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5 Ways to Sell More Using Scarcity

“Big Sale Ends TOMORROW!”

“Grab it, TODAY!”

“We’ve only got 20 left in stock, so pick up the phone and order NOW!”

You probably hear and see sales messages just like these, all the time. Marketers call it scarcity, and companies use it as one of the most effective strategies to drive prospective customers to action.

This marketing tactic involves a deadline or another type of limitation on the item or service you sell. Think quantity-based or time-based scarcity. The idea is to incite movement from consumers so they take the next step and purchase the product or service—before it’s too late.

Some businesses overuse scarcity in their communications… or they try to use it without seeing good results. I’ve got tips to show you how to use this tactic both strategically and ethically to drastically increase sales.

By the way, if you want to hear this in podcast form, simply follow this link.

Urgency Drives a Decision

Scarcity effectively increases revenue—when done correctly!


Creating a sense of urgency for customers gives them the motivation to act before it’s too late. If they want to get in on the deal, they know they need to make a move before time runs out or the product disappears.

Some businesses try to throw this tactic at every promotion, but they don’t care about whether deadlines are real or whether quantities actually are limited. Customers see through these over-the-top claims when they regularly prove false.

When planned carefully, you can use scarcity as a powerful tool to drive promotions and specials… and see huge results!

These five tips will help you implement the scarcity strategy in smart ways so it brings more revenue to your business.

By the way, if you want to learn more strategies to increase clients and grow a six-figure business with recurring revenue, check out my FREE guide!

5 Tips for Using Scarcity to Drive Revenue

How can business owners use the scarcity strategy effectively? Here are five practical ways: 

  1. Stick to Your Deadlines

Early on, I decided to conduct my business in an ethical way by following through on the statements I make. When I use scarcity in my marketing strategies, I don’t use fake scarcity. If I say the price will go up at a certain point, the price will go up. If I say those bonuses aren’t available after a specific time, the bonuses disappear.

The more I stick to those deadlines, the more customers will see that they should jump on opportunities because the promotion will end. The price really will go up, and the bonuses really will go away. These limits and deadlines make scarcity more effective for my sales. Plus, I conduct my business in a way that I feel good about because I’m telling the truth.

  1. Have a Plan for Missed Deadlines

In general, if you say the price goes up at a certain time, you need to raise the price. If not, your statements come across as unreliable, and your strategy won’t show results.

No matter how many emails you send about the upcoming price increase, someone will always respond after the deadline to ask if they can still get in on the special. Plan ahead for how you want to handle these questions. You can say, “Sorry, make sure you catch the next special so you can grab it before the deadline.” Or, consider an offer with a penalty.

OR… You can bend your own rules a little by giving a coupon code, since that person went out of their way to contact you about the offer. These case-by-case decisions are up to your discretion, as the business owner.

  1. Count Down With a Timer

Whether you use time-based or quantity-based scarcity, you can motivate customers with a count-down timer on your sales page. Programs like MailerLite even allow you to add timers to emails. I often use them for launches to build anticipation in a tight window or to show the time limit until prices increase. They give a visual so people can see when something important will happen. The limit in front of them helps drive them to action.

But don’t just throw a timer up all the time on every page or in every email. Pick and choose where you want to use them. Remember that the more often people see it, the more numb to it they become. I use timers sparingly, like in promotion day emails to let people know the deadline is approaching.

Some programs allow you to put a timer on a webpage that starts counting down when someone lands on it… but the clock just starts over when they reload the page. The limit isn’t real, and the timer is ineffective. Something needs to happen when the time limit ends. Timers need an attachment to a real offer. 

  1. Gradually Increase the Price

A gradual price increase over the course of the promotion drives people to take action. Another way to do this involves offering bonuses and decreasing them at certain points of the promotion.

When I launch a product, I start at a low price and call it an “early bird” day. Each day, the price goes up a few dollars. At the end of the fourth day, the price increases drastically. By doing this, I create another form of scarcity.

This is a tactic where you need to stick to your guns. If someone asks after the deadline, you don’t want to go back and give them the lowest price.

  1. Use Holidays to Your Marketing Advantage

There can always be a reason for a sale or a deadline!

Use celebrations, anniversaries, Labor Day, or even Halloween to set a natural deadline for promotions and seasonal specials. Run an Independence Day sale or give a bonus to those who sign up before time runs out. Holidays even work as free reminders on customers’ calendars if they’ve seen your promotions and associate it with the date.

You will find so many ways to creatively implement scarcity and push people to take action right now. Apply it through pricing, quantity, time deadlines, and limited bonuses. Think about some ways you can add scarcity to strategies you already use, and watch how it improves your results!

For more secrets the so-called “gurus” won’t tell you about making money online, check out my podcast:

About the Author
Tom is the host of What's the Secret podcast and co-founder of Offlinesharks.com

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