Always Have a Ticking Clock

There is something about the ticking clock that makes people move.

It doesn’t matter if we know about the deadline far in advance-activity always increases as the last few minutes tick off the clock.

“Tax day” in the USA doesn’t sneak up on any of us-we all know it happens April 15th (or in the case of this year, the 18th). Yet year after year, tax preparers are deluged during the week before “tax day” — swamped by people who were only motivated to act when it looked as though the clock was about to run out.

There’s a reason why so much direct response advertising is filled with the words “for a limited time only”.

“Limited time marketing” gets results.

The trick, of course, is that it doesn’t work as well as it once did. People understand what’s happening, and are not as easily moved by those same old, tired words, “limited time only”. Now,  we must be more creative in communicating the scarcity of time to act.

Notice that I’m not commenting on whether there actually is a limited time or not. I’m assuming that if you say time is limited, that the offer is about to run out, that quantities are low, that this is the absolute truth. That these are real limits that you’re simply letting people know about.

No matter what you are marketing, there is always a limit. There are only so many units you can ship… there is only a certain amount of time you can maintain the sale price… there are only a certain number of days you can legitimately continue to offer an “end-of-the-year sale”.

I’m suggesting that you look carefully for the “ticking clocks” that are already present in every one of your offers, and make those time constraints explicit for your customers. In other words, talk about the limits.

The way to do this effectively is to talk about it in very specific terms.

Don’t take the lazy way out and simply say “for a limited time only”.

Talk about he exact time the sale ends, on what day.

Explain exactly how many units you have left, and why there won’t be any more.

Even if the reason is simply, “we’re tired of making it in this color”, tell that story. Truthful stories about real ticking clocks are powerful customer motivators.

Try it and see.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “Always Have a Ticking Clock

  1. Great idea, Ray! We’re repackaging our offerings right now, and we’re giving our sales people deadlines to sell the current packages at a great price, before the new prices go up with the new products and services that are coming out.

    “Buy now, before the price goes up”! And it truly is going to go up.

    Thanks
    Andrew