Scarcity Marketing

Scarcity Marketing: Amplifying with the Fear Factor

Scarcity Marketing – It’s one of those things most marketers have heard of, but very few know how to use it properly.

You can sell more using the Scarcity Principle in Marketing. The trouble is, there are many different ways to use scarcity marketing , and there isn’t any one single way that works best for every product and every unique situation.

Here are a few examples of how scarcity can be used effectively in marketing:

  • Coupons – Coupons typically have expiration dates. This is a form of scarcity, because it required you to take action before the coupon expires.
  • Dime Sales – Dime sales work by increasing the price at certain price points (or occasionally at time intervals). This inspires people to buy immediately because they want to get the lowest possible price.
  • Limited Time Availability – Limited time availability offers are great for getting people to take action, because if your product is only going to be available for a limited time, they won’t want to miss getting it forever.
  • Limited Time Pricing – Like coupons and dime sales, limited time pricing gets people to buy right away, because they want the cheapest price possible.
  • Limited Product Availability – By offering only a specific number of items for sale, you create an urgency because people won’t want to miss their chance to get the item.

These are just a few examples. There are many more. I will take a more in-depth look at each of these later, but for now you get an idea of the types of tactics that are currently being used, and you’ve probably already seen many of these in use yourself.

Why Scarcity Marketing Works?

There’s a very simple psychological reason why scarcity marketing work so well. If you think about it, you’ve probably fallen for these tactics yourself at some point. Most people have. Even marketers who use the tactics themselves often fall for them. They are just that powerful!

You see, people tend to respond better to the fear of loss than they do the pleasure of gain. So while they might like to have that brand new convertible they see at a reduced price, it might not be powerful enough to get them to buy immediately. And we all know that if people don’t buy immediately, it’s quite likely they never will.

Now, if that reduced price was only available for the next three days, they might jump on it right away. After all, they don’t want to miss that price, especially if it’s a very large discount. They fear losing out on a great deal.

Here’s another quick example of why fear of loss is so powerful…

Imagine you see an ad online that says you can get a free $100 coffee maker if you drive 100 miles to apply in person and watch a sales pitch for gourmet coffee. Would you go?

You might if you really needed a coffee maker and couldn’t afford one, but more than likely you’d see that driving 100 miles and wasting all that time and gas just wouldn’t be worth it. You could just spend $100 and ten minutes at your local store and be home with the same thing.

Now let’s say you use your $100 coffee maker every day and someone steals it. Days later, the police in a town 100 miles away call you to tell you they caught the suspect and have your coffee maker and all you have to do is come fill out a bunch of paperwork to get it back. Would you go?

More than likely, you would, because it’s your coffee maker. Now it isn’t as much about the actual item, which could be replaced, it’s about the principle of the thing. It’s yours, period!

Where you might not drive 100 miles and waste hours of your time to get a $100 coffee maker, you probably would do the same thing to get back one that was taken from you.

No one wants to lose anything! That’s why scarcity tactics work, and you can use that to your advantage.

Scarcity Marketing with the Fear Factor

Now it’s time to really delve into exactly what you can do to put these scarcity marketing strategies – these fear factors – into use in your business.

But I am not going to focus on just those typical scarcity marketing strategy. Instead, you’re going to learn how to add some natural scarcity marketing strategy into your repertoire as well, amplifying the effect tremendously!

Fear Factor #1 – Focus on Benefits

If you’ve read any kind of books or articles on copywriting, you already know that you should be focusing on benefits rather than features in your marketing materials.

In case you don’t know, here’s the difference:

  • Features are the actual features of the product. For a downloadable course, this might be things like the number of pages in an eBook, the number of videos available, the video format, the length of the videos, etc.
  • Benefits are the ways the product can actually help you. For example, it might help you get rid of unsightly acne. The primary benefits of that would be that you look better, feel better, gain confidence and might even find it easier to find a date.

Too many people focus on features rather than benefits. While you need to include the features for those who want to know, most people just want to know the answer to one basic question: “What’s in it for me?”

So how can you use benefits to create an urgency to buy your product? It’s simple if you think about it… Make people afraid they won’t ever get the results they need unless they buy your product!

The fear that they will continue to live with whatever problem they are currently experiencing will drive them to buy, especially if you combine it with another scarcity marketing strategy like a limited discount.

So make sure you reiterate the benefits of the product right before your call to-action button. Tell them how the product will make them feel. Tell them what it will do for them. Then… BOOM! Hit them with a buy now button!

Fear Factor #2 – Focus on Pain

Many digital products focus on solving a painful problem. Here are a few examples of the types of painful situations these products may focus on solving:

  • Lack of money (and the overdue bills and inability to buy what is desired that goes along with it)
  • Medical problems that cause physical pain, such as migraines
  • Problems that cause emotional pain, such as being lonely
  • Problems which cause embarrassment, such as severe acne
  • Problems that cause severe annoyance, such as cockroaches

The list goes on, but you get the idea. The products that convert best typically focus on these kinds of problems, because the market is full of what are known as “desperate buyers”. They have a problem they feel desperate to solve, and they will spend just about anything if they think a product will help them solve it.

The first fear factor we looked at focused on reminding people how good they could feel if they bought your product. This one focuses on the opposite… scaring them into believing they will live with this problem forever if they don’t buy and reminding them how horrible the problem makes them feel.

scarcity marketing

Fear Factor #3 – Focus on Newly Scarce Items

Let’s say there’s a product you’re interested in, but you are on the fence about whether or not you actually want to buy it. Maybe you’re not entirely convinced it will do what it says it will, or you aren’t sure if you can really afford it. For whatever reason, you’ve put off making the decision to buy it.

Now let’s say that you hear the product is in danger of selling out. You didn’t realize it would ever be in danger of selling out, but now you’ve heard that it is, and if you don’t buy now you may never get the chance again.

For example, a marketer might decide to make the product available forever, but they decide at some point to close it down because they claim their buyers have been emailing them begging them to close it down before too many people get their hands on this powerful technique.

Yikes! People are that excited and selfish about the product? They’re literally begging him to take it off sale so they can hog all the benefits for themselves? NO WAY!

So you go buy right away, lest someone else get all these great benefits while you never do.

Nobody wants to be left holding the bag or the only one missing out. Even noone wants to be the last person picked for a team.

Fear Factor #4 – Focus on Competition Among Peers

Just like nobody wants to be the last person picked for a team, nobody wants to be the only one of their peers who doesn’t have something.

This is why people spend unbelievable amounts of money on brand name jeans, brand name cellphones, cool sports cars, and large houses they really don’t need and can’t afford. They’re “keeping up with the Joneses”.

They can’t stand to be the only one they know that doesn’t have something, or to see someone else have something bigger or better than they have.

Apple is a great example of this marketing strategy. Their fan base is so rabid about their products that they will literally camp out in the rain on a sidewalk just to be the first to buy the newest iPhone.

Why do they do this? Is it because they just have to have that phone that is one millimeter thinner, or that extra 0.4 MHz of speed in the new processor? Of course not! Most people won’t even recognize the features in the new model, nor will they use the majority of them.

It’s because they want to have their friends gasp, wide-eyed, and say, “Is that the new iPhone? Oh my god, they’re sold out everywhere! How did you get one?”

It’s a status symbol. It makes people feel good that they have something people notice and people envy.

It’s also a great way to hurt people you don’t like. Maybe they want that new phone and can’t afford it, so you can rub in in their face.

Using this marketing strategy means getting people to feel that they’ll somehow be part of an elite group, an inner circle, just because they have the product.

It means letting them know they could have bragging rights. It means making them feel special just because they got it and someone else didn’t.

Now its time to implement scarcity marketing strategy to grow your company sells stright away from today.

Best of luck and waiting for your success story.

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About the Author: Shameem Reza

Shameem is the founder of Melo Pixels Limited. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome WordPress themes & plugins, he writes about startups and marketing.

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