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Web Copywriting - The Psychology Of Scarcity

By Expert Author: Steve Davis

Countdown to Armageddon - at least you'd think so judging from some of the garish copy and blaring headlines screaming at you from so many websites.
At the opposite extreme though, you've some sites which don't even have a single decent headline anywhere that captures visitors attention, let alone leads them into captivating copywriting that'll get them a sale.
Although it's true to say human emotion hasn't changed in the last 10 years online, the consumer and buyer reactions have undoubtedly become far more sophisticated over the past decade. Further, with something like 43% of all web shopping carts being abandoned at the point of sale it's crucial we understand and react proactively to this new buyer sophistication.
In short, today's online buyers are both pretty wired and wised up. Unless you understand this and adjust your offering accordingly your headlines are very likely to drive prospective clients away rather than entice them into your copy for a second look if they've even a sniff of hype about them or just plain bore them silly.
Either of the above extremes is obviously counter-productive but rather than opting for a bland 'middle way' approach to your copywriting or headlines, here's a sure fire way to generate intensely gripping copy that rivets even ultra sophisticated buyers to every word you publish. It keeps them spellbound all the way down your pages until they've executed your desired marketing action - either opting in, clicking through to a new page or making a purchase without dumping the cart.
If you want these type of results then use "The Psyschology Of Scarcity" and you'll soon have these new 'sophisticats' under your marketing spell and more importantly, get them buying what you sell. Here's exactly how it works...
The basic underlying principle is widely known of course, and springs from the proven psychological response people give when they're denied or given limited access to something they intensely desire. Basically, when people are told they can't have something they want it all the more. As a result incredibly powerful emotions are released which go on to drive actions often deemed irrational under normal circumstances. As marketers we can take advantage of this almost primitive reaction (ethically of course) to bypass even sophisticated buyers resistance and go on to make the sale.
Here's a further demonstration to show powerful this is...
Imagine for a moment tonights TV news announces a grave national emergency and petrol (gas) is to be be strictly rationed to one just full tank for your car for an entire month... but this rationing won't start until one weeks time. However, you are not allowed to stockpile petrol because that's bad. Now I don't know about you honourable folks but almost instantly a picture of my storeroom stacked to the ceiling with Jerry cans full of petrol popped into my mind!
I'm not saying I'd do that if this was a true scenario but I'd probably have a couple of cans laid aside, just for emergencies of course. At the pumps and service stations there would be a stampede, because the psychology of scarcity would release these deep emotional responses. This actually happened here in UK two years ago and there was mayhem.
Now let's see if we can insert a mechanism deep into our headlines and online copy that'll immediately invoke exactly the same kind of emotional responses within those who visit our sites. If we can then all the sophistication in the world won't stop our visitors from reaching for their credit cards to buy what we sell.We're looking for the response that comes directly from the gut - that's not filtered out by the sophisticated mind. That's where we aim our copy at, the heart not the head.
The type of mechanisms we've found work best in invoking these emotion driven responses are as follows...
1) Strictly limit the amount of product you are selling in each promotion, put it right up front in the headline or first sentence where everyone can see it and strictly adhere to your statement. If you say you've only got 100 widgets to sell, then pull the promo when you reach that point or people will see the whole thing as a facade. Here in the UK the richest sofa and 3 piece suite supplier uses this technique very well, although now after 2 years we're all beginning to see through these 'promo weekend specials', so be wise when you use it.
Make your product scarce... because then you make it valuable and desired in others eyes.
2) Set time sensitive deadlines that really do expire - Set a deadline for the promo to finish and give a special discount on the product if purchased before that time. When you reach that day pull the promo headlines, ad, the lot. People will heed what you say and buy far quicker next time you set a deadline. I've done it myself, got to a site with expired deadline and missed out, next time I paid far more attention to their pitch and the website gained credibility in my eyes.
3) Use number limits for recruiting headlines - when recruiting people for sales teams, affiliates etc use figures that limit the amount of people you 'appear' to wish to recruit. For example use a headline portion including "We urgently require 5 key individuals for our new IT project...". At the same time as limiting the opportunity here you also give each individual a glimmer of hope that they'll be among the 'chosen few' to land the rare but rather plum project.


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