January is known for its grey skies, chilly evenings and general gloominess. However many marketers captialise on consumers’ “January blues” by introducing time limited deals, discounts and a sense of exclusivity to stretch their wallets that little bit further during the post-holiday season. This is what we call “scarcity marketing,” and if used effectively it not only acts as great Call To Action, but also increases consumer engagement and dramatically boosts sales conversions.
Hurry – While Stocks Last
Procrastination is one of the leading reasons consumers walk away from a purchase. When they start making up excuses like “I forgot my credit card,” or “ I’ll get this when my paycheck comes in,” the game is pretty much kaput. To combat this recurring issue, many businesses (especially those in the hospitality sector) introduce “Only X left” strategies. Limited quantities directly address consumer procrastination, giving buyers an incentive to make their purchases right away. After all, what’s here today could be gone tomorrow. Marks and Spencer’s hook audiences by opening their doors for the annual Boxing Day clearance sales with “up to 50% off selected items, 3 for 2 on toys and books” enticing shoppers to bag that bargain as early as 6am.
Watch that Clock
Whether it’s 24hours or 24 minutes, introducing a time limited offer triggers a “scarcity mindset” in our brains. Narrowing the purchase timeframe can encourage consumers to be more impulsive, appealing to the competitive side of human nature - and no one uses this technique better than e-commerce giant, eBay. They increase the sense of urgency, perceived importance and pressure by using auctioning as a selling tactic for their site. Placing bids, listing watchers and playing on the ticking time clock motivates consumers to spend immediately.
Companies can take advantage of partnerships, events or anniversaries to create a “special” deal that’s just for loyal consumers - or to reel in new customers. Creating content that speaks only to a niche audience makes your product or service exclusive, more desirable and therefore increases demand. Consumers appreciate a brand or service that’s unique - because if everyone can get it, it loses its perceived value.
Give a little, get a lot
Marketing companies are now promoting free ebooks, webinars, podcasts and articles to connect with consumers and potential clients. Downloadable PDFs and other resources that share knowledge and expertise are a great way to introduce scarcity marketing in a subtle, friendly way. Tailor your offering to make your information selective – only available to those who click through, or spend a little more time on your website than normal. Neil Patel & Kathryn Argon introduce their content marketing blog in a fresh, compelling way with pop-ups and bite-sized infographics that encourage brand recognition and brand following.
Nothing wrong with a little competition
Ever wondered where the phrase “jump on the bandwagon” came from? Yes, you guessed it, the bandwagon effect is yet another scarcity marketing technique. Countless amounts of research show that consumers, not matter how much they deny it, want to conform and be liked. Marketers take advantage of this need by introducing competition into the mix. Competitive buyers appreciate strong data-driven language, speed and flattering. Amazon’s strategy of creating competition includes providing star ratings and review systems that encourage consumers to follow their latest recommendations.
The key is not to abuse this technique. As a marketing tool, it works because of the aura of exclusivity - if you make your products too easily available, that perception fades more quickly than an athlete past his prime. So meet consumers’ expectations by molding scarcity copy around your offering – not the other way round.
Picture from Motive Metrics