What is scarcity?
Scarcity noun – The state of being scarce or in short supply; shortage. “a time of scarcity”
Scarcity is a powerful motivator. A study showed that when people were offered a cookie from a jar with 10 cookies and a jar with 2 cookies, they consistently rated the scarce cookies as higher value and more attractive.
If something is in short supply, it becomes more attractive.
How is scarcity used in marketing?
Limited time. For one night only. Just 5 tickets left.
Adding phrases like this to marketing has been proven time and again to drive sales. If you’ve ever bid on an item on eBay, you’ll be familiar with the red numbers counting down to the end of the auction. It clearly states how long bidders have left, making them act fast to come to a decision.
This urgency sparks a sense of fear of losing out – which is twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining a thing.
Used well, scarcity is a powerful marketing tool. Used badly? It’s just a great way to annoy your customers and lose followers.
Here’s 3 ways to do it right.
1. Build Anticpation
If you’re launching a course with limited places and you only announce it the night before you’re not giving people the chance to get excited!
Let them know in advance so they’re looking forward to the date even more than you are. A great way to do this is to let them know it’s coming well before you allow them to actually buy/sign up e.g. by creating an email marketing campaign.
By the time you’re ready to launch you’ll have a host of eager customers just waiting to secure their place.
2. Add urgency
If there’s only X number of places or you’re only launching once this year, let people know. When you customers love what you do and are eager for more, make sure they know there’s a shortage.
This gives them the chance to get in early so they’re not disappointed AND gives you the security of knowing you won’t be left with empty spaces.
3. Be Honest!
If you’ve had a timer counting down to the last day they can buy tickets… And then the day after it just starts over? It will be noticed and people will complain. And rightly so! Nobody likes being made a fool of or being lied to.
If your course/product/service is unlimited don’t try to use scarcity marketing – focus on another angle to drive sales and keep your audience feeling secure. Customer loyalty is hard won and easy lost, so always be a brand they can trust.