3 Ways to Inspire Urgency (Plus Bonus Word List!)

Do you know “the look”?

It’s that look one spouse gives to the other when they need to catch their attention quickly. Or, it’s the look an exasperated parent gives their child when that child is still on YouTube after being told to take out the garbage an hour ago.

The look is all about urgency. If you ever get that look, you better move NOW!

The Psychology Behind Urgency

Urgency plays an essential part in marketing as well.

Urgent tasks mean people are more likely to act on them, even more so than important tasks. This means all marketing (including buying printing) needs to have some level of urgency to it.

And while you can’t give your print buyers “the look” to get them to take the next action in doing business with you, there are some ways to emphasize urgency that are effective (and won’t get you arrested for creepiness).

3 Ways to Use Urgency in Your Marketing

1. Set Restrictions

“If you don’t take out the garbage by 3:00 PM, you won’t be able to go to your friend’s house.”

Setting goals and deadlines are a common tactic to trigger urgency to buy. In the e-commerce world, this looks like:

  • Setting deadlines for delivery
  • Having start and end dates to your promotions and sales
  • Using coupons that are only good for certain times

Shorter timelines let your print buyer know that they better quicken their steps and get moving on their purchase.

2. Limit the Good Stuff (Scarcity)

Using scarcity is another way to add urgency for your buyers.

The scarcity tactic is pretty easy to spot out in the real world. You’ll see this often in online retail. For example, Expedia highlights this when you’re shopping for hotel rooms with statements such as “Only 2 rooms left at this price” or “5 people looking at this room right now.” Amazon also does this to highlight limited quantities.

Scarcity is a fear of most consumers. It’s why people will rush to buy toilet paper during a pandemic. They know it might not make sense logically, but they also know that it’s scarce, and they better get it while they can.

3. Use Words that Drive Action

Well-written copy can make all the difference in inspiring your audience to move.

Be sure to point out the next step or call to action in every (seriously, every!) piece of marketing you create. Look at it with the eyes of the recipient. Should they call next, visit your website, sign up somewhere? Without this information, you’re wasting your time and money on your marketing.

Train yourself and your team members to look for this on your print buyers’ pieces as well. You’ll be their knight in shining armor if you mention their marketing piece is missing a next step and save their campaign.

Bonus: Words and Phrases to Inspire Urgency

Act now! Last chance
Activate [Blank] today! Limited-time offer
Before it’s too late Offer expires [mm/dd/yy]
Call us now for your free [Blank]! Order now, while there’s still time!
Claim your free [Blank] before supplies run out! Reply today and get [Blank]!
Deadline approaching Save today!
Don’t delay Shop now!
Ends [tonight, tomorrow, etc.] Sign up now
Final days! Start saving today!
For a limited time only Subscribe now!
Get an early start! There’s no time to delay!
Get started today! These [savings, products, etc.] won’t last long
Immediate reply requested This [week, month, etc.] only!
Just in time to [Blank] Time is running out!

“Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.”
– Jim Rohn