How Can SEOs Use The Principle Of Scarcity?

Robert B. Cialdini defined 6 principles of persuasion and I have already discussed 4 of them in my previous posts. You will find the links of my previous posts at the end of this piece.

Today, I am going to discuss the principle of scarcity, how digital marketers can use this principal to enhance their campaigns and also generate profits.

What is Scarcity?

Scarcity is one of the basic and common problems in economics, as the wants of human beings are unlimited but the resources to fulfill them are always limited. So, scarcity can also be defined as shortage in supply or insufficiency to fulfill demand.

The real world examples of scarcity can easily be witnessed when events like Christmas, New Years or Black Friday sales are on its peak, the resources are limited and there are more people willing to buy (the demand is high).

There are sales persons who use this principle to create a sense of competition among buyers and gain profits out of it in a short amount of time. You may have seen shops especially on big events that offer promotions like “offer valid till 24th December” or some are even more creative “only 5 pieces available at this price”.

These examples are exactly the use of the scarcity principle and it works. We as human beings in a capitalist economy, go to lengths to fulfill our wants and when we sense that we may get deprived of something because of its limited number, we get more attracted to it and we strive harder to avail the opportunity to acquire that particular thing. The principle of scarcity being used today

If you are in the digital marketing industry, it’s very rare that you haven’t heard of Neil Patel. He is the owner of Quick Sprout and Kiss Metrics.

G. K. Chesterton said, “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” And this is exactly what Neil did on Quick Sprout’s pro page that looks like this:

This is a typical usage of dead line tactics to pressure customers to buy a product. This usually works really well when there are events available because these are normally the times when people are willing to spend and this deadline pressure makes them buy instantly.

Here is another example I found while stumbling upon a Facebook fan page. Here this jewellery store is smartly using the limited product idea to build pressure on potential buyers.

When potential customers (ladies in this case) find out that a particular item is limited, the desire to get that product increases to a great extent.

These are two examples I found, but there are millions of examples that businesses use from time to time.

How can digital marketers use the principle of scarcity?

Opportunities seem more precious when you are about to lose them. In digital marketer’s case, if you see a SEO conference saying 50 seats available and the next day it says 30, chances are you will buy it because there is this fear of being deprived of a want you won’t be able to fulfill because of scarcity.

Digital marketers usually use this not only to create hype but also to gain tons of links and endorsements in a short period of time. The idea is to offer something special to bloggers and journalists; this can be free access to the paid areas of a tool or a free product, in case you are in the ecommerce industry, for a limited period of time.

The basic reason of offering special offers is to get the feedback and reviews from them. When bloggers and journalists write on their blogs and magazines, you will automatically get quality and natural links plus great amount of referral traffic that can help you with sales and word of mouth. The limited time special offer will build a pressure on bloggers and journalists and you will see a good response as a result. is a website who uses this principle and is getting good amount of reviews from niche related bloggers.

You should keep a few pointers in mind when using the scarcity principle in your marketing campaign:

  1. Try not to overdo it and make it look natural.
  2. Do not fake the scarcity because if people find it out, it can hurt your brand reputation within the niche.
  3. Try to be conversational when crafting content for the campaign where you have used the principle of scarcity.

This is one way where using scarcity will help you get links, shares and traffic that points back to your website.

This was the 5th part of a 6 post series which was inspired by Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *