They say adding scarcity to your copy heightens the appeal of what you're selling.
What do you think?
I say, absolutely it does.
You can't beat a bit of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) to scare the lizard brain into action.
Last week, while driving to the Isle of Lewis, we passed a sign which read: LAST SHOP BEFORE ULLAPOOL.
My lizard brain hissed: "If you don't stop at this shop - THE LAST SHOP BEFORE ULLAPOOL - you and your family are going to die a slow and painful death - probably from dehydration and malnutrition".
My rational brain heaved a weary sigh, and said: "It's less than an hour to Ullapool. You have enough crisps and cranberry juice for the 13-hour return journey."
But... as any armchair neuroscientist will tell you, the game of a lizard's brain is strong - much stronger, often, than logic, which is why I slammed on the brakes, and stocked up on extra snacks, just in case.
Which is to say: this harmless looking sign changed my behavior, all in the space of four tiny words.
The power of scarcity, right?
The digital version of scarcity also ups your roadside appeal, flagging down your customers and steering them toward action. For example, you might use words like "instant", "hurry" and "final" in your copy to snag their attention.
And you might limit quantities of whatever you're selling - "Only 10 deals left, grab yours while stocks last" - though you don't have to be quite as obvious, if a more subtle approach works better for your audience:
- Members only
- Course full. Get notified when a space opens up
- Request an invitation
Or, you can get other people to do the hard work for you. Ever noticed how companies like eBookers and Ryanair use social proof to create urgency?
"5 people are viewing this flight."
"There are 2 people looking at this hotel."
Puts a spring in your step, doesn't it?
You can also uplift conversions by adding deadlines to your offers.
"Last chance! This offer expires at midnight."
"Limited time remaining!"
"Until tomorrow only!"
Whether it's on a landing page, in an email subject or within a web form, there are very few situations where a scattering of scarcity won't ramp up your open rates and click-throughs.
Because the less the supply? The greater the demand.
The secret is to make what you're offering a bit like the last-chance saloon.
Or at least the last shop til Ullapool.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Gather Creative blog.