How We Profit By Creating a Sense of Urgency (and How You Can Too!)
As a marketer, the chances are high that you’ve read Robert Cialdini’s classic book, Influence. If you haven’t, it’s a short book that dives deep into why humans say “yes” and how to understand the psychology of persuasion. Cialdini discusses in his book why scarcity is so effective.
Other than Influence, there are countless studies, like this example that shows how one business increased sales by 332% by creating a sense of urgency and scarcity in their marketing and copy.
Even at Drop Ship Lifestyle and Performance Marketer, urgency and scarcity is something we have been using for years! That’s why we’ve decided it’s about time we share some of what we’ve learned.
Here are our best, most effective tactics and techniques for creating a sense of urgency in your marketing campaigns.
What is Scarcity?
Most simply put, scarcity is the “state of being scarce or in short supply.” Scarcity marketing is a marketing technique that is based on the psychology that makes humans want what is difficult to attain. It’s one of the most powerful forces behind urgent behavior.
Scarcity marketing is powerful and when used correctly, subtly, it will give your sales a massive boost. According to Cialdini, scarcity, whether it’s real or perceived as such, generates a demand that moves people to act (and buy) quickly.
What is Urgency?
In a general sense, urgency is “importance requiring swift action.” For marketers, we define urgency as a technique that uses “trigger words or scarcity tactics to increase your prospects’ sense of having to act immediately.”
Words like, “Act Now!” or “Limited Time Offer” or just hinting to a limited supply create a sense of urgency.
Gain, Logic, Fear
You’ve probably seen the gain, logic, fear sequence first-hand, and if executed correctly, you probably never noticed. The sequence was originally made popular by our friends over at Digital Marketer.
We are constantly testing different aspects of the follow up sequence. By far, the most successful one we use is our variation of the gain, logic, fear sequence for emails. The basic goal of the sequence is to build trust, leverage critical thinking, and then use the power of scarcity to encourage a lead to buy.
The gain, logic, fear sequence encourages buyers through building trust, appealing to their logic, and taking advantage of the consumer’s scarcity mindset. Outside of the initial offer, the fear section of your sequence will be the highest converting step.
Related: The Gain Logic Fear Sequence
The Best Ways We Use Urgency in Our Emails
If you’re writing the copy for your email marketing campaigns, it’s your duty to tell your audience why they’ll benefit most if they buy today—instead of putting it off until tomorrow! If your audience is consistently telling you, “I’ll think about it,” then your sales message isn’t doing a good job with urgency.
We are constantly testing different aspects of a variety of sequences. By far, the most effective for creating urgency is our variation of the gain, logic, fear email sequence:
- Gain Agreement is the first step and its focus is gaining the trust of your audience. There are countless ways to do this, but our favorite is by reminding them what they requested originally. Usually it’s one of our PDFs, a new case study, or even a webinar replay. Remember: get straight to the point and remind them of what you offered, why it’s a great deal, and how they can get started.
- Use Logic is the next step in our most effective email sequence. If a reader hasn’t purchased during the “gain” step, they are automatically moved into the “logic” step. The goal now is to appeal to the reader’s critical thinking by focusing the content on what the reader wants. Use subject lines like “Call me crazy, but…” or “Frankly, I’m a little surprised” to get your reader asking if they have made the right decision to not purchase.
- Fear of Missing Out is the final step in the gain, logic, fear sequence we use in emails. Along with the opt-in offer, the “fear” step of your sequence will be the highest converting one. In this step, write emails that leverage scarcity to work for you. Use key phrases for such as, “last chance” or “you’re about to miss out”. This step should align with the last day of your promotions.
The gain, logic, fear email sequence was what we used when we wanted to share access to our new Membership Site Masters training course. Check out the below series of screenshots from that email sequence to see how we used both scarcity and urgency in this email campaign:
Above, is the “gain” step of the email sequence. From the subject line’s, “RIGHT NOW,” to the first line of the body of the email getting straight to the point, a feeling of urgency is created immediately.
The next day, we sent an email that used the second step of the sequence: use logic. Our subject line asks our subscriber a question that will get them to do some critical thinking. Do they have what it takes?
Finally, we sent this email as the “fear” step of the sequence. The subject line and body were simple. Both told the reader they’re about to miss out on this exclusive sneak peek of our newest course. We mentioned the value we were offering to them and what exactly they were about to miss out on.
The gain, logic, fear email sequence is so effective because of what it creates. Not just for our businesses, but for many others from physical products to eCommerce. This specific email sequence is designed to encourage subscribers to convert by building trust, appealing to their logic, and taking advantage of the consumer’s scarcity mindset.
How We’re Building Urgency on Our Sale and Landing Pages
I cannot say this enough, you need to create urgency. As humans, we really need ‘deadlines.’ Once you have a visitor on your website, it is your job to stop them from leaving prior to placing an order. It is your job to convert that visitor into a buyer.
Using urgency on both your landing and sales pages is one of the best techniques to boost your conversions. There’s several different ways to do that, but here are our favorites and what we find to be the most effective scarcity marketing.
Countdown timers are a great, easy tool that you can use to create a sense of urgency to get subscribers to act. Reminding your audience that time is passing and the clock is ticking, raises the urgency level and entices action. Use urgency in your messaging effectively, and watch your conversion rates spike.
In May, Performance Marketer is holding our annual Internet Marketing Expo (IMx) in Austin, Texas. With a live countdown and a discount on tickets, we can easily convey a sense of urgency to our visitors landing on this page.
Expiring Coupon Codes
The best way to offer a discount is to make it for a limited time only, by stressing urgency. When we first started experimenting with coupon codes, our sales increased by 30%. As soon as we started using expiring coupon codes our sales doubled.
Nowadays, we’ll let our visitors know that, say on a Wednesday night or Sunday night, depending when they hit our site, we have offer an for them. That same night is when it expires. Just so our visitors make a decision sooner rather than later.
Now, why do we do this and how do we decide what to offer?
Well, that depends on the product and the niche. Typically, free shipping, maybe 5% off total volume, or maybe even 10% off the total if it’s a high margin site. When we use coupon codes that expire twice a week, it’s because we know that over 90% of our site traffic, from looking at our Google analytics, are first-time visitors.
To us, that means they’re coming to our site for the first time ever. Thanks to a good understanding on principle of urgency, we know that the shorter we make the window for visitors to make a buying decision, the better chance we have at getting them to buy.
In the simplest form, when things are scarce, we want them. People will be incredibly motivated to act by the thought that they might lose out on something.
The best way to offer a discount is to make it for a limited time only. That’s why holidays are one of our favorite times to offer discounts for our software and courses.
The scarcity of a holiday sale comes from the short window of time that’s usually a day or a weekend, where consumers can take advantage of special promotions. Plus, there’s always some holiday coming up to build a scarcity marketing campaign around!
One example of a holiday promotion we recently ran was our a 12 Days of Christmas sale. Drop Ship Lifestyle has been in business for a while and there’s plenty of different products we have.
So we decided it would be the perfect time to run a promotion for a product every day leading up until Christmas. This is how you can be creative and have fun with holiday promotions and creating urgency.
If you don’t have 12 products yet, you can easily think of something else that fits your business and brand. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to profit from creating urgency in your marketing while maximizing your LVO (lead value optimization).
Read This: The Holiday Funnel
With your Holiday Sales Funnel you’ll want to email the people who have been through your the other funnels. These subscribers know you and your product, they just haven’t yet pulled the trigger and bought. So running a holiday promotion and running a holiday sales funnel is a fun and creative way that taps into the power of scarcity to convert your leads into sales.
Creating Urgency and Using Scarcity During Webinars
We’ve been webinars for years now. After all that time, we have become big fans of using urgency and scarcity marketing to drive engagement and attendance.
When it comes down to it as marketers, it’s our job to tell our audiences why they’ll benefit most if they buy today, instead of putting it off. Scarcity marketing helps us do that. Limiting how many items or spots there are before you’re sold out will drive more sales as your visitors begin to fear “missing out.”
Every part of our marketing efforts leading up to and in promoting our webinars uses scarcity or urgency in some way: We share the scarcity of our webinars by mentioning we only have a limited number of seats.
For Drop Ship Lifestyle webinars, we also mention if there are times where we won’t be able to offer a webinar replay. Meaning, our audience needs to show up live to get the information we’re sharing, or they’ll miss out on it forever.
If you have attended one of our webinars, you know that Anton leads a live 30 minute Q&A for any questions from the attendees. There is a live on-screen countdown timer that does a phenomenal job of conveying urgency and the importance of being present for the live webinars.
Even on the landing pages to opt-in to our webinars we are building scarcity and urgency with our copy. Check out the below examples to see how easily it can be done.
On the top is an example of how Drop Ship Lifestyle conveys a sense of scarcity with our webinars. On the bottom is an example of how Drop Ship Lifestyle uses a countdown timer, Countdown Kraken in this instance, to create a sense of urgency for their webinars.
As you can see from the examples we’ve shared, scarcity marketing and creating urgency really does work. And, when done well, it can net you a bigger profit than you ever imagined. The important parts to keep in mind when using urgency and scarcity in your marketing campaigns, applies to all methods and marketing materials.