June 10

Use Maslow’s Hierarchy to Create Content Your Customers Crave



Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is the gold standard when it comes to understanding why people do what they do, and act the way they act. In 1943 Abraham Maslow proposed a theory that all people have five inescapable needs.

Those needs are:
1) physiological needs to survive and thrive;
2) safety in all of its forms, including health, financial, personal safety;
3) love and belonging expressed in community and social interaction;
4) self-esteem expressed in status and accomplishment;
5) self-actualization in the form of accomplishments; and,
5) self-transcendence which contains spirituality and service to the world at large.  

As a human being, you pursue these every single day. Donald Miller, in his book Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen expounds on Maslow's Hierarchy. He says the first thing the brain looks for is means to survive and thrive. When a potential customer visits your website or sees your business information for the first time, the unconscious mind is searching for answers to the question, "Will this help me survive and thrive?" If it doesn't, or if it is confusing, they will literally BOUNCE off of your site and continue the search.

So, how do you create content and promote your products and services in a way to help meet these needs?

Make Your Message Matter...to THEM

While it would be great to create a one-size-fits-all recipe for success, I'm right back to my same old song. You must do the research to discover the detailed needs of your customers. HOWEVER, you can begin today to reword your marketing to address the fundamental hungers of your market.

Follow this simple outline to start the process of incorporating Maslow's Hierarchy. Of course if you want to really dig deeper into the concepts, read Miller's book.

  • PHYSIOLOGICAL: Does my product or service help meet the most basic needs of survival, such as food, shelter, air, clothing, etc.? Outside of the obvious of providing food and shelter for a displaced person, an example would be a Prepper site. This kind of site teaches people how to survive during catastrophies.
  • SAFETY: Is my product or service dedicated to answering the need of safety in some way? Safety covers a broad range, including but not limited to, personal safety, stability, and order. This includes any type of physical, mental, emotional or even financial system or product. For instance, personal defense training or supplies, insurance or financial services or all types, etc.
  • LOVE AND BELONGING: How does my product or service create community or social meaning and involvement? Does it promote intimacy, friendship, or a sense of belonging? Think Facebook or a political party. Do you have exclusive membership?
  • square-o
    ESTEEM: Will my product or service increase self-esteem or respect by others? An example might be a certification program, such as a John Maxwell Certified Coach, or leadership positions and awards in a direct sales company.
  • square-o
    SELF-ACTUALIZATION: Is my product or service able to help customers realize their own potential or greatest self-fulfillment? Are you in the health and fitness industry? Do you offer spiritual counseling or like me, express a religious point of view in your foundation? Perhaps you offer test training service to help people pass a test like the LSAT. Do you offer a luxury brand? Think Rolex.

Portions of the previous examples are sourced from the website Simple Psychology.

Practical Application of Maslow's Hierarchy

Here's the bottom line...if you are trying to help people build their self-esteem, but they feel disconnected from community, they won't hang around your website or ad for long, much less make a purchase.

Before a person can comfortably move to a higher level on the scale, they must feel secure in the lower levels. For instance, churches often provide food and shelter (the most basic human need) before offering spiritual truth (considered the top level of Maslow's Hierarchy). We can argue all we want that people need Christ more than anything else, but if you're hungry or cold or afraid, it's hard to care about eternity.

Look over your current marketing messages, Compare them to the order outlined in Maslow's Hierarchy. Quickly you'll see where you might have some things out of order. You'll be amazed at how quickly you'll be able to increase opt-ins and sales just by helping people get what they need first.

It's the primary reason people continue to do business with the people they trust. They feel safe. 

Make Sense of the Methods

Like some help getting your message in order? Schedule a complimentary 1-1 conversation with me. We'll talk about where you want your business to go, where it is today, and how to shorten the gap. 

It's free and without obligation. And, you can take the information we create and use it.

About the author 

Donna Woolam

Donna Woolam believes you are ENOUGH! Titles, social standing, income - none of it defines your value. From the beginning of eternity to the end - you are loved. You are worthy. You are Breathtaking!

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