Scarcity and urgency are essential if you want to market your offers successfully, and make the highest number of sales possible.
There’s simply no other way to compel your target customers to buy from you that’s quite as effective.
Sadly, that means that scarcity and urgency are often misused by marketers and business owners — oftentimes unknowingly, and sometimes deliberately.
I bet that you’ve been on the receiving end of this many times. You’ve seen sales that run well past the official deadline; products that magically never seem to run out of stock — despite constant emails saying “Almost sold out!”; time-sensitive discounts that get renewed again and again… The list goes on and on.
At this point, you might be wondering: is it even possible to leverage urgency and scarcity in a way that’s 100% ethical and transparent — or has the well been poisoned beyond repair?
Well, I’m here to tell you: yes! Yes, there is.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to tackle in today’s article.
Read on, and you will learn:
- What makes urgency and scarcity so effective for generating revenue, and why it’s not enough to simply have a great offer.
- The #1 rule for leveraging scarcity and urgency ethically. If you ever break it, you will destroy all the trust between your brand and your customers.
- 3 strategies to leverage urgency and scarcity in your marketing — even if your products and services are available 24/7/365.
So, let’s start at the beginning: why are urgency and scarcity so important for marketing?
What makes scarcity and urgency effective
So, you might be asking yourself, “Do I even need to use scarcity and urgency?”
That’s a fair question. You know exactly who your ideal buyers are, and you have an offer that’s tuned in precisely to serve them — shouldn’t that be enough? Why do you need extra incentives in order to convert customers?
And the answer is: human nature! Here’s what I mean by that:
Even the most motivated customers can — and will! — put off their buying decision when given an opportunity. They’ll be waiting for the right time, or wanting to comparison shop first, or simply talking themselves out of purchasing your product or service.
Not because they don’t need it… but because doing nothing is so much easier, and less risky, than taking action. As I said, it’s human nature.
Because of that, your customers need a solid reason to act now, or else most of them will never buy! Scarcity and urgency are the two most effective mechanisms you can deploy to give them that reason — whenever you want.
The secret is doing it ethically, in a way that treats your target audience fairly and aligns with your company’s values.
And that brings us to…
The #1 principle of ethical scarcity + urgency (ignore at your own risk)
There’s only one immutable rule for using urgency and scarcity in marketing. Here it is:
Whenever you use it, you have to mean it. Your scarcity and urgency need to be real, not manufactured.
We’ve all seen companies that break this rule. They say their promotion only runs until Monday… but then you go on their website on Tuesday, and it’s still up. They say they will take an item down after 100 orders… but somehow it’s still available months and months later.
Don’t do that. Your customers are savvier than you think, and violating this key principle will destroy whatever trust they have in you or your brand.
Do you think can honor this rule and use scarcity and urgency responsibly — as any ethical marketer should? Great! Now, let me outline 3 strategies you can use to leverage urgency and scarcity in your marketing, no matter what you’re selling.
3 ways to incorporate scarcity and urgency into your marketing
Now, I know you have doubts about whether scarcity and urgency can work for you.
Maybe your entire business is set up to let customers buy things continuously, and you hate the idea of shutting them out…
Don’t worry: all 3 methods I’m about to share are specifically designed for your exact situation. They will help you create a sense of urgency / scarcity even if your products and services are available 24/7/365!
Here they are…
Strategy #1. “Limited time, one time only” offers
These are great for getting new leads to pull the trigger and become first-time buyers.
Limited time, one time only offers work like this…
After capturing a new lead, and nurturing them for a short time (up to a week, usually), make them a special offer that’s not publicly listed on your website. For example: let’s say that you sell consulting services, and your “official” packages start at $2,000. You can pitch your new leads on a scaled-down “starter” package at a lower price point, e.g. $500.
But — and this is the important part! — attach a strict deadline to your special offer. How long should it be? That’s up to you. 48-72 hours tends to work best… but definitely don’t make it last beyond 7 days, or you’ll undermine the urgency of the offer!
This way, your prospects will have not one, but two great reasons to buy:
- Compared to your regular offers, this one will feel like an irresistible no-brainer (because of the anchoring bias).
- The ticking clock will motivate them to take action rapidly, rather than waiting for the right time to purchase.
OK, so you might be thinking, “Summer, this is great, but I sell products, not services. Can this strategy work for my business?” That’s a great and completely fair question!
If you want to adapt limited time, one time only offers for a product-based business model, then my advice is — use value-adds or deals. For instance, you could offer free shipping, a 1+1 deal, a free installation, a bonus product of some kind, white-glove delivery for the price of regular shipping, and so on.
Just don’t forget to put a deadline on the offer — and don’t use discount or coupon codes as your urgency-based incentives!
Seriously, don’t discount your products willy-nilly just to land some first-time customers. Instead, leverage value as often as possible… and when you do need to use discounts, be strategic about it.
Strategy #2. “Fast mover” and “early bird” bonuses
How can you instill a sense of urgency/scarcity in your leads… without limiting the potential number of sales you could make?
Some business owners would choose to be sneaky about it. They’d say their product or service is only available for a limited time, or to a limited number of buyers — but actually keep it open no matter what, hoping that no one will notice. (Spoilers: they will.)
Well, with this strategy you can have it both ways, and be 100% ethical and transparent about everything!
Here’s how it works:
To encourage customers to buy as soon as possible, incentivize them with bonuses. “Fast mover” bonuses are limited to a set number of people who are first to buy. And “early bird” bonuses are limited to those who buy before a certain date.
Encouraging your prospects in this way gives you the best of both worlds: a powerful reason to take action immediately, without restricting the total revenue you could generate. Win-win!
What should you offer as bonuses? That’s 100% up to you, because the possibilities are quite literally endless.
Here’s, let me give you a few ideas off the top of my head:
- Turn any product or service which would normally be an upsell into a “fast mover” / “early bird” bonus.
- Partner with another business owner to use their offer as a bonus for your customers in exchange for an affiliate commission.
- Leverage value-adds: free shipping, expedited or white-glove delivery, concierge onboarding, consultations, and so on.
- Throw in an enticing deal like “buy one — get one free,” adding a small product at no extra cost, an extended guarantee, an exclusive free trial of another product or service, etc.
- Offer a special rate for an upcoming product or service, inviting your newest customer to be an early adopter or a beta tester — there’s an example of strategic discounting for you!
Strategy #3. Urgency-focused messaging
OK, so let’s say you don’t want to implement either of the strategies I’ve shared so far. Or maybe you can’t do that, for one reason or another.
What then? Can you still leverage urgency and scarcity in your marketing?
Absolutely! Even if you sell products and services every day round the clock, you can still persuade your customers to buy sooner. And the way to do that is really simple…
Incorporate scarcity and urgency into your sales messages.
And by that, I don’t mean using fear-based language like, “You don’t want to miss out on this!” — or anything like that. No, we don’t vibe with that here at The Draw Shop.
Instead of appealing to fear, try to connect with what your customers really want — results! And then make it clear to them that immediate action will deliver said results faster, and more effectively, than hesitation and delays.
For instance, have you ever noticed how ecommerce brands often say something like “Order now to get it by [DATE]” on their product pages? That’s an example of urgency-focused messaging that connects to results.
Of course your customers want to get a product as soon as possible! So, to get them to act now, all you have to do is tap into that powerful desire.
Here’s another example: if you sell a high-ticket service, make sure to communicate to your prospects when they can expect results if they take immediate action. Paint the picture of their desired future, and let them know when they can live it…
…as long as they act ASAP.
There are tons of opportunities to deploy this type of messaging, in any business, and I couldn’t possibly cover them all in one article. So what I’ll say is: train yourself to be on the lookout for those, and don’t be shy about making the most of them!
The fastest way to compel your prospects to respond — NOW
Converting cold leads into paying customers is hard. Before you can earn someone’s money, you have to earn their attention first. In our fast-paced, easily distractible world, it’s almost more difficult than getting someone to buy from you!
To take your business to the next level in 2021, you will need a guaranteed way to stand out — the faster the better.
An Elevator Pitch is designed to cut through all the distractions and grab your prospects’ attention as fast as possible. It’s a single, memorable statement about your business that you can deliver in 30 seconds or less. And it has ONE job — getting potential customers excited enough and curious enough to say the 3 all-important words…
“Tell me more!”
I know what you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can hook people on my business in 30 seconds!” I disagree. My team has already helped dozens of businesses formulate an irresistible Elevator Pitch — and we want to create one for you, too.
All you need is to hop on a 15-minute consultation with one of our expert copywriters here at The Draw Shop. They will help you define the problem you solve, how you solve it, and the life-changing results your customers will see from working with you.
Then we’ll transform your input into a unique Elevator Pitch for your brand — a powerful 30-second statement scientifically designed to stand out, delight, persuade… and convert.
And we’ll top it off with a one-page, one-of-a-king infographic that makes your pitch into an engaging visual story! That’s going to be a valuable marketing asset in its own right — you can use it to…
- Share it with your team
- Feature it on your website
- Use it in your email signature
- Put it on the back of your business card
- Spread it on social media