The Smarter Ways to Use Urgency Online

  When you sell a high-end product - I'm thinking a luxury car or diamond-studded watch here - there's a natural element of scarcity. Which is great, because Scarcity is one of Cialdini's principles of influence. When you walk into a supermarket, you expect the cereal aisle to overflow with choices. With anything that's less cheap and interchangeable, you don't. Apparently, 800,000 new watches from one high-end brand spring, tick and wind their way into existence every year. If you saw all of them on the shelves of a store, they'd seem a whole lot less valuable - even at the same price. This is hardly revolutionary. I doubt you're impressed by me telling you that as supply dwindles, costs rise. But this created a real problem in the early days of the internet. If you sold physical books, fine. But what if you sold eBooks, audio programs or online courses? The cost of duplicating bytes is essentially zero, so there's no scarcity there. There's no &quo