Just the other day I saw a commercial for the movie, The Jungle Book. It’s out of the Disney vault and for a limited time you can buy it for your family. But hurry, because soon it’ll be going back in the vault for another 20 years. Whoa, the kids will be 25 years old by then! Better buy it now!

The marketing technique that Disney is using is called creating a sense of urgency. A sense of urgency gets people to take action. And it’s one of the principles of marketing promotions that can significantly increase your sales.

Think of it this way. Even if you’ve created a great marketing message (it’s appealing and compelling) the prospect still has to take action. And despite your best efforts, the prospect may procrastinate or delay purchasing indefinitely. If you want to get that prospect to take immediate action you need to ask. And HOW you ask will determine how successful you are.

One of the ways marketers light a fire under their prospects is to create a sense of urgency as part of their call to action. That is, making an offer available for a limited time. Why? As human beings it’s in our nature to want to move quickly so as not to lose out on a great opportunity.

You may have seen some of these other examples:

·         One-day only sales

·         Limited time offers/discounts/coupons

·         Offer good through [date]

How can we leverage human nature in our own marketing?

Think of legitimate ways we might be able to offer a product or service for a limited time. Sales to reduce inventory, overruns and surplus items, or closeouts are all targets for this approach. If you have a services business, consider offering introductory pricing for a new service.

Incidentally, sometimes market forces create a built-in sense of urgency. Consider the residential mortgage lending industry. When experts speculate that interest rates may go up, it’s in the customer’s best interest to lock in the current, lower rate. That gets them to take action immediately. And, it’s a WIN-WIN. In what ways can you create a limited time offer?

1.      Use language to create the urgency in ways that are consistent with your industry’s norms. The above-mentioned mortgage lender should use language that is different from what is used in the infomercial business!

2.      Include this in your call-to-action. And where is that? You can include this technique wherever you describe your offer including your direct mail pieces, advertising, on the Web, and even during your networking.

3.      Use integrity. Any great persuasive tool can be misused. So don’t be dishonest or manipulative. That would tarnish your brand. The goal is to create the most compelling message possible to give your prospects a sense of excitement and anticipation regarding the wonderful experience they’re about to have with your product or service. The most reputable companies in the world use this technique effectively. And so can you.