or Samsung worked so tirelessly to design.

Fear is why many of us have security cameras pointing in all directions surrounding our home.

Fear is why we don’t rock the boat when it comes to “traditional” advertising for our business. Even though we think it will push our business forward.

…you get the point.

For the vast majority of consumers, fear has the power to override logic when it comes to spending money on a product or service. The fearful part of our brain will convince us that (almost) no matter what the cost of the product is… we NEED it.

There are many ways to play on fear as a purchase motivation. Many of which don’t out-right show something nasty happening (like in the ad above). A few alternate examples of using fear to sell are…

1. Make a the customer know they’re vulnerable to a threat.

Nearly 30% of all homes have evidence of damage as a result of a termite infestation.

2. Let the customer know that, since they’re vulnerable, they should take action to reduce their vulnerability.

Since termites can cause long-term damage, it’s up to you to protect your home.

3. Let them know about a specific action they can take to protect themselves from the risk.

We offer a complete home inspection that will ensure your home is free of termites.

4. Challenge people to take this specific action.

Call us today to schedule your home inspection.

Using fear can feel unethical if done incorrectly. But if you use it with a little consideration, you can speak to your customers’ fears as well as the way you can help lead them to safety. This will give your marketing a sense of urgency and stakes and in some cases be far more effective.

Apple uses a very real fear for all of us in their ad (featured above). We all know that we are vulnerable to dropping our phone. Apple goes a step further and covers the non-accident prone audience with the depiction of a vibrating call pushing our phone to the edge with one final notification being the catalyst of the (probably face-down) fall to the floor. We can imagine the fear of walking over to the face-down device and seeing the horror of the spiderweb cracks now covering our expensive screen.

Then… finishing with their belief that since it’s an iPhone it’ll all be fine. They wrap up with a simple depiction of “no need to worry because it’s our amazing product.”

TBH… The jury is still out and I’m not 100% convinced it isn’t broken based on personal experience. And this exact FEAR keeps me buying tempered glass screen protectors… 🤷

But… it’s a good ad… 🤣

Your Challenge

How can your business benefit by targeting a customer’s fear that your product or service fixes? Can you utilize one of the most effective buying emotions to increase your sales?

Need a Little Guidance?

Targeting Buyer Motivations


It's important that you take the time to understand the underlying buying motivations that will influence your customer. If you have a grasp on why they're considering buying, you can better understand how to approach them. In this exercise you will take one of your products and explore how you can target a specific buyer motivation in your ads.

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