One of the most common mistakes made by marketers and business owners is attempting to create urgency by being pushy. Aside from being annoying, this approach is ineffective.
Here are some of the more popular yet lame and borderline infantile phrases used in countless marketing and advertising campaigns to create a sense of urgency:
Don’t miss it!
Don’t walk. Run!
Time is running out!
When it’s gone, it’s gone!
Push, pull, drag it in! (so you can get $5,000 for any trade)
____ is right around the corner!
Sale ends soon!
What are you waiting for?!
Have you ever broken into a sprint just because some clown told you to in their marketing?
Back in my radio days, advertisers and sales reps would tell me to include a strong call-to-action in their commercials. You know, because the more forceful you are in telling people what to do, the more likely they’ll be to do it.
This approach misses the mark for two reasons.
First, according to a study from the Journal of Consumer Research, an overly aggressive pitch is often a turn off for potential customers.
Most of us prefer to use brands that we identify with. But marketing that goes overboard in trying to explicitly link a brand with a certain type of behavior or identity can easily backfire.
An example cited in the study was the slogan, “If you call yourself a sports fan, you gotta have DirecTV!”
The study found that people typically want to make their own choice without being pushed too hard. In other words, are you saying I’m not a sports fan because I don’t have DirectTV?
While some customers may still purchase a product or service because they believe in its quality and value, many people are at least subconsciously put off by pushy messages and their implications.
And this type of marketing does nothing to create urgency.
Second, a call-to-action has very little to do with creating urgency.
Yes, you read that correctly. Let me explain.
I will never go to your website, visit your store, call you, sign up for your blog or download your e-book because you told me to do it right now.
On the other hand, if you give me a compelling enough reason to do any of those things, I won’t need much of a push at all.
If your marketing shows how you can solve a problem, fill a need or make someone’s life better, they’ll track down your website, look for the registration form, or find directions to your store.
Thanks to this little thing called the Internet, you don’t have to pound people over the head with contact information. It’s easy to find.
The key to creating urgency is providing your audience with a compelling reason to act.
Of course, every marketing piece or advertisement should have a call-to-action. But it’s not the job of the call-to-action to get people to act immediately, so being aggressive is pointless.
The job of the call-to-action is to simply provide one final reminder about why somebody should act and then point them in the right direction.
The call-to-action only works if the rest of your marketing content did its job by conveying the value of what you do, building trust and credibility, and differentiating your product or company from competitors.
When you think about it, how many products and services really require immediate action if you want to benefit from using them?
Sure, the sooner you use them, the sooner you benefit. But in most cases, the product and its benefits aren’t going anywhere. And if you don’t have an immediate need, you probably have no reason to act immediately.
But by giving compelling reasons to act rather than being pushy, you increase the likelihood that someone will do business with you, either now or when they have the need for what you’re selling.
Even if you’re promoting a time-sensitive event or sale, using those awful clichés mentioned previously aren’t helpful. Aside from being lame, they’re vague.
If you have a limited-time offer, create urgency by giving people a very specific deadline.
For example, instead of saying “sale ends soon,” say “sale ends Monday at 5 pm.”
This isn’t being pushy. This just informs someone that if they wait until Monday at 5:01 pm to act, they’ll be out of luck.
It would be great if someone handed you money the first time they were exposed to your content.
But you need to accept the fact that, in most cases, people will buy according to their own timetable, not yours.
Which is worse – waiting a month, six months or a year to get the sale, or completely blowing the sale because you were aggressive?
You won’t create urgency by shouting, using all caps, ending sentences with five exclamation points or closing your content with a hardcore pitch.
Turning up the sales volume is just plain irritating. Create urgency throughout your content by giving people a good reason to act.
Be convincing, not annoying.