Over the last few days, I’ve been helping a client with a product launch.
We opened the cart on Wednesday night and gave customers until Sunday to get in on the special launch pricing.
More than 50% of the sales came in the final 24 hours. In fact, people were actually emailing with the reasons they couldn’t act on Sunday and could we extend it for them.
This perfectly illustrates the power of scarcity.
By giving your prospects a deadline, you force them to make a decision. The greatest competition we face as marketers is inaction. People are comfortable in their own poop. No matter how stinky it is, it’s far easier to remain mired in feces than to change.
When there is no deadline or reason to act, people will think, “I’ll get to it later.” But later never comes. No matter how badly they need what you’re selling!
The trick to scarcity is getting the window just right. If you give them too long to think about it, they’ll rationalize all the reasons they should do nothing. If the window is too short, they won’t have time to react.
Now scarcity doesn’t just come in time. Scarcity can also come in the form of quantity. Only 100 seats available and such. I’ve used this one with other clients when the quantity really did matter. We couldn’t sell more than X or they wouldn’t be able to deliver the product. Or we wanted to do a trial run of something with a small group.
Not only does scarcity force us to make a decision, it also activates the “I’m going to miss out” gene in our brains. Nobody likes to get left behind. Even if your prospect isn’t positive they want what you have, they want the OPTION of getting it. If you take away the option you’re bringing their fear of missing out to the top of their awareness.
One word of caution, if you employ scarcity, you must follow through. It’s tempting to say, “Hey, this is working great. Let’s add another 24 hours.” Two things happen.
- You become the little boy who cried wolf. You’re training your audience that you don’t mean it and they can just wait next time.
- They have more time to think about it and put it off. You’re giving the excuse they want to not make a decision. And you’re confusing the deadline.
Overall, this launch went really well. I credit a huge part of the success to scarcity.