AMiable Solution #404: Applying the “Scarcity” Strategy
We’ve all fallen for it. The note on Amazon that says “only 3 left in stock” that influences you to make a purchase sooner than later. The countdown clock on the website, letting you know a discount won’t be available much longer. The pop-up note telling you that Andy from Arkansas booked a room in the hotel you’re scoping out just six minutes ago.
Why does the scarcity tactic work? The idea behind scarcity is simple: if something appears hard to get, then it is perceived as more valuable. If it looks like a great deal, we don’t want to miss out on it. And if having the item would be good, not having it would be worse.
But it doesn’t have to be a product that’s scarce.
Offers can be scarce:
· Be one of the first 100 people to say “yes” and receive an extra month of service for FREE!
· Because you are one of our prime members, you can take advantage of this special offer.
Time can be scarce:
· Reserve your tickets before this Sunday to save $50.
· Order within the next 24 hours to get free, next-day shipping.
Products and services can be seasonal and therefore scarce:
· It’s pumpkin season! Get your pumpkin spice doughnuts before they’re gone!
· Stock up on your favorite holiday flavors before the ball drops!
But while positioning your product or service as a hot commodity might drive interest and sales, especially in the short term, don’t be quick to apply this strategy across your marketing board. Make sure it makes sense for your audience and your goals.
If your customers aren’t used to this type of approach, they may feel overwhelmed and pressured. A little pressure can be good, but it can also backfire. Make sure you know your audience, what motivates them, and how they make other purchases, if possible.
Second, the “scarcity” should be believable and reasonable. If you’re trying to convince your customers that something is scarce when it clearly isn’t or shouldn’t be, your prospects may start to question your integrity.
Finally, make sure your “scarce” item is a worthy one. Don’t use this strategy to move unpopular, overstocked, or low-quality items or services. Make sure each service or item is worthy of being desirable and urgently needed.