Jane Austen knew all about pride and persuasion.  This world-famous author wrote many books on these two subjects and how they affected people’s lives for the better or worse.  It struck me the other day just how relevant these two motivators still are in modern times and how much they can relate to consumerism.

If you are selling a product or service online then you need to understand the psychological motivators that drive sales.  The real truth of modern living is that the vast majority of things for sale are unnecessary to basic living.  This means that people are buying things they don’t actually need to survive.  So the questions you need to ask yourself is why do people buy and how can you take advantage of this for your online business.

Pride Purchases

The basic fact of the matter is that many people buy things because they think they represent the lifestyle they live now or one they aspire to.  So many purchases are in fact pride purchase.  The desire to obtain objects that have perceived value is very strong and is a powerful motivator for purchasing.

Jane Austen often wrote about the power of pride and how it could motivate people to take actions that were sometimes against their best interests.

In ‘Pride and Prejudice’ both Darcy and Elizabeth are guilty of the sin of pride.  Elizabeth is angered when Darcy proposes to her despite his ‘sense of her inferiority’ and in her prideful anger she spurns the man she has come to love. If pride can get in the way of true love then it truly is a force to be reckoned with!

It is important you understand how pride can motivate consumers and encourage them to buy things they perhaps don’t really need.

If you want to tap into pride purchasing power then you need to show just how your products can enrich the lives of consumers and help them to achieve the kind of lifestyle them aspire too.


Sales is all about persuasion.  When I am promoting a product on my website I am trying to persuade people to buy it.  There are many ways in which I can do this and the whole field of marketing is focused on the art of persuasion.

In Jane Austen’s book ‘Persuasion’ the heroine Anne Elliot is persuaded by her trusted godmother not to marry the young man (Frederick Wentworth) she has fallen in love with.

Lady Russell points out all the benefits for not marrying Frederick and makes Anne see how much better her life could be if she married a man from her own class and situation.

However, as we see from the book this decision is not in Anne’s best interest and in fact she remains single and alone until a chance meeting years later brings her back to Frederick.

The point is that Lady Russell persuaded Anne to avoid the marriage not with brute force or threats but by making sure she understood how she could benefit from choosing another man over Frederick.

This is a powerful tactic that worked even when true love was involved.  Just think how powerful this could be for your marketing campaigns!

When you persuade someone to buy something you should be showing them all the great reasons why they cannot afford not to buy.

What I have found very successful in press release writing and other sales literature is informing the potential customers just how the product can benefit them (by giving examples) instead of just telling them how good the product is.

This powerful form of persuasion can be so much more effective than ‘in your face’ marketing and sales tactics.

As you can see pride and persuasion are still powerful motivators now just as they were in Jane Austin’s time.  By learning how to use these to your advantage you can improve your marketing campaigns and boost your sales.