Urgency is one of the most powerful aspects of human psychology. According to behavioural psychologists, urgent situations cause us to suspend deliberate thought and act quickly. The longer someone deliberates over whether to buy your product or service, the more likely it is that they’ll talk themselves out of it. So how can you get prospects to act with a sense of urgency?
There are different ways to do this, but it’s important to remember that you can’t approach the situation from a perspective of what’s best for you. Instead, you can only approach it from the perspective of how moving forward quickly will benefit your prospect.
Offer Something People Want
Urgency only works if your product or service is something that people actively want, to begin with. If someone isn’t interested in your product, all the limited-time offers in the world won’t make them want it. Urgency amplifies already-present feelings of wanting something – it doesn’t create them.
Use FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
The scarcer a product or service is, the more people want it. So if you can highlight how scarce your product or service is – or at least create the illusion that it’s about to run out – you can drive people to click the “Buy” button before somebody else does. For eCommerce businesses, one common way to do this is to announce that you only have a certain number of an item left in stock. If you sell a service, you can make the same principle work for you by, for example, only taking on a certain number of clients every month.
Use the Right Words
Strong ad copy and a compelling call to action can make all the difference between whether your visitors make a purchase or click away. Time-related words are especially useful if you want to create a sense of urgency.
Try incorporating some of these words into your copy:
- One time only
- Last chance
- Before it’s gone
- Today only
- Don’t miss out
Numbers are a great way to get people’s attention and make an offer more attractive. You can use numbers to push a sense of scarcity; for instance, “Just 3 more in stock!” Or you can boost your social proof with numbers by telling customers how many other people have bought your product or service.
Show stock levels on the product page
A great way to increase urgency on your site is by allowing customers to see stock levels if an item is close to selling out. Not only does this create a sense of urgency on your product detail pages, it’s helpful information for the customer to know. This tactic can also be used to combat cart abandonment. Showing low stock levels on the cart page can increase urgency and grease the path to conversion.
Last chance emails – “Don’t miss out”
Email continues to be one of the highest performing ways to get your content in front of people. Utilizing email marketing to build urgency and demand around promotions you’re running is a necessary tactic to include in your eCommerce strategy. All you need is a simple subject line that highlights the promotion and builds excitement, and a clear CTA that your customers can click through to browse the sale items. If you’re able to nail those two things, I can guarantee you’ll see an increase in your conversion rate.
Add a Shopping Cart Timeout
Adding a countdown timer to your shopping cart can be a great motivator for customers to complete their purchases. It’s very common for shoppers to add products to their carts and forget about them because either they want to browse prices elsewhere, or they get distracted and exit the site. Giving your customers a limited window of time to complete their purchase is a great tactic for adding urgency to the buying process, and also helps prevent customers using the shopping cart as a wish list.
Use Warm Colours
Colours and psychology are deeply linked. Research from HubSpot supports the idea that using warm colours – red, yellow, and orange – for your CTA buttons can create a sense of urgency that drives action.
Show the consequences
As humans, we tend to avoid negative consequences no matter what. This “loss aversion” means we’ll do whatever it takes to avoid dangerous situations, losing the things we love or any other negative consequence. In fact, the desire not to lose is often greater than the desire to gain.
In sales, focusing on the consequences of not buying can have a great effect on a prospect’s decision to buy. You may choose to show how much money the prospect could lose if they don’t invest in your product or service, or how flawed their current processes are and how inefficient their business is. Whatever it is, focusing on the negative instead of the positive will have a psychological influence on your prospects, which will lead them to a purchase decision faster.
Refocus on the problem they’re trying to solve
You’re offering a solution to a problem a prospect has, whether it’s a true problem or simply a need they’ve expressed. This is their motivation for potentially buying your product or service, so try to reinforce the reasons why they’re interested. If you’re solving a problem, continue to restate the problem and how great your solution will be in solving it. Instead of focusing on time or decision making, focus on the urgency of solving the problem.
However you choose to implement the urgency principle, you’re virtually guaranteed to see some powerful results by using it. Urgency is something that people have a hard time responding to rationally, let alone cautiously. By compelling action right away, you gain an instant psychological upper hand.