It was one of Cialdini’s bedrock principles. The one that created demand out of thin air. That compelled people to finally, at long last, take action. To buy, share, and break through the inertia that prevents any change whatsoever.
Scarcity forces us to make a decision—to change, even though we’re hardwired not to like change.
Sure, we want the upside. But we can’t stomach the downside in most cases. So nothing happens.
That new pair of shoes just sits in their cart. Or the lead stops following up because “they’re still thinking about it.”
So how do you get them to take the next step?
Here are 13 tried-and-true urgency-inducing tactics you can start using to increase sales.
1. Product Attributes
Product attributes are one of the first places to look for scarcity in action.
For example, notice how that third pair of boots stands out because of the temporary price break.Now let’s book a vacation.
You pull up Expedia, punch in a city and some travel dates, and hit enter. What you’re met with is a completely commoditized shopping experience. Hotels and vacations and flights are lined up like a cattle call. And you just scan the prices to determine which hotel looks good.
The problem is that most people are just looking. There’s no urgency. So people bounce without booking 81% of the time.The green bar highlights a daily deal. There’s star ratings. A little VIP icon. Microcopy from reviews like “Very good!” and “Excellent!”
There’s also red (danger!) text letting us know exactly how many other people are looking at booking these hotels (taking them from us!) in the last 48 hours.
Not to mention, the little yellow notification over on the right that confirms this destination is popular with other travelers as well.
Phew. That was exhausting just typing it all out.
We’ll analyze some of these specific techniques in more detail soon. However, just know that scarcity doesn’t just mean “only three products left.”
2. Hyper-Specific CTA’s
The Next Web wanted to get more traffic to their deal pages. (‘Cause, you know, this is where the money’s made.)
The primary CTA (or call to action) on the site was a little text link in the main menu navigation. They tested two new versions of the CTA to 163,000+ visitors:
The first variation was simply “Deals”
The second variation stated a specific number of deals (like “104 Deals”)