Less really is more – How to Profit from Scarcity

Step 1 - Go to Tools -> Countdown Timer

Picture this: You’ve decided to surprise your wife with a weekend getaway for her birthday in a few weeks.

Nice, right?

So, you open your laptop and start booking the airline tickets. You select the destination, the dates, etc.

Then you see something like this:


Luckily you only need 2 seats… whew!

But, then you realize, “Oh no… I forgot to select 2 adults when I started booking!”

You frantically press the back button so you don’t miss out on the flights. Quickly re-enter the details for 2 adults instead of just 1.

Then you see this:


What gives?

A few minutes ago there were only 2 seats available and now there are 3… What’s going on here?

Well, this is a little tactic used by airlines to push you to make your booking immediately. By making it seem like the flight is almost sold out they play on your F-O-M-O: Fear Of Missing Out, to persuade you to buy your tickets now.

Isn’t that a little sneaky?

With false scarcity like this – yes… but it’s also a powerful persuasion tactic.

In fact, using scarcity is one of the six “Weapons of Influence” that Robert Cialdini spoke about in his book Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion. Widely considered the “Bible” on persuasion, it is a must read for business owners and marketers.

Scarcity can be considered from the perspective of supply and demand like in economics.

When supply is low, demand increases and with it, value increases.

Whether it’s a one of a kind carpet that sold for millions or a rare Pokémon causing a stampede… scarcity can drive people to do some crazy things.

Why Scarcity Works

The power of scarcity comes down to a few interesting factors of human psychology.

You see, our brains are constantly bombarded by information. Because of this, it seeks out “shortcuts” to spend less effort in making decisions, and to make those decisions faster.

For our ancestors trying to survive in harsh and dangerous conditions this was critical. Quick decision making meant the difference between life and death.

For us, it’s still important, but… we aren’t going to be eaten by a wild animal if we make the wrong decision.

But we’ve learned through evolution that the things that are difficult to get tend to be better than those that are easy to get.

So we quickly associate availability with quality.

Rye or Sourdough?

Imagine going into a bakery to pick up some bread.

In front of you are 2 options: one shelf is full of sourdough bread, and the second shelf only has a few loaves of rye bread. As you stand there trying to decide which one to get, 2 customers pass by and grab loaves of rye bread.

Suddenly, there’s just one loaf of rye bread left.

Your brain takes over and says: “Hey, get the rye bread because there is only one left… which means it has got to be better than the sourdough bread!”

Our little bread story also introduces the second, deeper reason scarcity works so well.

As opportunities because less available, we lose our freedom of choice.

And humans hate to lose their freedom of choice.

If you get the rye bread you can still get the sourdough bread.

But if someone else picks up the last loaf of rye… you’ve now missed out on an opportunity.

Finally, scarcity works because it plays on our Fear Of Missing Out.

This is why contestants on the popular “Deal or No Deal” game show routinely turn down more money than they make in an entire year – they keep playing because they’re afraid of missing out on even more money.

How to Use Scarcity to Make More Money

So how then can you use scarcity to increase the demand and value of your product or service?

The simplest way is the limited number tactic.

I guarantee you’ve heard of this one before.

This is when you only have a limited number of products available. Say only 10 spots in your coaching program or only 100 widgets because of a shortage from suppliers.

Having a genuine, compelling reason for the limit helps persuade people into taking action.

This is a little harder to do when selling a digital product like an eBook or an online training program.

That’s because for digital products there really is no legitimate reason for having limited numbers. Costs are pretty much the same whether it’s 10 or 10,000 sold.

This is where you can introduce a different type of scarcity: time.

By limiting the amount of time available to get a product or offer you introduce a new, powerful, type of scarcity… urgency.

Your prospect needs to act and he needs to act now if she wants in.

Imagine in our bakery story earlier that the store closes in 2 minutes. There isn’t another bakery anywhere nearby. If you don’t get the bread, your kids won’t have anything for breakfast, and your spouse that sent you to buy some bread? Well, good luck with that.

That’s urgency.

Having your product available for only a limited time, offering a discount for the next 24 hours, or closing your coaching program for the next 6 months are all ways to add time scarcity to your offers.

Now for the real profit boosting secret…

Combine scarcity with email marketing and you have a formula for insane conversions.

Like in the product launch sequence (link to post once created) where you countdown to the deadline when the offer disappears.

But what if instead of sending a static email with a subject like “Two hours to go”…

…you could send an email that included a real, dynamic countdown timer…

…no matter when your prospect reads your email… they would have a clear idea of exactly how much time was left for the offer.

Imagine them reading your email and seeing the countdown showing only 4 minutes and 27 seconds left before the offer expires.

Wouldn’t they be more motivated to click through and buy as they see the timer ticking down?


Now to do something like this you would probably need to be a coding wizard or hire one.

But AW Pro Tools has made it easy for you to include a timer with a special tool that’s included:

The dynamic countdown.

Instead of having someone design and code a timer for you, AW Pro Tools lets you effortlessly create a countdown timer that you can simply copy and paste into your email.

Here’s how easy it is.

When you login to AW Pro Tools, from the left side menu select Tools then select Countdown.

Step 1 - Go to Tools -> Countdown Timer

Creating a Countdown Timer

Here on one single page you can create a dynamic countdown to include in your emails.

Not only that, but you can also send your prospect to a different URL depending on when they click the link.

Remember, a key thing in using scarcity is being genuine. If you offer a sale for 24 hours only… keep your word and don’t extend it.

You also can’t overuse scarcity and keep having 24 hour sales everyday… you will lose your credibility. Your scarcity will also lose its effectiveness. Your prospects will know if they don’t buy today or this week, you’ll have a sale the following week that they can buy then if they want to.

That’s why the ability to send prospects to different URLs depending on if they deadline has passed or not is so powerful.

If they click before the deadline has expired they are taken to the sales page. But, if the countdown has passed… you can send them to another page. Maybe one where you let them know the offer is closed and when next it will reopen – if it will be. Or if you were offering a limited time discount, take them back to the full price page.

Again, to set up something like this would probably cost you a pretty penny with hiring a coder. But it’s all done for you with the dynamic countdown tool.

You can use the URL of Smart Link Automation as your Pre-Deadline or Post-Deadline URLs. This way you can tag them as being interested in the offer or copy/move them to another list. For example – a waiting list for your next promotion if they missed out on the deadline.


Once you’re done and click Create Timer, you will be taken to a page where you are given the code to copy and paste into your email and a preview of what it will look like:

This code uses HTML, which means you must send HTML emails for the countdown image to show and work properly.

If you really want to increase the effectiveness of using scarcity in your offers, you can combine the different types of scarcity.

Black Friday sales are a great example of this in action.

When you combine steep discounts, a limited number of products AND a limited time to get the items… well let’s just say chaos ensues.

Remember, scarcity is powerful but only if it’s genuine. Like in the airline example at the start, if your customers realize it’s simply a trick to get them to buy it will back fire on you. You will lose credibility and your customers won’t trust you.

Use it correctly though and you will see higher conversions and more profits.

If you have a sale coming up and would like to use the dynamic countdown tool to boost the results, sign up for your free 14 day trial here.