Marketing strategy can be tricky. It rarely stays in one place, constantly moving towards the fresh and new in order to get the attention of customers. Thankfully, there are a number of tips and tricks to becoming more effective at grabbing the attention of potential customers.
The element of scarcity has been one of the most effective forces in marketing since… well, about as long as there has been marketing. Time and time again, the forces of supply and demand prove that if a product is scarce, demand increases. The effect of scarcity is a primal force that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
A brief word of warning: using scarcity to motivate engagement is a powerful tool, but if you’re not careful it might alienate customers instead of attracting them. Insensitive marketers over the years have tended to bash people over the head with loud and annoying offers, without stopping to think about the actual needs of the people they’re trying to reach. Don’t be those marketers.
1. Limited Time Offer
The first method of using scarcity is through limiting the amount of time that a deal or product is available. You’ve no doubt run into limited time offers a thousand times; it’s used because it works. A bit of finesse is required in setting the time limit, though… too often the offer window doesn’t provide suitable time to generate awareness.
Groupon might be one of the most recognizable companies to adopt a model centered around limited time offers. It’s what drove their growth from start to $13 billion marketing titan in less than a decade. Clearly, limited time offers can be effective.
2. Limited Quantity Available
The second method would be very similar to the first: limited quantity offers. This method works to cut through any procrastination that a potential customer might struggle with. By limiting the amount of products offered, it imbues that product with a new prestige. There aren’t many, and you can have one if you order right now!
Target is a great example for limited quantity offers. By placing a seasonal section immediately inside the front doors and making it clear that those products are the only ones available, they create a high-demand area that sells products at a much faster rate than the rest of the store.
The final method of creating scarcity in marketing would be to leverage FoMO, or the Fear of Missing Out. By highlighting that a large number of people are participating in something together, you in effect create a scarcity of experience. “Sure, you could buy this product whenever you want, but look at the amount of people engaging with it right now! You’ll miss all of the fun!”
This effect is utilized almost as broadly as limiting time or quantity. Apple uses FoMO in the release of new iPhones, and game companies such as Blizzard consistently use FoMO for new downloadable content. If you begin to look around, you’ll suddenly see FoMO driving a large number of marketing campaigns.
Use A Combination
But there’s no reason to stick to only one of these methods. A combination of some or all of them can often be immensely effective. Take KickStarter, for instance. They use limited time offers by setting a time limit for investors. They use limited quantity for the various tiers of investments. They use FoMO by showing the running total of both money and participation. And as of 2015, they raised about $1,000 per minute.
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