Email and Online Marketing: Create Genuine Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency is often noted as a best practice in marketing.  We want prospects to take action on an offer now rather than filing it away for “later” and then forgetting about it.  But urgency, like anything, can be abused.  Many online marketers create arbitrary deadlines or dates to force urgency.  Overusing the strategy causes problems in the long run because audiences become skeptical.  Rather than making up false urgency review your offers to find the genuine urgency that can drive your prospects to take action.

Here are a few sample offers common for consultant, trainer, and professional coach’s events.   It’s an outline on how subtle changes in an offer can be perceived as genuine rather than a hollow marketing ploy.  The same strategies can be adapted for products or item promotions.

Many event communications for business seminars try to encourage registrations immediately.  Below are some common incentives.  But remember only use these urgency building tactics if it truly fits your event.

  • Give Away – A certain number of people that sign up first get a free item.  If you use this promotion then you need a rock solid way of knowing who the first registrations were up to a certain point.  The attendees will notice if every person in the room has the give-away.  Be realistic about the audience size an event will draw.  If you are expecting 30 people, don’t do the first 30 to sign up because the offer will look disingenuous.
  • Reduced Pricing – Early registration leads to a discounted price.  This can be a powerful incentive but needs to be honest.  If dates are rescheduled or everyone is given a reduced price the audience will learn that any advertised reduction is just a hollow attempt to portray a good deal.
  • Limited Number of Seats – Unless your registration method has a counter on available seats it’s difficult to use this incentive early. An email stating that seats are filling up well in advance is often hard to take seriously unless it’s a well known event.  This tactic is most effective as events get closer. It’s often a good “last chance” communication letting potential attendees know there are a certain number of spaces left but it needs to be sincere.  Telling people that there are a limited number of spots and having them come to a sparsely attended event is a quick way to lose credibility.
  • Upcoming Date – The most overlooked urgency builder for events is the most obvious, the date.  The beauty of this urgency builder is it’s self-apparently genuine.  The event happens on x date.  If you don’t sign up by y date then registration will be closed and you won’t be able to attend.  This again is best served as the event gets closer. The only way this can be undermined is if dates are commonly cancelled or rearranged.  If dates move a lot the audiences will assume that it’s not an actual deadline.

These are 4 examples.  The key to using any of them is to do so genuinely.  Urgency is created when the audience clearly understands why a timely response is necessary.  If urgency builders are overused or abused then the marketing audience tunes them out.  When that happens conversion suffers because communications have less credibility and offers with urgency are disregarded.

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