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Using Urgency and Scarcity Tactics Ethically to Encourage Quick Buying

You’re preparing to launch a great new product. You’ve put in months of hard work on research, design, manufacturing, and marketing. Now the big day is just around the corner.


But launching any new product comes with a major challenge - how do you get those initial sales rolling in? How do you convince the first wave of buyers to take action quickly and start purchasing right away?

This is where urgency and scarcity tactics can really help. Used ethically and judiciously, strategies that create a sense of urgent action or limited availability can be powerful motivators for getting potential customers off the fence.


In this post, we’ll explore some urgency and scarcity tactics you can use to ethically encourage quick buying for your new product launch. I’ll share real examples of how companies have used these techniques effectively. And I’ll give tips on how to avoid going overboard, so you can feel confident your methods align with your values.


Let’s take a look!



The Power of Urgency and Scarcity

First, why are tactics that evoke urgency or scarcity so effective in the first place?

It comes down to basic human psychology. We’re wired to pay more attention to things that are urgent or rare. Our minds interpret limited availability and closing windows of opportunity as signals that this option is valuable and desired.


As an example, think of how Black Friday shopping events create artificial scarcity through “doorbuster” deals on limited quantities. Thisurgency triggers competitive, fear-of-missing-out shopping behavior.



Wielding these powerful psychological drivers can definitely get consumers to buy more impulsively. But, used carelessly or deceivingly, they can also feel manipulative and erode customer trust.


That’s why it’s key to tap into urgency and scarcity ethically, in a way that feels exciting and motivating to customers, not stressful or misleading.


When done right, urgency and scarcity tactics can give your product launch a big boost by:

  • Generating buzz and hype

  • Spurring quick decision making

  • Conveying that your product is hot and in-demand

  • Driving early adoption among influencers

  • Encouraging purchases instead of procrastination

Let’s explore some smart ways to ethically integrate urgency and scarcity into your launch.


Leverage Pre-Launch Hype

The pre-launch period is a great time to start whipping up excitement and a sense of limited availability.

Here are some ethical ways to build urgency and scarcity leading up to launch day:

  • Offer a free pre-launch sample box with a countdown clock. For example, nectar-infused drink Lyre’s courted influencers and media with a lavish pre-release sample kit delivered on a strict schedule before their product hit shelves.

  • Share “sneak peek” previews on social media to drum up anticipation. Electric motorcycle company Zero Motorcycles did this brilliantly on their Facebook page leading up to a new bike launch.

  • Allow pre-orders for a limited time. Set a firm cutoff date to spur action.

  • If you have a waitlist, refer to the long list and high demand when reminding people to pre-order.

  • Create FOMO by mentioning limited production capacity - “Only 1,000 will be available for the first shipment!”

The key is making sure claims about shortages or closing access are absolutely true, and not exaggerating for effect. For example, don’t say “almost sold out” unless inventory is indeed nearly gone.


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Use Scarce Launch Day Offers

Special limited-time promotions on launch day can also effectively prime customers to buy right away.

For example:

  • Offer a discount or bonus gift, but only for orders placed on launch day. In a similar vein, you could do a flash sale for just the first 24 hours.

  • For a service business, offer free onboarding, setup assistance, or a trial period for customers who sign up on launch day. We previously offered a complimentary branding workshop for the first 100 clients.

  • Create a sense of intrigue and anticipation by promising a surprise gift with all purchases on launch day.

  • For a virtual launch, limitation access to the event for the first 500 ticket buyers.

  • Hold a contest where early buyers are entered into a drawing to win prizes.

When structuring launch day offers, be transparent about expiration times. Avoid vague language like “for a limited time only”. Instead, spell out exact end dates and times so customers have all the info to make an informed purchase.


Another ethical tip - make sure true core value exists for customers even without the promotional perks. The offer should incentivize quick action, not mask lack of inherent worth.


Steadily Generate Urgency Post-Launch

Urgency and scarcity seed an “act now” mindset that can continue benefiting you post-launch. Here are some ways to ethically maintain that momentum:

  • Offer product bundles and kits for a short time. For example, “Our self-care wellness box is only available through the end of this month!”

  • Create limited edition products, services, or content. These could be seasonal offers, special collaborations, etc.

  • For online services, offer discounted 6 or 12-month memberships...but only for the next week.

  • Announce a price increase taking effect soon, and encourage locking in the lower rate.

  • ShareJ reminders on social media as availability counts down for a closing offer or seasonal item.

  • Let customers sign up to be notified as soon as sold-out products are restocked.

Again, be fully transparent about timing and availability. And don’t repeatedly cry wolf about products “almost selling out”. Use selective urgency boosts that feel special, not disingenuous.

Pro Tip: Want to spur purchases without relying on expiring offers? Try sharing new testimonials and reviews from happy customers. Our minds interpret social proof of value as a signal to act quickly before we “miss out”.


Steer Clear of Unethical Tactics

Hopefully this gives you some ideas to ethically integrate urgency and scarcity into your launch and beyond. I want to call out a few unethical tactics to avoid:

  • Exaggerating scarcity when there’s plenty of inventory.

  • Using countdown timers not linked to any real expiration.

  • Inventing fake fees or penalties for not buying quickly (“Act now or prices go up tomorrow!”)

  • Implying limited availability when artificially limiting supply to seem scarce.

  • Refusing reasonable customer requests to extend expires offers or re-open limited promotions.

  • Making the window for redeeming promotions unreasonably short.

Remember, transparency and benevolence should guide your efforts. Avoid manipulating or deceiving customers.


Stick to urgency and scarcity tactics that feel exciting, not anxiety-producing. Frame them as special bonuses motivating quick action, not as pushy demands or threats.


Treat your earliest customers extra well - they’re your product’s biggest advocates!


Launch Quickly and Ethically

Done right, urgency and scarcity are incredibly effective for propelling your new product out of the gates quickly and powerfully on launch day.


You’ve put so much into making an amazing product. Now go out there and spur some buyer action so you can start sharing it with the world!


As you prepare for your launch, refer back to the ethical ideas and real examples here. They can help you develop urgency and scarcity tactics tailored to your business and values.


Wishing you an exciting, prosperous launch day! Please reach out in the comments with any questions. I’m excited to hear how these strategies work for you.


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