How a Flood of Content Creates a Sense of Scarcity
Posted On April 23, 2019
In Cialdini’s groundbreaking book on influence, he described how Scarcity motivates people. Take two boxes of widgets – one is overflowing, the other is nearly bare.
Which is better? Who knows. Which is better value? You can’t say.
What you can say is if you wait, one option will disappear.
You can think about it later. If you don’t grab one of those widgets now, you might never be able to.
Rewind the clock a few centuries and this principle helped build empires. Colonies halfway across the world from their motherlands discovered new flavours – spices, meats, vegetables and recipes never seen back home.
What was their appeal? Were people that eager to eat something different?
Yes, that’s part of it.
But it was viable to haul ingredients across the ocean because you could sell them for a fortune. At first at least, supplies were low. If you wanted to taste this exotic flavour, it would cost you.
The rules of the economy have changed. These words aren’t scarce. They can reach every corner of the web (and therefore the globe). People can copy and paste them a billion times.
So, what’s the answer? Constrain your marketing so only a tiny number ever see it?
That doesn’t sound right.
I imagine you want people reading your ads…
But you can create Scarcity around your marketing. If your content marketing is entertaining and informative enough, it becomes a product.
One you only offer it to people on your email list – a tiny fraction of your potential market.
And since they’ve opted in, they’re automatically more interested than the average schmuck.
Then you find yourself in the strange position of having to tell people about your email list – you advertise your advertisements, in other words.
Personally, I don’t use this approach. While I have an email list, you don’t need to be on it to read content like this. I have my reasons for sharing this content freely, though I can see myself locking my content down more in the future.
But whether your advertising itself is scarce or not…
What you’re selling should be.
As a coach or hypnotherapist, you have Scarcity built in – you’re a service provider with only so many hours. And so many hours means only so many clients.
Some ideas to play with:
If you have a waiting list, emphasise that. Don’t go nuts about it but make it clear people can’t just walk into your office. Your sessions are a limited resource.
You can have Scarcity around how people reach you. If you’re great on the phone, then take all email addresses and contact forms off your site. Making it harder to reach you can motivate people to want to.
Working only (or mainly) by referral immediately restricts your supply. If someone can be referred to you, it’s almost physically painful to go with someone else… even if your skills are the same as theirs.