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The Power of Scarcity in Marketing


The reason we love a Christmas tree, is that we are just able to get it for a limited time, once a year. I know, there are many other reasons as well. But, think about it, if we could see that Christmas tree every single day of the year, it wouldn’t be that much fun, would it?

That’s how scarcity works in marketing as well.

If you want me to buy whatever you are selling right now, you need to tell me why I need to buy it right now, and why I can’t wait another day. The thing is, if you let people decide when they are going to buy, most of them will wait one more day. They’ll look around to see what your competitors are offering, and they might even forget about you. You need to give them a reason for buying right now.

Add scarcity to your marketing, and people will start to think about your product in a completely different way. They understand that they need to hurry in order to buy it.

Scarcity is usually about two things; it’s either about time or a specific number of products. For instance, you can add a time frame when it comes to a specific price (like a discount for 3 days), or you can tell your customers that you only have 100 items at a specific price.

This gives people a reason to buy right now.

A great example of scarcity

One of the best investments I have made for my business is Long Tail Pro. I use it every single day for keyword research. I paid $97 for it, and to me, that was a bargain. Like I said, I use it every single day. Now, for seven days, it’s on sale, with a 75% discount.

This is the link to the discount (

long tail pro discount


If you know that the price will be back at $97 in just a few days, most likely, you’ll end up buying it right now.

Are you using scarcity?

I believe that scarcity works in any business. But, it will only work if your customers understand that the price will go back up after the sale is over. Or that the product is actually removed. Scarcity makes your customers take action.

What’s your thoughts on scarcity, do you usually end up buying? And, do you use scarcity in your business?

14 responses to “The Power of Scarcity in Marketing”

  1. Lisa says:

    Great point Jens, I haven’t used it enough on our retail sites. Something I will try to change for the upcoming year. I’ve seen many of the big retailers doing it on a regular basis so it must really work. I like the limited time offer of 3 days or less. I’ve heard good things about the long tail pro, have to check that out too. Thanks for sharing this info and offer Jens.

    • I haven’t used scarcity for my business yet, but I might try it when get more control 🙂

      Long Tail Pro is amazing, I have been using it every single day for a long time. I am using several other tools as well, but it’s by far the fastest and it’s the one I am using the most.

  2. Tim Bonner says:

    Hey Jens

    I haven’t really used scarcity very much yet. I sent an email broadcast when Hostgator had a special offer the other day but that’s been about the extent.

    It certainly makes sense though and creates more of an urgency.

    I had a look at Long Tail Pro and it looks great. I’m not sure if I need it though over and above the Adwords Keyword Tool at the moment.

    • I don’t know how many ebooks, courses and software I have bought because of scarcity, but it seems that I buy something every month because it’s just too cheap not to buy it, or I am afraid that when I finally make up my mind if I need it or not, the offer will have been removed.

      When it comes to Long Tail Pro, if you think you’ll ever need it, you should buy it now. I doubt that it will ever be this cheap again. I paid $97 for it, and now people are paying only $36 for the new version, which is a lot better than the one I bought 🙂

  3. Kesha Brown says:

    Yes, I’ve seen this tactic and know that it works (because I’ve purchased items like this!). Since this year I’ll be creating products, there will be opportunities where I can use this method. Stay tuned! 🙂

  4. Carolyn says:

    I love Long Tail Pro! Thanks so much for letting us know about it, Jens.

    You’re right about scarcity. We want what we can’t have, basic human nature. I’m thinking Bill Dorman’s traffic probably has increased now that he barely posts. I guess that’s what happens when you become a celebrity. 😉

  5. Ben says:

    Hi Jens,

    Great analysis. My blogging in seasons idea kind of uses scarcity, as it means I post less and each season runs for a limited number of weeks. I also like the idea of a short-term discount.

    I think it can be overused though, as I’ve seen so many sales pages with “one-time discounts” that either end up being extended, or that focus more on the price than the value of the product.

    What do you think of products that always seem to be on sale? I guess there’s a psychological challenge, as a sale feels like it makes things more affordable, when you could just drop the base price if the product is almost always on sale.

    • Your idea sounds great Ben.

      It sure can be overused. I get hundreds of offers every single day, and close to all of them are using scarcity as a way to get me to buy. The one thing that works great right now is the dime sale, and we can actually witness the price going higher for every minute or for every new product sold. This way we understand that the faster we react, the cheaper the product will be 🙂

  6. Abhishek says:

    Great points you have made here, Jens. I feel the concept of scarcity is the same with everything. It depends upon the marketer how he takes full advantage of it. Thanks for this insightful share.

  7. David says:

    Really great article! I think creating the scarcity illusion without any reality behind it can be harmful, but if done correctly, scarcity marketing can be a great tool to be able to take advantage of.

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