Scarcity marketing in some circles is considered unethical. This article is here to dispel that rumor and set the record straight.
First things first, what is scarcity marketing?
Well the short version is, it’s when you use the power of having a limited amount of time, a limited number of spaces, to lock in your discount, or a limited amount of a physical product to boost your sales results. When presented with scarcity marketing, there is a little switch that gets triggered in the brain that increases the likelihood of you completing the transaction.
Here are some big companies and websites you may not realize that utilize scarcity marketing.
- Ticketmaster (or any avenue in which to buy concert tickets) Every single show has a limited number tickets available. SOLD OUT! Ever met face to face with that sign?
- eBay (that little timer that taunts you at every single auction)
- Your favorite sports team (limited number of games and seats)
That’s just to name a few, I’m sure if you think about it, you can come up with a few of your own. Are all of those companies unethical? I don’t think so, it’s just clever marketing.
Why do people think scarcity marketing is so unethical?
Well I think that people might think that because they themselves have felt duped or mislead by some scarcity marketing techniques. If that was your experience, I know how you feel. I too have been marketed to in this way. But when I really think about, my experience wasn’t all that bad, in fact the scarcity marketing worked exactly how it was supposed to. I’ve even scored some super discounts by claiming a “fast-mover’s bonus” or a free upgrade with that “one-time offer”.
However, I do feel that there is an unethical way to use scarcity marketing. Most people who would use it for unethical purposes I would consider to be generally unethical people anyway. So I steer clear of any red flags that I might have seen and stick with companies and individuals I know, like, and trust.
Can you use scarcity marketing in an ethical way?
I’d say a resounding yes! There is no harm on limiting the amount of time or product you make available to your customers. In fact here are some reasons why you should use scarcity in your marketing.
- To not over-saturate the marketplace with your product or offer
- A limit on the amount of product that you have available to you
- During your product launches
- For your customers if you market other people’s products
- Affiliate marketing
So you see, using scarcity in your marketing can be done in an ethical way. If done correctly, scarcity marketing can have a huge impact on your sales and conversions!
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