As I started to research and write about urgency marketing, I remembered that, at my university, I was taking a course named International Political Economy. One of the coursebooks was “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith. In the book, he discusses the diamond-water paradox and how it is related to prices and value. The water-diamond paradox deals with the issues of supply and demand as well as prices and value.
So, the paradox of value states that even though water is essential for life, the price of diamonds are more expensive in the market while water costs almost nothing.
Why is that? The reason, as Adam Smith points out, is that water is worth less as the supply of it is higher. On the other hand, the value of diamonds is greater than water because they are not easily available to everyone and so, people are willing to pay more to own them.
This paradox shows us how people can sometimes justify the purchase of an object based on their interests and motivation and not because it has intrinsic value or worth in itself.
Well, we all have been there, if we ever pay attention to our purchasing behavior.
How is Adam Smith’s paradox of value related to urgency marketing?
If a product is in a limited number, it increases the urgency and awakens the feeling of the fear of missing out on purchasing an item. And, it is true that the last item left in that shopping store seems more attractive than all other items. This is simply because human beings by their nature tend to believe that purchasing any product that’s scarce and not easily accessible to everyone, makes them more special.
So, in short, scarcity of any offer or item (diamonds, as an example) creates desire – urgency to own it as quickly as possible.
In this article, I’ll be explaining:
- The concept of urgency
- Why and how does urgency marketing work?
- Examples and methods to apply your urgency marketing strategy
Let’s get started.
What the heck is the concept of urgency marketing?
FOMO, exclusivity, scarcity – call it whatever you want, all means the same thing and creates urgency.
Fear of missing out creates urgency in the customer’s mind.
The FOMO concept stands for “fear of missing out” which is a type of anxiety that comes from the idea that someone may be left behind in some activity or social circles. In the eCommerce concept, it’s about losing a chance to get an offer.
Here’re some statistics about FOMO marketing by Trust Pulse:
- “40% of people say ‘yes’ to spending because they worry about being left out of future events.”
- “60% of people make purchases because of FOMO, mostly within 24 hours.”
Scarce items seem exclusive and appear more valuable.
When there’s a scarcity of a particular item at the store, the item seems more valuable or attractive to us. Purchasing the very last or rare item makes us feel like we have purchased something exclusively unavailable.
The more scarce an item is, the more people want it.
The principle suggests that we create an exclusive feeling through scarcity, which could mean anything from pricing items higher than normal to limiting production or making it time-sensitive. This, in turn, creates the feeling that those who have scarce items have exclusive access that is not openly available to others.
Scarcity of a particular item seems more attractive to people than others.
Consumers tend to resort to it because they feel that this product is more valuable than others, and are more likely to buy it quicker when they feel like they’re missing out on something.
Scarcity plays a vital role in sales, as consumers are more likely to act on the thought of urgency while purchasing the product. It’s not just any product, but rather one which has a limited availability or is about to expire.
An example for this is how Apple’s release of limited edition iPhones creates buzz in the market.
People tend to feel exclusive and powerful by having scarce items.
On a basic level, people tend to feel powerful when they have something that’s scarce or exclusive. People want to be able to say that they have the best of what is available for them, so when something is scarce or exclusive, it means more to them.
Urgency marketing examples: How does it work?
In the marketing concept, we can split the urgency to positive and negative. Negative urgency is when the customer feels that they must buy now to avoid a loss. This negative urgency is often associated with a deadline, such as a sale ending soon or a product being out-of-stock.
Positive urgency is when the customer feels that they have to purchase now to gain an advantage or reward. This positive urgency may be associated with a bonus offer, limited-time promotion, or early access offer.
I think we now know how urgency makes more sales, but how the bleep we create a sense of urgency and apply it to our marketing activities? There are three ways to create urgency:
- Make your products, service, and offers limited and scarce in time and quantity
- Let your customers feel FOMO
- Make your product & service exclusive
Make your product & service limited and scarce
There are two common ways to make something scarce:
- By limiting the number of items/offers available – creating shortage of supply
- By limiting the time of the items/offers available – creating deadline
One way to add scarcity into your sale is by making it sound like the item is running out of stock soon, so that customers will buy it before it’s too late – you create a shortage of supply.
Booking.com perfectly uses the sign that say “Only 2 beds left” to encourage customers to make a reservation quickly otherwise they risk missing their chance at getting the room.
Another way to create the feeling of scarcity is to limit the time of availability of your product – you create a deadline or time period that your product will be available. See the below section:
Show limited period of time to use offer
Add a countdown timer to your offers.
Displaying promo codes encourages visitors to make a purchase on your e-commerce store. But, offering the promo codes for a limited period of time creates urgency and generates a dramatic increase in conversion rates. When visitors land on your site and see that they can use the discount within, for example, 1 hour, they are more likely to use the opportunity to shop.
AliExpress has separate pages named Super Deals and Flash Deals for daily discounts which each offer has its own deadline:
Announce closing down or clearance sales
This is one way of limiting the quantity of items available while also adding a time limit to the sales.
Clearance sales happen when a company has excess inventory and needs to sell it off before the end of the season. They usually take place near the end of a time period and oftentimes, clearance items are discounted to move them out quicker.
The purpose of these sales is to get rid of excess inventory, but it can also be used as an opportunity for customers to buy at lower prices. Clearance sales are not always necessary, but they can be advantageous for both customers and sellers.
Clearance sale strategies can push consumers to buy more because they know that the products and discounts will be gone soon.
People are more willing to pay higher prices for items that are on clearance or on backorder than they would for identical items that are readily available on the market, sometimes even if they don’t need it.
Offer pre-order opportunities & highlight early-bird prices
In recent years, many retailers have been adopting a “pre-order” system for their products. In this fast paced industry, it is important to stand out and stay competitive in order to retain customers. The early bird sales strategy is one of the effective ways to create urgency and interest in the product early on.
The early bird sales tactic is when companies give a discount for customers who buy products before it’s released, or pre-order customers who buy products before they’re made.
Early bird sales increases engagement and customer loyalty by giving customers a sense of exclusivity – they are among the first to buy it. A pre-order is also a great way to generate excitement and interest in a product.
- Read the article to learn Creative ways to engage your customers.
Pre-order sales discounts could be also a good strategy for retailers to increase their revenue right before their product is live. The early bird sales discount creates a sense of urgency and incentivizes customers to buy quickly before the price goes up.
Highlight seasonal sales
One of the most popular examples of this type of scarcity is Black Friday – when retailers offer huge discounts and special promotions to get people into their stores. And, people are lining up outside of stores at 4 am on Thanksgiving night for the opportunity to get discounted items. This technique has been around for decades and continues to be used by companies today.
It’s not just because people are shopping for items at discounted prices. It’s also because there are limited quantities available for purchase, and the stock is running out too fast. With the risk of missing out, urgency increases and more people end up impulse buying.
Offer and announce daily & periodic discounts
You may have noticed that some giant online shopping platforms like AliExpress and Amazon have a separate daily deals page. They usually offer huge discounts daily, and put a deadline for 24 hours.
It’s Amazon, like AliExpress, has a separate page named “Today’s Deals” that offer discounts that expire in 24 hours:
Display how many people have checked your product & service, or have been looking for it
One of the best ways to create urgency is showing how much demand your product or service has.
You can show this by on site activity – counter notifications, or widgets placed near the product/service description.
See the example:
👉🏻 Create counter notifications 👈🏻
This is how AliExpress shows the activity and dynamics for a product:
And, this is eBay, creates urgency with social proof by indicating how many people have checked this particular product.
👉🏻 Create sales notifications 👈🏻
Let customers know how many people have purchased your product
There are many ways that you can display how many people have purchased your product or service. One way is by showing sales notifications to create social proof and urgency to sell more quickly by indicating that there’s much demand.
By highlighting the number of people who have purchased your product in-app, you can create a sense of urgency.
See the example below:
In the example below, one eBay merchant creates scarcity by displaying how many people have purchased the product in different ways. It shows “limited quantity available, 6,282 sold”, then below, it indicates that more than 97% of items are sold:
- Read the article to learn How To Use Social Proof Examples in Your Marketing Strategy To Build Brand Trust.
Show limited period of time to hold items on a card
Add a cart timer at the checkout page.
- Read the article to learn Best Checkout Practices To Reduce Cart Abandonment.
Simply, you set a certain period for visitors that they can hold their items on the shopping cart. If the time expires, the visitors lose the chance of buying the added items.
See the example below:
With a sticky top bar or notifications, you remind the visitors to complete the checkout process before it’s too late. By creating this kind of urgency, you motivate the consumers to go back to the cart and complete the purchase.
This strategy indicates that there are many other visitors who like to purchase a particular product that’s added to the customer’s cart.
Let your customers feel exclusive
Do you remember how the Clubhouse has attracted so much interest due to its exclusivity? Around a year of being in beta, Clubhouse was not officially live for all. The registration process was invitation-only and not open to the public which added more exclusivity and interest to it.
You can promote special offers that only a certain group of people can use. Offering discounts that only your loyal customers can use is a great way to let them feel exclusive and keep them coming back for more. This could be done by offering an exclusive discount code, an invitation-only deal, or a first-come-first-serve deal with limited quantities.
Exclusive offers are also a great way for companies to entice new customers or make their existing customer base feel valued. For instance, you can display discount offers to only the first coming visitors:
- Read the article to learn On-site Strategies That You Need To Turn More Visitors Into Sales.
Collaborate with other brands to make special products
Uniqueness is the key to success; it enhances brand image and reinforces customer loyalty.
You can offer special products by collaborating with other brands to make limited-edition products.
Supreme and Pat McGrath, for example. Supreme moved into the beauty world for the first time with a collaboration with make-up brand Pat McGrath. These kinds of offers are limited in supply, and probably available only for a period of time and probably never be produced again.
Limited edition products are in high demand, because they are linked with rarity and scarcity. Fashion brands collaborate with other brands and design limited edition products to stand out. Limited product collaborations often result in significant revenue for the collaborating brands.
There are many examples of collaborative and limited edition products, such as Nike & Supreme, Adidas & Stella McCartney, NikeLab & Sacai, Adidas & Palace Skateboards, and many more.
Offer one-of-a-kind Specials & limited editions
Exclusivity can be used to increase the value of a product or service since they are rarer than common items.
Limited edition products can be an effective marketing tool for generating hype around a new product or service rollout.
Many retailers know that people are more interested in buying exclusive items as they think it’s “rare” and hard to find anywhere else.
In conclusion, specials and limited editions products create a win-win situation for both consumers and producers.
The easiest way to create urgency for your sales..
Today, marketing agencies know how to use the psychological triggers in their marketing efforts to compel people into purchasing scarce items that feel exclusive, rare, and powerful.
Urgency can be created by using persuasive techniques such as displaying popups on the website, adding copy or widgets on the product & service description, showing on-site messages about limited offers.
Displaying a popup window on your website can be an effective way to get people’s attention and show them what you’re offering. For instance, by displaying a popup message that says “limited quantity available”, or indicating a limited time for an offer, you’ll leverage your customers’ urgency to accept your offers.
The easiest way to create and show announcements on your site that do not require any technical skills is plugins and/or apps depending on the eCommerce platform you’re using.
Al in all, on-site widgets are more engaging and cost-effective since you don’t need any technical skills, spend much time and effort. Try some here:
👉🏻 Create urgency & countdown timer pop up 👈🏻
👉🏻 Create cart timer bar 👈🏻