Incorporating scarcity tactics into your marketing can boost your sales if used properly, however it can also tank sales if not applied correctly.
If you’re not familiar with scarcity marketing techniques, basically it’s marketing that creates a sense of urgency for the buyer usually in the form of a limited time offer of some sort.
Whether it be an offer that expires at a set time or a perhaps a limited quantity of something, scarcity can push your traffic just enough to get them to whip out their credit cards and make a purchase.
Why Scarcity Works
The bottom line is scarcity works because as humans we innately have a fear of missing out on something.
A practical example would be hanging out with a friend. If your friend asks you if you want to hang out on Saturday, you’d probably tell him you’d get back to him later in the week, and depending how you felt you may not even do it, even if you had nothing to do!
However if that same friend was asking you to hang out on Saturday because he was planning to move out of the country the next day, then obviously you’d say yes.
This is scarcity in a nutshell, and we can use this in our sales pages and marketing materials to boost urgency.
Different Types Of Scarcity
Scarcity basically falls into 2 categories: Time & Quantity
Time scarcity basically refers to a deal running out at a specific date and/or time. For example “This offer is only valid till April 10th” is an example of time scarcity.
Another example would be “Registration for this event will end in 04:02:56” where we are using some sort of countdown timer on our website.
Here is an example of the use of time scarcity by Overstock.com. We see here that they have a “4-day Flash Sale” which creates a sense of urgency for people to buy now to lock in these great deals. They even say “Hurry! The clock is ticking on over 1 million deals!” again to up the urgency factor.
Quantity scarcity refers to letting people know that there is only a certain quantity of a product left, so they need to buy it ASAP before they miss out!
For example if you were offering 1 on 1 coaching for something, perhaps you can only teach so many students a month, so maybe you could say “I can only take 5 students a month, so sign up today to reserve your spot!”
A popular place that we see quantity scarcity being subtly used to create urgency is on Amazon. If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you will notice that on some product listings Amazon will let you know how many units are left when quantities are running low.
For example if we were looking up toilet paper, we see that this particular brand only has 3 more units in stock.
By letting people know that there is only a limited amount of a product left, the urgency to buy goes up, and this exactly what we want to accomplish when incorporating quantity scarcity into our marketing.
The Morality Of Scarcity
Some people have an issue using scarcity in their marketing, and that’s really an issue you’re going to have to decide on your own. Some people think they are deceiving their buyers, and I get some people may have an issue with that.
For example maybe there aren’t only 10 copies left of your book, or maybe you do intend to offer that “once in a lifetime deal” again next week. Again whether you incorporate scarcity is up to you.
Use Believable Scarcity
I think it’s important to emphasize for scarcity to work, it has to be “believable scarcity”. Newbie marketers botch scarcity because they use it in a way that doesn’t make sense and thus comes off as inauthentic.
In our previous example of the 1 on 1 coaching, that is “believable scarcity” because it would make sense that someone could only take on so many students in a month.
An example of “unbelievable scarcity” would be something like “We can only take the next 10 members to keep our awesome techniques secret”. Something like that while could be true, seems to come off as phony and a rather weak reason.
So again before incorporating scarcity in your marketing materials it’s important to ask yourself whether what you’re saying is believable or not. The more the scarcity rings true, the better your sales should be.
Hopefully this article has got you thinking about using scarcity in your own marketing campaigns. When done right it can be a powerful tool to help you boost your sales. As long as you use believable scarcity and use it sparingly, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with your results.