The Scarcity Strategy

Have you ever bought something online and noticed a countdown clock somewhere in the Cart page? Accompanying the countdown clock will usually be something like “Hurry! We only have 3 left!” or “We’ll hold your item for only 5 more minutes.” As a consumer, you want what you can’t have, so you may feel a little pressure to make your purchase now rather than wait. This is the Scarcity Strategy; provide only a small window of opportunity for people to buy or download your product.

Promote your product on social media and indicate that access or quantity is limited. Include a link to the product or sign-up form directly so that people don’t have to spend time browsing around your site. After, say, two weeks you can close the website or page. Replace the old page with information on the benefits current users or customers are receiving. Let them know you’ll reopen again and to keep checking the website. Ideally, if they aren’t able to become a customer now, they’ll at least follow you on social media to get updates on your next launch.

Essentially, the science behind the strategy is the feeling of exclusivity it provides. If your product is only available for a limited amount of time, the buyers will feel like their product is more valuable. Depending on how often you use the strategy, you can often charge more than if you were to sell your product year round.

The strategy also works with newsletter subscriptions and coupon codes. Advertising an exclusive email list is a fantastic way to capture subscriber email addresses and sell future products. Limiting coupon code usage will push potential buyers to make their purchase now rather than wait to take advantage of the discount.

If you’re not sure how to include a countdown timer on your website, check out a few of these resources:

  • Powr: The company offers affordable pricing and a free plan so you can try out their countdown timer. Their software is specifically made to help you use the Scarcity Strategy. You can also customize the look and feel of the timer to match the theme of your website.
  • Tickcounter: This is a free countdown timer that lets you pick your timezone, change the font color, and embed it in your website. Although it doesn’t look as custom as Powr, it’s a good solution if you need something quick and easy.
  • Countingdownto: This is another free countdown timer that you can embed directly into your site. You can change the background color, timezone, font weight, and language. The timer also has a better style than Tickcounter, in my opinion.

Providing a sense of urgency isn’t a new marketing tactic, but completely closing off the ability for people to become customers is relatively new. If you execute properly, you could drastically increase your web traffic and future sales potential.

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