I have some very secret formulas that work like gang-busters, and will be revealing all in this article. It’s being taken down in a few minutes, though, so this is the last chance you’re going to get if you want to get your hands on them.
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The article isn’t actually going to be taken down, but see what I did there? I told you what you could have, but I also told you that you may miss out if you don’t act fast.The feeling of missing out is universal and it can be worse than an itch that you just can’t reach.
Whether it's missing a really great sale at your favourite shop because you were away for the weekend – or waiting up till midnight to buy tickets to see your favourite band only for your computer to freeze, missing out on something doesn't feel good.
To prevent ourselves from experiencing this disappointment too often, we've built a natural psychological defence, which encourages us to take action before it's too late.When we see there's a chance we might miss out, something in our brain kicks in that motivates us to act where we might otherwise have procrastinated. Triggering this reaction can be a very effective way to engage your audience, and speed up the purchasing process.
My friend and Scarcity Expert Ben Stickland, from Scarcity Samurai, says two key elements combine in our minds to trigger this fear of disappointment. If a product or offer has the following, then it can massively improve the chances of us taking action:
- Is only available in a limited quantity
- It has a deadline that requires an immediate decision to be made
Scarcity in Action
To illustrate this a little clearer, have you ever shopped at Argos? If you have, you'll know you can check the stock of the product you want using little computers in store.Most people go away and think about the purchase if the computer shows there's plenty of stock available.
On the occasions where there's only one or two left, however, people desperately grasp for the tiny pens, scrawl out an order, and charge for the tills.
All kinds of businesses use scarcity in a similar way. If you use Groupon, you'll have probably seen the slowly ticking countdowns that compel you to act on deals. If you've ever been engaged in an eBay bidding war – watching the clock tick towards zero when someone else is winning the auction – you'll also be all too aware of how powerful scarcity can be.
Using the Power of Scarcity to Get Results
When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Markets are powered by supply and demand. If you can lower the supply of a product, demand for it will rise, and the perceived value of the product or service will also grow.Of course, it is essential to use these techniques smartly. If your audience sees your product is constantly on offer, they will know that the scarcity is being created artificially. Equally, no one's going to be impressed if they rush to purchase your product only to find you repeatedly extend the same offer.
Instead, you should aim to create genuine offers that naturally compel your audience to convert.With a little creativity, you can use scarcity on a consistent basis without devaluing its power. Here are a few examples of ways it can be used:
- The first 1,000 customers for a new product receive a special discount
- A one day bank holiday spectacular
- A special offer for the next 500 subscribers to your social media channels
- ‘Happy hour' or ‘daily deal' style offers
- Increasing your prices every time someone buys
Basically, this type of marketing is most effective if your audience can see why you are giving them a special offer, and why the deadline – and quick action on their part – is a necessary element.What is incredibly important when trying to engage your audience in this way, is to make sure they are aware of the scarcity.
Displaying a highly visible countdown on your website is a great way to do this. Don't be afraid to get in touch with them either, and be sure to include the scarcity element in the email's subject.So what are you waiting for? Can you afford to miss out on the massive boost to your profits that scarcity strategies can provide?
The clock's ticking…Disclaimers:1. I don’t shop at Argos (Honest!)2. Ben isn’t really a scarcity expert he’s just a boring old Marketing Expert but he does have a very special offer on his amazing scarcity WordPress Plugin – Scarcity Samurai – that ends in a few days. Get it here.
We just can’t help ourselves can we?