Add Effective Urgency to Your Offer: 5 Musts and 8 Proven Strategies

We tend to procrastinate even when buying something we need or want.

When you have your offer in front of your ideal prospect, the last thing you want is for them to leave without taking action.

Introducing a sense of urgency in your copy could eliminate procrastination.

Urgency is the feeling you need to act as fast as possible because what’s happening is important, and you don't want to be left behind.

What makes urgency so effective is the loss aversion theory and the fear of missing out (FOMO). According to the loss aversion theory, losses can be 2X more painful than gains are pleasurable.

We hate to miss a good deal and urgency gives us a reason to act immediately.

In this article, I'll show you eight ways to create a sense of urgency in your copy but first...

There are five things you need to do to make urgency more effective.

  1. Make sure your offer is clear. Clarity trumps everything else. A confused reader doesn’t take action.
  2. Ensure your offer is relevant to your audience. It needs to be something your ideal prospect really wants.
  3. Have a solid value proposition in place. A value proposition is the value you promise to deliver to your customers and the reason they buy from you.
  4. Reduce anxiety by eliminating risks. Make your reader feel safe by including a guarantee, a trial period, a secure payment process, or an up-to-date design. Anything that minimizes the risk of buying from you.
  5. Reduce distraction. Distractions are conversion killers. Remember the Rule of One (one reader, one offer, one call to action). Distraction could be anything from too many internal or external links to having more than one CTA.

Now, add urgency.

How to create a sense of urgency in your copy

Urgency can be real or implied.

Real urgency looks something like this: “The offer expires in 48 hours”
Implied urgency is more subtle. You use words such as “now”, “today”, “hurry” or similar to nudge readers to take action.

Use implied urgency when real urgency doesn’t make sense.

Let's see eight ways to create a sense of urgency.

1) Announce a deadline.

In your offer, restrict the time people have to buy the product or enjoy the service. Shorter time limits create a greater sense of urgency.

The deadline is clear: May 31 at 11:59 pm. After the deadline price goes up.

2) Add a countdown timer to flag deadlines.

Countdown timers work best when your offer is time-sensitive. Six ways you can use a countdown timer for urgency:

  • End of sale countdown. It is a timer that counts down the days to the end of a sale.
  • Personalized coupon countdown. It is a timer that counts down the hours, minutes, and seconds left to use a personalized coupon.
  • Personalized product offer countdown. It is a timer counting down the time until a personalized offer ends.
  • VIP access countdown. It is a timer counting down the time to sign up for VIP access to a new product, service, or event.
  • Free delivery countdown. It is a timer that counts down the time left on an offer of free delivery.
  • A product going on sale countdown. It is a timer that counts down the time until a product goes on sale.

A countdown adds urgency to your offer. In this case, an end of sale countdown shows the hours, minutes, and seconds until the offer expires. Source: Awara

Optimize your copy for urgency by using the right language. Here you have a few examples: Now - Hurry - Instant - Immediately -Don’t miss out -Ends soon -Ends today - Last day -Buy now- Last chance - One day only - Offer expires - Before it’s gone - Clearance.

Time-related words, like in this case, "right now", "better hurry", "raising price soon" add a sense of urgency to your copy. Source: Chris Orzechowski's email

4) Use urgent colors

Red is a color we associate with urgency. That's why colors such as red, orange, or yellow in your offer give a sense of urgency. But you can use other colors too. Just make sure there's some contrast with the rest of your copy.

Limited Time Offer in red and CTA in orange to give a sense of urgency. Source: TitansXcelerator

5) Highlight potential price increases.

No one likes to pay more for the same product tomorrow. Displaying the number of items left at the advertised price is an effective way of spurring people into action for fear of paying more for the same item.

Last chance to buy tickets before the price goes up.

6) Launch a flash sale.

A flash sale taps into three psychological principles: loss aversion, scarcity, and limited time.

Flash sale today only. Source: Macy's

7) Use real-time behavior as social proof.

It triggers FOMO (fear of missing out). If you add limited supply, the sense of urgency will skyrocket. When there are only two items in stock and you see 16 people browsing, the chances of clicking to buy increase.

This works as long as it is true and you are not manipulating the system somehow.

Real-time behavior triggers FOMO. If you don't want to miss out, you better hurry. Source:

8) Use scarcity.

Loss aversion and FOMO are behind the effectiveness of scarcity. Showing scarcity prompts people to buy. Scarcity is the feeling that a product is in short supply and about to be sold out. It increases the value of your product or its desirability.

The value increases thanks to the law of supply and demand, which states that low supply increases the item value.

The desirability comes from the feeling of exclusivity. Having something that not everybody can have makes you feel special and powerful.

Scarcity makes us perceive the product as more popular because we believe that the demand for this product is higher.

You can create a sense of scarcity by limiting the number of items you offer, displaying stock limitations, or limiting access to an event.

Scarcity is powerful. You have a limited time (from November 13 to 17 and 2-5 pm) to enjoy this seasonal offer. Source: Starbucks
"It's back" suggests the item was out of stock. Quantities are limited so the prospect must act fast before it goes out of stock again. Source: Offhours

Urgency gives your prospect a reason to act immediately, as long as your offer is clear and relevant to them, you have a solid value proposition in place, and minimal friction and distractions.

One last thing, make sure the urgency is believable and the scarcity is not fake. Otherwise, the next time you do it, it will not work.